Posts Tagged ‘crime and punishment’

Crime and punishment roundup

  • December Cato conference on criminal justice (Ken White, Harvey Silverglate, Hon. Shira Scheindlin, Kevin Ring, too many others to list) now online (earlier);
  • Justice Scalia and criminal law: Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention panel with Rachel Barkow, Stephanos Bibas, Orin Kerr, Paul Larkin, Jr., and Hon. Stephen Markman (Michigan SC), moderated by Hon. David Stras (Minnesota SC).
  • Nominee Neil Gorsuch and the criminal law [Andrew Fleischman/Fault Lines, William Patrick/Florida Watchdog, Kevin Ring, Eugene Volokh]
  • Are you sure you want to prosecute drug overdoses as murders? [Scott Greenfield]
  • “Three anonymous allegations of criminal activity within the past year” can result in eviction threat under NYC’s no-fault nuisance eviction law [Allie Howell, Economics 21]
  • Think lawmaking was more rational in the old days? How panic in Congress brought us the 1986 drug law [Radley Balko]
  • If your mission is truth-finding or criminal justice, “Start By Believing” is wrong approach [Eugene Volokh on campaign by Arizona Governor’s Commission to Prevent Violence Against Women] Two ethicists propose demoting standard of proof in U.K. rape prosecutions from beyond a reasonable doubt to preponderance of the evidence [Aeon via Community of the Wrongly Accused, which takes a different view]

Oregon occupiers acquitted: one juror’s statement

An Oregon jury has reached a verdict acquitting the occupiers of the Malheur wildlife refuge (earlier) of conspiracy charges. In seeking to explain this outcome, it may help to know about a detailed letter from a juror in the case, published in The Oregonian. Obviously, one juror’s view is not definitive in such a case.

I am indebted to reader J.B. for the following rough paraphrase of some themes and highlights of the juror’s letter:

* We didn’t intend to affirm or endorse the defendants’ views.

* We were certainly convinced that the defendants’ actions caused a lot of real-world disruption and damage.

* We don’t want to encourage other people to do stuff like that and regret the possibility that the acquittal might do that.

* The government had a complicated theory that, according to the law as the judge explained it to us, made the defendants’ subjective intentions more significant than the actual effects of their actions.

* We didn’t think the evidence about the defendants’ subjective intentions was strong enough to meet the legal standard for conviction under the government’s complicated theory as the judge explained the law to us.

* We’re frankly kind of puzzled as to why the government didn’t charge less complicated crimes like criminal trespass that might have been easier to get a conviction for.

All of which is not short enough to fit on a bumper sticker. The report by the Oregonian’s Maxine Bernstein, again, is here.

White House panel questions validity of criminal forensics

“Much of the forensic analysis used in criminal trials isn’t scientifically valid, according to a draft report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The report… raises questions about the use of bite-mark, hair, footwear, firearm and tool-mark analysis routinely used as evidence in thousands of trials annually in state and federal courts.” [Gary Fields and Kate O’Keeffe, WSJ]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • Quebec waiter arrested after seafood puts allergic customer in coma [CBC]
  • Two Black Lives Matter groupings have issued agendas, one zany leftism, the other directed at nuts-and-bolts criminal justice system reform. Media: “Door 1, please.” [Ed Krayewski]
  • Conservative lawprof Mike Rappaport on DEA’s “absurd,” “ridiculous” refusal to take marijuana off Schedule I [Law and Liberty] Recommended: Scott Greenfield and David Meyer-Lindenberg interview Julie Stewart of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Cato Institute alum [Fault Lines]
  • “Criminal defense bar sides with business lobby in False Claims Act case” [Alison Frankel, Reuters on State Farm case before Supreme Court]
  • 6th Circuit: amendments to Michigan sex offender registry law impose retroactive, hence unconstitutional, punishment [Jonathan Adler, Scott Greenfield]
  • “Criminalizing Entrepreneurs: The regulatory state is also a prison state” [F.H. Buckley, American Conservative]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • Virginia “one of a minority of states that suspend driving privileges — in most cases, automatically — for failing to pay court costs and fines arising from offenses completely unrelated to driving.” [Washington Post editorial]
  • D.C. Circuit “Rules DOJ Discovery Blue Book Off-Limits … For Now” [Jonathan Blanks, Cato]
  • “The New York Times Knows Florida’s Self-Defense Law Is Bad but Can’t Figure Out Why” [Jacob Sullum]
  • “We often hear that almost no one goes to prison simply for using marijuana.” But add “near a school”… [David Henderson]
  • A forensics roundup from Radley Balko;
  • “When Everything Is a Crime: The Overregulation of Ordinary Life” [Harvey Silverglate conversation with Reason’s Nick Gillespie]