Crime and punishment roundup

  • Judges generally aren’t supposed to jail defendants over petty fines and fees they’re unable to pay, but many do anyway. How one Texas judge resists [Ed Spillane, Washington Post]
  • Maryland legislature passes amended version of asset forfeiture bill I spoke favorably of at Annapolis press event in January [Tenth Amendment Center, background]
  • Child services hair-sample forensics: “This Canadian Lab Spent 20 Years Ruining Lives” [Tess Owen, Vice]
  • Cato’s 1995 Handbook for Congress urged repeal of Clinton crime bill, but Congress didn’t listen [Tim Lynch, Newsweek and more]
  • “The main thing going through my head was, ‘I’m never going to get a job again.’” Public shaming as punishment [Suzy Khimm, The New Republic]
  • Judge Alex Kozinski publicly names prosecutors in Washington state he thinks may have violated a defendant’s rights [Matt Ferner, HuffPo]


  • Re: a lab test for an ethanol metabolite in hair follicles.

    Ethyl glucuronide is associated with ethanol consumption. Data however show that the test is both insensitive and non-specific. That is, there needs to be shown an indisputable correlation between dose of ethanol consumption and concentration of resulting measured product (ethyl glucuronide); there is not, and thus the test is insensitive. Also, the source of ethanol must be certain from the test, but it is not, as hand washing gels, and endogenous ethanol production within a person (not consumed) also make for positive tests, and thus it is not specific.

    • Sounds like the same reasons that breathalyzers are inaccurate. The test detects the Methyl group and doesn’t differentiate between the types.

  • Re: Public Shaming

    The same Social Justice Warriors who would cry out about “overpolicing” in Ferguson are the first ones to want to shame people merely accused of soliciting prostitution as in the “Flush The Johns” case in Nassau County.

    I grew up in Nassau County and know how corrupt it is.