Monday, March 21, 2011

Economics of law - Who pay for justice lost and found?

I have long argued that law and justice is not free. Society (people really) must pay for the opportunity costs of law and justice. The costs of justice should not be ignored, still less be borne by a few, e.g, "innocent" suspects or "wrongfully" convicted criminals.

Under suspicion: Millions paid to former suspects
By The Associated Press The Associated Press – Mon Mar 21, 5:21 am ET

In recent years the federal government or its contractors have paid millions of dollars to settle lawsuits filed by people who say they were unfairly detained or harassed because of terrorism fears. The payments include:
• $2 million in 2006 to Portland, Ore., lawyer Brandon Mayfield, who was jailed after FBI agents mistakenly linked him to a fingerprint found after the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
• $2.5 million in attorney fees and damages, ordered by a judge who found that the U.S. government failed to get court warrants before wiretapping the calls of an Oregon charity accused of supporting terrorists.
• $1.8 million in 2006 and 2009 to seven men detained for months in New York and New Jersey shortly after Sept. 11. Other plaintiffs in the case are still pursuing it in court, and their lawyers say it could eventually involve about 1,200 former detainees.
• $250,000 in 2009 to Abdallah Higazy, jailed for 34 days after an aviation radio was found in the safe of a hotel room he was occupying near the World Trade Center on Sept. 11. The radio had been left in the room by a previous guest, a pilot.
• $240,000 paid to Raed Jarrar by the Transportation Security Administration and JetBlue Airways after the TSA forced him to cover a shirt with Arabic script before boarding a flight.
• $225,000 paid by the San Francisco Police Department and a TSA contractor to Rahinah Ibrahim, who was detained at the San Francisco International Airport and lost her U.S. visa after her name appeared on a no-fly list. The Department of Homeland Security is still fighting her lawsuit.

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