Tuesday, December 30, 2008

James Webb and Criminal Justice Reform

The Washington Post reports that Senator James Webb (D-VA) will propose a national panel to review our broken criminal justice system. Webb is quoted in the article saying "I think you can be a law-and-order leader and still understand that the criminal justice system as we understand it today is broken, unfair, locking up the wrong people in many cases and not locking up the right person in many cases."

You can read the article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/28/AR2008122801728_2.html?hpid=topnews.

I encourage you to send your support for Senator Webb to his web page at http://webb.senate.gov/contact/.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Submitting to Authority

A column by Adam Cohen from today's New York Times:

In 1963, Stanley Milgram, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale, published his infamous experiment on obedience to authority. Its conclusion was that most ordinary people were willing to administer what they believed to be painful, even dangerous, electric shocks to innocent people if a man in a white lab coat told them to.

Now, 45 years later, that experiment has been repeated by Prof Jerry Burger of Santa Clara University--with the same results. Read the entire article at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/29/opinion/29mon3.html?_r=1&ref=opinion.

Cohen concludes his column saying:

An instructor at West Point contacted Professor Burger to say that she was teaching her students about his findings. She had the right idea — and the right audience. The findings of these two experiments should be part of the basic training for soldiers, police officers, jailers and anyone else whose position gives them the power to inflict abuse on others.

Let's add to that list jurors, who all too often unquestioningly accept what authorities say despite the tragic consequences a wrongful conviction brings.