Friday, December 14, 2018


Donald Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen has now been sentenced to hard time, and the guy who's currently Trump's personal lawyer believes the process has been unfair:
... the president’s current lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, contends that the scandal is overblown entirely.

“Nobody got killed, nobody got robbed... This was not a big crime,” Giuliani told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. He added, sardonically, “I think in two weeks they’ll start with parking tickets that haven’t been paid.”
That's an odd thing to hear from a guy who, as mayor of New York City, made his name by ordering crackdowns on minor crimes.
Giuliani and his [first] police commissioner, William Bratton, ... sent hundreds of police officers into the subways to crack down on turnstile jumpers and vandals....

Police ramped up misdemeanor arrests for things like smoking marijuana in public, spraying graffiti and selling loose cigarettes.
Bars without cabaret licenses were fined thousands of dollars if people were caught dancing. There was a twenty-five-fold increase in the fine for jaywalking, part of a crackdown that was so contrary to the spirit of New York that even the cops objected to it.

So Rudy didn't always think it was a bad idea to focus on crimes that were not "big."

It was all part of the "broken windows" theory of law enforcement.
The broken windows theory is a criminological theory that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages further crime and disorder, including serious crimes. The theory thus suggests that policing methods that target minor crimes such as vandalism, public drinking, and fare evasion help to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes.
There's reason to believe that the theory was seriously flawed -- crime went down dramatically in Giuliani's New York, but at the same it decreased significantly in cities across the country, including cities where similar policies weren't in force.

But I'm sure Giuliani still believes in "broken windows." And if you believe in the theory, you know that one of the arguments made in favor it could apply to Trump World. Here's George Kelling, one of the authors of an influential Atlantic article that helped popularize the theory:
Going after petty crime led the police to violent criminals, says Kelling: "Not all fare beaters were criminals, but a lot of criminals were fare beaters. It turns out serious criminals are pretty busy. They commit minor offenses as well as major offenses."
That's similar to what's happening now -- you nab people for relatively minor offenses and you're led to much worse crimes by those people and their associates, and the associates of their associates. Doesn't Rudy Giuliani want to stand up for the forces of law and order and civilization, and against the forces of societal decay?

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