making local government more ethical

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Complicity and Knowledge

Robert Wechsler
Undisclosed conflicts can cause a lot of problems, but rarely are they a matter of life and death. In Collin County, TX, north of Dallas, an undisclosed conflict could have been responsible for a man's death sentence (and, perhaps, many more sentences).

According to an article this week in the Plano Star-Courier, a district attorney and judge were having an affair,...
Robert Wechsler
It should come as little surprise to people involved in local government that a New York Times article about bullying among ten- and eleven-year-olds has a great deal of relevance. I said for years about my town's government that its major participants were like ten-year-old boys on a playground, taunting, playing games of intimidation, spreading false rumors, keeping communal secrets, excluding...
Robert Wechsler
According to an article in today's Boston Globe, former Massachusetts Speaker of the House Sal DiMasi was indicted by a federal grand jury on a variety of...
Robert Wechsler
There is a bright side to the British Parliament expenses scandal. For one thing, many M.P.'s had the fortitude to walk right by that enormous parliamentary trough and eat at home instead.

Second, Parliament showed the world how a failure to do the right thing and do it transparently — seek larger incomes — and instead to take public money clandestinely and then, when news started leaking out, to deny and obfuscate, can completely undermine trust in a public institution.
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Robert Wechsler
Last month, I wrote about the responsibility of lawyers and other professionals for doing something about the deeply unethical conduct of two judges in Pennsylvania who unjustly, and to their own financial benefit, incarcerated hundreds of juveniles.

A few days ago, the New York Times ran a follow-up article on this. It...
Robert Wechsler

What is more horrible than the scheme of two eastern Pennsylvania judges to fill two for-profit juvenile detention centers with thousands of youths who would not otherwise have been removed from their families and schools?

The fact that they could get away with it in the midst of a world of professionals – lawyers, social workers, police officers, and various court and juvenile workers -- all of whom knew that the youths were being unjustly harmed...

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