Supreme Court: No HC Ruling, But No Change to Citizens United, Pre-Emption of Most of Arizona Immigration Law, Overturn on Life Sentences for Juveniles

By: Monday June 25, 2012 7:56 am

There will be no ruling on the Affordable Care Act today, per the fine folks at SCOTUSBlog. However, three other consequential rulings did get announced. First, there’s the case of American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock. This was the Montana attempt to effectively overturn Citizens United and re-establish limits on corporate participation in political campaigns. The [...]

Federal Judge Calls for End to Sentencing Insanity from Federal Prosecutors

By: Tuesday May 29, 2012 1:40 pm

I’ve been reading a tremendous book about the drug war and mass incarceration called The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, which I can’t recommend enough. It shines the light on our out-of-whack criminal justice policies and how they disproportionately impact African-Americans, as well as how the stigma of a criminal record ends up attaching [...]

Corey Maye Will Be Released

By: Friday July 1, 2011 2:40 pm

Just after Christmas in 2001, Corey Maye was sleeping in his home when armed men attempted to break into his home. To protect his family from what he took to be burglars, Maye fired three bullets from a gun at his bedside, and inadvertently shot a cop. The police were breaking into the wrong house [...]

Global Panel: War on Drugs Is a Failure

By: Thursday June 2, 2011 9:52 am

The Global Commission on Drug Policy, a panel of luminaries from around the world, including former Republican Secretary of State George Schultz and former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, has concluded that the war on drugs has failed, and that countries should change their regulatory policies to reflect this reality. “The global war on drugs has [...]

California Denies Medical Parole to Quadraplegic Despite Court Order to Reduce Prison Population

By: Wednesday May 25, 2011 8:00 am

Yesterday, in writing about California’s prison crisis, I noted one way for the state to reduce the population in their unconstitutionally overloaded jails: they could allow medical parole for terminally ill, infirm, coma-stricken or paraplegic inmates. This would save the state millions even if they paid through Medicaid for continued care, and it would get [...]

California’s Prison Crisis Could Be Solved Easily

By: Tuesday May 24, 2011 11:13 am

The fallout from the Supreme Court’s ruling on California prisons has been predictable. Law and order politicians rail against “activist judges” who are meddling in California’s business (by protecting 8th Amendment rights and rejecting the ability for the state to continue killing its prisoners through negligence to their medical care). They claim that this order [...]

Supreme Court: California Must Reduce Prison Population

By: Monday May 23, 2011 10:31 am

The Supreme Court ruled in a long-standing case in California, ending an odyssey that has spanned two governors. They said today that the state is violating the Constitutional rights of prisoners by holding them in overcrowded lockups without adequate medical care. It upheld the ruling by a federal appeals court that California must release some [...]

California’s Prison Despair

By: Wednesday August 25, 2010 2:22 pm

When I wrote for Calitics, the progressive blog for California politics, I took a particular interest in the prison crisis, which has reached epidemic proportions in the Golden State. The health care system has already been taken over by a federal receiver because it violated the prisoners’ Constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment, with [...]

Congress Passes Fair Sentencing Act; Lowering of Crack-Cocaine Disparity Heads to Obama for Signature

By: Wednesday July 28, 2010 11:27 am

Here’s an incremental, but important victory for criminal justice, as the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity has shrunk: Congress has changed a quarter-century-old law that has sent tens of thousands of blacks to prison for crack cocaine convictions while giving far more lenient treatment to those, mainly whites, caught with the same amount of the drug [...]

Split Decision On Sentencing In Two SCOTUS Cases

By: Monday May 17, 2010 9:49 am

The Supreme Court, in two opinions today, ruled alternately that child convicts who haven’t murdered cannot face life sentences, and that sex offenders deemed “sexually dangerous” could be held in prison beyond their sentencing terms. In the first: By a 5-4 vote Monday, the court says the Constitution requires that young people serving life sentences [...]

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