My good friend, Margaret Hawkins, head of DARSOL, sent me this article. It is too long for me to edit and print here, but it is EXCELLENT, and if you care about reentry, YOU should read through it!
The Collateral Consequences Resource Center is a nonprofit organization established in 2014 to promote public engagement on the myriad issues raised by the collateral consequences of arrest or conviction. Collateral consequences are the legal restrictions and societal stigma that burden people with a criminal record long after their criminal case is closed. The Center provides news and commentary about this dynamic area of the law, and a variety of research and practice materials aimed at legal and policy advocates, courts, scholars, lawmakers, and those most directly affected by criminal justice involvement.
Through our Restoration of Rights Project (RRP) we describe and analyze the various laws and practices relating to restoration of rights and criminal record relief in each U.S. jurisdiction. In addition to these state by state profiles, a series of 50– state comparison charts and periodic reports on new enactments make it possible to see national patterns and emerging trends in formal efforts to mitigate the adverse impact of a criminal record. We have recently begun consulting in support of state law reform efforts, and in 2019 organized a successful effort to develop model law on access to and use of non-conviction records. In addition, we participate in court cases challenging specific collateral consequen ces, and engage with social media and journalists on these issues. For more information, visit the CCRC website at http://ccresourcecenter.org .
I was quite surprised to see these charges about Ms. McGuiness; I ‘ll give her the presumption of innocence and see what happens. I must say that given that the state must prove criminal intent here beyond a reasonable doubt, and having read the indictment, they are going to have an uphill climb convicting her.
Excerpts from the Article:
Delaware state Auditor Kathy McGuiness was indicted Monday on criminal charges that she hired and supervised her daughter in a do-nothing state job, that she circumvented state contracting laws to shield public payments to a political campaign group from regulator scrutiny and that she spied on and discriminated against employees who questioned her conduct.
McGuiness faces two felony charges and multiple misdemeanors in the indictment, which appears to make her the first statewide elected official to be indicted on felony charges while holding office.
Editor’s Note: Read the entire, 11-page indictment at the bottom of this story.
State officials executed a search warrant on McGuiness’ office two weeks ago and since then, neither she, her staff nor her daughter have answered questions regarding the investigation, the existence of which could not be independently verified by Delaware Online/The News Journal until Monday’s indictment.
On Monday, Wilmington attorney Steve Wood said in an emailed statement that his client is “absolutely innocent of these charges” and that the indictment is “full of misleading statements and half-truths.”
The charges carry the potential of zero to 13 years in prison. The case is being brought by Attorney General Kathy Jennings. Jennings oversees the Delaware Department of Justice and its Division of Civil Rights & Public Trust, which conducted the investigation.
“If anyone should know better, it is the state auditor,” Jennings said in a Monday press conference. “Instead, as our investigation has shown, Kathy McGuiness carried out the very misbehavior that she was elected to stop.”
McGuiness, a Democrat and former Rehoboth Beach commissioner, was elected as state auditor in 2018, a position that’s meant to police wasteful and inappropriate spending of taxpayer money in school districts and state government agencies.
In early 2020, the pandemic had caused seasonal employees in the Auditor’s Office to suffer a “drastic” reduction in work hours. From March through June, one had been fired by McGuiness because of “lack of available work” and two others left because they had a shortage of work.
In May 2020, McGuiness hired her daughter, Elizabeth McGuiness, then a senior in high school, as a seasonal employee where she was permitted to book more hours than other seasonal employees, according to the indictment. McGuiness also hired her daughter’s friend, also a senior in high school.
Attempts to reach Elizabeth McGuiness, who is not charged with any crime, were unsuccessful.
Neither McGuiness’ daughter nor the daughter’s friend was interviewed by staff prior to being hired, and the positions were not posted publicly. McGuiness supervised her daughter and provided her access to a state vehicle, the indictment states.
In August 2020, McGuiness’ daughter enrolled in college in South Carolina. She remained on the auditor’s payroll and never utilized the state’s online tool to work remotely. Entrance logs for the Auditor’s Office show she entered the office 15 times, but never between August and her December return from college.
As of August 2021, McGuiness’ daughter remained on the payroll and is listed as a public information officer and intern. She has been paid approximately $19,300 during her tenure as a state employee. McGuiness is also listed as an owner on the banking account where her daughter was paid, the indictment states.
The daughter’s friend was paid approximately $7,760.
The arrangement is the basis of both a felony theft charge as well as a conflict of interest misdemeanor.
In his written statement, Wood said state law does not prohibit family members from hiring family members and that the indictment falsely assumes that Elizabeth McGuiness did not work for the office during the pandemic.
McGuiness is also charged with circumventing state purchasing laws to benefit a firm she had previously employed on the campaign trail. These charges center on a campaign consultancy organization called My Campaign Group. The indictment states that the company helps candidates structure their position on campaign issues. Campaign finance reports show McGuiness paid the group nearly $19,000 during her failed 2016 campaign for lieutenant governor.
After she was elected state auditor, she approached the group about doing work for the Auditor’s Office, stating that the contract would be less than $50,000 and thus not subject to state bidding laws, the indictment states.
In December 2019, McGuiness ratified a $45,000 contract with the group for “communication services.” Because the contract was less than $50,000, the contract did not have to go through the public bidding process.
However, at the time, payments of state money greater than $5,000 had to be approved by the state’s Division of Accounting, another layer of scrutiny beyond the public bidding process. That threshold was later increased to $10,000 in March 2021.
Each of the payments to My Campaign Group came in at less than $5,000, which was not the case with at least three other no-bid contracts executed by the Auditor’s Office since McGuiness took office, the indictment states.
Additionally, McGuiness instructed one of her office staffers to pay the group through his state purchase card. That transaction and another $2,950 payment were outside the original $45,000 purchase order with the Division of Accounting.
The company was ultimately paid about $4,000 more than the original contract terms. The company’s website lists Christie Gross as its president. She did not return a phone call seeking comment.
The indictment states that the no-bid nature of the contract was legal, however the fragment of payments to the organization to avoid regulatory scrutiny was not.
The indictment states that McGuiness later approached the group about a second, no-bid contract. She was informed that the second contract needed to go through the bidding process, the indictment states.
Around September 2020, the founder of My Campaign Group established a second company called Innovate Consulting. Later that month, Innovate successfully bid for a contract with McGuiness’ office for “subject matter expert and analyst on various topics” and was paid $77,500 through February 2021.
The indictment accuses McGuiness of setting up the first, no-bid contract as well as fragmenting the payments to My Campaign Group to circumvent state purchasing laws, a misdemeanor.
“The allegation is less about what work they did but specifically that she structured a contract to avoid scrutiny, period,” said Deputy Attorney General Mark Denney.
The indictment does not discuss why McGuiness may have sought to avoid regulatory scrutiny when paying the consulting group through the auditor’s office.
The political nature of the organization might have been a reason to do so. Jennings called the arrangement a “sweetheart deal built so as to avoid oversight” of a contract with a “campaign vendor.”
“Their very purpose as an organization was to help people run for office,” Jennings noted at her press conference.
Both the no-bid contracts as well as her daughter’s employment are the basis of a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct.
Wood, McGuiness’ attorney, said that “there was nothing unlawful about hiring a former campaign consultant to (perform) legitimate tasks related to government service.”
As employees began to express concerns within the office, McGuiness engaged in felony intimidation by spying on her employees and discriminating against those who questioned her conduct, according to the indictment.
Specifically, the indictment claims McGuiness used the state department that oversees technology to monitor several employees’ email communication in real time. She also monitored the email of a former employee who was then working for another state department, the indictment states.
The indictment claims that McGuiness did this with the intent of dissuading whistleblowers from testifying or becoming witnesses against her in any kind of legal proceeding.
Wood called the intimidation charge “pure fiction” and the result of “fanciful tales spun by former employees with an ax to grind.”
Typically, an indictment like the one handed down Monday will be followed by a court proceeding in which McGuiness will plead guilty or not guilty and a judge will set the terms of her bail pending the case navigating its path through the courts.
That path could include a plea agreement in which McGuiness can admit guilt to some of the crimes in exchange for prosecutors dropping others, or she could maintain her innocence and the Department of Justice will be tasked with convincing a jury of her guilt.
Jennings noted her office’s investigation is ongoing. Prosecutors routinely amend and add charges to indictments in complicated cases.
The elected state auditor’s work is intended to be nonpartisan. The position oversees an office of about 20 employees. They conduct audits of state organizations as required by law.
That includes audits of state agencies, school districts, and the University of Delaware’s state-funded finances. The office also does routine examinations of school construction projects and long-term care facilities.
McGuiness was elected as state auditor in 2018 with other Democrats amid the so-called “blue wave” halfway through former President Donald Trump’s term. She replaced retired Republican Tom Wagner, who had the job for three decades.
During her time as auditor, McGuiness has routinely asked lawmakers to allocate more state revenue to her office and has argued that her staff cannot perform basic duties with their budget.
Within the first six months of her tenure, she denied a request from the Department of Education to audit Odyssey Charter School unless the department paid for the investigation, citing a lack of resources.
Since then, she has pursued projects beyond her essential duties such as advocating for legal marijuana, commissioning an outside firm to audit her own office, and publishing very basic details of how the state is spending federal pandemic-era stimulus money.
On Monday, the Delaware Democratic Party chairwoman Betsy Maron called on McGuiness to either resign or be removed by the General Assembly. Wood, McGuiness’ attorney, said his client has no intention to leave office.
“Ms. McGuiness will continue to work hard on behalf of Delaware’s taxpayers and intends to focus on the job that she was elected to do,” Wood wrote
You can bet your bippie that there is tons of criminal wrongdoing here! It needs to be exposed!
Excerpts from the Article:
A massive trove of private financial records shared with The Washington Post exposes vast reaches of the secretive offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax authorities, creditors, criminal investigators and — in 14 cases involving current country leaders — citizens around the world.
The revelations include more than $100 million spent by King Abdullah II of Jordan on luxury homes in Malibu, Calif., and other locations; millions of dollars in property and cash secretly owned by the leaders of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Ecuador and other countries; and a waterfront home in Monaco acquired by a Russian woman who gained considerable wealth after she reportedly had a child with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Other disclosures hit closer to home for U.S. officials and other Western leaders who frequently condemn smaller countries whose permissive banking systems have been exploited for decades by looters of assets and launderers of dirty money.
The files provide substantial new evidence, for example, that South Dakota now rivals notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy. Tens of millions of dollars from outside the United States are now sheltered by trust companies in Sioux Falls, some of it tied to people and companies accused of human rights abuses and other wrongdoing.
The details are contained in more than 11.9 million financial records that were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and examined by The Post and other partner news organizations. The files include private emails, secret spreadsheets, clandestine contracts and other records that unlock otherwise impenetrable financial schemes and identify the individuals behind them.
A trove of secret files details the financial universe where global elite shield riches from taxes, probes and accountability. The trove, dubbed the Pandora Papers, exceeds the dimensions of the leak that was at the center of the Panama Papers investigation five years ago. That data was drawn from a single law firm, but the new material encompasses records from 14 separate financial-services entities operating in countries and territories including Switzerland, Singapore, Cyprus, Belize and the British Virgin Islands.
The files detail more than 29,000 offshore accounts, more than double the number identified in the Panama Papers. Among the account owners are more than 130 people listed as billionaires by Forbes magazine and more than 330 public officials in more than 90 countries and territories, twice the number found in the Panama documents.
The offshore financial system offers privacy, which provides an opportunity to hide assets from authorities, creditors and other claimants, as well as from public scrutiny.
Why is it called “offshore” finance?
This system is known as offshore finance because the countries that popularized this method of sheltering wealth were often in island or coastal locations, but today “offshore” signifies anywhere that is not a customer’s country of residence.
Is this legal?
Offshore providers are typically established according to the laws of the country where they are located. But some clients have used offshore services in ways that are not legal.
As a result, the Pandora Papers allow for the most comprehensive accounting to date of a parallel financial universe whose corrosive effects can span generations — draining significant sums from government treasuries, worsening wealth disparities, and shielding the riches of those who cheat and steal while impeding authorities and victims in their efforts to find or recover hidden assets.
“The offshore financial system is a problem that should concern every law-abiding person around the world,” said Sherine Ebadi, a former FBI officer who served as lead agent on dozens of financial-crimes cases.
Ebadi pointed to the role that offshore accounts and asset-shielding trusts play in drug trafficking, ransomware attacks, arms trading and other crimes. “These systems don’t just allow tax cheats to avoid paying their fair share. They undermine the fabric of a good society,” said Ebadi, now an associate managing director at Kroll, a corporate investigations and consulting firm.
THIS LETTER WAS PUBLISHED AT THE TOP OF P A 4 OF THE DELAWARE STATE NEWS OF 10/8/21
Letter to the Editor – These Numbers are Alarming! – 9/28/21
In the past week, I have read several articles about the remarkable spike in overdose deaths. If you know an addict (and the odds are that you do!), take a moment to talk to them about this problem. This is an increasing, deadly problem, and can kill someone in a flash.
What do these articles tell us? They tell us that the United States saw a record number of drug overdose deaths last year — more than 93,000, which marked an increase of almost 30 percent from 2019. They also tell us that law enforcement officials are seeing an alarming amount of heroin laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl, even in much smaller amounts, is deadlier than street heroin. Because the criminalization of drugs means that this astronomical industry is unregulated; therefore, the addict never really knows what he or she is buying, and easily acquires products tainted with fentalyl, fifty times more deadly than heroin.
The new public safety alert warns Americans that counterfeit pills, often sold on social media or e-commerce websites, increasingly contain fentanyl or sometimes methamphetamine, posing health risks beyond the dangers of buying prescription pills. One article lets us know that The DEA has seized 9.6 million counterfeit pills already this budget year, which is more than it seized in the previous two years combined, officials said. The number of seized counterfeit pills found to contain fentanyl has jumped 430 percent since 2019.
Moreover, the drug dealer isn’t just standing on a street corner anymore, it’s sitting in a pocket on your phone. Many of the counterfeit pills that alarm the authorities are being sold on sites such as Snapchat and TikTok.
Folks, warn your kids and any addicts you may know, before it is too late!
Ken Abraham, former Deputy Attorney General, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
The idiot should be charged with attempted obstruction of justice and contempt of Congress!
Excerpts from the Article:
An attorney for former president Donald Trump, in a letter reviewed by The Washington Post, instructed former advisers, including Mark Meadows, Kash Patel, Dan Scavino and Stephen K. Bannon, not to comply with congressional investigators who have requested information about their activities related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The group of former White House aides were subpoenaed last month by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, seeking records and testimony by midnight Thursday. The bipartisan panel is investigating the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob trying to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral college win, an attack that resulted in five deaths and left some 140 members of law enforcement injured.
Trump’s legal team argued in the letter, which was first reported by Politico, that records and testimony related to Jan. 6 are protected “from disclosure by the executive and other privileges, including among others the presidential communications, deliberative process, and attorney-client privileges.”
It remains to be seen whether Scavino, Bannon and Meadows, who did not respond to requests for comment, ultimately cooperate with the committee.
In a statement provided to The Post, Patel suggested that he will not cooperate with the committee, referencing his website — “Paid for by Kash Patel Legal Offense Trust” — where he’s raising $250,000 “to fund a top-notch legal team.”
“I will continue to tell the American people the truth about January 6, and I am putting our country and freedoms first through my Fight with Kash initiative,” Patel said in the statement.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House select committee, threatened possible contempt charges for Trump’s former advisers if they do not comply with their subpoenas, saying it ultimately would be up to Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee.
“I believe this is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us, and that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations and the use of Congress’s own inherent contempt powers,” Raskin said Thursday.
Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich claimed in a statement that the “outrageously broad records request … lacks both legal precedent and legislative merit.”
“Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation,” Budowich added.
The letter was a continuation of Trump’s efforts to use “executive privilege” to resist any cooperation with the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, banking on a legal theory that has successfully allowed presidents and their aides to avoid or delay congressional scrutiny for decades.
As a former president, Trump would need the Biden administration to assert executive privilege. President Biden, however, has indicated he will probably share with Congress information about Trump’s activities on Jan. 6 if asked.
For nearly a year, Trump has baselessly claimed that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, and the former president has continued to push Republican-led audits of election results and sow doubt in the integrity of elections in the country.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday issued a report detailing some of Trump’s and his allies’ earliest efforts to pressure the Justice Department to overturn the 2020 election results. Among the report’s many findings was confirmation that Meadows asked then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen multiple times to initiate election fraud investigations, and that Meadows asked Rosen to meet with Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani.
“Meadows asked Rosen to have DOJ investigate at least four categories of false election fraud claims that Trump and his allies were pushing,” the report stated, noting that the conversations violated “longstanding restrictions on White House-DOJ communications about specific law enforcement matters.”
“We were a half-step away from a constitutional crisis the likes of which this nation has never seen,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
Also on Thursday, the House select committee issued another round of subpoenas for organizers of the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The committee is now seeking information from right-wing provocateur Ali Alexander, the leader of Stop the Steal, and Nathan Martin, who worked with Alexander and is listed as the representative for “One Nation Under God” on a permit application to rally on Capitol grounds.
Weeks before the Jan. 6 insurrection, Alexander said in a since-deleted video on Periscope that he had planned to put “maximum pressure on Congress” during the vote to certify the electoral college votes, claiming he had help from three GOP lawmakers, Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.).
In a statement posted to Telegram on Thursday, Alexander accused the House select committee of having “weaponized” the accusations against him.
Facebook reportedly had evidence that its algorithms were dividing people, but top executives killed or weakened proposed solutions
Once again, I say that FB needs more government regulation!
Excerpts from the Article:
Facebook had evidence that its algorithms encourage polarization and “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” but top executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg killed or weakened proposed solutions, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The effort to better understand Facebook’s effect on users’ behavior was a response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and its internal researchers determined that, contrary to the company’s mission of connecting the world, its products were having the opposite effect, according to the newspaper.
One 2016 report found that “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools,” with most people joining at the suggestion of Facebook’s “Groups You Should Join” and “Discover” algorithms. “Our recommendation systems grow the problem,” the researchers said, according to The Journal.
The Journal reported that Facebook teams pitched multiple fixes, including limiting the spread of information from groups’ most hyperactive and hyperpartisan users, suggesting a wider variety of groups than users might normally encounter, and creating subgroups for heated debates to prevent them from derailing entire groups.
But these proposals were often dismissed or significantly diluted by Zuckerberg and Facebook’s policy chief, Joel Kaplan, according to the newspaper, which reported that Zuckerberg eventually lost interest in trying to address the polarization problem and was concerned about the potential to limit user growth.
In response to the pitch about limiting the spread of hyperactive users’ posts, Zuckerberg agreed to a diluted version and asked the team to not bring something like that to him again, The Journal said.
The company’s researchers also determined that because of a larger presence of far-right accounts and pages publishing content on Facebook, any changes — including apolitical tweaks, like reducing clickbait — would have disproportionately affected conservatives.
That worried Kaplan, who previously halted a project called “Common Ground” that aimed to encourage healthier political discourse on the platform.
Ultimately, many of the efforts weren’t incorporated into Facebook’s products, with managers telling employees in September 2018 that the company was pivoting “away from societal good to individual value,” according to The Journal.
“We’ve learned a lot since 2016 and are not the same company today,” a Facebook spokeswoman told Business Insider. “We’ve built a robust integrity team, strengthened our policies and practices to limit harmful content, and used research to understand our platform’s impact on society so we continue to improve.”
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, also responded to the The Wall Street Journal’s reporting in a blog post Wednesday. Rosen said that Facebook has taken a number of steps to fight polarization, such as prioritizing content from family and friends in users’ newsfeeds, not recommending groups that violate its terms, prohibiting hate speech and content that could cause real-world harm, and partnering with fact check groups.
Facebook has repeatedly been scrutinized by critics who say the company hasn’t done enough to limit the spread of harmful content on its platform. That topic has come into sharper focus as coronavirus-related misinformation has run rampant on social media and as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
The Whole Story
FBI raids NYPD sergeants’ union office and home of controversial leader Ed Mullins regarding ‘ongoing investigation’
The only thing worse than bad cops is bad prosecutors!
Excerpts from the Article:
Authorities descended on the lower Manhattan offices of the country’s fifth-largest police union, whose membership consists of about 13,000 active and retired police sergeants, on Tuesday morning, FBI spokesman Martin Feely confirmed. Eight agents were seen leaving the Worth Street building, two carrying open boxes whose contents included documents, a jacket and a backpack, according to the New York Post. The public corruption unit of the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan was also involved in the probe, according to sources who spoke to the New York Times.
The agency confirmed it was “carrying out a law enforcement action in connection with an ongoing investigation” into the SBA. The probe is related to accusations of mail and wire fraud, according to the Post, which also revealed that the FBI raided union chief Ed Mullins’ home in Port Washington, Long Island around 6am Tuesday morning. They reportedly took away computer gear.
Mullins, who collects salaries as both union head and NYPD sergeant, faced trial last month on three departmental charges. He was accused of one count of abuse of authority for posting the arrest report of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter Chiara on social media after she was picked up during the George Floyd riots last summer. There were also two counts of offensive language related to verbal attacks on the city health commissioner Oxiris Barbot (whom he termed a “b**ch” for not providing his officers with sufficient PPE) and Representative Richie Torres (dubbed a “first class whore” for supposedly “passing laws to defund police”).
However, his trial was cut short when one of his lawyers suffered a medical emergency. Mullins’ defense had pointed out de Blasio’s arrest record was already posted in unredacted form by a Daily Mail reporter, arguing he was instead doing his union duties by lobbying for a more forceful police response to the riots and that his tweet was protected speech under the First Amendment. It’s not known when the trial will resume, or if the FBI investigation is at all related to the charges.
The union boss is somewhat notorious for his foul-mouthed Twitter tirades, which he conducts via the official SBA account. He regularly tears into politicians and celebrities who speak ill of the police or whom he perceives as defending “criminals,” including by reminding them of their civil rights. Mullins is also a vocal enemy of Mayor de Blasio, whom he has “declared war” on via social media repeatedly for not being pro-police enough.
The mayor refrained from expressing public schadenfreude over Mullins’ misfortune, acknowledging that while the sergeant had been “a divisive voice” when “we’re trying to unify and we’re trying to get people through together,” he didn’t “know what was happening” in the current situation and wanted to “hear the details” before making any public statement about the case.
The Whole Story:
It is in the news a lot, with right wing racists citing it regularly, so you should know what it is!
Excerpts from the Article:
Is “critical race theory” a way of understanding how American racism has shaped public policy, or a divisive discourse that pits people of color against white people? Liberals and conservatives are in sharp disagreement.
The topic has exploded in the public arena this spring—especially in K-12, where numerous state legislatures are debating bills seeking to ban its use in the classroom.
In truth, the divides are not nearly as neat as they may seem. The events of the last decade have increased public awareness about things like housing segregation, the impacts of criminal justice policy in the 1990s, and the legacy of enslavement on Black Americans. But there is much less consensus on what the government’s role should be in righting these past wrongs. Add children and schooling into the mix and the debate becomes especially volatile.
School boards, superintendents, even principals and teachers are already facing questions about critical race theory, and there are significant disagreements even among experts about its precise definition as well as how its tenets should inform K-12 policy and practice. This explainer is meant only as a starting point to help educators grasp core aspects of the current debate.
Just what is critical race theory anyway?
Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.
The basic tenets of critical race theory, or CRT, emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others.
A good example is when, in the 1930s, government officials literally drew lines around areas deemed poor financial risks, often explicitly due to the racial composition of inhabitants. Banks subsequently refused to offer mortgages to Black people in those areas.
Today, those same patterns of discrimination live on through facially race-blind policies, like single-family zoning that prevents the building of affordable housing in advantaged, majority-white neighborhoods and, thus, stymies racial desegregation efforts.
CRT also has ties to other intellectual currents, including the work of sociologists and literary theorists who studied links between political power, social organization, and language. And its ideas have since informed other fields, like the humanities, the social sciences, and teacher education.
This academic understanding of critical race theory differs from representation in recent popular books and, especially, from its portrayal by critics—often, though not exclusively, conservative Republicans. Critics charge that the theory leads to negative dynamics, such as a focus on group identity over universal, shared traits; divides people into “oppressed” and “oppressor” groups; and urges intolerance.
Thus, there is a good deal of confusion over what CRT means, as well as its relationship to other terms, like “anti-racism” and “social justice,” with which it is often conflated.
To an extent, the term “critical race theory” is now cited as the basis of all diversity and inclusion efforts regardless of how much it’s actually informed those programs.
One conservative organization, the Heritage Foundation, recently attributed a whole host of issues to CRT, including the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, LGBTQ clubs in schools, diversity training in federal agencies and organizations, California’s recent ethnic studies model curriculum, the free-speech debate on college campuses, and alternatives to exclusionary discipline—such as the Promise program in Broward County, Fla., that some parents blame for the Parkland school shootings. “When followed to its logical conclusion, CRT is destructive and rejects the fundamental ideas on which our constitutional republic is based,” the organization claimed.
(A good parallel here is how popular ideas of the common core learning standards grew to encompass far more than what those standards said on paper.)
Does critical race theory say all white people are racist? Isn’t that racist, too?
The theory says that racism is part of everyday life, so people—white or nonwhite—who don’t intend to be racist can nevertheless make choices that fuel racism.
Some critics claim that the theory advocates discriminating against white people in order to achieve equity. They mainly aim those accusations at theorists who advocate for policies that explicitly take race into account. (The writer Ibram X. Kendi, whose recent popular book How to Be An Antiracist suggests that discrimination that creates equity can be considered anti-racist, is often cited in this context.)
Fundamentally, though, the disagreement springs from different conceptions of racism. CRT puts an emphasis on outcomes, not merely on individuals’ own beliefs, and it calls on these outcomes to be examined and rectified. Among lawyers, teachers, policymakers, and the general public, there are many disagreements about how precisely to do those things, and to what extent race should be explicitly appealed to or referred to in the process.
Here’s a helpful illustration to keep in mind in understanding this complex idea. In a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court school-assignment case on whether race could be a factor in maintaining diversity in K-12 schools, Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion famously concluded: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” But during oral arguments, then-justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said: “It’s very hard for me to see how you can have a racial objective but a nonracial means to get there.”
All these different ideas grow out of longstanding, tenacious intellectual debates. Critical race theory emerged out of postmodernist thought, which tends to be skeptical of the idea of universal values, objective knowledge, individual merit, Enlightenment rationalism, and liberalism—tenets that conservatives tend to hold dear.
What does any of this have to do with K-12 education?
Scholars who study critical race theory in education look at how policies and practices in K-12 education contribute to persistent racial inequalities in education, and advocate for ways to change them. Among the topics they’ve studied: racially segregated schools, the underfunding of majority-Black and Latino school districts, disproportionate disciplining of Black students, barriers to gifted programs and selective-admission high schools, and curricula that reinforce racist ideas.
Critical race theory is not a synonym for culturally relevant teaching, which emerged in the 1990s. This teaching approach seeks to affirm students’ ethnic and racial backgrounds and is intellectually rigorous. But it’s related in that one of its aims is to help students identify and critique the causes of social inequality in their own lives.
Many educators support, to one degree or another, culturally relevant teaching and other strategies to make schools feel safe and supportive for Black students and other underserved populations. (Students of color make up the majority of school-aged children.) But they don’t necessarily identify these activities as CRT-related.
As one teacher-educator put it: “The way we usually see any of this in a classroom is: ‘Have I thought about how my Black kids feel? And made a space for them, so that they can be successful?’ That is the level I think it stays at, for most teachers.” Like others interviewed for this explainer, the teacher-educator did not want to be named out of fear of online harassment.
An emerging subtext among some critics is that curricular excellence can’t coexist alongside culturally responsive teaching or anti-racist work. Their argument goes that efforts to change grading practices or make the curriculum less Eurocentric will ultimately harm Black students, or hold them to a less high standard.
As with CRT in general, its popular representation in schools has been far less nuanced. A recent poll by the advocacy group Parents Defending Education claimed some schools were teaching that “white people are inherently privileged, while Black and other people of color are inherently oppressed and victimized”; that “achieving racial justice and equality between racial groups requires discriminating against people based on their whiteness”; and that “the United States was founded on racism.”
Thus much of the current debate appears to spring not from the academic texts, but from fear among critics that students—especially white students—will be exposed to supposedly damaging or self-demoralizing ideas.
While some district officials have issued mission statements, resolutions, or spoken about changes in their policies using some of the discourse of CRT, it’s not clear to what degree educators are explicitly teaching the concepts, or even using curriculum materials or other methods that implicitly draw on them. For one thing, scholars say, much scholarship on CRT is written in academic language or published in journals not easily accessible to K-12 teachers.
Veteran pathologist’s victims’ lawsuits headed for trial, attorney says – One Dangerous Doctor – kra
Wow, doctor drunk at work can only lead to disaster!
Excerpts from the Article:
The U.S. Justice Department is arguing in court documents that the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks wasn’t negligent for employing a pathologist who worked while intoxicated. The same Justice Department successfully prosecuted the pathologist for involuntary manslaughter last year.
The department is responding to lawsuits filed against the health care system and U.S. government that are related to the missed diagnoses by Robert Morris Levy, court records show. Levy served as chief pathologist at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville until he was suspended after a March 1, 2018, arrest in Fayetteville for driving under the influence. He was later fired before being indicted after a U.S. Veterans Department investigation concluded Levy had worked while intoxicated for years.
Levy pleaded guilty in June of last year to one count of manslaughter for missed diagnoses. He was sentenced in January to 20 years in federal prison.
The Justice Department has responded since August to four of the eight pending lawsuits brought by survivors of five veterans who died and three surviving veterans. Each filed suit after Levy missed the diagnosis in his case.
Deadlines for government responses in four remaining cases are pending, court records show. The Justice Department, which routinely does not comment on pending litigation, declined comment Monday. A ninth case was settled out of court in April, records show.
Levy’s DUI arrest triggered a yearlong review of 33,902 pathology results by him, which found 30 missed diagnoses posing serious health risks to patients from 2005 to 2017.
The review by outside pathologists discovered 3,029 errors, but concluded few of those mistakes carried lasting, serious consequences. Those 3,029 errors out of 33,902 cases made for an error rate of 8.9% compared to a pathology practice average of 0.7%, the review found.
Evidence and witness testimony the Justice Department gathered or used against Levy is cited extensively in each of the wrongful death lawsuits. The evidence includes a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General’s report that said investigators found a culture at the health care center in which staff did not report serious concerns about Levy, in part because of a perception that others had reported or they were concerned about reprisal.
“Any one of these breakdowns could cause harmful results,” the report reads. “Occurring together and over an extended period of time, the consequences were devastating, tragic and deadly.”
Levy was in charge of the quality management program of his own department, the inspector general found. This situation went on for 12 years, the report noted.
A sentencing conference in federal court anticipates a mid-October 2022 trial start for the case of the estate of Donald R. McGuire vs. the United States, said Alan L. Lane of Fayetteville. Lane is attorney for McGuire’s estate along with seven other plaintiffs in related cases. This suit and others related to Levy seek unspecified monetary damages. Trial dates for other cases have not been discussed, Lane said.
McGuire was a Bella Vista resident whose primary care doctor ordered a biopsy of McGuire’s prostate in January 2009, according to his estate’s lawsuit.
Levy reviewed McGuire’s pathology materials and found the biopsy negative for prostate cancer, the lawsuit says. Levy then falsified McGuire’s medical records by stating a second pathologist at the Fayetteville hospital had concurred with him, according to the suit.
McGuire went without treatment for cancer for five years and seven months because of the missed diagnosis, according to the lawsuit. He died April 28, 2016, age 84.
The estate of John Ray Gibbs of Gravette filed suit in June. Levy pleaded guilty to manslaughter for causing Gibbs’ 2014 death. “On or about November 2013, Mr. Gibbs’ primary care physician became concerned when Mr. Gibbs presented with a knot on the right side of his neck,” the lawsuit in that case says. The doctor ordered a biopsy.
Levy reviewed Mr. Gibbs’ pathology materials and entered an incorrect diagnosis in February 2014, the lawsuit says. He later changed his diagnosis and falsely claimed to have notified a member of Gibbs’ surgical team of the change, but did not document notifying the hospital’s chief of staff as required by the policy, the lawsuit says.
Dr. Mark Worley, the hospital’s chief of staff,, met with Levy about reports his breath smelled of alcohol while at work, the lawsuit says, citing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs investigation conducted after Levy’s arrest. “Dr. Levy claimed that the smell was from a juice mixture he drank to lose weight, and the explanation was accepted by Dr. Worley who took no further investigative actions.”
“Mr. Gibbs did not have either of the two cancers with which Dr. Levy erroneously diagnosed him,” the lawsuit says. Doctors ordered aggressive chemotherapy treatments based on Levy’s last conclusion. Gibbs, 61, died at the Fayetteville hospital July 26, 2014.
Jerry R. Kolpek, 83, of Bella Vista also had his prostate cancer diagnosis missed, according to his estate’s lawsuit.
Levy reviewed the pathology materials and incorrectly found the prostatic tissues to be benign, the lawsuit states.
“As a result, there was a six-year and four-month period of delay between when Mr. Kolpek’s cancer had been present and diagnoseable and when he was made clinically aware that the biopsy examined by Dr. Levy on January 30, 2012, was positive for cancer,” the lawsuit says.
Kolpek died of prostate cancer on Dec. 31, 2020.
Family members of deceased Army veteran Boyd Gipson of Greenwood have also sued. Gipson was treated for a form of cancer he didn’t have after Levy’s incorrect diagnosis, according to the review of Levy’s work. Gipson died Dec. 15, 2017.
The estate of David Phillips of Huntsville also filed suit. Phillips was also a U.S. Army veteran. A September 2013 scan showed signs of lymphatic cancer, according to that lawsuit. Phillips never received cancer treatment after Levy pronounced the biopsy of the tumor was benign, the suit says. Phillips died Dec. 5, 2014.
The lawsuit brought by the estate of John D. Quick of Greenwood was settled in April for an undisclosed amount, court records show. Quick went to the veterans hospital Sept. 22, 2014, the suit says. He died Sept. 13, 2015, after Levy both missed Quick’s diagnosis — he named the wrong disease — and falsely put in Quick’s medical records that another pathologist agreed with his finding, according to the suit.
Three survivors of a missed diagnosis by Levy also filed lawsuits. Robert Long of Johnson County had part of his esophagus removed in 2018 because of a missed cancer diagnosis from 2013, his lawsuit says.
Army veteran George Parker of Sebastian County filed a medical malpractice suit over a missed diagnosis that delayed proper treatment for his prostate cancer for more than nine years, according to one of the suits.
Parker’s biopsy for the cancer was declared negative by Levy on March 24, 2009, the suit says. The error was discovered by a review of Levy’s cases in 2018. Parker received a correct diagnosis in September of that year. His subsequent surgery left him hospitalized for nine days.
Wayne Goins of Mount Vernon, Mo., also filed suit. The Army veteran’s suit says Levy diagnosed the wrong kind of lung cancer in June of 2017 even though another pathologist at the time disputed the finding and diagnosed the cancer correctly. Goins received treatment for the wrong cancer for nine months, his lawsuit says.
“Mr. Goins was first made aware of the change in diagnosis when the U.S. Attorney’s Office contacted him concerning Dr. Levy’s sentencing hearing,” his lawsuit says.
The list is too long to post here, but READ IT and see that 37 of them involve the laws or regulations.