Law and Politics

Monday, May 20, 2013

Jeffrey Toobin, staff writer for The New Yorker, CNN legal analyst, and author of (soon in paperback) The Oath: the Obama White House and the Supreme Court (Anchor, 2013) talks about the stop-and-frisk lawsuit, the IRS vs. 501(c)(4)'s, Eric Holder on the hot seat, and other national legal news.


Jeffrey Toobin

Comments [7]

Amy from Manhattan

The fact that "a" is done & "b" happens doesn't necessarily mean that "a" was the cause of "b." The idea that it does is a well-known statistical fallacy. Even if an appropriate number of stop-&-frisks helps reduce crime, that doesn't mean that doing hundreds of times that number is necessary or helpful. If they're done without reasonable suspicion, then it is unconstitutional.

Since Brian mentioned graffiti in reviewing what kinds of things police cracked down on under Giuliani's administration, I have to bring up the death of Michael Stewart after police found him doing graffiti in a subway station.

May. 21 2013 12:24 AM

People familiar with Jeffrey Toobin's writing might think that he's biased for cops. And people might think that the American judiciary is biased for cops. So maybe Judge Sheindlin is just doing what the judiciary is supposed to — keeping the scales of justice balanced.

As for claims that stop and frisk reduces crime: 1. Judge Sheindlin's point is exactly right — there are all kinds of violations of rights that would reduce crime; and 2. We have very hazy claims by Bloomberg (who has been caught in falsehoods and contradictions on this issue) about the causal relation between heavy-handed police tactics and declines in crime rates. The declines in violent crimes were underway _before_ Giuliani even entered office. And the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations have both altered the status of certain crimes (making them misdemeanors rather than felonies) to make it look like crime is going down more than it really is.

From a purely social scientific point of view, there is no way to do a controlled experiment to test whether stop and frisk works. So we're stuck with studying actual practice.

May. 20 2013 10:24 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Is Toobin suggesting that citizens’ rights should be curtailed, to support an unprovable anti-crime tactic? The Miranda warning analogy is apt.
Kelly is futilely attempting to prove a negative, in order to impose a police state, instead of EVER trying to work in good faith with the affected communities. Seems that Toobin has his back. Which is wack.

May. 20 2013 10:23 AM
Bob from Brooklyn

Who is going to win the coming civil war? The gun-toting conservatives? The bankers and politicians with their bands of police and military drones? The drug cartels? Texas? Place your bets.... the gig is up.

May. 20 2013 09:44 AM
carolita from NYC

Just out of curiosity, what percentage of stop and frisk cases were women? I've lived in some pretty rough neighborhoods, and I personally was never stopped/frisked, and never saw any women stopped/frisked. Just men. On the other hand, I find it suspicious that I've been "randomly" selected three times for a bag search at other, less ethnically homogeneous subway stations by those anti-terrorism cops. When I brought that up, I was sarcastically congratulated on my luck by the cop searching my bag. While it's less physically invasive, it's no less paranoia-inducing.

May. 20 2013 07:56 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Please ask Toobin if the recent revelations about Obama's chronic dishonesty and abuse of power meet the level of illegality for impeachment proceedings to be considered.

May. 20 2013 07:53 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Attorney General Holder: "I don't remember ... I was recused ... I wasn't there ... it just looked like me ...".

The head of the Cincinnati IRS Office (not the man who is currently the IRS head and has been asked to step down, though he was planning to retire in three weeks, but the woman who was the office head when this targeting of conservative groups took place), has been promoted to head the IRS part of Obamacare. A promotion. And now she, who oversaw this targeting, will be able to deny healthcare to people. Much concern here.

May. 20 2013 05:47 AM

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