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Scholar speaks on state crimes

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Lance deHaven-Smith shared his work and studies on State Crimes Against Democracy with many University of La Verne Public Administration doctoral students and faculty in La Fetra Hall Feb. 9.

The lecture touched on pivotal events in history ranging from President Lincoln’s assassination to the more recent Water­gate and Iran-Contra affairs, which have elements of controversy and secrecy that inspired deHaven-Smith to examine such political crimes.

Sponsored by the public administration department, deHaven-Smith expressed his take on crimes against the state to an intrigued crowd.

As a professor of public administration and policy at Florida State University, deHaven-Smith has expertise in how to tackle problems dealing with public policy.

He is the author of numerous books on various topics including religion, political philosophy and state government.

DeHaven-Smith has received many awards for academic contributions in his community. Among those, Florida Trend Magazine selected him as one of Florida’s 174 most influential people.

His current specialization focuses on state crimes against democracy, which are conspiracies by government insiders intended to manipulate and undermine popular sovereignty.

In his discussion, deHaven-Smith reinforced his beliefs that patterns can be identified in political crimes, but are hardly investigated by the government.

“I wish we didn’t have to speculate, I wish we could investigate,” deHaven-Smith said. “SCADs are so strikingly obvious.”

“He is very very informative,” said Angela Lenora, a public administration doctoral student. The lecture “made me reflect on the primary elections and the tiny loopholes in the system.”

DeHaven-Smith further outlined how state crimes against democracy play a more prevalent role today, especially after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“It’s curious. Given the significance of the event we should have many investigations,” deHaven-Smith said.

He pointed out a tendency for these crimes to increase in times of war.

Another doctoral student, Dionne Barnes-Proby proposed a question based on the information presented.

“You look at this as a public administrator and how do you make a difference?”

In light of the matter, the professor offered techniques on how to curb these incidents. Using prevention stratgies are a necessary tool to prevent vulnerabilities.

Recognizing voice stress patterns in speeches is one method that can identify lying and he believes these crimes should be treated as a capital offense. The scholar also shared that the 2000 presidential election served as a catalyst to study state crimes against democracy.

“These crimes are determining the nation’s direction,” said deHaven-Smith.

DeHaven-Smith is hopeful for the upcoming presidential elections.

His last thoughts may serve as a cautionary note for ULV students.

“If young people voted, it would change the world,” deHaven-Smith said.

Tiffany Vlaanderen can be reached at

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