Category: Police

Independent body needed to investigate miscarriages of justice

by Tom Mann

Channel 7 Today Tonight (Adelaide, 6 December 2011) highlighted the urgent need for a review of cases in which juries have reached a verdict based on suspect evidence. David Szach appeared on the program professing his innocence to the murder of lawyer Derrance Stevenson in 1979. After a 14-year prison sentence, and having passed a polygraph test, he has persisted in seeking a review of his case so that his name might be cleared. Attorney-General John Rau of South Australia, however, rejected Szach’s most recent plea to have his case reopened, despite the flawed nature of the evidence clearly raised by Szach in his petition, and supported by eminent scientists.

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Political Corruption in New York: Low Comedy and High Cost

by Dan Collins

It’s possible, what with the rush of the holiday season, that you have neglected to pay close attention to the city’s latest political corruption trials. I must admit my own attention was wandering until this week, when a Brooklyn Assemblyman was indicted for attempting to solicit bribes so he could pay lawyers to defend from charges of taking bribes in a previous corruption trial.

The star of that saga is William Boyland Jr., who exemplifies all the reasons the words “state legislature” make New Yorkers want to beat their heads against the nearest flat surface.

He has a completely safe seat, which he inherited from his father, William Boyland Sr., who inherited it from his brother. Junior has had a totally undistinguished career in Albany, starring only in the narrow but competitive area of filling out expense forms. But back home he’s apparently been very active in a business loosely described as consulting.

In Albany, consulting is generally a euphemism for being paid to get somebody state money.

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War and Drugs in Afghanistan

by Vanda Felbab-Brown

Since 2001, Afghanistan has become synonymous with the term “narcostate” and the associated spread of crime and illegality. Though the Afghan drug economy peaked in 2007 and 2008, cultivation this year still amounted to 325,000 acres, and the potential production of opium reached 6,400 tons (.pdf). Narcotics production and counternarcotics policies in Afghanistan are of critical importance not only for drug control there and worldwide, but also for the security, reconstruction and rule of law efforts in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, many of the counternarcotics policies adopted during most of the past decade not only failed to reduce the size and scope of the illicit economy in Afghanistan, but also had serious counterproductive effects on the other objectives of peace, state-building and economic reconstruction.

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Case Studies of Reform

by Bob Carr

 

Speaking toCanberra public servants this week I discussed three case studies of reform from 1995-2005 in NSW state government. They were: turning the NSW police force from a poorly performing, corruption-prone police force into a professionally-performing, corruption-resistant police force; wiping out the rorts of plaintiff lawyers in tort law to increase payments to the injured; and restructuring forestry to secure jobs in a reformed timber industry but also declare 350 new National Parks.

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We May Be Witnessing the First Large Global Conflict Where People Are Aligned by Consciousness and Not Nation State or Religion

By Naomi Wolf
They’re fighting a “corporatocracy” that has bought governments, created armed enforcers, engaged in systemic economic fraud, and plundered treasuries and ecosystems.
America’s politicians, it seems, have had their fill of democracy. Across the country, police, acting under orders from local officials, are breaking up protest encampments set up by supporters of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement – sometimes with shocking and utterly gratuitous violence.

In the worst incident so far, hundreds of police, dressed in riot gear, surrounded Occupy Oakland’s encampment and fired rubber bullets (which can be fatal), flash grenades and tear-gas canisters – with some officers taking aim directly at demonstrators. The Occupy Oakland Twitter feed read like a report from Cairo’s Tahrir Square: “they are surrounding us”; “hundreds and hundreds of police”; “there are armoured vehicles and Hummers”. There were 170 arrests.

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