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There are now 13 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. Waffle Sorter says

    I sometimes worry about what would happen if I were to try to eyewitness things. Because not only am I bad at faces, but my memory for events is weak under even the very best of circumstances. And, as you’ve pointed out, stressful situations (even those happening to other people around me) would hardly be the very best of circumstances.

    • Whereas I’m afraid I’ll tell the cops it was Lady Scarlet in the Library with the nail-studded 2×4, nevermind the purp was actually the shifty lawyer in the alleyway with the reinforced briefcase. . .

  2. LDD says

    Congratulations on the WaPo bit. It has to be rewarding when people seek you out for a commission.

    Do you retain the rights to it, perhaps for inclusion in a later book, or to be merged into the site?

  3. Andrew M. Farrell says

    Wait I thought that the KKK and Knights of the White Camilla weren’t so much defeated as succeeded in implementing policies after the compromise that brought Rutheford B Hayes into the White House?

    • There’s no doubt that Reconstruction failed, and racist policies were certainly implemented as a result — but the KKK itself did cease to exist as an organization. Another KKK would eventually be formed in 1915 or thereabouts, but that original one was gone.

      The failure of Reconstruction is a fascinating area of our nation’s history that can be difficult to piece together, because almost everything written about it until maybe the 1960s was revisionist as hell. And even a lot of modern sources can be equally revisionist, just on the opposite swing of the pendulum. I think of the fiasco as a long string of failures and miscalculations, worsened by the economic depression of the 1870s, of which Hayes was only the last. (And speaking of revisionism, until the 1950s or 60s Hayes was lauded as the man who reunified the country, one of the greatest presidents!)

  4. James says

    I’m actually seeing a therapist about this — I fall into the third category; the “freeze”. but it doesn’t happen during a critical moment, but rather a mild moment. I just hope it’ll be fixed before a life-or-death situation happens.

    • Well, there is a heck of a lot that we just don’t know about the neurobiology of panic. (And I’m really only describing one kind of panic — there’s also those panic attacks that can come unbidden because of brain chemistry, or those we get in response to a heightened sensitivity to threat, etc. And I haven’t even mentioned the role the amygdala and our emotions play — it may not seem like it, but I’m really trying to limit myself to the barest bones of the formation and recall of memories so we can get right to facial processing and recognition.)

  5. mikecody0318 says

    As to the Qualified Immunity thing – is that the same doctrine that allows prosecutors to avoid any punishment when they do things like withholding evidence during discovery?

    • Nope. Different doctrine.

      Prosecutors have something else called “absolute immunity.” They can’t be sued for stuff they did in their role as prosecutor, even if it was really really egregious and caused great injustice. They lose their absolute immunity only when they start doing the actual police work, at which point qualified immunity would instead apply. Apart from that, they have absolute immunity.

      It can be a real problem: Prosecutors have insane power, and complete discretion as to how to use their power. But there’s no accountability for misuse or abuse of that power. Sure, there’s professional discipline for prosecutorial misconduct, but it’s rarely enforced. And it’s not the same as allowing the victim to sue the malefactor.

      [A few states do allow suits for some prosecutorial misconduct. The damages are (I think) always paid from tax money in those cases, though, so even then the prosecutor herself isn’t at risk.]

      We’ll cover all this in more detail when we get to Advanced Criminal Procedure. But that subject — what happens once you’ve been charged with a crime — is more about what the lawyers and judges can and cannot do. So I’m not going to get to that until I’ve at least done Constitutional Law and Torts, which are much more relevant (and interesting) to everyone else. So in the meantime, feel free to bring that stuff up here in the comments!

      • Looking into the matter of qualified immunity, I found out that an officer fould liable because of misconduct is more likely to be struck by lightning than to personally pay a civil right settlement, according to

        As if that wasn’t bad enough, departments frequently indemnify despite the legal prohibition on insuring intentional acts, either by crafty legal manuvering, or by outright violating the law. The thought that taxpayers should be on the hook for even purposefully malicious violation of civil rights should strike everyone across the whole political spectrum as abhorrent, and detestable.

        I am convinced that the entire doctrine of qualified immunity is an unconstitutional attempt to subvert the obvious legislative intent of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. The entire doctrine needs to be reconsidered, and courts need to begin demanding that officers pay a suitable portion of judgements out of pocket.

        Otherwise, the courts are and will remain guilty of perpetuating the sham of police accountability in this country, and ordinary citizens continuing to be hurt and killed by officials of their own government.

        • > I am convinced that the entire doctrine of qualified immunity is an unconstitutional attempt to subvert the obvious legislative intent of the Civil Rights Act of 1871.

          2015 minus 1871 leaves 144, making this yet another example of how conservative our legal system is.

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