The rapper Nas has helped to create an (intentionally) ugly sweater for the holiday season through HSTRY clothing. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Center for Court Innovation. This is a rare coming together of my personal and professional passions. I was fortunate to see Nas open for Gangstarr in 1994 in Providence, Rhode Island; Illmatic remains one of my all-time favorite hip-hop albums. It was clear back then that Nas was a unique talent. I'm not sure why he has chosen the Center for this honor, but I'm grateful.
Speaking of talent, I get an enormous kick out of seeing Center for Court Innovation alums go off to do amazing things in the world. Today I had a chance to catch up with one such alum: Marlon Peterson. Among other things, Marlon is promoting the idea of establishing gun-free zones, where both police and and local residents agree to disarm.
Keeping on the talent theme, earlier this week I had a chance to visit the Manhattan headquarters of the design firm IDEO. I enjoyed the tour, which culminated in a provocative discussion of how to advance the idea of procedural justice. It was fun to brainstorm alongside professional brainstormers.
I have written a lot about people that I admire on this blog. One of the individuals I have mentioned the most is Jonathan Lippman, New York's former chief judge. This week, I got to see Judge Lippman at his best, facilitating a panel on Housing Court at Fordham Law School organized by Poverty Justice Solutions. Despite having just come back from an overseas trip and having basically no time to prepare, Lippman was able to weave together a broad-ranging conversation about the future of civil justice in New York City. Lippman is nothing if not a quick study. It reminded me of a quote I gave once to a reporter doing a profile of Lippman back when he was chief judge: "He's the chief of billions of dollars and employees, and a ton crosses his desk, but he knows my issues better than I do."
Finally, I call your attention to a piece I wrote a couple of weeks back for the Gotham Gazette: "Enhancing Fairness, Improving Outcomes: The Real Story of Problem-Solving Justice in New York." At the Center for Court Innovation, we've been fortunate to attract a handful of thoughtful critics over the years -- people like Mae Quinn and Candace McCoy and James Nolan, among others. The latest in this line is Steve Zeidman, a professor at CUNY law school who wrote a disparaging piece about drug courts awhile back. I mostly think it doesn't make sense to respond directly to critics, but I made an exception in Zeidman's case. While I don't agree with him, I am thankful for his analysis, which offers important cautionary notes that all of us who are working to affect positive change within the justice system should remember.