The "Lesson of Ferguson"

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We're being lectured all over the place about "the lesson of Ferguson."  Generally the "lesson" is some variant on the theme that the cops are Nazis (libertarian version) or racists (liberal version).

I have my own "lesson of Ferguson" to offer.  It is literally a lesson, one that Michael Brown's parents might have found useful to drive home about ten years ago:

Michael, we love you enough to want, and demand, that you grow up straight. We know you stole your classmate's apple.  It's wrong to steal. You need to learn this, immediately and permanently.  You're grounded for a week, and you will have extra chores, which you will do without hesitation or complaint. We also know that when your teacher asked you about it, you smartmouthed and walked away. That is not acceptable.  You are at all times to respect and obey proper authority.  You are grounded for an additional two weeks. Any further episodes of stealing or disrespecting authority will result in more punishment until you wise up.

And then they needed to make it stick.

If they had, Michael Brown would be alive today, many stores in Ferguson would not have been looted, and Darren Wilson would still have a career. 

News Scan

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Victim's Family Outraged Over Murderer's Release: A Kentucky family is left feeling angry and confused after the man who murdered their family member 13 years ago was released from state custody without their knowledge.  Ann Bowden of WLKY News reports that convicted killer Shawn Patterson was released from prison under House Bill 463, a law that allows both non-violent and violent offenders to be released from custody early in an effort to save the state money.  Since the law was passed in 2012, 10,000 inmates have been released ahead of schedule and placed on 'mandatory re-entry supervision.'

Arkansas to Address Prison Overcrowding: Lawmakers in Arkansas are looking at several different ways to address prison overcrowding including the use of private prison facilities and the implementation of alternative sentencing programs.  Andrew DeMillo of the Associated Press reports that more than 2,000 inmates have been moved from prison to county jails, and plans to build a new facility are estimated at costing upward of $100 million.  The legislature is also suggesting expanding the use of drug courts and using abandoned school buildings to house inmates.

Accused Killer has Lengthy Criminal Past: The Colorado man accused of kidnap and murder of a single mother in 2007 has a lengthy criminal past, including multiple arrests for abducting women.  CBS News reports that 63-year-old Lester Jones was arrested in 1999 after authorities say he forced his wife into his car and threatened to kill her.  Later that month, he was arrested again for abducting another woman and sexually assaulting her.  Jones is facing charges of kidnapping, murder, and arson.  He is being held in jail on $2 million bond.

Some readers have told me by email that they tried to register at ABA Journal to vote for their favorite blog (which I hope and presume was this one) but were told that their registration was suspected spam and was discarded.  After several email exchanges with the editors, that problem appears to be fixed.

So here is the link again.  Of course I wouldn't be so crass as to ask you to ... sure I would!  Vote for C&C!

Facebook Threats Argument Next Week

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Elonis v. United States, the Facebook threats case, will be argued next week.  We filed our brief last October, and I wrote this post the same day.

Amy Howe has this "plain English" post on the case at SCOTUSblog.  She noted it is unlikely that the Justices are much familiar with Facebook and wonders if that will affect the case.  It shouldn't, in my opinion.  The definition of a prohibited threat should not vary with the medium.  The fact that people rant all the time on the internet does not warrant extending First Amendment protection when rant crosses the line to threats. 

A couple of amicus briefs supporting Elonis take the position, in essence, that the routine debasement of speech in our society in media such as online posting and gangsta rap are a reason to take a more expansive view of First Amendment protection of threats.  If this downward spiral of our society has any effect at all on the decision, it should be in the other direction, in my opinion.  We have gone way too far in letting it all hang out and need to tuck some of it back in.

A good example of the ill effects of extreme disinhibition is SCOTUSblog itself.  That blog used to have comments, and I enjoyed commenting there, exchanging views with thoughtful, intelligent, informed people, many of whom disagreed with me.  But the comment section turned into a cesspool, as the comments of so many blogs do.  They tried requiring people to use their real names, and that helped but not enough.  Finally they axed the comments altogether because they dragged down the quality of the blog.  The rudeness of a few ruined the medium for those of us who wanted to exchange views at a refined level.

Perceptions and Realities of Injustice

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The pattern is becoming all too familiar.  There is a claim of a gross injustice with inflammatory allegations.  Then there is a media firestorm.  When a full investigation reveals the actual facts, there has been no injustice, yet a substantial segment of the population will continue to believe there was, continuing to believe the original, discredited, inflammatory allegations.

First Troy Davis, then Trayvon Martin, now Michael Brown.  Different cases, different underlying facts, but the same overall pattern.

No, Michael Brown was not shot in the back.  The autopsy conclusively refutes that allegation.  Yet the witnesses who claimed to have seen that still said it, and maybe they really believed it, as explained in this article in the WaPo.

These incidents have a deep, corrosive effect on our society.  They add to polarization and alienation.  What can be done?  Well for starters, all of us, but especially those in the media, need to be a bit less prone to jumping on claims such as the ones made in these cases.  Lets get the real facts first.

ABA Journal Blawg 100

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The ABA Journal has its annual list of the 100 best law blogs.  You can register and vote for your favorites.

No Indictment in Ferguson, and the Reaction

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The grand jury in Ferguson declined to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

What I want to comment upon just now is the Brown family statement responding to the no-bill.  It reads in part as follows:

We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.  While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.

The principal factor in "the system that allowed [the no-bill] to happen" is the law of self-defense. That law has been around mostly unchanged for about a thousand years.  It sparks almost no controversy and has nothing to do with race.

That the grand jury concluded that Officer Wilson did not act criminally does not change the grief of losing a teenage son.    
Continuing with the theme of Bill's post, the State of Texas has scheduled the execution next week of Scott Panetti for the 1995 murder of his wife's parents.  The editorial board of the New York Times can't help themselves.  Even when their position is basically a reasonable one, they still have to make absurd statements in the process.

During his capital murder trial, at which he was inexplicably allowed to represent himself, Mr. Panetti dressed in a cowboy suit and attempted to subpoena, among others, John F. Kennedy and Jesus Christ. A standby lawyer said his behavior was "scary" and "trance-like," and called the trial "a judicial farce."
The word "inexplicably" is just plain ignorant.  There is no mystery at all as to why Panetti was allowed to represent himself or who was to blame.  The blame lies squarely with the United States Supreme Court in the 1970s and its propensity at that time to make up rights that are not really in the Constitution.

In Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), the Supreme Court said that criminal defendants have a constitutional right to reject counsel and conduct their own defense.  Justice Blackmun noted in dissent, "If there is any truth to the old proverb that 'one who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client,' the Court by its opinion today now bestows a constitutional right on one to make a fool of himself."  In Panetti's case, make that a crazy fool.

The Faretta rule was long understood to be absolute in most jurisdictions, including Texas and the Fifth Circuit.  As long as the defendant was competent to stand trial, a very minimal standard, he had the constitutional right to represent himself, no matter how much of a farce he made of the trial.  If the trial court denied him that dubious right, the judgment would be reversed on appeal or overturned on habeas corpus.  The Texas trial judge was therefore correct, in the sense of following the precedents of both the state and federal courts, in allowing Panetti to represent himself.  In Indiana v. Edwards, 554 U.S. 164 (2008), we finally got the Court to modify Faretta and recognize that some people are competent to stand trial and assist counsel but not to be their own counsel, see CJLF brief, but 33 years had elapsed and a lot of water had passed under the bridge.

The issue in the courts now, though, is not Panetti's representation at trial but rather whether he is presently too crazy to execute. 

Who Will Be Rioting?

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It's widely anticipated that there will be a riot tonight if the Ferguson grand jury does not indict Darren Wilson.

There is one question about this I haven't heard asked a single time:  Who will be rioting?

The reason I haven't heard it is that it's Politically Very Incorrect to ask.  That's because the answer is unappetizing.  The rioters will be black.

If, contrary to expectations, there is an indictment, does anyone think whites will be taking to the streets and smashing shop windows?  No.  The Unmentionable Fact is that the media uniformly, and correctly, assume there will be a riot only if the grand jury does not indict, and that blacks will be doing it.

Eric Holder once and famously said that the American people are a bunch of cowards for refusing to discuss race.  The unasked question about Ferguson has proved him right, albeit not in the way he expected.

Ineffective Assistance of Thomas Jefferson

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Most claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are baloney.  They're simply a way to deflect attention from the client's behavior to that of his supposedly all-important lawyer.  What gets lost in the hubbub is that what wins and loses cases is seldom the lawyer.  It's the evidence.

Still, there are exceptions.

News Scan

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CA Jury Recommends Death for Convicted Killer: A California jury has recommended that a man convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend in front of her children in 2011 be put to death.  The Associated Press reports that 41-year-old Tyrone Harts broke into the woman's home and shot her to death in front of her children before lighting her body on fire.  A judge will make the final sentencing decision on January 30, 2015.

DHS Unveils New Immigration Guidlines: The Department of Homeland Security has released its new guidelines for immigration and border security officers outlining top deportation priorities, and shockingly, drug dealers and gun offenders aren't at the top of the list.  Byron York of the Washington Examiner reports that convicted drunk drivers, sex abusers, and drug dealers are considered as second-level enforcement priorities.  This level also includes illegal aliens who have been convicted of at least three misdemeanors.  Priority One is considered to be the highest level of enforcement, and includes convicted felons and suspected terrorists. 

Execution Date Set For Convicted Killer: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has signed an death warrant for rapper and convicted cop killer Christopher Roney, scheduling his execution for January 8, 2015.  The Associated Press reports that Roney shot and killed the officer in 1996 after a botched bank robbery.  The governor also authorized executions for two more convicted murderers.  These executions will take place January 13 and 15.

How A Bill Becomes Law, Revised

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Saturday Night Live updates a Schoolhouse Rock civics classic.

Confrontation, Hearsay, and Child Abuse

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"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right ... to be confronted with the witnesses against him ...."  So says the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, as do the bills of rights of many state constitutions.  But what does that mean?

From at least 1980, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Ohio v. Roberts, until 2004, when it decided Crawford v. Washington, the Confrontation Clause was pretty much a constitutionalization of the hearsay rule.  If the prosecution wanted A to testify as to what B said, the defendant had a right to confront and cross-examine B, subject to all the "firmly rooted hearsay exception[s]," and there are a lot of them.  The main consideration was deciding whether the particular form of hearsay was reliable.

In Crawford, the Supreme Court tossed the Roberts rule and its reliability focus overboard and went with a historical analysis instead.  The purpose of the Confrontation Clause is to prevent abuses of the kind that happened in the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh (the founder of Anglo-America) and other old English cases where testimony is introduced in the form of affidavits or examinations of a witness conducted ex parte, i.e., when the defendant is not present and can't cross-examine.  In circumstances like these, the examinee is the "witness" and the statement is "testimonial."  The Confrontation Clause forbids introduction, and there are no exceptions.  In other cases of garden-variety hearsay, A is the "witness," and admissibility of B's statement is a matter for state hearsay rules, not the U.S. Constitution.  In a state case, reliability of the hearsay is an issue for state rulemakers and courts to ponder, not the federal courts.

Okay, but what statements are sufficiently like the forbidden historical practices to make B's statement "testimonial" and make B and not A the "witness" for this purpose.  The Crawford Court left that largely for future decisions, a recipe for chaos.

How about an injured preschooler's response to a teacher's question, "Who did this? What happened to you?"  That is the question before the Supreme Court in Ohio v. Clark, No. 13-1352.

News Scan

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Parolee Accused of Murder: An Indiana parolee with a lengthy criminal past has been arrested and charged with the murder of a 15-year-old girl.  Robert King and Jill Disis of Indy Star report that 46-year-old William Gholston has been arrested more than 30 times on a variety of crimes including robbery, battery, and cocaine possession.  He was released on parole in November 2012 after serving 6 ½ years on a gun charge.  Fifteen-year-old Dominique Allen's burned body was found just hours after her family reported her missing in August.  Police were able to link Gholston to the killing with DNA evidence collected from the victim's body.

Georgia Sets Execution Date for Murderer: A Georgia man convicted of murdering a Sheriff's deputy nearly 20 years ago is scheduled to be executed on December 9, 2014.  R. Loyd Price of WMAZ News reports that after Robert Holsey robbed a convenience store in December 1995, a sheriff's deputy spotted his car and pulled him over.  Holsey shot the deputy was shot in the head as he approached the vehicle.  He has appealed his conviction unsuccessfully several times over the last 16 years.

Violent Felons Legally Buying Guns in Washington State:  An investigation conducted by Washington television station has found that a number of violent felons have been legally purchasing guns in several counties despite laws to prevent that from happening.  Monique Ming Laven of KIRO News reports that under state law, felons are eligible to have their gun rights restored as long as they were not convicted or a serious crime or a sex offense, received a sentence of more than 20 years, and have not re-offended in five years.  The investigation revealed that since 2010, at least 3,000 serious felons have had their gun rights restored.   

The Coming Riot

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The conventional wisdom is that the grand jury's decision about the Ferguson shooting will soon be known, and that it will not indict Officer Darren Wilson.

I have no inside scoop on this.  My (pure) guess is that the conventional wisdom is correct; it usually is.  If so, I'll predict here and now that there's going to be a riot.  I will also give my predicted reactions when it happens.

From libertarians:  The police are an over-militarized menace just short of the SS.

From Mother Jones:  The United States continues to be a rancid racist cesspool.

From Al Sharpton:  People need to listen to me.  (This was the easiest one).

From Eric Holder:  I told you we're a bunch of cowards.

From Rachel Maddow:  [Head explodes].

From me:  ...once upon a time, I heard about due process and the presumption of innocence....


AG Confirmation for Next Congress

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Almost unnoticed in a busy week was a nugget dropped by Senate Majority (for five more weeks) Leader Harry Reid.  Michael Crittenden reported Tuesday in the WSJ:

The White House has said it is ready to wait until next year for Congress to consider its nominee to be the next attorney general, the top Senate Democrat said Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said the White House has told him the confirmation hearings of veteran prosecutor Loretta Lynch could be dealt with in the new Congress in January 2015.

"The White House through intermediaries with me have said 'don't be pushing that, we can do that after the first of the year,' " Mr. Reid said after senators' weekly caucus lunches.
"After the first of the year" means next Congress, assuming Senator Reid does not intend to hold a vote on Friday, January 2, which I very much doubt.  Chuck Grassley will begin his stint as chairman with a very important hearing.

Securing, not sealing, the border

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The Sacramento Bee has this story about President Obama's actions on immigration yesterday.  The article quotes CJLF President Michael Rushford regarding aliens who commit crimes.

The article says CJLF "advocates sealing the U.S.-Mexico border."  Um, no.  We are in favor of having a secure border so that criminals we deport can't just waltz back in.  Questions of how much and what kind of legal immigration we should allow and what kind of trade restrictions we should have are not our field, and we take no position.  We would certainly never advocate the complete cut-off implied by the word "sealing."
Whether President Obama has the authority to allow the effective nullification of our immigration statutes through executive order is an interesting subject, about which I may have more to say later.  But the immediate implication is clear: Obama, toward the end of his term and perhaps before, is going to put thousands of dangerous hard drug dealers back on the street.  He'll do this via executive clemency.

The clemency program has already been announced by DOJ, but until last night, there were realistic questions about how far it would reach.  Those questions are now answered.  There will be no effective limit whatever.

Nullification through "discretionary" non-enforcement of law is of debatable legality, but the clemency power is not.  It exists, and belongs to the President alone.

There was a glimmer of hope until last night that the President would be restrained in exercising this power, and would pay at least some heed to the idea that hard drug trafficking harms America.  That is over with.  When a President openly and aggressively sympathetic to lawbreakers is willing to use a power that may be there or may not, there is no question left about his willingness to use a power that actually is there.

We saw last night what Obama will do now that he has no political accountability left. But what we saw is only the beginning.

FedSoc Convention Videos

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Bill previously posted a link to the Criminal Law Practice Group's panel at the National Lawyer's Convention of the Federalist Society.  Another panel relevant to the topic of this blog was the Civil Rights Practice Group's panel on sexual assault on campus.  The speakers and video links for both panels follow the break.

The full schedule with links to all the videos is here.

News Scan

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Vicious Killer Released from Prison: A California family is outraged after the man who violently killed their loved one was released from prison last week by a Fresno County judge.  Pablo Lopez of the Fresno Bee reports that in 1984, Theodore LeLeaux Jr. stabbed his coworker Kenneth Carlock 77 times in his apartment before cutting the man's heart out and carrying it around in his coat pocket, LeLeaux pleaded guilty to second-degree murder the following year and was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison.  Despite a denial of parole by Governor Brown, the state parole board chose to release LeLeaux after determining he was no longer a 'danger to society.'

Accused Killer on Bail Charged With New Murder: A North Carolina man who was out on bond while awaiting his upcoming murder trial has been arrested for murdering a man that was scheduled to testify against him.  WCTI News reports that 36-year-old Nashid Porter's murder trial for killing a man in 2012 was to start in January 2015.  Porter was released to await trial on house arrest, and required to wear a GPS monitoring device-a device.  Authorities say he cut the device off the night he allegedly killed his most recent victim.  Porter is currently being held in jail without bond.   

Utah Passes Death Penalty Bill: The Utah legislature has passed a bill that would allow the state to execute condemned murderers by firing squad.  The United Press International reports that states with active death penalties began running out of lethal injection drugs after European drug manufacturers restricted their use for executions.  Under the new law, Utah will still use lethal injection as its primary method of execution, however, if the drugs become unavailable a firing squad may be used.  

Alexandra Petri's column in the WaPo is advertised as "a lighter take on the news and political in(s)anity of the day."  Today, though, she offers a serious and thoughtful look at an important question.
The record is now well established that if we are going to conduct executions by lethal injection, pentobarbital is the drug of choice.  That is the drug veterinarians use for animal euthanasia every day.

The manufacturer of pentobarbital has cut off the usual supply chain for obtaining it.  As discussed in this article by James Gibson and Corinna Lain forthcoming in Georgetown Law Journal, European governments are instigators of the shortage, interfering in a domestic policy choice of the United States that is quite simply none of their damn business.

The workaround is compounding pharmacies.  However, those pharmacies have been subject to harassment that makes them unwilling to supply the needed drug.  As noted in this post in September, the anti-death-penalty movement is responsible for the problematic executions carried out with other drugs when they made pentobarbital unavailable.

The Ohio Legislature is now moving forward, in HB 663, to extend confidentiality to suppliers of execution drugs.  The bill also prohibits any disciplinary action against doctors who provide the state with consultation on how avoid pain during an execution, which has been a problem.  The legislation declares contractual restraints on resale to be "void and unenforceable as against public policy."

Jeremy Pelzer had this article on the legislation last week on cleveland.com (site of the Plain Dealer).  He also has a follow-up article today on claims the legislation is unconstitutional.  Most of these claims are meritless, in my opinion.  Our friend Doug Berman from SL&P "said he believes HB 663 is 'probably' constitutional, but he questioned whether it would be better for Ohio to instead look at other methods of execution besides lethal injection."

A legislative analysis of the bill notes, "To the extent that the bill's provision voiding contracts applies to contracts entered into before the bill's effective date, it might be found to violate the clauses of the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions that prohibit the General Assembly from passing laws that impair contractual obligations."  True, but application to contracts made or renewed henceforth is worthwhile.  What we really need is for Congress to enact a law like this.  The Contract Clause only applies to states.

News Scan

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PA Murderer Sentenced to Death: A Pennsylvania man convicted of murdering a woman and dismembering her body in 2008 has been sentenced to death.  WNEP News reports that Charles Hicks killed the woman and placed her body parts in several trash bags before scattering her remains along highways in two different counties.  Investigators have also revealed that after his conviction, Hicks admitted to killing at least five more women in Texas.  Police are taking the claim seriously and plan to investigate the possible murders. 

 Another Parolee Accused of Murder: Police in New York say the person accused of fatally pushing a man in front of a moving subway train last week has a lengthy criminal history and was recently released on parole.  Fox News reports that 34-year-old Kevin Darden has been arrested dozens of times for a variety of charges including assault and robbery, his most recent arrest came just 7 days prior to killing the man at the subway station.  Darden is currently being held in county jail without bond.

Ohio Bill Seeks Death Penalty Reform: A new bill heading to the Ohio legislature would grant anonymity to drug makers who supply execution drugs to correctional facilities.  Idea Stream reports that Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine halted executions out of concern for the safety of those who make and sell execution drugs.  The bill would allow secrecy for both the pharmaceutical companies involved as well as what drugs were being used for lethal injections.  The author of the bill, State Representative Jim Buchy, wants to address all of the Attorney General's concerns and is confident the bill will pass by the end of the year.

Sheriff Asks Obama to Address Crime by Illegals:  In a video appeal released yesterday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones told President Obama that America's failed immigration policy and lack of border security are allowing deported criminals to cross the U.S. border to commit more crimes.  Noting that last month, an illegal with a long criminal record who had twice been deported shot and killed a Sacramento Deputy and a Placer County officer during a day-long crime spree, the Sheriff fixed responsibility for the failure or success of U.S. immigration policy with the President.  He urged the President to take immediate steps to secure the border, and implement immigration reforms that allow law enforcement to tell the  good guys from the bad guys. 
A number of people have asked me to post the script of my remarks at the Federalist Society's National Convention last week.  I am happy to do so below:


Two facts about crime and sentencing dwarf everything else we have learned over the past 50 years:  When we have more prison we have less crime, and when we have less prison, we have more crime.


A Well Heeled Race Hustler

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The New York Times, of all things, has a long and revealing article about the financial shenanigans of the Reverend Al Sharpton.  Why this article appears only in the New York/Region section of the NYT is a mystery, since Rev. Sharpton is a national figure to say the least (I have written about him and his escapades many times before, e.g., here, here and here).

The short of it is that Big Al (well, not so big anymore; he's slimmed down remarkably from the days of the Tawana Brawley hoax) seems to have accumulated a lot of dough, even while not being too keen on paying taxes or other debts.

By the way, I thought this paragraph particularly interesting:

Behind the scenes, he has consulted with the mayor and the president on matters of race and civil rights and even the occasional high-level appointment. He was among a small group at the White House when Mr. Obama announced his nomination of Loretta E. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to become the next attorney general.

My goodness.  I wonder whether Rev. Al knows something about Ms. Lynch that the rest of us should be interested in finding out about.

UPDATE:  A respected journalist has objected to my snarky phrase, "...of all things..."  He points out that the NYT has done articles that exposed then-Gov. Spitzer, and Congressman Charlie Rangel's tax and apartment issues.  While it is certainly true that the NYT is a (if not the) leading journalistic organ for the Left, it has indeed done some excellent investigative work not flattering to Democrats.  I don't know that I'd call my characterization of the Times a cheap shot, but it wasn't the most expensive one either. I regret any offense it might have given to the numerous call-it-as-you-see-it reporters at the Times.

Underreporting of Crime

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Last week I had this post on the Uniform Crime Reports, and a commenter noted that skepticism was in order due to underreporting by some police departments.  Across the pond there appears to be a major kerfuffle on this point.  David Barrett reports in the Telegraph:

Almost a million crimes a year are disappearing from official figures as chief constables attempt to meet targets, a study by the police watchdog has disclosed.

Its report exposed "indefensible" failures by forces to record crime accurately, and said that in some areas up to a third of crimes are being struck out of official records.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary said violent crimes and sex attacks were particularly vulnerable to being deleted under "inexcusably poor" systems.

Although the report stopped short of accusing police of widespread "fiddling" it said there was an "undercurrent of pressure not to record a crime across some forces" and "wrongful pressure" by managers.

It means violent criminals and even rapists are not investigated, potentially allowing offenders to strike again.
Today the Ninth Circuit decided Doe v. Harris, No. 13-15263.  The opinion by Judge Bybee begins:

California law has long required registered sex offenders to report identifying information, such as their address and current photograph, to law enforcement. Cal. Penal Code §§ 290.012, 290.015. The Californians Against Sexual Exploitation ("CASE") Act sought to supplement and modernize these reporting obligations by requiring sex offenders to provide "[a] list of any and all Internet identifiers established or used by the person" and "[a] list of any and all Internet service providers used by the person." Id. § 290.015(a)(4)-(5). The Act also requires registered sex offenders to send written notice to law enforcement within 24 hours of adding or changing an Internet identifier or an account with an Internet service provider ("ISP"). Id. § 290.014(b). Appellees Doe, Roe, and the nonprofit organization California Reform Sex Offender Laws filed a complaint alleging that the CASE Act infringes their freedom of speech in violation of the First Amendment. Appellees filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, which the district court granted. Kamala Harris, the Attorney General of California, and Intervenors, the proponents of the CASE Act, appeal. We hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion by enjoining the CASE Act. Accordingly, we affirm.

News Scan

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Paroled Murderer Accused of Killing Again: A Missouri man released after serving 17 years of a life term for murdering his wife and another man has been charged with killing his ex-girlfriend last week.  The Associated Press reports that 63-year-old Harry Little Sr. was sentenced to life in prison in 1978 on two counts of second-degree murder.  Court documents reveal he was released on parole in 1995.  Little is facing charges of first-degree murder and is being held in jail without bond.

Missouri Murderer to be Executed Wednesday: A Missouri man convicted of murdering a gas station attendant during a robbery attempt two decades ago is scheduled to be put to death at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.  The Associated Press reports that attorneys for Leon Taylor have asked Governor Jay Nixon for a stay of execution based on claims of racial prejudice during his sentence, but the governor has shown no sign of halting the execution.  If Taylor is executed, he will be the ninth person executed by the state of Missouri this year.   

Convicted Double-Murderer Sentenced to LWOP: A California man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after he was found guilty of killing two USC students from China.  Marisa Gerber of the Los Angeles Times reports that 22-year-old Javier Bolden approached the two students as they sat in their car in hopes of stealing their money.  After his arrest, Bolden was recorded bragging about shooting the two victims to his cellmate who happened to be an undercover police informant.  Bolden's co-defendant pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder for the killings and was also sentenced to life without parole.

Maintenance

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The blog may be unavailable or unresponsive at times late at night and early in the morning this week, as our host does system maintenance.  Outages are not expected to last more than 45 minutes.  Potentially affected hours are midnight - 5 a.m. EST (9 p.m. - 2 a.m. PST).

News Scan

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Kidnapping Suspect Released Under Prop 47: A California man who was arrested last week on burglary charges and released back into the community just hours later under the newly passed Proposition 47 is behind bars for the attempted abduction of a 13-year-old girl.  Jory Rand of ABC Los Angeles reports that 39-year-old Guillermo Ceniceros was arrested Tuesday for commercial burglary-- a charge that prior to Prop. 47's passing would have required that he be held for trial or post bail.  But, because Prop. 47 redefined the burglary as a misdemeanor, he was released on the day of his arrest.  He was rearrested less than 24 hours later for the attempted abduction.  Ceniceros has been charged with five felonies, including attempted kidnapping and attempted aggravated sexual assault of a child.  

Execution Date Set for Murderer: A South Dakota criminal convicted of murdering a corrections officer is scheduled to be executed during the first week of May 2015.  KOTA News reports that Rodney Berget, who was already serving a life sentence for attempted rape and murder, killed the officer during a botched prison escape in February 2012.  The two other inmates who attempted to escape with Berget were also charged with the officer's murder.  One has already been executed for the crime and the other is serving a life sentence.

Accused Cop Killers Won't Face Death Penalty: The four men accused of murdering a Virginia police officer earlier this year will no longer face a possible death sentence after Attorney General Eric Holder took the death penalty off the table.  CBS News reports that the four men, all known gang members with extensive criminal pasts, allegedly carjacked, kidnapped, and killed the officer and abandoned his body a few counties away.  The men now face a maximum sentence of life without parole.

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