Chicago Robbers Copy Cartel Roadblock Tactics: Robbers on Chicago's south side are emulating Mexican cartel tactics by setting up fake roadblocks as a ruse to trap motorist and violently rob them. Ildefonso Ortiz of Breitbart reports that this tactic is prevalent with both known Mexican drug cartels such as the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, and is so common in some Mexican border states that Federal police officers escort tourists to avoid danger. Since the Mexican cartels control much of the illegal drug trade in Chicago, some speculate whether the robbers intentionally copied them or came up with the scheme on their own.
Iowa Bill to Shield Crime Victims' Addresses: The Safe at Home Act, advancing through the Iowa legislature, would keep the home addresses of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking and stalking confidential. Mark Carlson of KCRG-TV9 reports that victims would receive a new legal address to be included on public records, but their actual address would not be available to the public. Law enforcement and select officials would still have access to victims' true residences.
Bill Would Put Time Limit on Rape Kit Processing: A bill passed yesterday by the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee, SB 0981, would require rape test kits to be sent to the state's testing lab within 60 days of the victim's written consent. Kelli Cook of Local Memphis reports that law enforcement in the state are currently not require to submit a rape kit at all, resulting in thousands of untested kits, some of which are decades old. The bill as it stands, however, is not the ultimate solution, as some officials maintain that there is a need for more funding for labs, prosecutors, and law enforcement.
NC Legislation Would Raise the Age of Juvenile Offenders: A bipartisan group of lawmakers in North Carolina have introduced HB 399, or the Young Offenders Rehabilitation Act, which would raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction of 16- and 17-year-olds who have committed low-level misdemeanors to ensure that they do not end up in the adult criminal justice system. Sandy Selvy-Mullis of the Stanly News & Press reports that according to a child advocacy group, 16- and 17-year-olds handled in the adult criminal justice system are twice as likely to recidivate as offenders in the juvenile criminal justice system. North Carolina is only one of two states, along with New York, that automatically prosecutes all 16- and 17-year-old misdemeanants as adults, regardless of the seriousness of the crime. New York is expected to revise their version of the law this spring.
DNA Collection at Arrest in Effect Today in Wisconsin: A new law in Wisconsin requires all people arrested for violent felonies and anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor to submit a DNA sample. This is expected to generate an additional 25,000 DNA samples from violent felony arrests and convictions and 43,000 samples from misdemeanor convictions. Dee J. Hall of the Wisconsin State Journal reports that the state has expanded its Crime Laboratory and hired more analysts and forensic technicians to handle the increase. Wisconsin is the 29th state to implement a DNA sample requirement at arrest.
(and later Associate Justice of the Supreme Court)
to the United States Attorneys
April 1, 1940
It would probably be within the range of that exaggeration permitted in Washington to say that assembled in this room is one of the most powerful peace-time forces known to our country. The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America. His discretion is tremendous. He can have citizens investigated and, if he is that kind of person, he can have this done to the tune of public statements and veiled or unveiled intimations. Or the prosecutor may choose a more subtle course and simply have a citizen's friends interviewed. The prosecutor can order arrests, present cases to the grand jury in secret session, and on the basis of his one-sided presentation of the facts, can cause the citizen to be indicted and held for trial. He may dismiss the case before trial, in which case the defense never has a chance to be heard. Or he may go on with a public trial. If he obtains a conviction, the prosecutor can still make recommendations as to sentence, as to whether the prisoner should get probation or a suspended sentence, and after he is put away, as to whether he is a fit subject for parole. While the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst.
When the blog started, would-be commenters could register on the blog and get a user ID and a password. Upon one of the periodic updates of the blog software, I was horrified to discover that some genius at Movable Type (the software maker) had decided that self-registerers would be designated "authors" rather than "commenters" by default, meaning they could write posts as well as comment on them. As that was unacceptable, I had to shut the feature off. Legacy commenters can still use their IDs, but nobody can register on their own.
To compensate, I opened commenting to people who sign in through other services, including OpenID, Google, and Yahoo. At the "sign in" page, there is a drop-down menu to choose one of these other sign-in methods.
Some of these other sign-in methods have an annoying "feature" (or bug, IMHO) of using a long string of random characters for a user name. For those signing in this way, we request that you adopt a "handle" and "sign" your comments in the text so everyone can see which comments come from the same person.
At some point in the not too distant future, hopefully, I will be able to restore the original registration system, and then I will phase out use of the alternative services. But I am employed mainly as a lawyer here. Being the IT Guy is "additional duty" that I do when I get around to it. So I don't know when that will be. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience.
[I]t could represent the crest of a new wave of commutations that could come in Obama's last two years in office. Last year, the Justice Department announced a new clemency initiative to try to encourage more low-level drug offenders to apply to have their sentences reduced. That resulted in a record 6,561 applications in the last fiscal year...
Obama wrote each of the 22 Tuesday, saying they had demonstrated the potential to turn their lives around...."Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy, and you will encounter many who doubt people with criminal records can change," Obama wrote. "I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong."
Question: Did Obama ever write a warm, personal note to the soldiers who risked life and limb trying to recover Bowe Bergdahl?
After 15 days of victims recounting their injuries, experts testifying about explosives and terrorism, and witnesses detailing the deaths of three people in the Boston Marathon bombings, the defense team of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had its turn to make a case.
It was over in six hours.
Defense counsel has been understandably circumspect in dealing with the press. Still, in an exclusive to this author, counsel gave a brief statement:
In the guilt phase of the trial, there wasn't a lot we could do. We've been preparing for what we expect will be the penalty phase.
What's needed is to humanize the client, to show he's not a monster. That's where we've been aiming. Still, it's not been without trouble. In the months we've been working with Mr. Tsarnaev, it's become clear that he's a narcissistic brat. Not only did he never deny planting the bomb, he's proud of it. He's told us that America had it coming for its treatment of Muslims. When his brother broached the idea, he couldn't have been more enthusiastic. He thinks the little boy he blew up was just one more infidel. To make things worse, he was headed toward an arrogant life of White Privilege. He was so spoiled he even wanted to play Little League. Can you imagine?
The reason I'm willing to discuss these things is that I think it's important for lawyers to tell the truth, be fully forthcoming, and not try to hoodwink anyone. I mean, this is about justice, right?"
Spring Break Shooting Prompts
Debate About Restrictions: A spring break house party
on the Florida Panhandle that erupted with gunfire and left seven people
injured has prompted officials to consider cracking down on the out of control
spring break season. "This is what we've been trying to warn people about," said Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen. Until the shooting, the Sheriff's warnings had been ignored by most local officials. Melissa Nelson-Gabriel
and Matt Sedensky of the AP report that Panama City Beach's city council has allocated
up to $200,000 to contribute to increased police patrols, discussed the
implementation of an alcohol ban on beaches, as well as making the last-call on
alcohol sales earlier. The shooter,
David Jamichael Daniels, was arrested and charged with seven counts of
Bill to Grant New Orleans DA
Investigators Arrest Powers: The
city of New Orleans continues to surge with violent crime, leading a local
state lawmaker to propose new legislation that would grant the Orleans Parish
District Attorney's office more law enforcement authority, allowing the NOPD to
focus on fighting crime. Sabrina Wilson
of Fox 8 WVUE reports that HB 179, created by Rep. Austin Badon, would give DA
investigators arrest powers, which is the only element of authority that they
currently don't share with police officers.
The district attorney supports the idea.
Bill Criminalizes Disclosure of
Police and Military Personnel's Residences:
Pennsylvania state senator Lisa Boscola has proposed legislation that would make it a crime to disclose the home addresses of police officers and military personnel. Jim Deegan of Lehigh
Valley Live reports that disclosure would be classified as a third-degree
misdemeanor and would apply to social media. Given the dangerous and sensitive nature of
both law enforcement and military duties, Boscola believes, once the bill is
passed, it will protect them and their familes from harassment and potential violence.
COPPS Unit Successfully Targets
Property Crime: The implementation
of a specialized unit last year in Columbus, Indiana called Community Oriented
Policing and Problem Solving, or COPPS, allows police to focus on
problem areas in the city. Teresa Mackin
of Wish TV reports that the unit doesn't take patrol calls during their shifts,
which allows for more in-depth investigations and the opportunity to act
proactively in an effort to target repeat offenders. Chief of Police Jonathan Rohde says property
crime has decreased in areas the unit has worked.
Immigrant Gang Arrests Decline Under Obama's Policies: Arrests of immigrant gang members has been in rapid decline since 2013, raising concern about whether the Obama Administration regards international gang activity as a priority. Caroline May of Breitbart reports that gang activity and the number of immigrant gang members has not declined. South Texas Border Patrol agents' say that an increasing number of MS-13 gang members have been crossing the border since 2011. Jessica Vaughn, an expert for the Center for Immigration Studies, emphasizes the need for greater immigration enforcement, but points out that the Obama Administration's policies, such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, "have shielded too many gang members from deportation."
Should people with intellectual disability, formerly called mental retardation, be categorically exempt from capital punishment, regardless of how many or horrible their crimes? I will assume for the sake of argument that the consensus of the American people would be "yes" for the moderately retarded and below. I very much doubt that such a consensus would exist for the mildly retarded if people knew what that meant. If fully informed, I think most people would agree with the 1989 rule of Penry v. Lynaugh that intellectual disability in that range should be considered as a mitigating factor to be weighed in the balance, not a trump card.
Even so, in Atkins v. Virginia in 2002, the Supreme Court extended the blanket prohibition to everyone diagnosable as retarded, but not to "borderline intellectual functioning," the next step up. The fuzzy distinction between mildly retarded and borderline had been of little consequence while both were mitigating and neither was a trump card, but suddenly the distinction made a great difference. A wave of death row inmates claiming to be retarded, a few of whom actually were, made Atkins claims. How do we go about deciding them? Does every one who makes the claim get a full-blown hearing?
Should a judge who receives an Atkins claim look to the record of a pre-Atkins sentencing and decide on the basis of that record alone, without giving the inmate an opportunity to submit any additional evidence, that he has no claim? Of course not. If you read only the question presented as phrased by lawyers for the inmate in Brumfield v. Cain, No. 13-1433, you might think that is what happened in that case. Not really.
Meanwhile, back in federal court, the fight continues over the attempt to squelch the federal "fast track" on capital habeas cases, the never-implemented major reform of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Since USDoJ is not interested in fighting this as vigorously or expeditiously as is needed, I moved to intervene on behalf of Marc Klaas, the father of a murdered little girl. Unsurprisingly, the other side's favorite district judge rejected the intervention motion, so I filed an appeal from that order plus a protective appeal from the injunction on the merits of the case.
The capital defense lawyers, being represented contra bono publico* by the Orrick firm, moved to have the merits appeal dismissed before briefing. Today the appellate commissioner denied that motion. On its face, the denial is "without prejudice to renewing the arguments in the briefs," but since the whole point is to preclude the briefing, that is a win for the good guys.
Modern psychology is one of the most powerful intellectual authorities of our time. Its appeal derives in no small part from its ability to absolve us of responsibility for our misdeeds, vices, and failings. It's never our fault. It's the fault of our subconscious drives, our parents, or our genes. And the solution to our behavioral problems lies not in reforming our character, but in medicines and therapy that can cure the diseases and disorders diagnosed by psychology.
In Admirable Evasions: How Psychology Undermines Morality, the well-known writer, social critic, and psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple shows how the findings of psychology are superficial and its net effects deleterious. Dalrymple examines the damage psychology has done to our politics by relieving individuals of moral responsibility and diminishing their ability for honest self-reflection. Theodore Dalrymple is the pen name of Anthony Daniels.
Down, Payroll Up: As the prison
population drops 38 percent, the payroll costs for the CDCR have increased 5.3
percent, resulting in one third of officers earning more than $100,000 a year
due to an increase in overtime hours worked.
Joel Hoffman of UT San Diego reports that overtime shifts have become a
necessity due to a wave of retirements as well as recruitment classes slashed during
budget crises. Currently, four training
academies are operating and are expected to generate 7,000 new recruits in the
next three years to remedy the disparity.
CA's Death Row Runs out
of Room: Governor Jerry Brown is
seeking $3.2 million from the California legislature for the addition of 100
cells for condemned inmates at San Quentin State Prison because the state's
death row has run out of room. Paige St.
John of the LA Times reports that the death row population has increased
steadily, from 646 inmates in 2006 to the current 751, and an average of 20 new
death row arrivals are anticipated in each upcoming year. Expanding death row is not out of the realm
of possibility being that the prison's general population has decreased with
the passage of AB 109 and Prop. 47. Critics
of the proposal emphasize Gov. Brown's failure to take steps to resume executions.
Fetal Homicide Debate Continues in CO: Heated debates continue in Colorado over a fetus' legal rights after the brutal attack of an 8-month-pregnant woman, whose unborn child died when it was cut from her body, failed to result in a homicide charge. Ivan Moreno and Nicholas Riccardi of the AP report that the state of Colorado has rejected fetal homicide proposals twice, fearing they could interfere with abortion rights. Current law states that a person can face a murder charge in the death of a fetus "only if there is evidence that it survived apart from its mother." In this case, there was no such evidence.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court took up the highly controversial cases of the Carr brothers, both titled Kansas v. Carr, Nos. 14-449 (Jonathan) and 14-450 (Reginald), along with Kansas v. Gleason, No. 14-452.
Update: Questions presented follow the break.
If two courts disagree on a question of law, which court's opinion should prevail? Within the hierarchy of appellate review, the "higher" court's opinion prevails. That is what we mean when say that questions of law are reviewed "de novo." (For questions of fact, the judge or jury at trial gets broad deference.)
When a federal court considers the decision of a state court on habeas corpus, though, the situation is different. A federal district court or court of appeals is not "higher" than the state supreme court in this sense. Congress has never placed any federal court but the Supreme Court above the state courts in the sense of appellate jurisdiction.
So what do we do when a habeas petitioner claims in federal court that he is in jail illegally, but his legal argument has already been considered and rejected by the state court on appeal or state collateral review, and the U.S. Supreme Court has either refused or not been asked to review the state court's decision directly? It's complicated.
Where the video does indeed show that the cop is a bad apple, it will be valuable in weeding him out, leaving us with a better police force.
But what about other people inevitably captured on police video? By the nature of police work, the videos will very often record people in the worst moments of their lives. Should those videos be public? Might a video of a college student being arrested while sloppy drunk be used in an attack ad 20 years later when the now-mature upstanding citizen runs for public office? Could videos be used in extortion schemes similar to those we saw with "revenge porn," except that unlike the revenge porn the person shown had no choice in the making of the video in the first place?
"How death penalty politics radically, shockingly changed: Death row's days are numbered..."
For willingness to lie, belligerently and with a straight face, I have seldom encountered anything like the abolitionist movement. The refrain is that public support for the death penalty has been crumbling in recent years, but the truth is otherwise (as abolitionists know while they continue to dissemble)."Americans' Support for Death Penalty Stable. WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Six in 10 Americans favor the death penalty for convicted murderers, generally consistent with attitudes since 2008."
Yolo County Questions
Prop. 47 Sentencing: Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig has expressed disagreement with two Yolo County judges
regarding the handling of low-level drug offenses under Prop. 47, adopted by CA voters last November. Sarah Dowling of
the Daily Democrat reports that the Reisig believes that drug offenders are less
likely to pursue drug treatment without incarceration or the threat of
incarceration. He has proposed developing new
sentencing guidelines for drug offenses, and Chief Probation Officer Brent
Cardall agrees. He is suggesting reforms to probation protocols that
would help prevent drug offenders from avoiding treatment.
Gov. Brown To Parole Sick, Elderly Convicts: In a cost-cutting effort, Governor Jerry Brown has proposed the parole of hundreds of convicts who are chronically sick, mentally impaired, and over the age of 60. Thomas D. Elias of the Napa Valley Register reports that this idea was first introduced in 2002 by Ray Procunier, the former California director of corrections under Ronald Reagan, who pointed out that Reagan cut the prison population by one-third with no increase in crime. Since violent crimes are typically committed by young offenders in their teens and 20s, and the costs of treating sick and/or elderly inmates is extremely expensive, many consider their release to be a sensible solution to ease prison overcrowding.
Burglaries Linked to Prop. 47: A rash of
burglaries in La Cañada, California has residents wondering whether or not it is
the direct result of Prop. 47, a law passed in November that released thousands
of inmates from state prisoners. Anita
S. Brenner of the La Cañada Valley Sun reports that burglaries have been on the rise
statewide, likely due to drug offenders, who often commit thefts and burglaries
in order to feed their habit, receiving only a citation for their
crimes. State corrections officials
insist that long-term studies must be conducted before the "true effect" of
Prop. 47 is seen.
CA Loosens Jessica's
Law: Jessica's Law, or Prop. 83, which
forbids sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, is becoming less
restrictive in California. Kate Mather
of the LA Times reports that the "blanket restrictions" outlined in the law
will no longer be imposed, and cases will be assessed more individually. The law, as it stands now, will still apply to
high-risk sex offenders and offenders whose crimes involved children under the
age of 14, who will be forbidden from living within a half-mile of a school or
park. This loosening of the law comes after a CA Supreme Court decision holding that the restrictions could not be applied in San Diego County due to a lack of residential properties 2,000 feet from schools and parks.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl says he was tortured repeatedly in the five years he was held captive by the Taliban: beaten with a copper cable, chained, held in a cage and threatened with execution after trying to escape.Despite? Nevertheless? Is desertion any less desertion because it is followed by bad consequences for the deserter when the enemy he places himself in the hands of turns out to be (surprise, surprise) the enemy?
Bergdahl described his captivity in a note his lawyer made public Thursday after sharing it with the Army in an attempt to avert a court martial.
The Army charged Bergdahl nevertheless on Wednesday, accusing him of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy for leaving his post in Afghanistan in June 2009.
"Bergdahl's lawyer Eugene Fidell said the sergeant has already suffered more than enough." Okay, consider that in sentencing, but he is still a deserter, and his military record needs to reflect that.
Public Policy Polling has done a poll on the Pennsylvania Governor's death penalty moratorium that is so blatantly worded that it reads like a parody of bad polling. If an instructor gave his students an assignment to "draft the worst poll question you possibly can," it would read something like this:
Governor Wolf has temporarily paused executions in Pennsylvania until concerns about the risk of executing innocent people, the high cost of the death penalty, and serious issues of unfairness can be addressed by a bipartisan study commission. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose the decision to temporarily pause executions?Yet even skewed to the max they didn't crack a majority. "Strongly support" and "somewhat support" only totaled 50%.
They also asked the extremely biased "which punishment" question we have noted many times before, implying that the respondent must choose a single punishment for all murderers.
The press seems to be lapping this up, uncritically reporting the poll result with no mention of the extreme bias in the wording. See, e.g., this article in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader.
The real news here is that support for the death penalty remains so robust that even a badly worded question like this can't generate a substantial majority. No one seems to be getting that.
Promotes Sex Assault Legislation: In
the wake of the findings that the UVa gang rape story published in the Rolling Stone in November was false, New
York Senator Kristen Gillibrand still wants sexual assault on
college campuses to be addressed more seriously. Jessica Bakeman of Capital New York reports
that Gillibrand's bill, the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, "would
require colleges to sign memorandums of understanding with local law
enforcement" in order to promote collaboration. She hopes that victims will feel more comfortable reporting legitimate on-campus sexual assaults if they understand that law enforcement officials will be involved.
Big Data Assesses Risk
and Recidivism: The criminal justice
system is leaning toward big data analytics to make predictions about future
criminality, which would influence sentencing.
Dawinder Sidhu of the Baltimore Sun reports that 20 states have already
adopted this approach, which purports to more accurately differentiate
between high- and low-risk offenders. US
Attorney General Eric Holder supports the use of risk-assessment tools, but is
concerned that factors such as race and sex will inaccurately skew an
Rape Victim Fights to
Extend Florida's Rape Law: Orlando
resident Danielle Sullivan stands behind new legislation called the 43 Days
Initiative Act, which would extend Florida's statute of limitations to ten
years for reporting adult rape. Ann Keil
of My Fox Orlando reports that Sullivan was raped five years ago, but when she
went to report it after four years, she was 43 days too late to seek
prosecution. Thirty-two states have a
statute of limitations of ten years or more, while 18 states have no statute of
limitation at all for reporting adult rape.
The passage of this bill would bring the state of Florida "in line with
the rest of the nation."
Probation to Arm Officers: The Calaveras
County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the purchase of guns for its probation officers
due to the increased threat posed by high-risk offenders out on AB 109 (Realignment). The Union Democrat reports that because so
many higher risk offenders are out on Realignment, probation officers must conduct home visits accompanied by an armed Sheriff's deputy.
Senate Committee Kills Bill That Would Shield Drug Companies: A South Carolina Senate committee killed the bill with a 7-7 vote that would hide the names of companies that sell execution drugs, although it is still alive in the Legislature. Jeffrey Collins of the AP reports that Democrats primarily voted against it on the grounds that condemned inmates have the right to know the identities of the companies making the drugs that will kill them. Senator Mike Fair, in favor of the bill, has suggested that the identities of these companies can be kept secret from the public but confidentially disclosed to the person being executed and their defense team, just as with the identities of the doctors and nurses involved with executions.
[T]he bigger story [in the Bergdahl case] is the extravagant price the U.S. has paid because President Obama wanted to score political points.
Readers will recall that then-Private First Class Bergdahl went missing from his post in Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009. Fellow soldiers suspected desertion, though the Army conducted a risky manhunt to recover him...
The Associated Press has reported that an internal Pentagon investigation in 2010 found "incontrovertible" evidence that he had walked away from his post. Journalists also uncovered an exchange of letters in which the soldier wrote to his father "the title of U.S. soldier is just the lie of fools," that he was "ashamed to even be american," and that "the future is too good to waste on lies." Replied father Robert: "OBEY YOUR CONSCIENCE!"
All of this would have been known to President Obama and National Security AdviserSusan Rice when the Administration decided to swap Sgt. Bergdahl for five Guantanamo Bay detainees--all top Taliban leaders--in May 2014. Mr. Obama even invited Sgt. Bergdahl's parents to a [chipper -- ed. addition] Rose Garden ceremony to announce the swap, while Ms. Rice declared on a Sunday talk show that the soldier had served his country with "honor and distinction."
The co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 appears to have deliberately crashed the plane after he was left alone in the cockpit, according to a French prosecutor.
The captain was intentionally locked outside minutes before the A320 crashed into an alpine mountain ridge, French Prosecutor Brice Robin said Thursday. Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, a 28-year-old German national, was silent throughout the plane's descent and was alive at the point of impact, according to the prosecutor.
Mr. Robin's conclusions are drawn from the plane's cockpit voice recorder, recovered at the crash site in the French Alps late Tuesday and analyzed by French accident investigators on Wednesday.
The recording contains screams believed to be from passengers, once they recognized the plane was crashing.
As with ISIS's burning to death a caged Jordanian pilot, the mind-bending horror of a mass murder undertaken like this causes me to wonder how any principled person can woodenly oppose capital punishment. It took eight to ten minutes for the plane to hit the ground, after a steep, controlled dive that those on board could not have helped knowing was their last time on this earth. The horror and panic of it, multiplied for 150 passengers, is something I cannot put into words.
The co-pilot who engineered this horror died in it. But he might have survived -- it happens every now and again. Had that happened, it's beyond my comprehension that a jury of fair-minded people, after hearing all the evidence, should be absolutely barred from having at least the chance to consider a death sentence.
The idea that a term of years is fitting punishment for the horror-laden, violent murders of dozens of helpless men, women and children -- people subjected to a grotesque mental torture incapable of description (before being smashed to death) -- is incoherent in any system I could recognize as civilized.
Support Tougher Immigration Laws: SB
185, a bill in the Texas Legislature that would stop cities from enforcing policies that ban police
officers from asking immigration-related questions to detainees, is gaining significant
support from Hispanic Texans. Kristine
Galvan of My Fox Houston reports that supporters feel strongly that police
officers need to have "all the tools available to them to keep us safe," which
would include asking questions to arrestees and suspicious persons regarding
legal status. Maria Espinoza, director
of the Remembrance Project, an organization that works with families of
American citizens killed by illegal immigrants, is recruiting Hispanic
conservatives to voice their support of SB 185.
Pension-Forfeiture Bill Proposed for Child Predator Teachers: Washington State Senator Barbara Bailey has introduced a bill that would strip the pensions of persons in violation of the public trust, such as a teacher convicted of child molestation. Dan Springer of Fox News reports that in the state currently, 22 of the 130 teachers who lost their licenses are convicted felons that are costing taxpayers $2 million to pay their pensions. The Washington Education Association is challenging the bill, arguing that "the criminal justice system should have no bearing on a public employee's retirement benefits."
Violent Crime Up 26% In LA: Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told the police commission Tuesday that violent crime in the city was up 26%. The Chief reported that property crime rose by 11% and that serious crime has climbed 14% so far this year. Richard Winton of the LA Times reports that the surge of violence was driven in part by a spike in aggravated assaults, which began last year and is still climbing. The Chief noted that many of the increased assaults were domestic violence and alcohol-fueled street attacks. Last year a Times investigation found that 1,200 violent or serious crimes had been misclassified by the Department as low-level offenses.
The most controversial case, by far, will be the racial gerrymandering case, Alabama Black Legislative Caucus v. Alabama. Part IV of the opinion deals with when race is the "predominant motivating factor," an issue that comes up in Batson cases. Not sure if there will be any spillover.
In dissent, the ever-entertaining Justice Scalia takes aim at the way the majority bends over backwards to allow the plaintiffs to change their theory of the case after they were losing.
However, rather than holding appellants to the misguided legal theory they presented to the District Court, it allows them to take a mulligan, remanding the case with orders that the District Court consider whether some (all?) of Alabama's 35 majority-minority districts result from impermissible racial gerrymandering.... It does this on the basis of a few stray comments, cherry-picked from district-court filings that are more Rorschach brief than Brandeis brief, in which the vague outline of what could be district-specific racial-gerrymandering claims begins to take shape only with the careful, post-hoc nudging of appellate counsel.Well, I know how I'm going to title my next pleading: "Rorschach Brief in Support of Motion for Leave to Take a Mulligan."