January 24, 2016

Alan Newton and New York's Flexible Principles of Justice

Courtesy of the Innocence Project
When he ran for mayor, Bill de Blasio made a point of talking about doing what was right and what was just. Based on these basic principles, our mayor-to-be promised to reform the NYPD's Stop and Frisk program and settle the Central Park Five case, and he followed through on both counts, even though both policy calls were politically loaded.

The City engaged in early settlement talks in other serious cases, such as the malicious prosecution and conviction of David Ranta and the wrongful death of Eric Garner. These two settlements were not just right, they were good business. By quickly confronting situations with likely liability and serious damages, the City was able to save money and avoid expensive and divisive litigation. These cases are but a few where New York was willing to take a nuanced view on litigation, to acknowledge its responsibility for its mistakes, and to reconcile that exposure with its obligation to do what is right by its citizens.

So why is Alan Newton getting such a screwing from the City?