Home / Crime Policy
Ferguson police today released the name of the officer who killed Michael Brown (Darren Wilson, who had been on the force for 6 years with no disciplinary history) and 16 pages of heavily redacted reports (available here) related to Michael Brown.
None of the released reports describe the shooting. Instead, they describe an alleged "strong arm" robbery at a convenience store that occurred shortly before noon on the day Brown was shot and killed. Police also released video images from a surveillance camera inside the store showing a person they say is Brown "towering" over a much shorter person (the store clerk or manager). Brown, according to the report, is 18 years old, 6'4" and 292 pounds. [More...]
(98 comments, 1033 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
Attorney General Eric Holder was the featured speaker yesterday at the annual meeting of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) in Philadelphia. The primary topic: Federal sentencing. He also addressed indigent defense, the role of defense lawyers, and the need to act in good faith in discovery matters.
Every day, in courtrooms from coast to coast, criminal defense attorneys take on cases that are fraught with difficulty and often controversy – because you understand that, for our criminal justice system to function at all, every accused individual must have effective representation. And every defendant’s right to due process must be guaranteed.
The full text of his remarks is here.
(7 comments) Permalink :: Comments
The New York Times has taken a bold step. Its editorial board is calling for the legalization of marijuana -- Repeal Prohibition Again.
The Times will feature marijuana legalization all week in a series of articles, High Time. Here's the first article, Let the States Decide. [more....]
(20 comments, 185 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
Update 7/27: The Netherlands has authorized Aruba to release Hugo Carvajal, saying he does have diplomatic immunity. Looks like the DEA has lost this round. Definitely the right decision in my view.
Venezuela does not allow the extradition of its citizens to the U.S. That doesn't stop the DEA. The latest conquests in its global war on drugs: Benny Palmeri-Bacchia, a Venezuelan attorney who served as a judge and prosecutor, and Hugo Carvajal Barrios, aka "Pollo" (chicken), the former head of Venezuela's Military Intelligence. Palmeri-Bacchi was arrested en route to Disneyland with his family for a vacation, and Carvajal was arrested in Aruba (as the result of a year long DEA plan to arrest him outside of Venezuela, more on this below.) [More...]
(1112 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
50,000 children have fled their home countries and arrived in the U.S. since last fall. The number is expected to reach 90,000 by the end of the year. They are desperately in need of humanitarian aid. They should be treated as refugees from the violence in their home countries, not immigration violators. The U.S. should be providing them with asylum, not subjecting them to deportation.
What is DOJ's solution? Yesterday it announced a new policy. [More...]
(150 comments, 855 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
Washington state opened its doors to recreational marijuana sales yesterday. There were long lines and very happy customers. James Lathrop, the owner of Cannibis City, came out at 9:00 a.m. with a big pair of scissors to cut the tape and said:
It's time to free the weed.
Among those who waited in line for hours:[More...]
(6 comments, 343 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
In a nutshell:
- The number of federal and state wiretaps authorized in 2013 reached a ten year high -- there were 3,576.
- Only 1 wiretap application was rejected, and that was by a state court. (Number of requests: 3577)
- 87% of all wiretaps were for drug offenses.
- Average cost of a federal wiretap: $43,361.
(249 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
The U.S. Sentencing Commission today held a hearing on whether to make the two point reduction in drug sentencing guidelines that becomes effective November 1, 2014 retroactive so that it applies to those already sentenced. The hearing agenda with witness statements is here.
(1443 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
Massachusetts enacted a medical marijuana law in 2012. Recently, shortly after the first licenses were approved, the DEA began visiting MA physicians associated with medical marijuana dispensaries and giving them a choice: Give up your DEA license to prescribe most medications, or give up your association with dispensaries.
The stark choice is necessary, the doctors said they were told, because of friction between federal law, which bans any use of marijuana, and state law, which voters changed in 2012 to allow medical use of the drug.
The DEA’s action has left some doctors, whose livelihoods depend on being able to offer patients pain medications and other drugs, with little option but to resign from the marijuana companies,where some held prominent positions.
The DEA gets progressively more out of step with the Department of Justice, Congress and state legislatures every day. Its budget is bloated and it desperately needs new leadership. DEA Director Michelle Leonhart, who presumably approves tactics such as these, should be asked to resign and a more enlightened director should be appointed to take her place. You can sign a Change.Org petition to remove her here.
(19 comments) Permalink :: Comments
Some very welcome news: The FBI's longstanding policy against recording interrogations of suspects will change in July.
Here is the May 12, 2014 memo sent to federal prosecutors and DOJ agencies by Deputy AG James Cole explaining the policy change. [More...]
(5 comments, 743 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
Congress has authorized 2,000 new hires for the FBI, and the FBI will be filling many of the positions with computer programmers and hackers in its fight against cybercrime. The problem, according to FBI Director James Comey, speaking yesterday at a white collar crime conference:
“I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Mr. Comey said.
Up until now, the FBI has asked applicants whether they have used marijuana within the past three years. Comey says the agency is changing "its mindset and the way we do business" and working more outside the box:
One conference goer asked Mr. Comey about a friend who had shied away from applying because of the policy. “He should go ahead and apply,” despite the marijuana use, Mr. Comey said.
(3 comments) Permalink :: Comments
Al Jazeera America has just begun airing an 8 part series on the flaws in our criminal justice system. The first episode aired last night, and addressed coerced and false confessions. The remaining topics:
- Episode 2: Mandatory Sentencing
- Episode 3: Flawed Forensics (FBI Lab)
- Episode 4: Eyewitness Identification
- Episode 5: Parole
- Episode 6: Juvenile Justice
- Episode 7: Broken Windows: Policing Strategies
- Episode 8: Prosecutorial Integrity
Reuters has more on the show here.
(12 comments) Permalink :: Comments
It's that time of year again, when the House Appropriations Committee considers the annual DOJ budget. In the next several days, an amendment will be offered defunding medical marijuana raids in states with laws permitting use of medical marijuana.
Representatives Rohrabacher and Farr will be introducing an amendment to this measure to prevent any of the department’s funding from being used to interfere with medical marijuana programs in states that have approved them.
The amendment would prevent the Department of Justice from using taxpayer funds to interfere in state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs.
(5 comments, 499 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
[This article] demonstrates that a connection between drugs and violence is not supported by historical arrest data, current research, or independent empirical evidence. That there is little evidence to support the assumption that drugs cause violence is an important insight, because the assumed causal link between drugs and violence forms the foundation of a significant amount of case law, statutes, and commentary.
In particular, the presumed connection between drugs and violence has reduced constitutional protections, misled government resources, and resulted in the unnecessary incarceration of a large proportion of non-violent Americans. In short, if drugs do not cause violence — and the empirical evidence discussed in this Article suggests they do not — then America needs to rethink its entire approach to drug policy.
(14 comments, 275 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
The Department of Justice is seeking approval for a change in the federal rule applicable to issuance of search warrants. DOJ wants U.S. Magistrate judges to be able, under Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, to authorize computer searches even when they don't know the location of the computer or whether it's in that Magistrate's district. If the DOJ can access the computer remotely to search it, it doesn't want to be hamstrung by "technicalities" like which district the computer is in, or just as importantly, having to leave a physical notice at the site of the search.
The rule change has already passed its first hurdle and will come up again at a meeting of the committee later this month.
(506 words in story) There's More :: Permalink :: Comments
|Next 15 >>|