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Friday, November 27, 2009

NYT: Court Upholds Willets Point Redevelopment Plan

Farewell my ol’ pal Izzy and his pet rat.

A federal judge on Wednesday upheld New York’s $3 billion redevelopment plan for Willets Point, an industrial section of Queens dominated by car-repair shops and waste-management businesses, finding that although the city had neglected the neighborhood’s infrastructure for decades, the constitutional rights of the businesses there — many of which will be forced to relocate under the plan — were not violated.

The plaintiffs, who organized themselves into an entity called the Willets Point Industry and Realty Association, and who “have established thriving businesses (notwithstanding the grossly inadequate infrastructure of the area)” and employ hundreds of people, “are understandably aggrieved by the fact that the plan that the city is in the process of implementing has no place for them,” the judge, Edward R. Korman of Federal District Court in Brooklyn, wrote. However, he ruled, it was not the place of federal judges to intervene in the dispute.

...Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s redevelopment plan was approved by the City Council, 42 to 2, last November. It calls for new sanitary and stormwater sewers, more power lines and new roadways and bicycle lanes. It also seeks new mixed-use development — including, possibly, a hotel and convention center — but envisions sweeping away the current industrial uses through eminent domain.

Judge Korman expressed sympathy for the plaintiffs whose property would be acquired by the government (with compensation) but found that they lacked a federal claim. “The timing of this lawsuit as well as plaintiffs’ own admissions at oral argument suggests,” he wrote, that the “real purpose of their lawsuit is to obstruct and forestall the implementation of the approved plan.”

Repoz Posted: November 27, 2009 at 12:28 AM | 215 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, mets

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   201. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:23 AM (#3398928)
Sam M.- Thank you for the response. However, I remain unclear on a couple of points. As a threshold matter, it seems reasonably clear to me that under Kelo there is substantially no Constitutional prohibition against the state confiscating your property (excepting some procedural safeguards) save for the fact that the state must pay you for your confiscated property. One, do you agree with that description of the current state of affairs? Two, are you comfortable that such is a reasonable interpretation of the Constitution? (assume the Berman facts if you please so as to avoid the incorporation issue.)

More importantly, I'm not clear on how public use is such a difficult concept. I'll grant it won't be black or white in many instances. Not even the concept of speech is that easy. However, is "public use" any more apt to produce judicial incoherence than is "cruel and unusual?" If not, why not? If so, why allow the Court to pronounce on one and not the other? (assuming, of course, that you support the Court getting itself into the C&U;debate.)

Substantive due process may be BS, but we wouldn't have to have spent 100 years mangling that clause to make the 14th amendment do what it was supposed to have done initially if the Court had the courage to just undo the evisceration of the 14th amendment by a racist Supreme Court in the Slaughterhouse Cases in 1873.

I don't have a decent answer to this question myself (and it's substantially irrelevant as far as Constitutionality) but how certain are you that a 14th amendment interpreted that way would have survived the 19th century without a revisit?
   202. billyshears Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:40 AM (#3398929)
how certain are you that a 14th amendment interpreted that way would have survived the 19th century without a revisit?

We'll never know, but I'm pretty certain. The incorporation cases don't read very well - it's hard to get through them without thinking that the Court was trying to stretch the due process clause to compensate for the neutering of the privileges and immunities clause. Considering the hoops the Court jumped through to achieve this result, I don't think it would have overruled a decision that was in line with the following 100 years of jurisprudence.
   203. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: November 30, 2009 at 07:55 AM (#3398931)
My mistake- I didn't mean a judicial revisit, I meant a legislative one. The idea being that a century after its passage, the notion of integration was still a bitter one- and not just in the southern states. I wonder if a Constitutional provision mandating such in all states wouldn't have gone the way of the 18th amendment. No way to know of course, just something to think about.

And finally, and you may have heard this one many times, guess who said this, "because I believe that the demise of the Privileges or Immunities Clause has contributed in no small part to the current disarray of our Fourteenth Amendment jurisprudence, I would be open to reevaluating its meaning in an appropriate case."
   204. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 08:07 AM (#3398932)
Freeballin' - I'm to guess that you think Kelo was the right decision, but for the wrong reason? That New London didn't have to satisfy any sort of 'public use' requirement?

I'm not sure - I haven't focused enough on this issue to have an informed opinion. Although I'm as easily baited as the next guy, I have tried to give only limited opinions in this thread.

Sometimes people seem to have a hard time with others who make limited comments, but refuse to take a whole host of positions usually held by people with the limited opinions expressed. I guess it's only natural, but I really did intend to make just one and then a second observation in this thread (1) that nothing in the text of the 5th amendment specifically bars a government from any taking, so long as there is just compensation; and (2) that the "framers' views" on this subject are only persuasive to people who are inclined to treat them as authoritative, and it is reasonable not to.
   205. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 08:13 AM (#3398933)
Ok, but you just did exactly what you said shouldn't be done - you made up, out of whole cloth, a definition and applied it to the constitution.

(1) I did not

   206. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: November 30, 2009 at 02:08 PM (#3398994)
(In any case, the 8th bans punishments which are cruel and unusual, not cruel or unusual. One would have to show that the death penalty is cruel as well.)

According to some dead, racist, jew-hating, misogynistic slaveowners' notions of cruelty, no doubt.


And, it's unjustified.
   207. Rich Rifkin Posted: December 03, 2009 at 05:32 PM (#3402226)
#142 - The Original Understanding of "cruel and unusual punishment" wouldn't extend to not executing minors, or not executing the mentally retarded.

This question is back in the news, today. The NYT story: "Inmate With Low I.Q. Nears Execution in Texas."
The man, Bobby Wayne Woods, whose I.Q. hovers around the level of a mildly retarded person’s, was convicted of the brutal killing of an 11-year-old girl in 1997 and sentenced to death.

The debate over whether he should be executed reflects the gray area left by the Supreme Court in 2002, when it ruled the mentally impaired were not eligible for the death penalty but left it up to state courts to interpret which inmates qualified as impaired.
For those who believe in the death penalty for certain heinous crimes, but think it is cruel and unusual to ever execute a person with mild retardation, I have a question: What is the appropriate punishment for this sort of criminal?

To my mind, if a person is incapable of understanding right from wrong -- such as an imbecile or a person with severe mental illness -- he should not be punished for his crimes. Rather, his crimes are to be blamed on society. The mentally ill (etc.) should not be left to their own devices. If they are too dangerous to themselves or to others, they should be restrained in a mental hospital. If they are able to live in society while under medication and supervision, then that is the best alternative. But in no case ought society allow someone who is hearing voices and the like to manage his own affairs. And when someone in that state commits a crime, it is senseless to punish him for it. (Despite the existence of "not guilty by reason of insanity" statutes everywhere, out prisons are full of people who are insane.)

But the case of the person with mild mental retardation is quite different. As long as he is capable of knowing right from wrong, it seems to me he should receive the same punishment as anyone else would for his crime.

If you (or the court) think it wrong to give him death for the "brutal killing of an 11-year-old girl," because you think the mildly retarded don't ultimately understand what that act meant, then why would you lock him up in prison for the rest of his life? Why would you not treat him the same as you would treat the psychotic, understanding that the retarded killer "could not understand"?

I wonder if this prohibition is fully thought out? And if it is, is it not just the expression* against the death penalty in this circumstance by those who ultimately oppose the death penalty in all or almost all circumstances?

*Perhaps it is akin to moves made by those who would outlaw all abortions, but fight at the margins for restrictions that they think might lead to fewer abortions as an interim step? In California, for example, the Right to Life groups have been fighting to force pregnant minors to wait some longer period of time and to get parental consent before abortion for them becomes legal. The idea, of course, is to reduce (but not eliminate) abortions. But if the authors of such legislation had their way, all abortions would be outlawed. These restrictions to them fall under the "half a loaf" theory.
   208. Rich Rifkin Posted: December 03, 2009 at 05:40 PM (#3402238)
A little more detail on the crimes of Bobby Wayne* Woods:
Mr. Woods, 44, was convicted of killing his former girlfriend’s daughter in April 1997. A jury determined he had abducted the 11-year old girl, Sarah Patterson, along with her brother, Cody, from the family’s home in Granbury, Tex., about 35 miles southwest of Fort Worth. The girl was raped before her throat was slit. The boy was severely beaten and left for dead near a cemetery, but he survived.

... At the trial, Cody Patterson identified Mr. Woods as the man who had kidnapped them and killed his sister. Genetic traces on the murder weapon were also linked to Mr. Woods.
Note: If you don't want your child to grow up to be a murderer, don't give him the middle name Wayne.
In the spring of 2006, UPI released a list of names of criminals with Wayne as a middle name.

Darrell Wayne Maness, 19, Wilmington, N.C. (January)
Timothy Wayne Ebert, 40, Cleveland, Texas (February)
John Wayne Blair, 49, Sevier County, Tenn. (April)
Derek Wayne Jackson, 18, Norristown, Pa. (April)
Nathaniel Wayne Hart, 34, Austin, Texas (April)
Kenneth Wayne Keller, Denton, Texas (August)
Ronald Wayne Lail, Burke County, N.C. (September)
Timothy Wayne Condrey, Caroleen, N.C. (September)
Roy Wayne Russell, Vancouver, Wash. (December)
Jeremy Wayne Hopkins, 22, Denton, Texas (November)
Reginald Wayne Thomas, 23, Huntsville, Texas (November)
Matthew Wayne Almand, 18, Melbourne, Fla. (November)

Donald Wayne Shipe, 37, Winchester, Va. (May)
Emmanuel Wayne Harris, 28, Bisbee, Ariz. (February)
Tyler Wayne Justice, Alice, Texas (September)
Douglas Wayne Pepper, 44, Greensboro, N.C. (November)

Dennis Wayne Bagwell, 41, Huntsville, Texas (February)
Lonnie Wayne Pursley, 43, Huntsville, Texas (May)
Melvin Wayne White, 55, Hunstsville, Texas (November)
   209. Langer Monk Posted: December 03, 2009 at 06:05 PM (#3402280)
I will say this: remind me never to go to Huntsville, Texas, to talk to a guy whose middle name is Wayne.
   210. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 03, 2009 at 06:27 PM (#3402332)
But the case of the person with mild mental retardation is quite different. As long as he is capable of knowing right from wrong, it seems to me he should receive the same punishment as anyone else would for his crime.
I agree with everything you wrote. "Mild mental retardation," unlike, e.g., schizophrenia, isn't a condition; it just means he isn't as smart as the average person. But half the population is below average, and it doesn't take much smarts to know enough not to commit rape and murder.

Moreover, many of the supposedly low-IQ inmates are "low-IQ" based on testing which took place after arrest. Big deal. If scoring low on an IQ test is necessary to save oneself from execution, surprise! it's not that hard to achieve a low score. (Yes, for some of us easier than others, I know...) Indeed, many of these supposedly retarded defendants have planned out their crimes carefully, disposed of evidence, held down jobs (at least to the extent any criminal does) throughout their lives, etc. These are not drooling imbeciles who accidentally killed someone a la Lennie in OMaM.
   211. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: December 03, 2009 at 07:59 PM (#3402489)
"Mild mental retardation," unlike, e.g., schizophrenia, isn't a condition; it just means he isn't as smart as the average person. But half the population is below average, and it doesn't take much smarts to know enough not to commit rape and murder.

LOL - I like the implication that half the population is mildly retarded. I don't necessarily disagree.
   212. Rich Rifkin Posted: December 03, 2009 at 08:47 PM (#3402562)
I like the implication that half the population is mildly retarded.
Technically, mildly retarded is an IQ from about 65-69. 70-75 is deemed borderline retarded. A person with an IQ from 76-99 is below average, but not "retarded". According to this, 2.146% of the American population is retarded (below 70). According to this, 25 percent of black Americans have an IQ below 75 (borderline retarded). On the other end of the spectrum, this article says Jews are about 6 times as likely as others to have a genius IQ, though I'm not sure what explains Paulie Shore.
   213. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: December 03, 2009 at 08:58 PM (#3402584)
A person with an IQ from 76-99 is below average, but not "retarded".

That's, like, your opinion.
   214. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 04, 2009 at 04:12 AM (#3403038)
By the way, on the off chance anybody remembers what this thread was nominally about, a New York appellate court rejected the Manhattanville project today. (But the decision will be overturned if/when Columbia appeals.)
   215. Freeballin' (Tales of Met Power) Posted: December 05, 2009 at 02:43 AM (#3404025)
A public use or benefit must be present in order for an agency to exercise its power of eminent domain. See U.S. Const. 5th amend; NY Const. art. I, § 7; EDPL 204 [1]).

Notice the absence of internal quotation marks.
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