Today's New York Times describes a pending Supreme Court case revolving
around a school's strip search of a 13 year old girl -- based on the flimsiest suspicion. So goes the war on drugs and
the war on the Fourth Amendment.
Good news from New Mexico, where Governor Bill Richardson has signed
legislation repealing the state's death penalty. Better still, Richardson gave as his reason the risk of executing
the innocent. He noted that many people on death row were eventually exonerated (which include a number who were convicted
based on false confessions).
Yesterday's New York Times reports that Europe is debating the propriety
of castration as punishment for sex crimes. The many false confessions to sex crimes constitute a major reason to avoid this
In a recent speech, Attorney General Eric Holder said that "too often
over the past decade, the fight against terrorism has been viewed as a zero-sum battle with our civil liberties. Not only
is that school of thought misguided, I fear that in actuality it does more harm than good."
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to interrogation methods.
Some of the most inhumane methods also produce unreliable information and false confessions. This is the case not only
with respect to the torture of suspected terrorists, but also of the psychologically coercive interrogation methods routinely
used by law enforcement on American citizens.