Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pot pouri

Rudy has a bad idea for reforming the health care system, and the death penalty ain't such great shakes either:

My recently completed study of the 124 exonerations of death row inmates in America from 1973 to 2007 indicated that 80, or about two-thirds, of their so-called wrongful convictions resulted not from good-faith mistakes or errors but from intentional, willful, malicious prosecutions by criminal justice personnel. (There were four cases in which a determination could not be made one way or another.) ...

The malicious or even well-intentioned manipulation of murder cases by prosecutors and the police underscores why it’s important to discard, once and for all, the nonsense that so-called wrongful convictions can be eliminated by introducing better forensic science into the courtroom.

Even if we limit death sentences to cases in which there is “conclusive scientific evidence” of guilt, as Mitt Romney, the presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts has proposed, we will still not eliminate the problem of wrongful convictions. The best trained and most honest forensic scientists can only examine the evidence presented to them; they cannot be expected to determine if that evidence has been planted, switched or withheld from the defense.

The cause of malicious unlawful convictions doesn’t rest solely in the imperfect workings of our criminal justice system — if it did we might be able to remedy most of it. A crucial part of the problem rests in the hearts and souls of those whose job it is to uphold the law. That’s why even the most careful strictures on death penalty cases could fail to prevent the execution of innocent people...

Whether they are guilty or innocent, executing people is not the mark of a civilized society.

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Blogger EdHeath said...

You know, City-County merger only works if all the little municipalities join in and surrender their governments (I know, Nordenberg has not yet spoken, and who knows what he will say, but, really …). Health Care Reform really only works if we go universal, if we literally eliminate the insurance companies all together (well, that’s my opinion but I think Krugman of Princeton/NYTimes would tend to agree). I can see where we should treat the death penalty more carefully because of its finality. I will say that the malice Richard Moran talks about should be looked at in a slightly more complicated manner, in my opinion. In his book “Best Defence”, Alan Dershowitz says in the first few pages that the cops often know more than what they can say in court, that they know “whodunit”, but they can’t always assemble legal evidence to present in court. Some confessions and hearsay evidence, not admissible in court, are still conclusive proof for the cops. In that sense, the unfair justice system, seemingly so one sided, often works out better than we would expect. But I am not disputing Dr. Moran’s work, or indeed the evidence we see very often of malicious prosecution (such as the Duke Lacrosse team). I would tend to agree with and support the notion that we abolish the death penalty without some new very strong evidentiary or level of crime standard for execution (crimes against humanity sort of thing), again, because of its finality. And with just a few sentences, I say that unless we do the impossible, it ain’t worth doin’.

9:25 AM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Switzerland, I believe, does have a system with private insurers. I think it may have been in part the model for the Massachusetts reform, in which everyone is required to purchase insurance, with the government subsidizing care for the poor. I don't know how well it works, though I've read some praise for it. In fact, the Clinton plan was not unlike that, but it was needlessly complicated in presentation.

One of the best arguments in favor of government-sponsored, universal health insurance is the federal employees' insurance program, which has a much lower overhead than many private plans. In fact, I think Medicaid has lower overhead than most private plans. I suspect a lot of it has to do with marketing costs and salaries.

Krugman is in favor of government-provided health care, as well, much as they have in Great Britain. I'm not sure I'm ready to go that far.

Krugman would have not on

4:44 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I'm too lazy to delete my previous comment and start over, but I wanted to point out that I forget to delete that last sentence fragment.

4:45 PM


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