Prosecuted by her legal counterpart: ‘It destroyed my life in so many ways’
This DA should resign, now:
At least six defense attorneys and investigators say they faced threats of criminal charges by the Orleans parish district attorney for doing their jobs, the Guardian has found. Since DA Leon Cannizzaro took office in 2009, the attorneys have been accused of kidnapping, impersonation and witness tampering in the course of defending their clients. Each case has failed to stand up to scrutiny: all charges that have been brought were eventually dropped or overturned.
Anderson Cooper did a great segment on 60 Minutes about how an underfunded, understaffed and overworked New Orleans Public Defender’s Office has started refusing felony cases. Chief PD Derwyn Bunton says he and his 52 attorneys cannot possibly represent the 20,000 clients they get annually in a way that comports with the ethical standards to which all attorneys are held, and to which criminal defendants are Constitutionally entitled.
It’s a divisive choice, but I think it’s the right one. Public Defenders Offices are notoriously underfunded all over the country, seen as low-hanging fruit when a politician or bureaucrat needs to cut budgets. But they should be among the last budgets cut. Many criminal defendants are guilty, and many are not. Because of that, all are entitled to the same Constitutionally mandated set of rights, chief among them being the right to representation.
No, public defenders don’t need and shouldn’t get astronomical budgets. But they should not have to divide 20,000 cases between 52 lawyers, either. That’s 384 cases per lawyer per year. Would you want to share your public defender with 383 other people? Would you feel confident that you will get your Constitutional rights to competent representation and a fair trial?
Didn’t think so.
Heartbleed: When no encryption is better than bad encryption
Alex Hern reports for The Guardian this disturbing fact about the recently disclosed OpenSSL bug, now two years old and pervasive:
servers vulnerable to Heartbleed are less secure than they would be if they simply had no encryption at all.
How? The bug allows access even to information the encryption wasn’t protecting.
NYT managing editor: Guardian story on Israel and N.S.A. Is Not ‘Surprising’ Enough to Cover
New York Times news editor Dean Baquet suffered a serious lapse in editorial judgment. I mean, he can’t be serious, can he?
How Brown Moses exposed Syrian arms trafficking from his front room
Eliot Higgins’ work is a prime example of how the Internet and user generated content are changing journalism on a molecular level.
What a fascinating read.
Amazon’s “phantom” 20% VAT for UK ebook sales
Ian Griffiths and Dan Milmo of The Guardian, quoting ” a contract seen by the Guardian,” presumably between Amazon and one of its UK publishing “partners”:
If the base price exceeds the base price … provided to a similar service then … the base price hereunder will be deemed to be equal to such lower price, effective as of the date such lower price comes into effect.
That’s a good deal, especially coupled with the recent ebooks settlement.
The US antitrust regime is focused on protecting consumer interests. That means that as long as Amazon’s book selection continues to rise and their prices continue to fall, they’re unlikely to see any problems on the competition law front.
That’s probably not good for consumers in the long-run, especially given Amazon’s DRM and control over your devices and library. I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that Amazon will face some antitrust scrutiny of its own in the next year.