“Under a Pennsylvania court ruling, the state cannot engage in asset forfeiture without an authorizing statute. About time.” My piece this week at Cato.
- The stalker wore a badge: AP finds mass abuse by police of non-public databases to check out romantic interests, celebrities, journalists;
- Union-backed bill: “Pennsylvania lawmakers approve ban on naming officers in shootings” [Philadelphia Daily News]
- How Chicago’s FOP shapes coverage of police shootings [Chicago Reader] Reason coverage of police unions here, here (Cleveland demand to stop open carry), here (union contracts restrict oversight), etc.
- Inside the Chicago Police Department’s secret budget of millions a year from seizures and forfeitures [Chicago Reader]
- Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith about force’s use of dragnet of social media information about citizens: “The only people that have anything to fear about anything being monitored are those that are criminals and attempting to commit criminal acts.” Yes, that’s really what Smith said [Alison Knezevich/Baltimore Sun; in sequel, social media companies rescind access to the Geofeedia service]
- “It ought to be possible to terminate cops short of criminal convictions for incidents like that involving [Freddie] Gray’s” [Ed Krayewski]
- Fuller investigation of that “reputation management” ruse of filing dummy court cases with the aim of getting critical web posts taken down [Eugene Volokh and Paul Alan Levy, Levy first and second followups, earlier here and here]
- “When Civic Participation Means Shaming A Non-Voter’s Kid” [my Cato post about an ill-considered public service announcement]
- Why America’s regulation problem is so intractable: Fortune magazine cover story [Brian O’Keefe]
- El Paso benefits from immeasurable advantage over neighboring Juarez, Mexico: rule of law and related American cultural attitudes [Alfredo Corchado, City Journal]
- Tort litigation in Pennsylvania is at its most intensive in a few counties, and residents pay the price [Peter Cameron, Scranton Times-Tribune, I’m quoted]
- California AG Kamala Harris orders BackPage execs arrested; Section 230 be damned? [TechDirt]
The office of now-convicted Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane kept the existence of a pile of seized money secret for nearly two years: “Not until the state attorney general’s office filed a forfeiture petition for the money [nearly $1.8 million] in Cumberland County Court on June 16, did its existence become public.” [Allentown Morning Call/Philly.com]
“Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted Monday of perjury, obstruction and other crimes after squandering her once bright political future on an illegal vendetta against an enemy.” Kane has thus far refused calls to resign from office, although her law license has been suspended [Philly.com] We’ve covered her ethical travails for some time, which included this excerpt from a post two years ago:
Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane dropped a longstanding corruption “sting” probe that had snagged several Philly officials. The Philadelphia Inquirer raised questions about her decision in its reporting, which contributed to a public outcry over the episode. Then Attorney General Kane brought a prominent libel litigator with her to a meeting with the Inquirer editors, and that lawyer announced that Kane was exploring her options of suing the paper and others that had reported on the matter, and that he was going to do the talking for her.
That was extraordinary behavior for a sitting public official — and, as we now know, indicative that underneath the bad appearances were some bad realities.
- Disparage at thy peril: three Democratic lawmakers demand FTC investigation of private group that purchased $58,000 in ads disparaging CFPB, a government agency [ABC News] So many politicos targeting their opponents’ speech these days [Barton Hinkle]
- A pattern we’ve seen over the years: promoting himself as outspoken social conservative, trial lawyer running for chairman of Republican Party of Texas [Mark Pulliam, SE Texas Record]
- Some of which goes to union political work: “Philly Pays $1.5 Million to ‘Ghost Teachers'” [Evan Grossman, Pennsylvania Watchdog via Jason Bedrick]
- “However objectionable one might find Trump’s rhetoric, the [event-disrupting] protesters are in the wrong.” [Bill Wyman/Columbia Journalism Review, earlier]
- Hillary Clinton’s connections to Wal-Mart go way back, and hooray for that [Ira Stoll and column]
- I went out canvassing GOP voters in Maryland before the primary. Here’s what they told me. [Ricochet]
Cato’s Jonathan Blanks in the Philadelphia Inquirer on the problems with a Pennsylvania bill that would shield the identities of police officers who shoot civilians. More, Police Transparency; related Virginia proposal.
- Women-only ride-hailing service (“Chariot”) set to launch in Boston. But is it actually legal under prevailing discrimination law? [Story Hinckley, Christian Science Monitor]
- Troll it with flowers: “Intellectual Ventures Hits Florist With Do-It-On-A-Computer Scheduling Patent” [Daniel Nazer, TechDirt]
- Pirate smugglers of Lake Champlain! Hillary Clinton’s tales of Vermont gun-running are silly beyond belief [Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post “Fact Checker”; Three Pinocchios]
- “Does Anyone Get Arrested For Breaking Those Weird Old Laws? This Man Did” [Mental Floss on Michigan swearing law]
- Harassment in Harrisburg: “Retaliation and Intimidation Persist in AG [Kathleen] Kane’s Office” [Lizzy McLellan and Ben Seal, The Legal Intelligencer, earlier]
- “Congress should privatize the USPS, repeal its legal monopolies, and give the company the flexibility it needs to innovate and reduce costs.” [Chris Edwards, Cato]
Bethesda Magazine profiles David Trone, whose Total Wine and More chain has helped introduce or reintroduce price-cutting, the negotiating of quantity discounts from vendors, and other advances in the business model for alcohol sales. Along the way, after infuriating competitors who were protected by existing state regulatory arrangements, Trone has been arrested three times, targeted by a Pennsylvania attorney general who was himself later sentenced to prison, subjected to grand jury proceedings at which allied merchants were urged to sever ties with him, and much more, which culminated in getting most of the charges thrown out and paying money to settle others. He spent millions on legal fees. After bad regulatory and legal experiences in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Trone shifted to a new strategy, part of which has involved generous campaign contributions: “So generally what we do now when we enter a new state is hire a lobbyist, hire a great legal team, and go meet the regulators. It’s preemptive, 100 percent.” Now he’s running for Congress.
- Today at Cato, all-day “Policing in America” conference, watch online; also check out recent Cato podcasts with Caleb Brown on the power of cop unions [Derek Cohen] and law enforcement drones [Connor Boyack];
- Despite recently enacted New Mexico law ending civil asset forfeiture, Albuquerque goes right on seizing residents’ cars [C.J. Ciaramella, BuzzFeed] Tulsa DA warns that asset forfeiture reform will bring headless bodies swinging from bridges [Radley Balko]
- Through court orders and settlements, Justice Department has seized control of the practices of police departments around the country. How has that worked? [Washington Post]
- Punishing the buyers: “The Nordic model for prostitution is not the solution — it’s the problem” [Stuart Chambers, National Post]
- “Plaintiff Wins $57,000 Settlement Over False Gravity Knife Arrest” [Jon Campbell, Village Voice] Will Republicans block reform of New York’s notorious knife law? [Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit] Second Circuit on standing to sue by knife owners;
- Union-backed bill had Republican sponsor: “Bill shielding identities of police who use force passes Pennsylvania House” [Watchdog]
- Federalist Society convention breakout session on “Ferguson, Baltimore, and Criminal Justice Reform” resulted in fireworks [YouTube; Tim Lynch, Cato]