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June 14, 2017

A Call for Papers: "Is It Time for Truth & Reconciliation in Post-Ferguson America?"

I am always happy, indeed eager, for this blog to be a forum for making calls for papers and/or for promoting events of interest to criminal justice academics and advocates.  To that end, I am happy to be able to post this item as requested recently via email:

Call for Papers: "Is It Time for Truth & Reconciliation in Post-Ferguson America?"

Sponsored by Michigan State University College of Law

Ever since Europeans first settled the continent over four hundred years ago, racial injustice has existed in North America. Human bondage was formally recognized in the United States for nearly a century following the Nation's birth in 1776.  While the Thirteenth Amendment officially abolished slavery in 1865 and the Fourteenth Amendment mandated equal protection in 1868, nearly another century passed before "separate but equal" was repudiated and some progress was made.  Today we still see persistent racial inequities throughout American society.   The criminal justice/prison complex disproportionately targets, captures and incarcerates persons of color; and police shootings of unarmed black victims — such as of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in Aug. 2014 — are grimly commonplace. It is difficult to deny, in light of this history, that America has a major problem of race.

What can be done?  Truth and Reconciliation is a process that has been used effectively in other nations and cultures (e.g., South Africa; native nations) following times of deep racial discord/violence.  The idea is that true healing can begin only when past atrocities and injustices are first acknowledged and addressed.

The Symposium Committee, in conjunction with the University's administration, seeks to convene leading activists, scholars, policymakers, and thought-makers for 1-2 days of discussions and conversations on the topic of the Nation's responsibility to account for the history of racial injustice in America.  Selected submissions will be presented at the Law Review Symposium in March 2018, and published in a special symposium issue of Michigan State Law Review.

To be considered, please send an abstract (300 – 500 words) outlining your proposed paper to Professor Catherine Grosso at grosso @ law.msu.edu and Marie Gordon at mgordon @ law.msu.edu by August 15, 2017.  Don’t hesitate to contact us if more information would be helpful.

Faculty Co-Sponsors: Tiffani Darden; Matthew Fletcher (Director of Indigenous Law & Policy Center); Kate Fort (Director of Indian Law Clinic); Brian Gilmore (Director of the Housing Clinic); Catherine Grosso; Michael Lawrence (Foster Swift Professor of Constitutional Law); Barbara O'Brien (Editor, National Registry of Exonerations); Wenona Singel (Assoc. Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center)

June 14, 2017 at 05:20 PM | Permalink


Mr. Brown WAS armed , with a dangerous mind which believed that it was o.k. to act as he pleased , refuse to obey a lawful order of an LEO ; AND o.k. to disarm said officer .

Society should consider donating to a fund to enhance the thinking of youngsters so that they realize it is dangerous to cause an LEO to believe her/his life/limb is in harms way.

IMLO , Mr. Brown is a poor choice as a poster for black males who unwisely choose a course of illegal violent conduct ❗️❗️

Respectfully , DJB/Kind Soul®
Nemo Me 💀 Impune Lacessit

Posted by: My friend , Docile (now in OR) | Jun 14, 2017 6:14:13 PM

South Africa would do well to petition, to beg to become a colony of Great Britain again.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 14, 2017 8:51:45 PM

There are no jurisdictions managed by black people that are successful, anywhere in the world, for the past 500 years. South Africa is very close to being a failed state. Zimbabwe is already a failed state.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 14, 2017 9:58:20 PM

Thank Harvard Law asshole, Rod Rosenstein. He Fergusoned the Baltimore police.


Posted by: David Behar | Jun 15, 2017 12:27:01 AM

Before whites take an Obama style apology tour, we need blacks' apologies, for their bastardy rate, their under-performance, their five fold rate of violent criminality, their taking a $trillion in taxes, and returning nothing of value.

What an awful hate group, but typical lawyers. Blame America First. Hate America Most. You apologize, you dirty traitors to our country.

Our war with the indigenous people lasted from 1682 to 1920. It provides good perspective for the war on terror. War will last until the enemy is defeated, however, long that takes. These were Stone Ages savages that skinned captives alive. They killed all the civilians they could, save for the blonde little girls. Those they used as sex slaves. You would understand if you saw what their ladies looked like. Instead of totally eradicating these people, they were offered reservations and sovereignty, an unprecedented generosity shown to any defeated enemy in human history. Now, their lawyers are complaining.

This filthy Hate America propaganda event should be boycotted.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 15, 2017 12:40:03 AM

One wonders if Prof. Berman would support sending the comment above as an abstract for a presentation. Would they allow any truthful dissent from their sick orthodoxy? I may demand DNA testing of any pseudo-black, pseudo-Native American presenter. In my cover letter, I will identify as black, and as Native American. I have no biological relationship to those ethnic group. I just identify with them, and demand special consideration. If my abstract is rejected, I will file a discrimination complaint.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 15, 2017 8:29:50 AM

I support civil discourse, David, but not vitriol. You harmfully package a lot of your ideas in vitriol, as do too many others these days, which in turn produces more vitriol. Sad.

Posted by: Doug B | Jun 15, 2017 9:05:04 AM


According to your MySpace link you have a medical degree and an EJD, the latter from Concord Law School. Why not put your arguments in writing in the form of a formal essay and submit them to the symposium? The contact information is all included. If you want to be part of the dialogue outside the context of blog comments, this is your opportunity.

Posted by: Sean | Jun 15, 2017 9:18:23 AM

Yes, it's great to turn to the wonderful example of South Africa, that has fallen into the status of a third world country with the highest murder and rape rates in the world. But the important thing is they got "truth and reconciliation" from the boers and anglos, which are now targets of systematic genocide.

Posted by: Bobby | Jun 15, 2017 10:22:11 AM

Links to support "highest murder and rape rates" claim?

Posted by: Mark M. | Jun 15, 2017 1:00:20 PM

It's the worst rate in Africa (33 per 1000) and the very worst in the world in rape. But again like selma, we love to talk about the symbolism and abstract meaning but never about the real place.


Posted by: Bobby | Jun 15, 2017 1:57:47 PM

Sean. I am taking your challenge. I will try to compose a more lawyerly submission, and test their courage to allow dissent.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 15, 2017 5:21:24 PM

Prof. Berman. Because I identify as black and as Native American, please, choose your words more carefully. (I have no genetic or historical relation to either ethnicity, except in the plains of Africa, from 100,000 years ago. I just choose to identify myself with them.} Please, be less biased against my marginalized and oppressed identities. Such micro-aggressions, endured since 1676, as the announcement states, fully justify my hostile and vitriolic affect.

I am also claiming the word, vitriol, for my ethnic identities. Any use of that word by well to do white professionals should be seen as wrongful cultural appropriation. What justifies this claim? I just say so.

[Prof. B. Are you smiling? I was just kidding. I am not going to file a formal complaint with the Civil Rights Office of the Department of Education, requesting a full investigation into your comment, violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,and into your law school, that failed to train you in cultural sensitivity, and to supervise you adequately.]

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 15, 2017 5:42:05 PM

Thank Rod Rosenstein, 6 more murdered today, in Fergusoned Baltimore.


Posted by: David Behar | Jun 15, 2017 7:14:03 PM

I always enjoy satire, David. Meanwhile, are you allowed to complain about Rosenstein and other lawyers at Crime & Consequences? I asked Bill there whether Rosenstein should be blamed from Baltimore's high murder rate, but he largely dodged the question.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 15, 2017 9:12:50 PM

I can't see how the contributors of Crime & Consequences could accept the claim that Rosenstein (or anyone for that matter) could be blamed for the increase in crime in Baltimore (or anywhere for that matter) given their central philosophy. This philosophy is written in there About section and states: "Why "Crime and Consequences"? The name reflects the underlying philosophy about crime. People have free will. People make choices. Those choices have consequences. When people choose to commit crimes, there are consequences for the victims, for the perpetrators, and for society. When society chooses how to punish crime, those choices also have consequences. Exploring these choices and their consequences is what this blog is about."

These central premise seems to put the two contributors in the awkward situation of attributing behavior solely to the free will of the agent, and ignoring the possibility that this behavior was at all influenced by sociological, psychological, or biological factors. It all boils down to the free will of the agent. This perspective seems to rule out the ability of attributing individual decisions to external factors. But if this is accepted as true then it undermines any claim that a Rod Rosenstein or a "Ferguson Effect" could cause individual behavior. If that causal connection is accepted as possible then it implicitly acknowledges that free-will and human agency do not exist in a vacuum. It is this central tension that I find leads to a lot of contradictory posts on that blog.

Posted by: sean | Jun 15, 2017 9:49:36 PM

Ironic. I am not welcome at C&C, unless I change my tone. I will change my tone, when the lawyer profession changes its performance. I do have other tones. Bill asked me to come back here, so he can read this stuff, I think.

Here is how it works. Police are prosecuted. The City signs a Draconian anti-police consent decree. It is 227 pages.


It is now in the personal interest of every officer to wait for a 911 call. Go to the scene, and take a report. File it. Period. If you do anything more, you may lose your job and may lose your freedom.

As a result, the murder rate has a lower solution rate than the 30% of Chicago. And Baltimore has a substantially higher murder rate than Chicago. It is triple that of Chicago, believe it or not. The jump of that rate from its previous high rate amounts to additional hundreds of murders from the base rate. That is why I call Rosenstein a mass murderer. He went to Harvard. He has good native intelligence. He knew his consent decree would have that effect, as he knew, the sun rises in the East. If he did not, police officials yelled this warning at him. He did not care.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 15, 2017 11:42:43 PM

I have discussed the multifactorial theory of catastrophes, including all of crime. We have discussed many here, lead, bastardy, alcohol, antisocial personality disorder, testosterone, impulsivity, low IQ, adult age, not adolescence, and others.

But the single most powerful, the real business end of crime control, is your specialty, Doug. Sentencing. I cannot emphasize enough, natural experiments in history, across places, in a single place across time, all go in one direction. They all show sentencing is the single most powerful of all. It is a very serious subject, if trying to remedy the damage crime does to us all.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 15, 2017 11:58:21 PM

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