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Messages - nekko

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I think you would likely make zero useful contacts or otherwise get substantial insights which would help your professional career. If it's a cool job, then take it because it's a cool job not because it will help you when you're a lawyer.

1) You will likely get to know the city better.

2) You will likely get to meet for a few minutes incredibly stressed out associates/paralegals who will be taping up boxes, printing out briefs, etc. for something ten minutes after what you told them was the drop dead deadline.

General Off-Topic Board / Re: It is about damn time
« on: March 01, 2005, 03:47:16 PM »
without every death penalty case being appealed for years, there may be far less appeals and much more staff and funding available for those that are actually innocent to be granted appeals. If you remove those that are only appealing to save
Could be but personally I think it is unlikely. This would be the case if everything else remained the same but removing the death penalty would alter things considerably. Lots of people volunteer, do pro bono work, etc. out of strong feelings re the death penalty. I think these people would have substantially less incentive were their work confined to individuals with life sentences. Thus I think the resources available to prisoners would be substantially reduced both in number and in quality (star lawyers I think are much more likely to get involved in death penalty actions than life imprisonment actions). Also you're afforded many more steps before a sentence is carried out in a death penalty situation than a life imprisonment situation (more ways to appeal, more regular review, etc.). There would of course be an increase in the total number of individuals convicted of life sentences due to the fact that those getting deathrow sentences now would be getting life sentences but there is also the very real possibility of more people getting convicted of charges where the punishment is life imprisonment rather than death.

So ultimately I'd foresee less people available, a lower quality of people available, less options for appeal and less overall scrutiny for a larger group of individuals. Which is why ultimately I'm not convinced that greater time to allow for an overturned conviction results in an overall lower rate of death during/part of a wrongfully imposed sentence than the death penalty.

re: deterrence
Those who are executed do have a very low rate of criminal activity. The same is not true of those convicted of life sentences (though you may view criminal behavior committed while in prison as not really criminal).

General Off-Topic Board / Re: It is about damn time
« on: March 01, 2005, 03:03:44 PM »
The problem is, someone kept in jail can potentially be released, if evidence is presented. Unless you have the magical powers of resurrection, there is no recourse for the dead. Your comparisons don't equate. It does suck for anyone innocent to spend time in prison, but it is not the same as being put to death.
But it's not a situation where it's Day 1 sentencing Day 2 bullet to the back of the head. The death penalty process takes years or even decades. I think it was noted the prime killer of death penalty prisoners in California was age.

By the way, many people appeal their death penalty conviction, not because they are innocent, but because they wish to delay death. Life in prison is less likely to be appealed.
Yes many people do appeal their convictions because they don't want to die. But doesn't this incentive create a situation where ultimate justice is far more likely to be rendered? Whether they are appealing because they think they are innocent or appealing to just buy more time they still creating a circumstance where the issues are getting looked at more closely and it's less likely they are suffering at the hands of injustice.

The reality is, the mechanism that got these people their freedom is often very removed from the mechanism of the death penalty process.  In many cases it's a group of Law students or political science grads pouring over evidence for a non-profit organization that has to sue just to have DNA tests run.  

Are they not part of the process? Now you can make a policy argument that using law professors, law students, independent attys. is a bad policy but that's a different argument than saying they aren't part of the process (unless you're saying the death penalty process forbids their intervention).

Imagine the cases where someone on deathrow for a rape and murder committed before DNA was in place, but having to fight for years to have them run the DNA tests on the evidence.  It's like they would rather execute people than bear the embarassment of having the person proved innocent.  The system is a mess.....oh well.
Having to fight for years to have them run DNA tests...hmmm and why were those tests performed? Because they were given the death penalty. Something that would've been far less likely had they been convicted to a life sentence. Imagining cases where someone with life imprisonment for a rape and murder committed before DNA testing was in place and then never getting heard because they're afforded a much lower standard of protection than death row inmates doesn't exactly comfort me or drive me into an anti-death penalty furor.

It's possible for innocent individuals convicted of life sentences to get their convictions overturned before they die but given the much lower level of scrutiny how likely is it and will it become even less likely if rather than the death sentence more people are given life sentences? By extension will creating a system of life imprisonment rather than death increase the number of people who will die as a result of wrongful convictions?

General Off-Topic Board / Re: It is about damn time
« on: March 01, 2005, 01:03:14 PM »
I will assume the person you are speaking of is guilty but the death penalty is still wrong because some innocent people will get put to death. There is no getting around this as far as I know. No way to ensure that innocents never get executed. You really can't get around that point.
Accepting this argument though (innocents inevitably will be sentenced) where do we draw the line?

Are we perfectly okay then to take away 10-20 years of someone's life even though we know innocents will be convicted? There will always be mistakes but don't we make determinations like this in all kinds of policy? We allow certain amount of toxicity in water/food/etc., we only go so far in implementing auto safety (don't require helmets for people driving in cars or flame retardant suits) even though we know that this results in a certain amount of death. Now certainly we can't just say, "hey people are always going to die so what's the big deal" but how far do we go with restricting punishment based on the idea that innocents get convicted? For some a 20 year sentence is a death sentence, for those cases do we adjust the sentence downward accordingly?

re: X number of people getting released after being convicted and put on death row, is this really an indictment of the death penalty? The mechanism which got these people their freedom was part of the mechanism of the death penalty process. Also isn't it likely that absent the death penalty many of these people (if not all) would have had life sentences and probably still be rotting in prison in anonymity?

re: the ruling. I disagree with it (for the same reasons I disagreed with the ruling re the retarded) primarily based on the idea that once you convict someone as an adult they should be punished as you would punish an adult. If you decide that they don't have the cognitive ability to understand their actions as an adult would and thus are not deserving the punishment an adut would receive then they shouldn't be tried as adults to begin with.

re: cost v. life imprisonment.
The problem with looking at costs is that the costs are based on the current situation. As noted the appeals alone costs in the millions. But then doesn't that indicate that life sentences aren't appealed? Is that better or worse? If the death penalty were removed would that mean a higher number of life sentences would be appealed thus increasing the cost of life imprisonment?

re: arbitrary age limits
As someone else noted we have to draw limits elsewhere for practical reasons. There are thousands if not more 15 year olds who would be qualified to drive, or 17 years old qualified to vote or 20 year olds qualified to drink but its not a moral barrier which prevents us from doing a case by case analysis but a practical one. This is very distinct from the age categorization that's going on in this case and the argument being made in favor of the ruling is a moral one not an administrative one. I.e. their arguing that executing minors is immoral, not that executing minors is impractical.

If you have an expensive food problem how could you go to Berkeley and not stop by Chez Panisse? Rivoli is good but a bit further out and not really walkable from Cal (short distance via car). Some people say Eccolo is good (short distance by car but not really Berkeley) which is run by some former Chez Panisse folks.

In SF near Montgomery Bart is Belden alley that has a bunch of restaurants, kind of a mini-med. (Italian, Catalan, etc.). I liked Jardiniere, LuLu (near SF MoMa...good but service can be iffy),  in SF. People say good things about Fifth Floor, Aqua, and for the really budget busting dinners Fleur De Lys and Masa's (which I think has recovered it's rep after a bit of a lull when their head chef left). Carnelian room is pretty, expensive and has a great view but you're paying more for the view than for the food, good place to grab drinks though and it's right in the BofA building. I also like Roy's which is a chain but it has good Pacific fusion kind of stuff. Could go on and on if you want to know more.

SF near Montgomery station:
SF MoMa is nearby if you like modern art and it is also close to the Metreon (although I guess the Metreon isn't that great if you're not actually interested in seeing a movie). I'm not that big on Chinatown except as a good cheap Chinese food destination. Union Square you have shopping but I don't really think of it as particularly scenic. Getting to the Ferry building/Embarcadero is an easy walk and you can grab some food therr, look at the bay, etc. There's all kinds of bars in the immediate area, I typically go to the Irish Bank but that's primarily due to convenience.

Zachary's pizza in Berkeley (or Oakland for that matter) is good but it's not particularly convenient from the campus unless you have a car or want to take the bus. Nonetheless you should make the effort to go their if you can and get the stuffed pizza (their normal pizza is good but wouldn't be worth the effort to go there unless you were going there anyway).

Well there is terrible and overpriced food on Telegraph/in the immediate vicinity but that's true everywhere. There are a number of good places though. I'm a big fan of Intermezzo although it troubles me that the best food place off the top of my head is salad focused.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: Which is more difficult, the LSAT or GMAT?
« on: February 23, 2005, 08:57:39 PM »
The general opinion is that the LSAT is more difficult by far among people who have taken both. In fact, "I guess I'll take the GMAT" isn't an entirely unheard of saying among people who don't do well on the LSAT. Getting into Haas is reasonably impressive though so he should definitely feel good about that.

Don't go to Berkeley Bowl for hippiness. It's more yuppie than hippie.

Grab Indian food if in Berkeley. Might want to checkout he Rose Gardens, see Telegraph (as noted above). If in SF usual touristy stuff, I second Headlesschicken's Ferry building rec. You could go there then either walk along the Embarcadero or make the schlep to Yerba Buena gardens to eat...then go to either the Metreon or SF MoMa.

according to a number of law professors, there is empirical evidence that black law students with the same UGPA and LSAT scores at the same institutions do somewhat worse than their white counterparts.
I don't see where they argue that. On page 17 of the response you linked where they discuss this, my interpretation is that their argument is that because of the limited pool of black applicants with higher grades and test scores blacks will more frequently have lesser credentials than whites and thus earn lower grades than their white counterparts. This is something entirely different than saying blacks and whites with the same UGPA/LSAT typically results in blacks underperforming whites. In Sander's study he states,
when we control for the LSAT
and UGPA variables, none of the “race” variables (or the gender variable) is
even close to being statistically significant (all the p-values are well above .05).
This means that when we control for academic credentials, blacks, whites,
Hispanics, and Asians all get pretty much the same grades.174
In other words, the collectively poor performance of black students at elite
schools does not seem to be due to their being “black” (or any other individual
characteristic, like weaker educational background, that might be correlated
with race). The poor performance seems to be simply a function of disparate
entering credentials,

Couldn't one learn the same amount or more in a challening academic environment while one's grades nonetheless suffered due to the strength of one's peers? I would argue that grades are not always/usually directly related to the amount one learns.
Yes and no. Yes, in that I think someone could learn the same amount or more in a challenging environment but that the strength of the peer group could still leave you at the bottom 10%. That being said though I think a situation where everyone is relatively equal and a situation where there are signficant disparities in preparedness are distinct. It all depends on why you're at the bottom 10%. If you're at the bottom 10% because you don't work very hard then shifting to a less challenging situation will not necessarilly improve your situation. If you're at the bottom 10% because you're simply not getting the material then it's a different situation entirely. If you're not working very hard then you might be learning just as much as everyone else but just aren't applying yourself.

If you're just not getting it you're in an increasingly worse situation. Didn't get a concept? Well now you have a new concept to learn that builds on the one you didn't understand in the first place. Not able to get last weeks reading done? Well now you have that reading plus 200 more pages and it's just going to get worse if you don't catch up. If you're in this situation you're a lot better off being in a slower paced environment. You may not end up with the same amount of breadth since more time would be spent on each topic but you'd know each topic much better.

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