Underfunded Legal Aid in MA Leaves 2/3 of Those in Need Unrepresented

According to a new report issued by the Boston Bar Association’s Statewide Task Force to Expand Civil Legal Aid in Massachusetts, 64 percent of the low income people in Massachusetts who applied for and were qualified for civil legal assistance were turned away over the past year because the funding was not there to support the representation. In total, an estimated 30,000 were denied legal services in cases having to do with such things as child custody, foreclosures, and employment violations. Martha Minow is the dean of the Harvard Law School and one of the 32 members of the task force that produced the 37-page report. “When you have people who are literally not represented in actions where they can lose their homes or face physical violence, where they can’t get legal remedies to which they’re entitled, there’s a failure to live up to the rule of law,” said Minow.

Why Ebola Is Scarier Than It Should Be

An op-ed by Cass R. Sunstein. In 2012, more than 33,000 Americans died on the highways. In some recent years, the flu has killed tens of thousands. Alcohol is associated with some 70,000 deaths annually, weight problems with more than 300,000, and smoking with over 400,000. Even a single one of these preventable deaths is a tragedy. But the risks they pose do not greatly trouble most people in their daily lives. What’s worrying many people much more these days is the far lower risk, at least in the U.S. and Europe, of contracting Ebola. What, then, can public officials do to stem the public anxiety? The problem is that Ebola fear presents a delicate challenge — one that official assurances might just make worse, at least if they breed distrust.

Edward Snowden Interviewed by Lawrence Lessig

At Harvard Law School’s Ames Courtroom on Monday, October 20, Furman professor of law and leadership Lawrence Lessig interviewed Edward Snowden in Russia via video conference. Using a question-and-answer format, the professor raised issues of institutional corruption and the role of whistle-blowers with the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who revealed last year that the agency routinely conducts mass surveillance of American citizens. Snowden now lives in Russia as he seeks asylum in the European Union.

Edward Snowden (via satellite) talks at Harvard Law: Boston Marathon bombing was a failure of mass surveillance

Monday afternoon inside the Ames Courtroom at Harvard Law School, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig interviewed the American intelligence contractor and NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden via satellite, or, more specifically, via Google Hangout. Snowden, called a traitor by a number of senior government officials, leaked secret NSA documents about its global surveillance program to journalists from the U.S. version of British media outlet The Guardian and The Washington Post. He is in Russia evading charges of theft of government property and for violating the Espionage Act. The discussion, dubbed “Institutional corruption and the NSA,” covered many topics related to politics and policy, privacy, and the public’s right to knowledge deemed secret by government agencies.

Karvonides Assures Neutrality After Law School Op-Ed

Reacting to an op-ed signed by more than a quarter of the Harvard Law School faculty that condemned the University’s new sexual assault policy, University Title IX Officer Mia Karvonides on Monday defended the role she and her office play in the investigatory process…”There were just a huge number of people on the faculty who were concerned about the nature of the Harvard University policy,” Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet said…“My sense honestly is that the faculty by and large is proud that we are standing up on principle and perfectly clear that what is being demanded for us is poor and actually wrong,” Charles R. Nesson ’60, law school professor and one of the op-ed’s signatories, said.

Beyond Brittany: Assisted Suicides Happen in Every State, Insiders Say

Far from the global glare on Brittany Maynard, physicians across America are risking prison by covertly helping terminally ill people end their lives via lethal overdoses, asserts a leading “death-with-dignity” advocate…Indeed, one of the three choices for terminally ill Americans seeking a physician’s aid to end their lives is to “get illegal assistance in your home states,” said I. Glenn Cohen, director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. The other two options, according to Cohen: Move to a state like Oregon where the practice is legal, or travel to Switzerland, where assisted-suicide is legal and where no residency is required.

Disrupting city hall

Rarely is the term “city hall” considered synonymous with the words “innovation” or “efficiency.” Too often, the public image of municipal government is of a static bureaucracy staffed with disinterested clock-watchers focused on petty tasks and arcane processes. But two Harvard authorities on government and technology say it doesn’t have to be that way. In their new book, “The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance,” Stephen Goldsmith, the Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), and Susan Crawford, the John A. Reilly Visiting Professor in Intellectual Property at Harvard Law School (HLS), offer a road map for managers who want to move beyond the traditional silos of urban government.

Thomas Menino, finally has time to read

Former mayor Thomas Menino hasn’t wasted much time since he left office in January…What kind of books do you like?…I also like to read books about cities. There’s a new book I picked up,“The Responsive City” by Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford about art and technology and cities. I’m proud to say the first chapter is about Boston.

Margaret Marshall Confirmed 1st Female Chief Justice Of Mass SJC, 15 Years Ago

Long before there was a United States Supreme Court, before there was even a United States of America, the court today known as the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upheld the law of the land here in the Bay State. Fifteen years ago, for the first time in the court’s 300-plus year history, a woman was elevated to serve as chief justice. Perhaps the word that best describes Margaret Marshall’s rise to chief justice of the oldest continuously functioning appellate court in the Western Hemisphere is “improbable.” Marshall was born and raised in small town in Apartheid-era South Africa.

Man Walks Free After Brooklyn Conviction Vacated

Nearly 30 years after David McCallum was convicted of murder at age 17 on the strength of a confession he said was beaten out of him—and no other evidence tied him to the crime—he walked out of a Brooklyn courthouse Wednesday as a free man…In July, Michelen made his presentation to Hale and Harvard Law Professor Ronald Sullivan Jr., who is serving as special counsel in charge of the Conviction Review Unit…During the news conference, Sullivan said studies of cases resulting in DNA exonerations over the past 10 to 15 years showed a “supermajority” of the convictions were based on incorrect eyewitness evidence or confessions.”We learned false confessions leave a very distinct footprint. You can look at certain confessions and see signs, proxies that problems may occur. One sure footprint is a false-fed fact.”