Saturday, May 11, 2019

Inmates running the asylum (and the demise of higher education)

Ronald Sullivan is a law professor at Harvard who also works as “Winthrop House faculty dean”—which, apparently, is an undergraduate residence hall at Harvard College.  Sullivan is quite an impressive guy.  He is the first African-American to have obtained this “faculty dean” title at Harvard.  (They used to call them “masters” but that was changed because it was insensitive or non-inclusive or in some way upset the students.)  Even more impressive, Sullivan makes quite an impact in the real world—a rare occurrence among modern law professors, most of whom have never or barely practiced law even before they entered the academy.  According to his bio: “Professor Sullivan, to be sure, spends the lion’s share of his work . . . in service of underserved communities around the country and world. In fact, the Huffington Post dubbed him ‘The Man Who Dealt the Biggest Blow to Mass Incarceration,’ noting that several media reported that Professor Sullivan won the release of more wrongfully incarcerated persons . . . than anyone in U.S. history.”

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Already Gone: Mens rea and the burden of proof in Wisconsin

Liberals are just as likely to take away our freedoms and violate our rights as conservatives.  Many years ago, I wrote an article (here) arguing there was no discernible correlation between a judge’s political party and respect for our constitutional rights.  

When it comes to the legislature, one recent example of a liberal’s expansive, intrusive reach is Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to ensnare corporate executives in the criminal justice system.  According to this NACDL news release, her Corporate Executive Accountability Act (here) would convict a defendant without a mens rea requirement (guilty mind, intent, knowledge, etc.) and by the lower, civil burden of proof known as the preponderance of the evidence standard.