The Man Who Defends Men Accused Of Campus Rape – By Jessica Roy October 22, 2015 3:12 p.m.


Photo: Rayon Richards

Photo: Rayon Richards

Last December, James Clark* was finishing his first semester as a sophomore at a prestigious New England liberal-arts college when he received an email saying the dean wanted to speak with him. On the phone, the dean informed him that a female classmate had reported Clark for sexual misconduct. An official process began. School investigators began conducting an inquiry into the incident, and a no-contact order was issued, requiring Clark to keep his distance from the accuser while dates for future interviews with the dean were scheduled. Clark was shocked — he’d thought what happened that night was consensual. As a transfer student, he was new on campus, but had made a few friends. They were supportive, but after that phone call, he was essentially alone. Just as their classmates were finishing finals and embarking on winter break, Clark and his accuser were caught in a narrative that would alter the course of their lives forever. From then on, they would be weighted down by the same albatross: She would be the woman who believes she was sexually assaulted, and he would be the man who believes he was falsely accused of assaulting her. [The Cut was unable to reach Clark’s accuser for comment.]

Clark immediately called his parents, and they were distraught. What do you do when your 18-year-old son is the accused in a campus sexual-assault case? The accuser had not reported to the police, so the case was being handled through the school’s system, which involved an investigation, a hearing, and, if found guilty, an academic punishment. James’s mother, Susan*, thought he needed a lawyer anyway. She began frantically reaching out to attorneys, desperate to find someone to represent Clark in his school’s sexual-misconduct hearing. Most lawyers the Clarks contacted weren’t interested in defending James — this wasn’t technically a legal case, and what would be the benefit to them, especially given the debates about campus sexual assault raging? But after several phone calls, they found their man: Andrew T. Miltenberg, a New York–based business litigation attorney who had begun to make a name for himself defending young men whom some consider indefensible.

“I remember it was New Year’s Eve. He called us back and we talked about it and he said, ‘I think I can help you,’” Susan tells me. “I said to my husband, ‘I think this man is going to work very hard for our son.’”

Miltenberg is an advocate and resource for some of the thousands of male students who are accused of sexual misconduct on college campuses every year. The process at most schools involves a hearing or hearings where both the accused and the accuser are allowed to have an advocate attend to make sure their best interests are served. Miltenberg has acted as an adviser for over 60 students in college hearings, and he’s currently representing male students in a number of civil lawsuits filed against universities where they feel they were mistreated.

Article continues:

http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/09/man-who-defends-campus-rapists.html

 

War Child – By Gary J. Bass


Stanley Hoffmann, R.I.P.

BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS

BRIAN SNYDER / REUTERS

Stanley Hoffmann, who died last week at the age of 86, was both a magisterial scholar of the century of total war and a fugitive from it. Born of partial Jewish heritage in Vienna in November 1928, with a haunted childhood in Vichy France, his first political memory was at age five: His beloved mother read in a newspaper about the Nazi assassination of Austria’s Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, turned to her son, and said this was the beginning of the end of Austria and her family. Hoffmann would go on to become a crucial member of an extraordinary generation of American scholars who escaped from Europe’s catastrophe. “It wasn’t I who chose to study world politics,” he wrote many decades later; “world politics forced themselves upon me.”

When France fell in June 1940, Hoffmann and his mother became “two small dots in that incredible and mindless mass of ten million people clogging the roads of France.” He remembered the crush of panicked people, the swirling rumors about German planes strafing the slow-moving refugees, and the maelstrom of cars, vans, trucks, and bicycles. The pair fled south from Paris, not far ahead of the Germans, and wound up in a tiny village in Languedoc. “I was part of a nation of pariahs driven out by a mechanized horde of invaders,” he recalled. As Jews under Nazi racial classifications (although his anticlerical mother had converted from Judaism and he was baptized as a Protestant), they did not dare to return to Paris, and instead wound up broke and alone in Nice, under Vichy rule.

The city was full of informants and goons; the Philippe Pétain regime’s propaganda ranted from the radios; some of his classmates, soaked in the bigotry and tyranny of the period, were terrifying young fanatics. He lived in constant fear. When the Germans occupied Nice in September 1942, his only close friend, the French-born son of Hungarian Jewish exiles, was almost immediately hauled away and never seen again. Hoffmann and his mother fled again, back to Languedoc. He was, he later wrote, permanently scarred by “the discovery of the way in which public affairs take over private lives, in which individual fates are blown around like leaves in a storm once History strikes.”

 

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Gov. Brown signs law barring grand juries in police deadly force cases – August 11 2015


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Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) discuss her measure that would end the use of grand jury proceedings to investigate police shootings after it failed to get enough votes for passage on the first vote in the Assembly, on July 16 in Sacramento The bill was finally approved on a second vote, 41-33 and was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday. (Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Tuesday a measure that prohibits secret grand juries to weigh in on cases involving excessive or deadly force by law enforcement, and another affirming the public’s right to take audio or video recordings of police officers.

Both measures were part of a spate of proposals introduced by lawmakers earlier this year on police accountability; some of the more controversial bills dealing with body-worn cameras or reporting on use-of-force incidents have stalled in the Legislature.

Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) offered the grand juries measure in response to high-profile incidents in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City, where grand juries declined to indict police officers for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, respectively.

Mitchell said her bill, SB 227, would help make judicial proceedings more transparent and accountable. Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties already have opted not to use grand juries when an officer’s actions may have caused someone’s death.

Article continues:

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-brown-grand-juries-20150811-story.html

Talking Heads: The Murder of the Young in Mexico – Published on Aug 7, 2015


VICE News and the New York Review of Books have partnered to create Talking Heads, a series about the big issues of the day as seen by the Review’s distinguished contributors.

In this episode, Alma Guillermoprieto discusses her article “Mexico: The Murder of the Young,” in which she follows the story of 43 students from a teacher’s college in the Mexican state of Guerrero who disappeared last year at the hands of corrupt police and a local drug gang. She describes how the search for their bodies revealed that much of the state is a gravesite, and reflects on what distinguished this event from the many thousands of murders that preceded it.

VICE News sat down with Guillermoprieto to discuss how systemic corruption and an ill-conceived war on drugs has created an anarchic setting for indiscriminate violence in Mexico.

Read Alma Guillermoprieto’s essay, “Mexico: The Murder of the Young” – http://bit.ly/1DxnC5P

Barack Obama condemns anti-women traditions in Nairobi speech – David Smith in Nairobi Sunday 26 July 2015 08.08 EDT


US president criticises treating women as second-class citizens in rousing address in Kenyan capital that also offers insight into his African heritage

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Barack Obama offered a poignant glimpse into his African heritage and went on the offensive against female genital mutilation and other “bad traditions” that treat women as second-class citizens, in a speech in Nairobi.

The US president addressed 5,000 Kenyans in the country’s capital on Sunday, in the centrepiece event of his first visit to his father’s homeland since he was elected.

“I am proud to be the first American president to come to Kenya and of course I’m the first Kenyan-American to be president of the United States,” he said, prompting a cheer that almost blew the lid off a sports arena bedecked in US and Kenyan flags.

Obama was introduced to the rapturous crowd by his half-sister, Auma, who looked after him on his first trip to the east African country in 1987. “The first time I came to Kenya things were a little different,” he said. “I arrived at Kenyatta airport, the airline had lost my bags. That doesn’t happen on Air Force One. They always have my luggage close to me.”

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Auma had picked him up in an old VW Beetle that broke down four or five times. Obama said: “I slept on a cot in her apartment. Instead of eating at fancy banquets with the president we were drinking tea and eating ugali. So there wasn’t a lot of luxury. Sometimes the lights would go out. But you know, there was something more important than luxury on that first trip and that was a sense of being recognised, being seen.”

 

Article continues:

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jul/26/barack-obama-condemns-tradition-women-second-class-citizens-nairobi

“If I die in police custody”: Why Sandra Bland’s death is just the latest evidence that Black America is under attack – BRITTNEY COOPER WEDNESDAY, JUL 22, 2015 03:00 AM PDT


No one should end up dead after a routine police stop, but Sandra Bland did. This country has much to answer for

"If I die in police custody": Why Sandra Bland's death is just the latest evidence that Black America is under attack

No one should end up dead after receiving a citation for failure to properly signal a lane change. However, this is exactly what has happened to 28-year-old Sandra Bland, a resident of Illinois who was pulled over in Waller County, Texas, two Fridays ago, where she was traveling to take a new job at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. According to police, after she refused an officer’s instructions to stop smoking a cigarette, she was ordered out of the car, accused of assaulting an officer, and then wrestled to the ground. The video of the arrest only shows an officer’s knees in her back, and her yelling that he had hurt her arm and slammed her head into the ground. She was taken to jail, arraigned, given a $5,000 bond, which she made arrangements with her older sister to pay, and set for release on Monday morning. Instead, she was found dead of an alleged suicide, having supposedly hanged herself with a plastic bag.

I do not believe that Sandra Bland hanged herself just a few hours before her sister was set to come and pay the $500 bail it would have taken to get her out of jail. I do not believe Sandra Bland hanged herself two days before taking her dream job at her alma mater. I do not believe Sandra Bland hanged herself.

No one with good sense believes that. And I challenge the sense of anyone who is willing to contort themselves into intellectual knots to make such a ridiculous story seem remotely plausible. This is what media reports about Sandra’s prior traffic tickets and minor previous arrest for smoking marijuana are supposed to make us do. This is what reports about her struggles with depression and PTSD are supposed to make us do. Depression and PTSD should not be conflated with being suicidal, and smoking marijuana is legal in a range of states and municipalities now. Moreover, PTSD diagnoses are rising at alarming levels in Black communities, because of continued exposure to poverty and violence.

Just one day after Sandra Bland was found, authorities in Homewood, Alabama, claimed that 18-year-old Kindra Chapman hanged herself in her jail cell not even two hours after being arrested for taking another person’s cellphone. On Tuesday morning, several Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested in Homewood, for protesting and demanding answers about Kindra’s suspicious death.

I do not believe the police accounts of these deaths. When story after story emerges of Black people who end up dead, over crimes for which they should never even have had to exit their cars, we should stop giving police the benefit of the doubt. Those of us with Black lives cannot afford such gambles. And the police should not be afforded such luxuries. As Ida B. Wells wrote just over a century ago, “Those who commit the murders, write the reports.” I recognize that in this moment, many folks become hyper-vigilant about “waiting for all the facts before making a judgment.” The fact of the matter is this: Police in Texas and Alabama would have us believe that Black women are committing suicide in the county or city jail for non-capital offenses.

When I was a kid, my cousins, country boys who spent their days fishing, hunting and riding four-wheelers, frequently teased me for having “book smarts, but no common sense.” Regardless, what I know for sure is that Black women don’t kill themselves when they know for sure that someone is on the way to get them out of prison for a minor traffic offense. Though I have a Ph.D., I certainly don’t need one to tell me that.

After the stories of Sandra’s and Kindra’s deaths started circulating, Black women in my Facebook community began posting pre-posthumous notes about what we should assume about them if they were ever to die in police custody. We should know unequivocally, each note made sure to say, that these women had not committed suicide. In my own pre-posthumous declaration, I wrote, “I didn’t commit suicide. I didn’t resist. I didn’t threaten the officer. I didn’t have a weapon. I prolly did ask a few pointed questions though.” On Twitter, Black women and men joined in with #IfIDieInPoliceCustody.

http://www.salon.com/2015/07/22/if_i_die_in_police_custody_why_sandra_blands_death_is_just_the_latest_evidence_that_black_america_is_under_attack/