White-Collar crime is probably the most under-reported of all crimes.
I. Public Corruption & White-Collar Crime by Type
I.a. Wrongful Convictions
For those who are wrongfully convicted, the effects are devastating. Felonies drastically reduce a person's chances of being able to rent a home or apartment and of being able procure gainful employment, and this has doubtless contributed significantly to unemployment and homelessness rates. Additionally, federal regulations prevent felons from being able to have access to people's social security numbers, so if you've been wrongfully convicted of a crime, say goodbye to your chances of ever having a Human Resources or Management position. This means there are a lot of smart, talented people out there digging ditches (or sleeping in them), who should instead be running companies or making public policy decisions.
For those of us who care about the future of our society, this is a huge problem.
I.a-1.) Systemic Criminal Negligence
It seems (and I admittedly base this solely on my own experience combined with anecdotes from local populations) that most wrongful convictions that take place in Western Washington are due in large part systemic criminal negligence: public defenders seeming unwilling to expend any actual effort to defend their clients, judges assuming police reports to be true without bothering to question whether officers are being truthful or accurate, officers simply arresting persons of lower income whenever persons of higher income request it, without bothering to do any real investigation, that sort of thing. All sort of a "pass the buck" mentality that gets apparent "undesirables" off the streets, processed into the system, given marks against their records, released, and made to pay fines, lest they have to repeat this humiliating and denegrading process ad infinitum. It seems to be a method of increasing revenue for local governments by preying on people too poor to afford their own attorneys. All without regard for their ability to find good employment or adequate housing in the future, or to continue persuing whatever fruitful, fulfilling careers they may have been working toward.
Clearly, something needs to be done about this. A wholesale replacement of negligent authorities and existing infrastructure is probably necessary. Friends, family, and other persons making up the support structures of the current regime should likewise be banned from holding any positions of authority, as one of the main reasons for this corruption is nepotism.
I.a-2.) Malicious Prosecution by Officials
At least some wrongful convictions are due to malicious prosecution by officials, such as police officers or prosecutors. All it takes is one dirty cop to make one false accusation, and systemic criminal negligence will take over to ensure that the victim of the false accusation is forever labeled a "criminal".
I was a victim of this on repeated occasions during my battle with cluster headaches and with public corruption in Pacific County, Washington.
I.a-3.) Lax Standard of Evidence
One major problem with our legal system, not only in the Northwest but throughout the United States and likely in many other nations as well, is what can at best be described as an inappropriately relaxed standard of what constitutes "evidence". At worst, it seems as though the system were designed upside-down, with the lowest, least trustworthy forms of evidence, such as witness testimony and police reports, esteemed as the most valuable, perhaps by design so as to give corrupt officials a "legitimate" means of convicting the innocent.
"We know not only from research and psychology but simple empirical evidence in the history of science that the lowest form of evidence that exists in this world... is eyewitness testimony. Which is scary because that's some of the highest form [sic] of evidence in the court of law." — Neil deGrasse Tyson (Sunday, July 2, 2017)
In Conspiracy Theories & Skepticism, at about about 40-45 minutes in, Neil deGrasse Tyson describes twice being disqualified from jury duty simply for having the ability to think.
I.a-4.) Prosecutorial Misconduct
May overlap with malicious prosecution by officials, particularly in cases where the prosecutor knows or doesn't care that the defendant is innocent.
I.b. Leniency for Corrupt Officials
An examination of the numbers indicates that, while law enforcement officers generally enjoy favorable treatment when facing criminal charges in the US generally, the problem appears significantly pronounced in Washington State. — Packman (2011)
II. Public Corruption & White-Collar Crime by County
II.a. Grays Harbor County
II.b. Lewis County
I moved to Lewis County at age 30 in early 2014 to continue my education, having barely survived my battle with cluster headaches and with public corruption in Pacifc County. While Centralia College seems to be a decent enough school, it's a veritable oasis in an otherwise bleak land of bigotry and xenophobia.
Lewis County seems to be a hotbed of classism and racism. Although there are more resources available to the poor than in more outlying areas like Grays Harbor and Pacific County, there persists a lower socio-economic class of homeless, some of whom work for what meager living they can procure, others content to "spange" (an intransitive verb meaning to solicit spare change) for a living, and still others attempting to sustain themselves by dealing illicit substances. This seems to have polarized the local populace, causing the community's elites, the working class that depends upon them, and the police commandos who enforce their rule, to treat the lower socio-economic class as some sort of looming horde of miscreants ever-threatening to engulf the Centralia/Chehalis community in theft, drugs, and chaos.
As a consequence, many of the honest and hard-working homeless and low-income individuals struggling to improve their situations are senselessly caught in the crossfire, all-too-often discriminated against and treated like scum.
I lived in Centralia from 2014 (age 31) to [present].
I lived in Chehalis for two weeks in early 2014 (age 30).
II.c. Pacific County
A reasting cesspit of racism, classism, nepotism, xenophobia, police profiling, police misconduct, religious discrimination, and all manner of public corruption, Pacific County is a truly terrifying place to live, as I discovered when I lived there from 1998 (age 15) to 2000 (age 17) and from 2004 (age 21) to 2013 (age 30). During this time I was the victim of a seemingly endless series of instances of public corruption and white-collar crime, including many instances of police misconduct.
As much as I'd like to believe that the authorities in Pacific County were but well-meaning morons,
I lived in Raymond from 1998 (age 15) to 2000 (age 17) and from 2009 (age 26) to 2013 (age 30).
April 13th, 2013, I was the victim of a hate-motivated armed robbery committed by the Raymond Police Department. I had several religious and personal items stolen from me, and was charged with carrying a concealed weapon for my athame — a clear and unambiguous violation of U.S. constitutional law which protects the religious freedom of its citizens. Thankfully the prosecutor for the City of Raymond was honest enough to drop the charges against me once he realized what was really going on, and the majority of my property (including my athame) was returned to me. Unfortunately, the officers who robbed me were never punished for this hate crime.
This was one of the few incidents of public corruption I was the victim of in Pacific County which did not have directly to do with my battle with cluster headaches.
II.c-2.) South Bend
I lived in South Bend from 2004 (age 21) to 2009 (age 26). This is where my battle with cluster headaches and with public corruption began.
It was here that the local hospital committed several acts of insurance fraud, with the aim of having me re-categorized as a “drug addict” for liability reasons, and to this end even enlisted the help of the local police.
Works Cited & Bibliography
⚖ David Packman. The Problem with Prosecuting Police in Washington State. PoliceMisconduct.net. February 27, 2011
⚖ Steve Miletich, Christine Willmsen, Mike Carter, and Justin Mayo. Shielded by the Law. The Seattle Times. February 27, 2011
⚖ Neil deGrasse Tyson. Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about UFOs. The Crypto Blast. July 2, 2017
Neil deGrasse Tyson - Conspiracy Theories & Skepticism. Question Everything. Youtube. 20 March 2017 (about 40-45 minutes)