News Scan

| No Comments
Police Officers Shot in Arizona & Washington:  Veteran Tacoma, Washington police officer Reginald "Jake" Gutierrez was shot and killed Wednesday as he responded to a domestic violence call.  CBS News reports that when Gutierrez and his partner arrived at the scene early Wednesday evening a woman told them that her husband had locked her out of their house.  The officers entered the house and the suspect shot Gutierrez multiple times.  After a standoff of several hours the suspect was shot and killed by a police deputy.  On Thursday a habitual criminal shot two Arizona police officers when they were attempting to serve an arrest warrant in Tucson.  Garrett Mitchell of the Arizona Republic reports that officer Jorge Tequida is in critical condition from the shooting while his partner officer  Doug Wilfert, who was wounded in the leg, was treated and released.  The shooter, Jose Noe Barron Gomez, was killed during the gunfight.  Gomez was wanted for aggravated assault, and had a prior for drug smuggling.  132 police officers have died in the line of duty this year.  

Avoid Mandatory Minimums, This Is What You Get

| 1 Comment
The Washington Post published a story today that should bring shame to the cheerleaders for "leniency" for "young offenders" in order to give them a "second chance."  

I've been asking for years, "A second chance to do what?" The Post, a liberal paper that supports sentencing "reform," has the admirable and astonishing honesty finally to answer that question (emphasis added):

Hundreds of criminals sentenced by D.C. judges under a...law crafted to give second chances to young adult offenders have gone on to rob, rape or kill residents of the nation's capital....

In dozens of cases, D.C. judges were able to hand down Youth Act sentences shorter than those called for under mandatory minimum laws designed to deter armed robberies and other violent crimes. The criminals have often repaid that leniency by escalating their crimes of violence upon release.

Are the people who support avoiding, diluting (or, in some cases, outright repealing) mandatory minimums listening?  Let me ask that another way:  Can they take time off from their catered Bethesda and Georgetown parties to give a hoot about the mostly African American population they leave behind in DC to fend for themselves?




News Scan

| No Comments
Congressman Appointed CA Attorney General:  In a surprise announcement today, California Governor Jerry Brown appointed Congressman Xavier Becerra to replace Senator-Elect Kamala Harris as the state Attorney General.  Sara Wire and John Myers of the Los Angeles Times report that Becerra served in the California Assembly and spent three years as a Deputy Attorney General before his election to represent the state's 34th Congressional District in 1992.  During his twelve terms in Congress, Becerra rose to become the current Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.  While Becerra has not announced plans for run for the job in 2018, the possibility would be a setback for Democrat  Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who had already declared his intention to run. In a statement, Governor Brown praised Becerra's public service and said that as AG he will  "help our state aggressively combat climate change."  
Sherri Papini went for a run on November 2nd, but never returned home.  She did not pick up her two young children from daycare that evening and her cell phone was found lying on the side of the road.  Three weeks later, she is found alive in the very early morning hours by a passing motorist on the side of a County Road approximately 150 miles from her home.  She is chained and severely injured.  Her nose is broken and her skin has been branded by her captors

I live in the County where she was found that morning.  A friend of mine was the CHP Officer first on the scene.  When I got the news that she had been found alive, my first reaction was of shock and disbelief.  Too often these types of missing persons cases end with a dead body.  The cynic in me assumed that Sherri Papini would be found at some point in a similar manner.  Thankfully for her children and family, her story did not end in a typical fashion.

Unfortunately, immediately upon her discovery, the media and public jumped to the conclusion that the whole thing was a hoax.  Really?  A hoax by whom?  The severely beaten, branded and chained up woman who'd been thrown from a moving car onto the side of a pitch dark road in the middle of the night in the freezing cold?  Why are people so quick to assume that she's lying, or her husband is lying?  Perhaps I'm too trusting or gullible to believe otherwise.  Or perhaps despicable people like Scott Peterson or Drew Peterson make it hard to believe the story being told.

The details will come out eventually and I hope whoever is responsible is caught.  Any punishment the perpetrators receive, however, will in no way compare to the cruel and unusual torture that Sherri Papini endured and will continue to endure emotionally for the remainder of her life.   

How is Euthanizing Murderers Cruel & Unusual?

| No Comments
In July, Mark Langedijk, a middle aged man in Holland, was euthanized at his request due to his addiction to alcohol. The Netherlands is one of nine countries, including Canada and parts of the U.S., which allows assisted suicide for those living their lives with an "unbearable" illness or affliction.   Tom Embury-Dennis of the Independent  reports that the Netherlands introduced euthanasia 16 years ago, and the current "euthanasia kit" available in pharmacies employs a three drug protocol to induce a painless death.  This raises the question "if the same chemicals we use to execute our worst murderers aren't cruel and unusual for an alcoholic in Holland or a cancer patient in Oregon, why are US courts wasting time and money reviewing Eighth Amendment challenges?"  The standard argument from the Anti-death penalty lobby is that capital punishment is cruel and unusual, that it's "inhumane".  Apparently this is only true for murderers who inhumanly shoot, stab or torture innocent people to death, after a trial and several appeals to confirm their guilt.  

News Scan

| No Comments
Immigration Violations at an All-Time High: For the first time, Immigration violations have been identified as the majority of federally prosecuted cases. William La Juenesse from Fox News reports in this last fiscal year, 69,636, or 52% or all federally prosecuted cases in the United States were related to the violation of immigration laws. The two most common charges among these cases are illegal entrance into the country and illegal re-entry into the country following deportation, the penalty for which can be up to two years incarceration in a federal penitentiary.

North Carolina Terrorist Pleads Guilty: Justin Nojan Sullivan, 20, plead guilty this Tuesday to charges of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act in the United States. Anna Giaritelli at the Washington Examiner reports that Nojan was indicted earlier this year in connection with alleged communication with a member of the Islamic State in Syria with the intent to coordinate a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Nojan also faces capital charges for the robbery and murder of his neighbor. Nojan admits to having committed the crime in hopes to attain the funds necessary to purchase a firearm with which to perpetrate a mass shooting.  Following a plea deal on the terrorism charges, Nojan will serve life in prison.

Charlotte Officer Cleared of Charges: It was announced that Officer Brentley Vinson, the Charlotte police officer involved in the recent shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, has been cleared of all charges regarding the shooting. According to
Two weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily dumped a case brought by Visa, Inc. et al. because the petitioners got the court to take the case up saying it was about one issue and then relied on a different argument once they reached the merits stage.

It's not nice to bait-and-switch the nation's highest court.  Yet lawyers for a habitual criminal who blew the head off a store clerk during a robbery may get away with doing exactly that.  Capital defense lawyers are special, you see.  Rules don't apply to them.

Here is the Question Presented as drafted by lawyers for Texas murderer Bobby James Moore:

Whether it violates the Eighth Amendment and this Court's decisions in Hall v. Florida, 134 S.Ct. 1986 (2014) and Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002) to prohibit the use of current medical standards on intellectual disability, and require the use of outdated medical standards, in determining whether an individual may be executed.
See any issue there about whether the Texas standard of Ex parte Briseno ever conformed to the subsequently "outdated" standards in the first place?  Nope.  It's not there.  But today's oral argument was nearly all about that.  The Chief Justice was not pleased, but he may not have a majority.
LifeZette, a new on-line magazine, is a breath of fresh air in Washington, DC. Instead of the weary, threadbare cliches from the liberal Establishment that have been driving the conversation inside the Beltway for decades, it presents a frankly conservative perspective.  

I was grateful to be able to contribute mine this morning, "Trump Can Reverse the Deadly Spike in Violent Crime."

Flag Burning

President-elect Trump has raised the issue of criminalizing flag-burning in a tweet.  The constitutional question is closer than many might think.  In 1989, Texas v. Johnson was decided by a bare 5-4 majority.

The justices did not divide on liberal/conservative lines in that case.  "Conservative" Justice Antonin Scalia provided the fifth vote to overturn the statute.  "Liberal" Justice John Paul Stevens was in the dissent.

Should the question be considered closed as a matter of respect for precedent (stare decisis)?  Some of our friends on the left think that precedent is a ratchet.  All precedents favoring their view are sacrosanct, while any precedents they disagree with are constantly subject to reexamination.  Justice Thurgood Marshall sadly ended his tenure on the high court with one of the most hypocritical opinions I have ever seen, excoriating his colleagues for overturning a relatively minor (and, in my view, clearly wrong and unjust) Eighth Amendment precedent while Marshall himself had obstinately refused to accept a far more important (and clearly correct) Eighth Amendment precedent for 15 years.

On the merits, I think that flag burning has to be considered "protected speech" as long as we consider "speech" to extend beyond the literal meaning of the word into nonverbal expression.  Anti-flag-burning statutes target content rather than "time, place, or manner."  To authorize such statutes within a coherent body of free-speech jurisprudence, we would have to tear up far more than Johnson itself, and that is enough to let the sleeping dog lie. 

Of course, we can and should exercise our own right of free speech to denounce the flag-burning scum in the most vigorous terms, but the government cannot punish them unless they violate some other, non-expression-directed law.  Burning someone else's flag without permission is a crime.  Burning a flag at a gas station ought to be a crime, if it isn't already.

News Scan

| No Comments
OSU Attacker Identified:   The man who drove his car into a group of Ohio State University students and then stabbed several of them with a butcher knife before he was shot and killed by a police officer has been identified as 18-year-old Somalian immigrant Abdul Razak Ali Artan.  Aamer Madhani of USA Today reports that, prior to the attack, Artan had posted a rant on Facebook saying that he had reached a "boiling point" about America's interference with Muslim communities.  He also referred to lone wolf attacks, and described radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki as a hero.  According to news reports police are still searching for a motive.  

Is Twitter-Stalking Free Speech?  A Dallas man in jail on charges of felony stalking, claims that the threatening Twitter posts he made against a judge who presided over his previous conviction for tweeting threats to kill his brother-in-law are protected by the First Amendment.  The Dallas Morning News reports that 46-year-old Babak Taherzadeh used up to 10 separate Twitter accounts to stalk the judge and his family and threaten their safety.  While some legal experts insist that hate speech is protected by the Constitution, there is a line when a person's safety is threatened.   In its 2014 ruling in Elonis v. United States, the Supreme Court declined to find targeted threats of murder on social media serious enough to constitute a felony.  The CJLF brief in that case is here.
Although this CBS story refers to Dylann Roof as the "suspect" in the Charleston church massacre, I'm not sure why.  No sane person I've ever heard of has any doubt that Roof is the killer.  Saying that he's the "suspect" in the murders is like saying Fidel Castro was "suspected" of being the dictator of Cuba.

But I digress.  Roof asked for, and today was granted, the right to represent himself. I of course have no idea what the defense will be but, like the judge, I think this is a strategically poor decision.  It's unlikely that Roof will be anywhere near as creative, or as smooth a talker, as an experienced criminal defense lawyer would have been.

Roof's choice does have at least one advantage for those of us who think the death penalty should be imposed, without manufactured delay, on defendants unquestionably guilty of grotesque murders:  The knowing choice to represent one's self after having been frankly warned by the court of its perils is a waiver of an ineffective assistance of counsel claim on appeal.  When you buy the package knowing the defects of what's inside, you give up the right to complain that the merchandise was rotten. 

I can't say there's a lot I admire about Dylann Roof, but I respect his decision to take on his own defense.  In its own odd and revolting way, it's likely to be more truthful than the slicker version he put aside.

White Cop Guns Down Another Young Man of Color

| No Comments
The story is here.  It's everywhere else tonight, as well.

Remember this the next time you see a statistic about how many "white cops gun down young men of color."  If the source isn't telling you the circumstances of the shooting, then it's telling you nothing.  It is, however, engineering a smear.

News Scan

| No Comments
Mass Shooting at Ohio State: A shooting occurred this morning at Ohio State University. The Columbus Dispatch reports that a total of nine people have been transported to the nearby hospital and that one of the suspects in the active shooter situation on campus has been confirmed dead. It is reported that early this morning, a vehicle rammed a group of people outside one of the university buildings after which two individuals exited the vehicle, one brandishing a firearm, and the other holding a large knife. As of now, officials say the situation is secure but that classes will be canceled until further notice.

Church Shooting Suspect in Pro Se: A man facing the death penalty in South Carolina is choosing to represent himself in court. Rebecca Hersher from NPR reports the Dylan Roof, 22, has been charged with the murder of nine African American parishioners in the basement of a church in Charleston, South Carolina. For this crime, Roof will be facing 33 separate counts of federal hate crimes, in addition to a list of other charges. Roof made a motion in court to represent himself against these charges and waved his right to counsel. Separate murder charges are also being brought against Roof by the state of South Carolina. The trial for which is scheduled to begin in January.

Still Playing The Race Card: Long has it been the chant of the political left that the right wing conservatives and Trump supporting Americans are a group of radical race-driven bigots, the "Straight white males" of myth and legend. But Heather Mac Donald at the City Journal has a different take on things. In this article, Mac Donald argues that the racial tension we feel in our current political climate is a result of the identity politics that have been historically perpetrated by the left, not some inherent racial bias within the white population. Between the rise in shootings as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the public outrage at our Commander and Chief publicly condoning said violence, Mac Donald claims that the radicalized politics we see today can be traced back to the prevailing tactics of the regressive identitarian left.

The Many Crimes of Fidel Castro

| No Comments
Prof. Carlos Eire of Yale has this article in the WaPo:

One of the most brutal dictators in modern history has just died. Oddly enough, some will mourn his passing, and many an obituary will praise him. Millions of Cubans who have been waiting impatiently for this moment for more than half a century will simply ponder his crimes and recall the pain and suffering he caused.
*           *           *
If this were a just world, 13 facts would be etched on Castro's tombstone and highlighted in every obituary, as bullet points -- a fitting metaphor for someone who used firing squads to murder thousands of his own people.
*           *           *
In sum, Fidel Castro was the spitting image of Big Brother in George Orwell's novel "1984." So, adiós, Big Brother, king of all Cuban nightmares. And may your successor, Little Brother, soon slide off the bloody throne bequeathed to him.
Update:  I don't often agree with Nancy Pelosi, but when she is right, she deserves credit for it.

A Thanksgiving to Unite Us

Melanie Kirkpatrick has this story in the WSJ on President Lincoln's 1863 proclamation and the magazine "editress" who led the campaign for the Thanksgiving holiday in its modern form.

Election Day has come and gone, and after one of the most divisive campaigns in memory, "healing" seems to be the word of the hour. What better time to begin than Thanksgiving, which Benjamin Franklin called a day of "public Felicity" to give thanks for our "full enjoyment of Liberty, civil and religious." Thanksgiving, our nation's oldest tradition, is a moment to focus on our blessings as Americans, on what unites us, not on what divides us.

Such was the case in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln called for a national Thanksgiving celebration. He did so at the urging of a farsighted magazine editor who believed that a Thanksgiving celebration would have a "deep moral influence" on the American character, helping to bring together the country, which was divided over the issue of slavery. Lincoln's 1863 proclamation was the first in the unbroken string of annual Thanksgiving proclamations by every subsequent president. It is regarded as the beginning of our modern Thanksgiving holiday.

Is Jeff Sessions a Racist?

| No Comments
Larry Thompson is a former Deputy Attorney General for Pres. George W. Bush. He signed an anti-Trump letter in the recent campaign, along with quite a few other former Bush Administration officials.  His more recent letter to the editor (I believe the editor of the NYT, concerning its story on Nov. 17) tells us a good deal about Mr. Trump's nominee to be Attorney General.

AP Calls Prop. 66

| No Comments
Associated Press "called" the result on Proposition 66 last night.  Brian Melley of AP has this story.

The opponents are making their usual claims in the press that Prop. 66 won't work.  However, they sing a very different tune in court.

In the petition filed in the California Supreme Court in Briggs and Van de Kamp v. Brown et al., S238309, former California Attorney General John Van de Kamp declares under penalty of perjury:

It [Proposition 66] will also make it more likely, and more immediate, for persons sentenced to death to face their executions.
Yes, that was exactly the idea.  The opponents are apoplectic about Proposition 66's passage precisely because they know it will work, even while they tell the people the opposite.

News Scan

| No Comments
Death Penalty Possible for 1 of 4 AL Killers:  Alabama prosecutors are still deciding whether they will seek the death penalty against a 22-year-old man who, along with three teens, killed two men during a 2015 crime spree.  Ashley Remkus of AL reports that if Joseph Conwan is convicted of killing Joshua Davis and Antonio Hernandez-Lopez, he will either be sentenced to death, if capital punishment in sought, or face life in prison without the possibility of parole.  Conwan was 20 in 2015 when he and his brother Cedric Conwan, then 16, along with Cortez Mitchell and Amani Goodwin, 16 and 17 at the time, respectively, engaged in a crime spree that included several armed robberies, shootings into homes and the two fatal shootings.  This week, the three teens were denied youthful offender status, which would have guaranteed they not be sentenced to more than three years.  They are ineligible for the death penalty because they were juveniles at the time the crimes were committed.  All four are charged with three counts of capital murder, six counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling.

MI Officer in Critical Condition After Shooting:  A Wayne State University police officer was shot in the head Tuesday night while patrolling off the Detroit, Mich., campus.  J.J. Gallagher, Tom Liddy and Morgan Winsor of ABC News report that Officer Collin Rose, 29, a five-year veteran of the force, was conducting a traffic stop when he sustained his injury. The nature of the stop and the events leading up to the shooting are still being investigated.  Rose underwent surgery and remains in critical condition, with doctors stating that it is still too early to say if he will recover.  The shooting comes just days after a violent weekend, in which four officers in three states were shot in a 24-hour period, one of them fatally.  Rose is the first Wayne State University officer to be shot in 36 years.

Chattanooga School Bus Driver was in Another Crash 2 Months Ago:  The man who crashed a school bus earlier this week, killing five children and injuring several more, was reportedly involved in another school bus crash two months ago.  Holly Yan, Natisha Lance, Madison Park and Martin Savidge of CNN report that in September, Johnthony Walker, who received his commercial driver's license in April, was driving around a blind curve when he sideswiped another vehicle after failing to yield, though there were no injuries and only minor damage to both vehicles.  Walker was driving with 37 children on board his school bus on Monday afternoon when he swerved off the road and plowed into a tree.  The crash killed five children and a dozen others remain hospitalized, some with serious head and spinal injuries.  Walker was allegedly driving well above the posted speed limit, and his blood sample has been sent to the state lab for testing.  He faces five counts of vehicular homicide and charges of reckless endangerment and reckless driving.  The bus company that hired him, Durham School Services, is under intense scrutiny.

Exhaustive Reporting on Black Lives Matter

| No Comments
Commentary Magazine has come out with the most thorough reporting on Black Lives Matter I have ever read.  It's not short, but what it lacks in brevity it more than makes up for in the depth, diligence and insight of its account.

News Scan

| No Comments
Driver in TN School Bus Crash Charged:  The driver of a school bus that crashed in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Monday, killing five young children, has been arrested and charged.  Michael Edison Hayden, J.J. Gallagher, Tom Liddy and Jeffrey Cook of ABC News report that Johnthony Walker, 24, was driving the bus carrying 37 children Monday afternoon "well above the posted speed limit of 30 mph" when he lost control and crashed into a tree.  Among the five children who died, three were in fourth grade, one was in first grade and the other was a kindergartner.  Six other children remain in intensive care.  Walker faces charges of vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

Gunman who Killed San Antonio Cop Arrested:  The suspected gunman who killed a San Antonio, Tex., police detective in cold blood on Sunday has been taken into custody.  Julia Jacobo and Michael Edison Hayden of ABC News report that Otis Tyrone McKane, 31, was arrested without incident on Monday afternoon and said he wished to apologize to the family of the slain officer, 20-year veteran Detective Benjamin Marconi, 50.  Marconi was shot to death on Sunday afternoon while sitting in his patrol car writing a ticket.  The gunman, identified as McKane, pulled up in a car behind Marconi, stepped out and shot the officer in the head at close range before driving off.  After his arrest, McKane told police that he was upset over losing a custody battle and "lashed out at somebody who didn't deserve it."  Charges against him are pending.

NJ Lawmakers' Bill would Reinstate Death Penalty in Extreme Cases:  Two New Jersey senators have introduced a bill that would restore capital punishment in certain cases classified as "extreme."  S.P. Sullivan of NJ Advance Media reports that the bill, authored by Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) and Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), who cited recent terror attacks and ambushes on law enforcement officers, would restore the death penalty in cases involving the murder of a police officer, the murder of a child in commission of a sex crime, deaths caused by an act of terror, killings committed by persons previously convicted of murder and for serial killers.  The state eliminated the death penalty nearly 10 years ago.  In order to pass, the bill have have to be approved by the Democrat-controlled state Legislature.  In the same vein, responding the recent ambush attacks on police officers, Jacksonville Police Chief Tony Grootens has proposed making the killing of a police officer a federal crime punishable by death.

Amnesty for Hillary

| 3 Comments
In 1868, the treason trial of Jefferson Davis was pending.  He certainly did levy war against the United States, which is the constitutional definition.  See Article III, § 3.  Nonetheless, the President decided to issue a blanket amnesty to help heal the nation's wounds, and that was the end of the case.  See Case of Davis, 7 F. Cas. 63, 102.

Our country today is not as bitterly divided as it was then, but healing is still in order. 

As former Attorney General Mukasey explained in the Wall Street Journal in July, the evidence against Hillary Clinton clearly fulfills the requirements of the two criminal statutes involved, and FBI Director Comey's statement that no reasonable prosecutor would pursue the charges was just wrong.  Mr. Mukasey, after all, is a reasonable prosecutor.

Even so, there are times when other considerations come into play so that a prosecution should not be pursued even though fully justified on the facts and the law.  President-elect Trump has evidently decided that this is one of them. 
Damian Paletta and Byron Tau have this story in the Wall Street Journal.

And while candidates should generally keep their campaign promises, it is sometimes better to let those go also.
Those who seek a safer and more peaceful country have a huge amount to be thankful for this year.  Indeed, it's hard to recall a year where we have done better across the board.

The good news is wherever you look: Capital punishment, criminal justice reform, and respect for the police.

It's not that there's no bad news; there's plenty of that too, as the disastrous, pro-criminal policies and rhetoric of the Obama years come home to roost. It's that the good news predominates by so much.

News Scan

| No Comments
Four Cops Shot in Three States on Sunday:  Four police officers were shot, one of them fatally, in three states on Sunday, three incidents of which appeared to be targeted attacks.  Fox News reports that by Monday, police in San Antonio, Tex., still had not apprehended the suspect who fatally gunned down 20-year veteran Detective Benjamin Marconi, 50, while he sat inside his patrol vehicle writing a ticket on Sunday afternoon.  He was shot twice in the head at close range, the final shot fired as the gunman reached inside Marconi's passenger window.  The gunman was not the person Marconi had stopped and was administering a ticket to.  By Sunday evening, a St. Louis police sergeant, also a 20-year veteran, was shot twice in the face while driving down the street, but is expected to survive.  The gunman, who shot at the officer from another car, was later killed after exchanging gunfire with others officers, none of whom were injured.  Then, an officer in Senibel, Fla., was shot and wounded as he sat in his patrol car after a traffic stop.  The suspect was eventually taken into custody.  The final incident occurred in Gladstone, Mo., when and officer was non-fatally shot by a man in his teens who had fled from a traffic stop.  When the officer caught up to him, the teen pulled out a handgun, shots were fired and the teen was killed.  So far this year, 56 state, county and local officers have been shot while on duty.

OH Gang member gets Death for Triple Homicide: 
A jury recommended the death penalty on Saturday in the case against an Ohio gang member, who killed three people and wounded three others last year in a gang-related dispute at a Cleveland barbershop.  The AP reports that Douglas Shine Jr., 21, was convicted earlier this month of aggravated murder and dozens of other charges in the barbershop shootings as well as his role in arranging the killing of an eyewitness.  After his arrest for the February 2015 murders, which was allegedly because one of the victims, rival gang member Walter Lee Barfield, had stolen a gun from one of Shine's fellow gang members, Shine conspired with his brother from jail to kill Barfield's brother because he had identified him as the shooter.  The eyewitness was killed in April 2015, and Shine's brother is awaiting trial on aggravated murder charges.  Shine's formal sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 5, during which  Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Joan Synenberg will decide whether to impose a death sentence or give Shine life in prison without parole.

Immigration Law Could Dramatically Change if Sessions is AG:  Sen. Jeff Sessions, the "Senate's leading crackdown proponent" on immigration, may have the chance to prosecute sanctuary cities and turn around immigration laws if confirmed as the next attorney general.  Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reports that if confirmed as AG, Sessions will have the power to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities, which protects illegal immigrants, due to last year's ruling by the Justice Department's inspector general stipulating that it is required under federal law that localities cooperate with immigration agents.  Some sanctuary cities have already fired back, saying they'll resist changes.  Meanwhile, democrats are gearing up to fight Sessions' confirmation.
Expecting the sourpuss contingent at the New York Times to give Jeff Sessions a fair shake is like expecting George Soros to have a kind word for America.  So it was no surprise when the Times' hatchet job appeared a few days ago, "Jeff Sessions as Attorney General: An Insult to Justice."  There was the usual wail about racism, as phony as it is ancient, but what caught my eye was this breathtakingly ignorant squib about Sen. Sessions and sentencing "reform":

Based on his record, we can form a fairly clear picture of what his Justice Department would look like:....Forget [about] any federal criminal-justice reform, which was on the cusp of passage in Congress before Mr. Trump's "law and order" campaign. Mr. Sessions strongly opposed bipartisan legislation to scale back the outrageously harsh sentences that filled federal prisons with low-level drug offenders. Instead, he called for more mandatory-minimum sentences and harsher punishments for drug crimes.

Question:  Does the NYT have anyone  --  really, anyone  --  in Washington who actually follows justice-related legislation?



Study: Racist Police Narrative is False

| No Comments
For the past eight years, the world has been told that American law enforcement is infected with racism.  The President, the Attorney General, most civil rights leaders, most of academia, seemingly every Democrat politician in the country, and the national media have repeatedly cited the disproportionate number of arrests, convictions and incarceration of young black males as proof that white police officers and prosecutors are literally rounding up blacks and throwing them in prison.  We have been told that the racial bias is so prevalent that white police officers routinely single out black suspects and murder them.  The Black Lives Matter movement was formed specifically to fight this perceived injustice and over the past couple of years more than a few police officers have been assassinated by BLM followers.  John Lott, Jr., of the Crime Prevention Research Center and Carlisle Moody of the College of William and Mary have released a study mentioned below in the News Scan which found that black suspects are more likely to be shot by black police officers and female police officers than by white police officers.

News Scan

| No Comments
AR Man Sentenced to Death for Killing Son:  An Arkansas man was sentenced to death this week for his son's murder, an outcome prosecutors said was not only justice for the little boy, but for the killer's other children who suffered physical and sexual abuse at his hands.  Zuzanna Sitek of KFSM reports that a jury on Tuesday recommended the death penalty for Mauricio Torres, who was convicted a day before for capital murder in the 2015 death of his son Maurice Isaiah Torres, 6.  He also received an additional 20 years for first-degree battery.  Five of Torres' children and stepchildren testified against him, all of whom detailed years of physical and sexual abuse perpetrated by him.  Torres' wife, Cathy, is scheduled to go to trial next year on the same charges.

GA Carries out 8th Execution of the Year:  A Georgia death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, marking the state's eighth execution of the year.  Kate Brumback of the AP reports that Steven Frederick Spears, 54, died by lethal injection after refusing to initiate any post-conviction appeals.  Spears was convicted in 2001 for murdering his ex-girlfriend, who he choked to death after suspecting she was romantically involved with someone else.  Eight is a record number of executions in a calendar year for Georgia, and the most carried out this year by any state.  A total of 18 inmates have been executed in 2016.

POTUS Encourages Violent Protesters:  President Obama shared some words of encouragement this week with the groups of Anti-Trump protesters that have been gathering all over the nation since the election and carrying out violent demonstrations.  Debra Heine of PJ media reports that President Obama stated, "I would not advise them to be silent," citing the supposed regularity with which presidential nominees are faced with mob protests.  He failed to address the widespread occurrence of rioting and destruction that has followed these demonstrations as they moved their way through several major U.S. cities.  It is anticipated that these demonstrations will continue and that protestors plan to interrupt Donald Trump's coming inauguration.

Racist Cop Claim Debunked in Study:
  John R. Lott, Jr and Carlisle E. Moody have released a study report on officer-involved shootings in the United States, concluding that there is "no statistically significant difference between killings of black suspects by black and white officers," debunking the claim that racist white renegade cops are targeting minorities.

Sen. Sessions Nominated for AG

| No Comments

Yes on 66 Committee Declares Victory

| 2 Comments
Californians to Mend, Not End, the Death Penalty. No on Prop 62, Yes on Prop 66 issued a press release this afternoon.  The text follows the break.

Update (11/23):  AP "called" the race the evening of Tuesday, November 22.  The prior information noted here that AP had called it the previous Friday was incorrect.

News Scan

| No Comments
Trial Begins for CA Sex Offender who Killed Four Women:  One of two convicted sex offenders charged with raping and killing four Southern California women while wearing an electronic monitor began his trial on Wednesday.  The AP reports that Steven Dean Gordon, 47, and Franc Cano, 30, who will be tried separately at a later date, have pleaded not guilty to rape and murder with special circumstances.  Both men are registered sex offenders with convictions in separate cases of lewd and lascivious acts on a child.  The men are believed to have known each other since 2010, when they cut off their GPS devices and fled to Alabama, where they were arrested.  Two years later, they cut off their devices again and fled to Las Vegas and were apprehended after two weeks on the run.  In 2013 and 2014, Gordon and Cano randomly targeted, raped and murdered four women, three of whom have never been found.  Gordon confessed to the murders during grand jury proceedings but the judge has excluded it from his trial because Gordon had told police prior to divulging the details of the killings that he didn't want to talk.  Both Gordon and Cano could face the death penalty if convicted.

Cellphones a Continuing Problem in CA Prisons:  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has confiscated over 8,000 cellphones from inmates across the state so far this year, highlighting the ongoing problem facing corrections officials in keeping cellphones out of prisons.  Andria Borba and Leslie Donaldson of KPIX 5 report that state inmates have used contraband cellphones to coordinate at least one prison escape, and there are at least 79 documented cases of victim intimidation over Facebook by inmates on cellphones.  To combat the problem, CDCR installed a blocking system called Managed Access in 18 of the 33 state prisons, but it has proven to block and interrupt an average of 150,000 calls and texts of other people in close proximity to the prison, causing concern over its potential to interfere with emergency calls.  Another device about to be installed in every California prison, Cell Sense, consists of a portable tower that has the ability to detect cell phones even if the battery is removed.

Defending Prop 66:  The ACLU has filed suit to halt resumption of executions in California, despite Californians voting in favor of expediting the death penalty process.  Listen to CJLF Legal Director Kent Scheidegger defend Proposition 66 on KFI's John and Ken show.

FedSoc National Lawyers Convention

| No Comments
The Federalist Society's National Lawyers Convention is underway in Washington.  The theme is "The Jurisprudence and Legacy of Justice Scalia."  Regrettably, I am not able to attend this year.  Duty calls.

Live streams of some of the panels and links to video of concluded panels are available at the FedSoc Blog.  The criminal law panel is at 3:30 EST today.  Not sure if it will be live streamed.  Justice Thomas is the dinner speaker at 7:00 EST.  Update:  They are live streaming the Separation of Powers panel instead.

Of course, there is much more to the convention than the presentations, interesting as they are.  Conversations in the hallways and at the events with people I only see "face-to-face" once a year are just as valuable.  I am sure that the question of who will be the next Attorney General is a hot topic, and the question of who will be nominated as the successor to Justice Scalia is even hotter.

Monthly Archives