Saturday, June 30, 2018

What have educators learned from Brendan Dassey’s conviction? [updated with a postscript]

Years before Making a Murderer hit the airwaves, I explained in my 2012 book, Tried and Convicted, how the police indoctrinate kids at an early age in order to win their trust.  (Think Deputy Friendly.)  This, in turn, pays dividends down the road.

Many of my clients—not only my 17-year-old clients whom Wisconsin considers “adults” for criminal prosecutions, but much older clients as well—tell me how they’re in utter disbelief that they’re sitting in jail facing criminal charges.  At the time of their interrogations—or, as the police call them, “interviews”—the clients were convinced that the police were on their side and were there to help. 

I explain in my forthcoming book, Anatomy of a False Confession, that while suspects like Brendan Dassey don’t realize it at the time, the police use several tricks of the interrogation trade to lull their targets into this delusional state.  And in a recent radio interview, a teacher called in and said how horrified she was by what Mark Wiegert and Tom Fassbender did to Brendan Dassey.  She explained: “I could see that happening to any one of my students.  Being brainwashed like that.  I thought it was shameful.”

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Who’s to blame for the opiate crisis?

As 60 Minutes convincingly demonstrates, Big Pharma and the United States Congress are the cause of the problem.  Watch the investigative report, here.  Learn how legislation was passed to permit Big Pharma to push their drugs—including shipping 11 million pills to a town of 5,000 residents with utter disregard for how those pills would later be distributed on the black market.  (No wonder Big Pharma opposes marijuana legalization: they want the drug market all to themselves.)  Meanwhile, local prosecutors get to bully drug users and small-time drug “suppliers,” while the courts allow the police to trample our Fourth Amendment rights in the name of crime prevention.  Yeah, nice work; prosecutors and judges get to sleep well, pretending they’re “tough on crime.”  In reality, money and influence rule the day, while the poor sap (who relies on an overworked public defender) is made the scapegoat.  Kudos to all involved.  Big business and big government have created and perpetuated a problem that the citizenry pays for while executives and government fat cats reap the benefits.  But don’t take my word for it – watch the episode, do your own research, and reach your own conclusions.  P.S., I also like the episode’s reference to the Marquette Law Review (where I toiled away for two credits) and Quarles & Brady, LLP (where I sometimes toiled, and sometimes surfed the web, for much greater compensation).