Justice 'Deferred'

In a recent front-page article in The New York Times, reporters Gretchen Morgensen and Louise Story argue that “Deferred Prosecution Agreements” represent a softer approach to corporate crime. What the Times misses, however, is the extent to which these arrangements, and their proclivity for punishing the innocent, sow terror within the rank and file of corporate employees and officers. The Deferred Agreements, I write in my latest Forbes.com column, represent a creative way for the federal government to extract a large fine from the company, manufacture convictions of individual officers and employees, enhance the reputations and conviction rates of federal prosecutors before they head to Wall Street law firms for high-paying partnerships--all while dispensing with the inconvenience of indictment or trial.
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WSJ: Yes Means Yes—Except on Campus

As those who read my first book, The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses, already know, despite their reputation as places of free inquiry, personal liberty, and supportive community, college campuses have become increasingly repressive and bureaucratic institutions. Nowhere has this trend been more evident of late than in the realm of sexual assault and harassment, where unprecedented government intervention into the personal lives of students has produced alarming and irrational results.

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2011 Muzzle Awards: Another year of crushing free spirits at our colleges and universities

Every year, around July 4th, Dan Kennedy and I collaborate on the Boston Phoenix’s annual “Muzzle Awards,” recognizing those people and organizations that have done the most in the prior 12 months to further the cause of censorship. Kennedy selects the “winners” of the award out in the world at large, and I focus on academic institutions and people who are responsible for censorship in the world of higher education (notwithstanding, of course, that old quaint notion of “academic freedom”).

This year, Wesleyan University and Yale College have each earned a Muzzle (Yale is on the list for the second year in a row), while repression at Widener School of Law has earned the Wilmington, Delaware institution a dubious Double Muzzle. And UMass-Amherst, for proposing a Draconian change to its student code, gets a Muzzle warning. What were the other infractions on student liberty? Find out, here.

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The Revolving Door at the Department of Justice

What happens when a federal prosecutor turns around and begins to defend the very company he disparaged as evil? And what is the impact, more generally, of the current revolving door syndrome by which so many former federal prosecutors become “white collar defense lawyers” immediately after leaving the Department of Justice
? I explore this phenomenon on Forbes.com.
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Avatar: "Four letter words in Chaucer's day"

In  1970 the so-called “counter-cultural” movement was at its height, and the law firm of Flym, Zalkind & Silverglate was in the eye of the storm. During the prior year, city and court officials in both Boston (Suffolk County) and Cambridge (Middlesex County) took aim at the Avatar, a new, upstart “alternative” newspaper that had thundered onto the local scene. The Avatarwas published by the fledgling Fort Hill Community, a family of folks living together in several buildings located at the top of the Fort Hill section of Boston, the second highest point in the city. At the time the group was led by Mel Lyman, a charismatic and talented harmonica player who had previously played in the famous Jim Kweskin’s Jug Band.

Avatar was a spirited, audacious, and in-your-face newspaper. It belonged squarely in the avant-garde tradition, and was not terribly respectful of established authority. During the course of several issues, it carried news and opinion columns criticizing the powers-that-be, including the Boston and Cambridge municipal councils and police departments, and even some of the district court judges who, in those days, operated like lords of the manor, unquestioned dictators in their own local fiefdoms, in courts where there were neither stenographers nor tape recorders. None of those in power appreciated the jabs directed at them by the writers of the Avatar.

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