Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Chicago impound confound

“It can’t be overstated what a procedural and logistical nightmare it is to get a car impounded in the city of Chicago.” [C.J. Ciaramella, Reason] Related, Atlanta area: “Lawsuit claims Doraville officials writing tickets for profit, not enforcement” [WXIA, Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News] And Pagedale, Mo., a small St. Louis suburb, has agreed “to stop bankrolling itself by fining its residents into the poorhouse.” [Scott Shackford, Reason]

“They confessed to minor crimes. Then City Hall billed them $122K in ‘prosecution fees'”

“In Indio and Coachella, prosecutors take property owners to court for some of the smallest crimes, then bill them thousands and threaten to take their homes if they don’t pay.” [Brett Kelman, The Desert Sun, California, via Dan Mitchell who besides citing this story, and my writing on the new Philadelphia bulletproof glass law, relates local government ticketing sprees arising from Chicago window sign rules and Los Angeles pedestrian laws] The Institute for Justice [press release] has now filed a lawsuit challenging the Indio/Coachella practices. [Kelman, Desert Sun]

Banking and finance roundup

When pizza incentives (allegedly) backfire

A class-action suit charges that the sheriff and public defender’s office in Cook County, Ill. have failed to protect female public defenders and law clerks from detainees who expose themselves and harass the women in other ways. According to the suit’s allegations, the authorities tried bribing serial offenders with free pizza if they refrained from misbehaving but the policy “backfired, allegedly, because some detainees who learned of it would then start acting out just so they could get pizza when they stopped.” [Kevin Underhill, Lowering the Bar] “A spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said the pizza rewards program described in the lawsuit never took place.” [ABC News]

“Against Collusive Consent Decrees, For Police Reform”

From Chicago to Baltimore and beyond, don’t assume that consent decrees with higher levels of government (the U.S. Department of Justice included) are the best route to police reform. John McGinnis, Liberty and Law:

Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago, has welcomed the lawsuit [by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan] and is looking to acquiesce in a consent decree which will create a new set of rules for the police department and a monitor to enforce them.

This collusive suit is a bad idea. To be sure, the Chicago Police Department needs reform, but this method reduces democratic accountability, imposes unnecessary costs, and most of all runs the risk of letting more people die from uncontrolled crime. And it is very unlikely to do what is most needed: eliminating or reducing the protections against discipline that police enjoy in union contracts or under civil service laws.

For an example of the kind of consent decree that is likely to be agreed upon, look at similar litigation in Baltimore….

…the greatest problem for lawful policing is that police departments have difficulty firing the few bad actors disproportionately responsible for civil rights violations because departments face constraints imposed by union contracts and civil service laws. The Baltimore consent decree does not rewrite these contracts or laws nor it is clear that it would have the power to do so. And I expect no different result in Chicago. Thus, the consent decree may retard the most important kind of police reform by giving a false sense of progress.

See also: “The lost history of police misconduct in Chicago” [Elizabeth Dale, PrawfsBlawg, first and second posts]

Labor and employment roundup

Environment roundup

  • Clean Water Act’s citizen-suit procedure can “be a huge money maker” for private groups: “Policing for profit in private environmental enforcement” [Jonathan Wood]
  • “Chicago Alderman Tells Property Owners to ‘Come Back to Me on Your Knees’ or Face Zoning Changes” [Eric Boehm, Reason]
  • Wetlands: “Farmer faces $2.8 million fine after plowing field” [Damon Arthur, Redding Record-Searchlight]
  • Urban bike lanes are green religious monuments, writes Arnold Kling, a biker himself;
  • Climate change shareholder disclosure: “Class action lawyers have become very clever at developing these cases for profit.” [Nina Chestney, Reuters]
  • “Why full compensation for property owners might lead to more unlawful takings” [Ilya Somin]