Crime and punishment roundup

  • Three episodes of the Cato Daily Podcast, all with Caleb Brown: “A Survey of State-Level Criminal Justice Reform” with Robert Alt of the Buckeye Institute; “Reforming Parole and Probation” with Marc Levin of the Texas Public Policy Foundation; “Getting Honest on Bail Reform” with Josh Crawford of the Pegasus Institute;
  • In news of unconstitutional legislation, the lawmakers of Monroe County, N.Y. (Rochester) want to make it illegal to “annoy” a police officer [James Brown, WXXI, Eugene Volokh]
  • Jury unanimity is required in federal criminal trials, but does the Constitution also require it at the state court level? [Federalist Society SCOTUS Brief video with Jay Schweikert on Ramos v. Louisiana, argued at the Court Oct. 7]
  • In August New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law stripping state double jeopardy protections from Trump associates who may receive clemency in the future. It’s an improperly targeted enactment at best [Jacob Sullum, earlier]
  • Denison, Texas drunk with multiple priors, lying on gurney in hospital, kicks police officer and gets 99 year sentence for that [Stan Smith, KXII]
  • Lengthy profile of Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner, including his feuds with the local U.S. Attorney and Pennsylvania’s Attornry General. One disturbing data point: “Homicides in the city are up six percent and shootings are up 10 percent this year.” [Steve Volk, Philadelphia Magazine]

One Comment

  • Re: Monroe County, N.Y. (Rochester) want to make it illegal to “annoy” a police officer…

    California has two different statutes prohibiting “annoying”, one for “annoying” a child, and one for “annoying” anyone by telephone.

    CA Penal Code § 647.6:

    (a)(1)?Every person who annoys or molests any child under 18 years of age shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

    CA courts have required specific intent motivated by unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in the child, plus three more elements. So telling a child “Get off my lawn” can’t be prosecuted even if doing so annoys the child.

    CA Penal Code § 653m prohibits phone calls intended to annoy any person. But the statute limits itself to threats of injury to person or property, obscene language, and repeated phone calls intended to annoy. The meaning of “annoy” is not left to the discretion of the called party.

    So, I think Prof. Volokh would find both those “annoying” statutes constitutional, with perhaps some question about what constitutes “obscene” language.