As a former prosecutor, I wondered how the Coronavirus might impact crime. There are fewer folks on the streets. One might assume that crime would be down. There’s good news and also bad news on the crime front. In major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, major crime drops occurred in recent weeks. In Los Angeles, from February 23 to March 2, the city saw a 25% drop in folks being shot. After March 17, New York city saw a 17% drop in violent crimes. Likewise, Chicago saw a 17% drop in violent crimes during the week of March 16- 22. Despite the drop, Chicago still saw 12 persons shot during this past week. All were shot outside despite Chicago’s stay in place order. The stay at home orders will see a rise in other criminal activity. With the president preferring to name the Coronavirus or Covid-19 as the China flu, cities have seen attacks on Asian Americans or on those thought to be of Asian descent. There will likely be an increase in domestic violence and child abuse … [Read more...] about Crime Doesn’t Stop During the Coronavirus Crisis
Like many folks worldwide, I am getting adjusted to my new norm of staying mostly inside the house except for necessary trips. In Maryland, where I reside and in 19 other states and the District of Columbia, stay in place orders or closure of all non-essential businesses remain in place. Each day brings a new reality. At first, I left outside for my daily drive through of my beloved Dunkin Donuts coffee. Then I realized drive through coffee wasn’t worth getting sick or dying for. As a trial lawyer with courts closed, there’s not much going on in the work area. With a lot of time on my hands, I started to think of those persons who are experiencing grief, joy and pain in their new norm. Birth of a child and near- death bring changes to how hospitals now respond to visitors. Childbirth and the experience of a baby being born is often a joyful experience for many folks. Columbia University Medical Center, a New York hospital set policy barring all visitors including childbirth … [Read more...] about Joy and Pain During the Coronavirus Crisis
My brother and only sibling became diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in September 2017. Just like that, everything changed in his life and mine. During the year of his illness, we gathered and reviewed information from doctors and researched on our own. We followed doctor’s orders. And above all else we remained optimistic. We tried to become as knowledgeable as possible and follow medical advice based on the best possible medical protocols. Fast forward to 18 months following my brother’s passing and I am looking at the Coronavirus. And I am wondering what lessons to be learned from the one year of critical care for my brother. First, l learned to leave most of the medical studying to doctors. I did not go to law school to become a doctor. I would never suggest that we accept everything a physician tells us. I would also find it extremely unwise to ignore everything a doctor advises. When I see Donald Trump talking about his medical opinions and then having the public health … [Read more...] about What My Brother’s Life and Death Taught Me about the Coronavirus
Growing up, I was always intrigued with the Diary of Anne Frank. I don’t recall when I first read the book or saw the movie. I know it left an indelible place in my heart. Perhaps, that’s one of the reasons, I became a history major in undergraduate school. In 1942- 1944, Anne Frank, along with her family and one other Jewish family remained in hiding in an attic in Nazi occupied Holland to avoid escape from discovery by the Nazi’s. If discovered, death in concentration camps might likely occur. As we ponder major disruption to our way of life and difficulty of self-quarantine in our homes, perhaps we should read up on history and Anne Frank. Anne Frank was not quarantined in her own home. She and her family remained in a stranger’s home who hid them. Due to the possibility of being discovered, they were not able to make sounds during the day. Any noise might subject them to being discovered and taken to a concentration camp for almost likely death there. They lived over a store. … [Read more...] about Lessons To Learn from Anne Frank During Coronavirus Scare
As state and federal governments take drastic measures to protect against the Coronavirus infecting and killing unnecessary numbers of persons, many officials overlook jails and prisons. Jails currently house individuals often awaiting trial or serving a misdemeanor sentence, while prisons house incarcerated individuals who are serving a prison sentence. There is virtually no likelihood that social distancing will occur in prisons or jails. An inmate at Rikers Island tested positive according to officials on March 18, 2020. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says he is working on a plan to remove persons at high risk who could be removed. On Thursday March 19 Maryland Governor Larry Hogan stated during his live press conference that he has no plans to release any inmates. He states that they are safer where they are. That comment defies the advice on social distancing and at risk individuals. The very nature of the institutions requires close contact with guards, … [Read more...] about What Can be Done About Coronavirus in Jails and Prisons?
With the closure of schools, restaurants, movies, churches, entertainment venues, sports activities, all states and the District of Columbia must consider closing all courts except for emergency matters. While each state must weigh the decision against the health options, the health options and possible loss of life must outweigh any other considerations. Today, the Trump administration recommended no public gatherings over 10 persons. I was last in court on March 5, 6 with a client. The large Maryland criminal courtroom was filled with standing room only. As the person sitting in front of me wearing a mask, began coughing, I became nervous. One-week later Friday, March 13, 2020, Maryland Governor Hogan closed all Maryland state courts to the public until April 3, 2020. In Michigan, state courts have recommended the postponement of all civil and criminal trials unless a defendant is in custody. Large court rooms are a hotbed of germs on even any non-Coronavirus pandemic day. It … [Read more...] about All Courts Should Close due to Coronavirus