Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Wonder Foreclosure.com Scholarship Program Winning Essay 2017, (Grand Prize)


You know, I just read the following article, and see that the “Millennials” are being brain washed. Goldman Sachs said back around 2008 “Only the rich should own houses, everyone else should be renting”. Sorry, I am still looking for the article wherein I quoted from. I will find it, I used that in a brief.

I knew that meant trouble. Even with foreclosure hell in the middle of its heyday, it still meant something. Not long after that, people being foreclosed upon, began being offered the chance to rent the house that they just lost.

Now, these third party entities popped up almost over night, and instead of the properties at foreclosure, reverting back to the lenders, these third parties now purchase at foreclosure auctions. Then they offer to rent you your house, or take you to magistrate court and have your thrown out, instead of the banks having to do that.

Funny thing, if you research most of these third parties, back far enough, the banks own them too, so still the same thing, just different names. Nevertheless, I could not help but post the article. It is obvious that “they” want us all in little apartments in and around the cities, easier to control “us”. I just had not realized that they were in the progress of brain-washing the Millennials into not even wanting to own a house.

Read the article:

Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Wonder
Foreclosure.com Scholarship Program Winning Essay 2017, (Grand Prize)
https://article.foreclosure.com/short-term-pain-long-term-wonder-82f82b90ff52
Go to the profile of Foreclosure.com Staff
Foreclosure.com Staff
Feb 28, 2018
By Jack Duffley | University of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign

foreclosure-kid
(photo from https://article.foreclosure.com/short-term-pain-long-term-wonder-82f82b90ff52)

In the gleeful times of 2005, my parents decided, like so many others, that it was time to “upgrade.” They sold our smaller home on the other side of town, which had appreciated nicely, and bought a 3700 square foot behemoth in a town with already exorbitant property taxes. My younger brother and I were thrilled to finally have a basement, our own rooms, and even a concrete basketball court in our backyard! All eight-year-old me knew was that things were going to be a whole lot more comfortable from there, and my optimistic parents seemed to think the same.

Jack Duffley | University of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
The year is 2017, and my parents have only just now reached the equity levels in the house that they started with over a decade ago, nearly one-hundred-fifty mortgage payments later. However, after being bombarded by extremely high taxes for that entire time, they are essentially underwater on the property, but see little choice but to hang on for dear life until equity recovers just a bit more before they abandon ship. A thin retirement plan, mostly resting on the house, has forced their hand.

My parents’ story is in no way unique; millions of Americans who purchased homes before the 2008 recession have faced similar dilemmas, often worse than theirs. Many had no choice but to foreclose during the worst of it. After all, the homeownership rate has declined almost 5 points nationwide since the recession.[1] If anything, they can be considered lucky, yet they are still stuck in the mud. Their children, on the other hand, are now at their own fork in the road: to be [a homeowner] or not to be.

And, all things considered, they are often choosing not to be. The census shows a stark dip in homeownership among those under the age of 35 of almost 10 percent, lowering significantly from its peak pre-recessionary levels of 43 percent to a dismal 34 percent. At the same time, rental vacancy rates nationwide fell from over 10 percent to less than 7 percent as more people turned to renting, millennials especially.[2] Why is this happening?

Aside from the obvious fear of the failure that their parents faced, millennials are renting more as they define their own unique lifestyle. Millennials, in ever increasing numbers, are focusing on “living now.” They are choosing to move into urban areas in particular. As a predominantly liberal group, and with large cities tending to lean left, this is partially due to political forces. The majority, however, is due to lifestyle conveniences that come with a city: multiple options for transportation and not needing to own a car, proximity to cultural events and nightlife, and, especially with the decline of the suburbs as retail simultaneously sinks, a more positive future economic outlook. They more readily take the loss in living space for these benefits than their previous generations did.

At the same time, a growing number of millennials are facing burdensome student loan debt. Rather than come out of college with pristine back-end ratios primed for a hefty mortgage, they are handcuffed by the debt that they have amassed in their early twenties. As the Pew Research Center has noted, 37 percent of people under the age of thirty have student loan debt. They contribute to the $1.3 trillion in student debt, leverage that could presumably be used for a mortgage or some other useful credit if it were not locked up already.[3] Millennials are trying to increase their earning power by going to school so that they have the opportunity to advance economically, but it is simultaneously holding many of them back via years of extra debt — debt that is notably not going to a physical asset.

What does this mean for real estate? For the single family home market, it spells disaster, at least in the short term. Grant Cardone, one of the premier real estate investors in the world, calls homeownership a “scam,” and emphasizes that renting over homeownership among young people is becoming more and more popular. He notes that there is a huge need for affordable rentals as millennials deviate away from single family homes. Cardone is always one to advocate renting as a more advantageous and flexible lifestyle choice, and, as it has been mentioned, millennials increasingly value the flexibility that comes with renting instead of buying a home. Many, like Cardone, now see homeownership as a solely negative ordeal.

While it may not be up to the level of a “scam,” there are significant drawbacks with owning a home. For one, it locks up a significant amount of capital, money that could be used for a number of different projects or investments. In sum, homeownership is very expensive, at least in the short term when people make their initial down payment and any potential renovations. This makes it very hard to own a home for people of all ages. Additionally, owning a home can financially lock someone to a particular location, one which they might not want to be in after a while. Finally, for those hoping for appreciation when they purchase their home, as with any investment, there is a chance that it does not pan out. A poorly timed crash can wipe out an owner’s equity in seconds just as it did to my parents and so many others.

While there are drawbacks, the Great Recession and its subsequent lifestyle shift suggest the lack of education about the benefits of owning real estate. Even my parents are constantly warning me of the dangers of homeownership; the shift is not totally driven by millennials themselves. They too are still shaken by their mistakes and the sledgehammer that was the crash. They ignore the value of building equity over the long term, the typical tax benefits that come with a primary residence, and the relative stability of the real estate market because they mistakenly overpaid for a house that, in hindsight, they cannot comfortably afford in a downturn. They just hope that I do not do the same, and rightfully so. However, what millennials should have learned from the recession is not that real estate is bad, but that they simply must be careful and reasonable with what they assume when purchasing it.
3310-Harrison-Rd-east-point
Unfortunately, the average consumer purchases on emotion. With the tremendous amounts of emotional trauma from the recession, millennials are increasingly refusing to buy a home as their parents might have desired at the same age. But what are they purchasing in its place? Many take on higher rents, consistent with the “living now” mentality. Many more use their money to buy a wealth of products online. Some are even speculating on cryptocurrency, something far more unknown than real estate, expecting to make a lot of money. Why do they do that? Because the average consumer purchases on emotion, not on something systematic. Real estate has already been proven to be a relatively safe and a potentially very powerful asset. Instead, the negatives have been, and continue to be, emphasized. This masks the positives of owning a home, or even a simple condo. Millennials in some cases are mistakenly ignoring all real estate and not just the kind of overleveraging or speculating that got their parents into trouble.

Does this spell the end to America? Will the country burst into flames as millennials move to urban areas? Of course not. It must be noted that the current trend does not own the future; millennials could very well begin to purchase homes in huge numbers, especially as prices drop over the next few years. While it is likely that this will not be the case, it is impossible for anyone but millennials themselves to determine that.

What is certain is that, in the short run, there will be pain. The single family housing market is going to suffer as millennials make lifestyle choices contrary to their parents. The market will be oversupplied with single family homes. However, millennials will still need a place to live, just like anyone else. Their increasing demand for urban locations and conveniences will push rent up in cities, as it already has in places like San Francisco and Seattle. This will open a new, and huge, opportunity for real estate investors and developers alike to profit in the cities as millennials develop their own American Dream. After all, a dream is only what a person makes of it, not what someone else defines it as.

References:
[1] U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Homeownership Rates for the United States and Regions: 1968–2016, (accessed Dec 10, 2010), https://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/data/charts/fig05.pdf

[2] U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Rental Vacancy Rates for the United States and Regions: 1968–2016, (accessed Dec 10, 2010), https://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/data/charts/fig03.pdf

[3] Anthony Cilluffo, “5 facts about U.S. student loans,” Pew Research Center, last modified August 24, 2017. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/24/5-facts-about-student-loans/

The winning essay above was submitted to Foreclosure.com’s scholarship program.

The 2017 essay topic:
IS THE “AMERICAN DREAM” OF ONE DAY OWNING A HOME ALIVE AND WELL AMONG MILLENNIALS?
Millennials having experienced the “Great Recession,” which was the traumatic housing crisis that triggered the financial crisis a decade ago. As a result, data suggests that Millennials (those born between 1981 to 1997) have been slow to adopt homeownership. Discuss the pros and cons of homeownership for Millennials, as well as which factors could increase or decrease homeownership among the generation. Will their collective hesitation and apprehension hurt them in the long run or are Millennials simply in the process of re-defining the “American Dream?”

Dekalb PD seek help in locating suspect in the alleged murder of his mother


One of my people was represented by this guy, and he stole $45,000.00 of her settlement. She and some other victims testified in Court a couple weeks ago. He was sentenced to 30 years, with 15 to serve. He was supposed to turn himself in 02/01/2019. He did not show up.

Screen-Shot-2019-02-02-at-9-39-09-PM

02/02/2019 Sharon Swanepoel Top News
http://news.monroelocal.org/dekalb-pd-seek-help-in-locating-suspect-in-the-alleged-murder-of-his-mother/

Tucker, Ga. – Dekalb County Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a suspect in the alleged murder of his mother. According to DCPD, at 9:30 a.m. this morning, Feb. 2, 2019, police responded to a home on Planters Row in Stone Mountain in reference to a dead person call. The victim, Shirley Merritt, was found stabbed to death inside her residence. Police believe this is an isolated domestic-related incident.
Richard Merritt, 44. Photo courtesy of Dekalb County Police Department

The victim’s son, Richard Merritt, 44, has been identified as the suspect. He is described as a white male, 5’10”, 175 lbs, brown eyes and brown hair. There is an active murder warrant for his arrest. He is possibly in possession of the victim’s 2009 Lexus RX350, Brown Color, GA Tag CBV6004.

DeKalb Police are asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Richard Merritt to please contact the DeKalb County Police Department at 770-724-7850 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS(8477).
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2nd Circuit Upholds Insider Trading Conviction of Ex-Goldman Sachs Director The panel’s decision represented the latest retreat from the appellate court’s holding in 2014’s “U.S. v. Newman,” which narrowed prosecutors’ ability to prove insider trading.


Gupta-m1114755-web2
Rajat Gupta, right, with his attorney Gary Naftalis, following his sentencing in 2012. Photo: Louis Lanzano/ Bloomberg
https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2019/01/07/2nd-circuit-upholds-insider-trading-conviction-of-ex-goldman-sachs-director/
By Colby Hamilton | January 07, 2019 at 04:12 PM

For the second time in as many months the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has declined to reverse an insider trading secured by federal prosecutors before the circuit court’s ruling in United States v. Newman and the sequence of decisions it spawned.

On Monday, the panel, composed of Circuit Judges Amalya Kearse, Richard Wesley and Christopher Droney, denied former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta’s second attempt to have his insider trading conviction overturned. The Second Circuit had previously in 2014 denied Gupta’s argument that the trial court erred in admitting some evidence, while excluding other evidence offered by the defense ahead of his 2012 conviction. He ultimately served 19 months in prison, and was released in 2016.

The current appeal came after U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York denied Gupta’s motion to vacate his conviction in the wake of the Second Circuit’s 2014 decision in Newman, which substantially narrowed the “personal benefit” requirements of an insider trading relationship. Gupta argued before Rakoff that the jury instructions in his case were legally invalid under Newman.

On appeal, the panel reviewed Gupta’s challenge based on a cause-and-prejudice standard. It agreed with Rakoff’s argument that nothing stopped Gupta from arguing that the jury instructions were faulty on direct appeal from his conviction, since they were made during trial.

The panel observed that its November 2018 decision in Whitman v. United States tracks closely with the dynamics of Gupta’s case, as jury instructions were objected to at trial but weren’t pursued on appeal. Other insider trading cases pursued the line on appeal before Newman, the panel noted, making the claims in Whitman—and therefore Gupta’s case—insufficient to show cause.

Defendants in other insider trading prosecutions were contending that juries should be given narrower definitions of the personal benefit needed to find culpable insider trading,” the panel wrote. “We conclude that [Gupta] presents no viable claim that the personal benefit challenge was unavailable to his counsel on appeal.”

While the panel, having found Gupta failing the cause standard, could arguably have ended its findings there, it proceeded to address the issue of prejudice, and, in doing so, waded directly back in to the circuit’s muddied law on insider trading.

The panel first found that Gupta failed to show the personal benefit instructions were so flawed as to deny him due process, noting that the actual language provided to the jury in question spoke of “maintaining a good relationship with a frequent business partner.”

That last clause proved critical for the panel, who argued it squared with requirements under precedent, but not the Second Circuit’s most recent double take in United States v. Martoma, which is mentioned briefly later. Instead, the panel opted to return to the insider trading Ur-precedent from the Supreme Court’s 1983 decision in Dirks v. SEC.

The Dirks court set out a “varying sets of circumstances…which would warrant a finding of the tipper’s illegal purpose,” the panel noted. Despite the fact the specific language required by Newman for a tangible or pecuniary benefit was not present in Gupta’s jury instructions, the language was satisfactory under Dirks’ seemingly broader “circumstances.”

In fact, the panel’s acknowledgment that Dirks highlighting the ability for a quid pro quo relationship despite “the lack of need for proof of the tipper’s financial or tangible gain” appeared to potentially undercut a portion of the court’s holding in Newman, continuing the erosion that began with the Supreme Court’s findings in Salman v. United States and continued through the two versions of the Second Circuit’s Martoma decision.

The fact that Newman‘s requirement for proof of a tipper’s pecuniary or other tangible gain has been rejected by the Supreme Court disposes of Gupta’s contention that Newman meant the trial court’s instruction that proof of pecuniary or tangible benefit was not necessary caused him to be convicted of a crime for ‘conduct that is not criminal,’” the panel said, quoting from Gupta’s brief on appeal.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which secured Gupta’s original conviction and handled the appeal, declined to comment.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel name attorney Gary Naftalis handled Gupta’s appeal. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Related:

Pay Attention! Look at the money trail AFTER the foreclosure sale, by Neil Garfield


Pay Attention! Look at the money trail AFTER the foreclosure sale
Posted on July 3, 2018 by Neil Garfield
https://livinglies.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/pay-attention-look-at-the-money-trail-after-the-foreclosure-sale/

My confidence has never been higher that the handling of money after a foreclosure sale will reveal the fraudulent nature of most “foreclosures” initiated not on behalf of the owner of the debt but in spite of the the owner(s) of the debt.

It has long been obvious to me that the money trail is separated from the paper trail practically “at birth” (origination). It is an obvious fact that the owner of the debt is always someone different than the party seeking foreclosure, the alleged servicer of the debt, the alleged trust, and the alleged trustee for a nonexistent trust. When you peek beneath the hood of this scam, you can see it for yourself.

Real case in point: BONY appears as purported trustee of a purported trust. Who did that? The lawyers, not BONY. The foreclosure is allowed and the foreclosure sale takes place. The winning “bid” for the property is $230k.

Here is where it gets real interesting. The check is sent to BONY who supposedly is acting on behalf of the trust, right. Wrong. BONY is acting on behalf of Chase and Bayview loan servicing. How do we know? Because physical possession of the check made payable to BONY was forwarded to Chase, Bayview or both of them. How do we know that? Because Chase and Bayview both endorsed the check made out to BONY depositing the check for credit in a bank account probably at Chase in the name of Bayview.

OK so we have the check made out to BONY and TWO endorsements — one by Chase and one by Bayview supposedly — and then an account number that might be a Chase account and might be a Bayview account — or, it might be some other account altogether. So the question who actually received the $230k in an account controlled by them and then, what did they do with it. I suspect that even after the check was deposited “somewhere” that money was forwarded to still other entities or even people.

The bid was $230k and the check was made payable to BONY. But the fact that it wasn’t deposited into any BONY account much less a BONY trust account corroborates what I have been saying for 12 years — that there is no bank account for the trust and the trust does not exist. If the trust existed the handling of the money would look very different OR the participants would be going to jail.

And that means NOW you have evidence that this is the case since BONY obviously refused to do anything with the check, financially, and instead just forwarded it to either Chase or Bayview or perhaps both, using copies and processing through Check 21.

What does this mean? It means that the use of the BONY name was a sham, since the trust didn’t exist, no trust account existed, no assets had ever been entrusted to BONY as trustee and when they received the check they forwarded it to the parties who were pulling the strings even if they too were neither servicers nor owners of the debt.

Even if the trust did exist and there really was a trust officer and there really was a bank account in the name of the trust, BONY failed to treat it as a trust asset.

So either BONY was directly committing breach of fiduciary duty and theft against the alleged trust and the alleged trust beneficiaries OR BONY was complying with the terms of their contract with Chase to rent the BONY name to facilitate the illusion of a trust and to have their name used in foreclosures (as long as they were protected by indemnification by Chase who would pay for any sanctions or judgments against BONY if the case went sideways for them).

That means the foreclosure judgment and sale should be vacated. A nonexistent party cannot receive a remedy, judicially or non-judicially. The assertions made on behalf of the named foreclosing party (the trust represented by BONY “As trustee”) were patently false — unless these entities come up with more fabricated paperwork showing a last minute transfer “from the trust” to Chase, Bayview or both.

The foreclosure is ripe for attack.

Spread the word

FORECLOSURE HELL


I had been doing so much better about keeping up with my blogs, until about this last week. I had not gotten back to posting as much as I had in the past, but was doing much better.

I have to admit though, every month, beginning the week before foreclosure hell (the day they auction the homes foreclosed upon), have been particularly hellish.

I guess for a while, no one I know was being foreclosed upon. But beginning last month, my friends began being sold at auction again. It had been a whole year until just these last couple of months. Then all of the sudden, properties that the banks had lost interest in, out of the blue, and with little or no warning, were sold at auction.

We all managed to stop two of the sales, those two were cancelled, but last month, one was lost to foreclosure, and it took a lot of work to get cancelled, the two that were cancelled.

So, even though there may not be the number of foreclosures every month that there had been for a long time, looks like the banks have managed to get lined up, these companies, that will purchase damn near any house at auction. These companies that want to turn around and rent you your house they just purchased at foreclosure.

I told everyone, back in 2008-2009 when Goldman Sachs’ sorry ass said that “only the rich should own houses, everyone else should be renters”, that this is what could be expected. Yes, it took another 8 years for it to happen to this scale, but it is here, and it won’t be going away, till they get every one of our homes.

I have watched foreclosure sales every month since around 2006, and all the properties that were fought for, and the banks, just kind of fizzled away without a lot of fuss, homes that they realized would be close to impossible to get the foreclosed upon owner to leave, now that they can work it out to where these rent home companies, are the ones that has to get rid of the previous owners of the properties.

The banks see this as minor housekeeping, which they don’t mind at all.

Why No Transgender in the Military?


My Buddy Jim Sent Me the Following. You know, Jim, James Krage:

Read more about what Jim Krage is doing at http://www.JamesKrage.com
To fight your Traffic Tickets, I’ve posted info and links at http://www.deepinfo.com/fighttickets/
To fight the Lender on your Mortgage, I’ve posted lots of free info at
http://www.wamufraud.com/ , http://www.beatforeclosurefast.com/ & http://www.americanloanaudits.com/

Why No Transgender in the Military?

Trey Gowdy just said a few things about the military in response to a stupid question from a CNN reporter about the ban of transgender.
He nails it!
Nobody has a “right” to serve in the Military. Nobody.
What makes people think the Military is an equal opportunity employer?
Very far from it.
The Military uses prejudice regularly and consistently to deny citizens from joining for being too old or too young, too fat or too skinny, too tall or too short.
Citizens are denied for having flat feet, or for missing or additional fingers.
Poor eyesight will disqualify you, as well as bad teeth.
Malnourished? Drug addiction? Bad back? Criminal history?
Low IQ? Anxiety? Phobias? Hearing damage? Six arms?
Hear voices in your head? Self-identify as a Unicorn?
Need a special access ramp for your wheelchair?
Can’t run the required course in the required time?
Can’t do the required number of pushups?
Not really a “morning person” and refuse to get out of bed before noon?
All can be reasons for denial.
The Military has one job. War. Anything else is a distraction and a liability.
Did someone just scream “That isn’t Fair”?
War is VERY unfair, there are no exceptions made for being special or challenged or socially wonderful.
YOU change yourself to meet Military standards.. Not the other way around.
I say again: You don’t change the Military… you must change yourself.
The Military doesn’t need to accommodate anyone with special issues.
The Military needs to Win Wars.
If any of your personal issues are a liability that detract from readiness or lethality…
Thank you for applying and good luck in future endeavors.
Who’s next in line?
(P.S. some debate if it was Trey Gowdy that said this – whoever said it was right on)
———————————————–
http://dailysignal.com/2017/07/26/why-forcing-the-military-to-pay-for-sex-changes-would-be-disastrous/

Paying for transition-related surgeries for military service members and their families is beyond comprehensible.
Perhaps they have forgotten that our military was forged to be the world’s strongest fighting force,
not a government-funded, politically correct, medical sex change clinic for people with gender dysphoria.
>>> Related: Transgender Americans Won’t Be Allowed to Serve in Military, Trump Announces
Gender dysphoria, the common diagnosis for one who feels at odds with his or her birth gender, develops from prolonged anxiety and depression. People are not born that way.
The “proof” for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is having strongly held feelings—but feelings can and often do change over time.
The military is expected to prepare its members in warfare: to kill, destroy, and break our enemies.
The most important factors in preparing a strong military are not hormone therapy, surgical sex changes, or politically correct education.

We need psychologically fit, emotionally sound, highly trained troops to protect our nation from its enemies.
While countless homeless vets are currently sleeping under cardboard boxes, or waiting for life-saving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs,
we learn that transgender military recruits now qualify for preferential coverage for sex change procedures that are scientifically unproven and extremely costly.
Costly, but Not Effective
Transitioning can be expensive—up to $130,000 per person for numerous body-mutilating and cosmetic procedures over many months (or years) to fashion the body to appear as the opposite sex.
Yet, no matter how skilled the surgeon, or how much money is spent, it is biologically impossible to change a man into a woman or a woman into a man.
The change is only cosmetic.
The medical community continues to recommend this radical “treatment” in the absence of scientific evidence that people are better off in the long run.
This population attempts suicide at a rate of 40 percent.
Even after the full surgical change, they attempt to end their lives, or tragically succeed.

Over 60 percent of this diverse population suffer from co-existing mental disorders.
Consider Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning), a former Army soldier who was so psychologically and emotionally unbalanced
that he stole confidential documents from the military and forwarded them to WikiLeaks.

The Military Is a Fighting Force, Not a Gender Clinic
The military should not provide sex change surgery.
Through my website, http://www.sexchangeregret.com ,
I hear from people who experienced firsthand how damaging and unnecessary reassignment surgeries were.
For them, the sex change failed to resolve the emotional and psychological disorders that drove the desire to change gender.
Many write after living the transgender life for years.
They write to ask for advice on how to reverse the original surgical change and restore their lives to the original birth gender like I did, a process called detransition.
Some service members will come to regret having undergone the surgery and will want to detransition.
Where will the military be then? Will the military pay for the sex change reversal procedure, too?
Failed “sex change surgeries” are not uncommon and will drive up the cost to care for the military transgender population above the projected $3-4 billion 10-year cost.
Beyond the financial cost, there’s the question of the service member’s military readiness during their transition or detransition,
as the process often comes with a great deal of anxiety and emotional instability.
——————————————————–
Transgender Surgery: Regrets – More Suicides
http://www.newsweek.com/transgender-women-transgender-men-sex-change-sex-reassignment-surgery-676777
one surgeon is reporting a trend of regret.

Urologist Miroslav Djordjevic, who specializes in gender reassignment surgery, has seen an increase in “reversal” surgeries among transgender women who want their male genitalia back. In the past five years, Djordjevic performed seven reversals in his clinic in Belgrade, Serbia. The urologist explains to The Telegraph that those who want the reversal display high levels of depression, and in some instances, suicidal thoughts. Other researchers also report hearing about such regrets.
A 2011 study found that after sex reassignment surgery, more than 300 Swedish transsexuals faced
a higher risk for mortality, suicide ideation, and psychiatric issues compared to the rest of the population.

Antonin Scalia’s Rightful Revolution by Stephen L. Carter



Law
Antonin Scalia’s Rightful Revolution
http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2016-04-21/antonin-scalia-s-rightful-revolution
April 21, 2016 2:11 PM EST
By
Stephen L. Carter
Annie Dookhan’s recent release from a Massachusetts prison has been an occasion for considerable comment, but little has been focused on how her case suggests why liberals might come to miss Justice Antonin Scalia. Not because Dookhan was innocent — she wasn’t — but because she was guilty.
Let me explain.
Dookhan, a former lab technician for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, pleaded guilty in 2013 to charges stemming from an investigation that found she had tampered with crime-scene evidence. She confessed to, among other things, adding cocaine to samples so that they would test positive and forging reports to make it seem that she had performed tests that she had not. Estimates of the number of cases that might be affected run as high as 40,000. (More accurate numbers should be available next month.) Struggling to clean up the mess caused by what it called Dookhan’s “egregious misconduct,” the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled last year that if defendants who have pleaded guilty seek to reopen their cases because of her actions, prosecutors cannot try them on more serious charges or, if a second conviction results, ask for stiffer sentences.
Okay, so Dookhan did a terrible thing, and because of it, a lot of people probably went to prison who shouldn’t have. What does any of this have to do with Justice Scalia?
As it turns out, a great deal. Over his final decade on the U.S. Supreme Court, Scalia led a movement to restore significance and force to the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment. The revolution began in 2004 with Crawford v. Washington, and the battle is raging still. And for those who buy into the neat media image in which the justices vote in unshakable left-right blocs, it’s worth noting that Scalia’s chief ally in the fight has been Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and his principal antagonists have lately been Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor.
What’s the fight about? The Confrontation Clause guarantees a criminal defendant the right “to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” If you’re charged with robbing a bank, the clause is the reason that you have the opportunity to cross-examine whoever is testifying against you. You have the chance to show the jury that the witness who claims to have seen you holding the gun was mistaken, or remembering wrong.
Much of the recent controversy over the Confrontation Clause is rather technical, but the dispute has largely involved the question of who counts as a witness. Everybody had always understood that the woman who swears you drove the getaway car has to tell her story in open court. So does the man who claims he sold you the gun. The prosecutor can’t simply put the lead detective on the stand and let him tell the jury what other people said you did.
But what about a laboratory technician who determined that the substance found in your trunk was cocaine? For a long time, it was generally assumed that a forensic chemist’s performance of a routine test did not implicate the Sixth Amendment. In 2008, the Scalia-Ginsburg faction astonished pretty much everybody by cobbling together a majority of the court for the proposition that, yes, the technician who did the test and signed the report has to show up and testify. Another analyst from the same laboratory who can explain how the test works isn’t good enough. In other words, there is no “forensic evidence” exception to the rule. Chemists are treated just like every other witness.
Prosecutors were aghast. Defense attorneys were elated.
Imagine: Every time a crime lab does a test and a technician certifies the result, the technician has to appear in court if the defendant so demands. Dissenters warned that chaos would result. To have the technicians sitting around for half a day waiting to testify would involve undue expense. Scalia replied that the assumptions underlying that worry are “wildly unrealistic.” Only rarely would defense lawyers actually call the forensic technicians to testify. But on those rare occasions, the technicians are no different from any other witness.
Why does this matter? Let’s get back to Dookhan. She began work some years before the Supreme Court decided that lab technicians who perform forensic tests must testify if called, but her arrest and conviction help show why the Scalia faction is right.
Had Dookhan been required to take the stand, defense attorneys might have asked how she was able to clear 500 samples a month when the average chemist analyzes between 50 and 150. They might have asked about discrepancies in her log book that would likely only have come to light had she been a witness.
The knowledge that one will have to testify about one’s actions creates a certain discipline. Either the problems in her work would have come to light much sooner, or, knowing that she would face possible cross-examination about every test she performed, Dookhan would have cleaned up her act. Either way, a lot fewer results would have been falsified.
The great majority of forensic chemists, like the great majority of people in every line of work, do their jobs with professionalism and integrity. Unfortunately, Dookhan is far from the only bad apple. And when technicians fudge their results, people can lose their liberty.
Most court-watchers, whether they admired Scalia or despised him, will remember his positions on same-sex marriage or abortion or some other hotly contested issue. But I will remember him best for the revolution he sparked in Sixth Amendment jurisprudence. I earnestly hope that it survives him.
I didn’t believe this when I began teaching the Crawford line of cases some years ago. But real-world events have changed my mind.
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Stephen L Carter at scarter01@bloomberg.net
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