Dan Subotnik Professor of law at Touro College Law Center


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Toxic Diversity: Race, Gender, and Law Talk in America


ATTORNEY/SEXUAL ASSAULT AUTHOR: Dan Subotnik, is a Professor of Law at Touro Law School in Central Islip, N.Y. He is author of the book, Toxic Diversity: Race, Gender, and Law Talk in America.

Start By Believing: $1.4 Million to
Bias Investigations, Weaken the Presumption of Innocence, and Convict the Innocent

Our nation is facing an epidemic of false allegations and wrongful convictions:

(1) A national survey found nearly one in 10 persons reported they had been falsely accused of sexual assault, domestic violence, or child abuse.

(2) 2,382 exoneration’s have been documented to date, representing nearly 21,000 person- years lost.

(3) False accusations and perjury are the leading contributor to wrongful convictions.

In recent years, the presumption of innocence has become eroded. One law professor reveals that in domestic violence cases, “evidentiary standards for proving abuse have been so relaxed that any man who stands accused is considered guilty.”

An investigation that is thorough, objective, and fair is one of the most important protections against a wrongful conviction. Ethical codes require that investigations be based on principles of honesty and impartiality.

(1) Research shows investigators who develop a belief early-on that a suspect is guilty are far more likely to seek evidence that confirms the pre-conception, and to reject evidence that counters the belief.

The “Start By Believing” campaign trains investigators to begin an investigation by presuming the guilt of the accused. Investigators should “operate from a starting presumption that the report has merit,” according to the SBB training materials.

(1) Start By Believing programs consistently use the guilt-presuming word “victim,” not “complainant.”

An Arizona Governor’s Commission advised state criminal justice agencies to reject Start By Believing.

Over 150 professors and legal experts have signed a letter strongly criticizing the use of “victim-centered” investigations like Start By Believing.

Supported by two Department of Justice grants totaling $1.4 million, Start By Believing sponsored in 2018 an annual conference and two regional conferences, as well as numerous local events; and 3,200 persons participated in its Online Training Institute.

In early 2018, a formal complaint about bias-promoting SBB investigations was submitted to the Department of Justice. One year later, the DOJ has not provided a substantive response.

On April 3, SBB will be celebrating its annual Start By Believing Day. So why are we “celebrating” biased investigations, the erosion of the presumption of innocence, and wrongful convictions of the innocent?

Start By Believing investigations represent an existential threat to the integrity of our nation’s system of justice. SAVE is calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to suspend its $1.4 million funding for Start By Believing.

BIO: Admitted to the bar of New York; Certified Public Accountant (C.P.A.), State of Illinois. Professor Subotnik worked in the investment banking field before undertaking teaching positions in law and business at, variously, Northwestern University College of Law; the University of Illinois, Chicago; Santa Clara University School of Law; Seton Hall University School of Law; and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Professor Subotnik has written on a wide range of legal and non-legal topics, including employment discrimination, taxation, accounting, torts, gender and race relations, academic research, and the regulation of sexuality.

PLUG BOOK: www.amazon.com/Toxic-Diversity-Race-Gender-America-ebook/dp/B004DUN39I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1550634343&sr=8-1&keywords=Dan+Subotnik

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