Comparing Hillary and Obama on Crime Issues

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article today by Bob Egelko comparing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on crime issues.

Shorter version: They are pretty similar and not particularly liberal (certainly not as much as I would like them to be.)

There are some things I take issue with. For more on Obama's record on crime and defendants' rights, see my earlier analysis here.

It's true, as the article says, that while both support the death penalty, Obama worked to revise it in Illinois to prevent wrongful convictions and Hillary was an early and consistent supporter in Congress of the Innocence Protection Act.

But neither one opposes the death penalty for the guilty. Obama, for example, supported legislation in Illinois to increase crimes eligible for the death penalty -- specifically for those convicted of brutal murders of the elderly and mentally disabled. (Chicago Tribune, May 2, 2001, available on Lexis.com) He also supports it for heinous crimes.


In 2004, for the first time since the 1980's, the Dems, at the insistence of John Kerry, dropped the death penalty from their platform. Will Obama or Hillary pledge to keep it out? I doubt it.

On mandatory minimums, the article implies Obama is opposed to them while Hillary is not.

The two differ on crime-related issues that have a lower profile but affect many thousands of prisoners, most of them minorities - the disparity between sentences for offenses involving crack and powder cocaine, and the merits of federal mandatory-minimum sentencing laws. On both, Clinton lines up with the prosecution, Obama with the defense.

While it accurately notes that Obama has tempered his opposition recently by merely calling for a review of mandatory minimums, he's also said his opposition applies to non-violent offenses. And he has doubts about spending political capital to change them.

He said that if he were to become president, he would support a commission to issue a report "that allows me to say that based on the expert evidence, this is not working and it's unfair and unjust. Then I would move legislation forward."

"Even if we fix this, if it was a 1-to-1 ratio, it's still a problem that folks are selling crack. It's still a problem that our young men are in a situation where they believe the only recourse for them is the drug trade. So there is a balancing act that has to be done in terms of, do we want to spend all our political capital on a very difficult issue that doesn't get at some of the underlying issues; whether we want to spend more of that political capital getting early childhood education in place, getting after-school programs in place, getting summer school programs in place."

As to Hillary lining up with the prosecution on mandatory minimums, that's wrong. Here is a recent example:

Hillary at the third debate at Howard University:

we have to do all of these things. Number one, we do have to go after racial profiling. I’ve supported legislation to try to tackle that.

Number two, we have to go after mandatory minimums. You know, mandatory sentences for certain violent crimes may be appropriate, but it has been too widely used. And it is using now a discriminatory impact.

Three, we need diversion, like drug courts. Non-violent offenders should not be serving hard time in our prisons. They need to be diverted from our prison system. (Applause.)

We need to make sure that we do deal with the distinction between crack and powder cocaine. And ultimately we need an attorney general and a system of justice that truly does treat people equally, and that has not happened under this administration.

Obama was also a prime co-sponsor of the meth bill that passed Congress and supported bills with greater restrictions on sex offenders. While in the Illinois legislature, he either voted for or present (I can't tell which) on a law with increased penalties and mandatory minimums for ecstasy in Illinois. (Copley News Service May 10, 2001.)In his own words, (Chicago Tribune, October 8, 2004):

"I voted for, or co-sponsored myself, over 100 bills that strengthened criminal penalties for everything ranging from sex offenders to drug dealers to domestic violence abusers," he said. "It would be very hard to argue, if you look at the totality of my record, that I somehow have been soft on crime. ... Those who have tried to paint me recently as being too liberal are some of the colleagues I worked most closely with. They never held that view until election season."

Obama also said last year he would create a new DEA office in New Orleans:

If elected, Mr. Obama said he would establish a Drug Enforcement Agency office in New Orleans that would be dedicated to stopping drug gangs across the region.

The two crime policy areas in which Obama is more progressive than Hillary are (1) anti-gang bills and (2) retroactivity of the recent crack-powder sentencing guideline reductions. Hillary was one of 44 Democrats who voted for the anti-gang bill while Obama voted against it. And on the retroactivity question, Obama supported it while Hillary said,

“In principle I have problems with retroactivity," she said. "It’s something a lot of communities will be concerned about as well."

To say Obama is more progressive on crime issues or that he takes the defense line while Hillary toes the prosecution line, is not accurate. Neither one is particularly progressive or defense oriented. Their minor differences are just that, minor.

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    Bill's "60 New Death Penalties" included (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 11:29:03 PM EST
    such trivial offenses as raising a field of hemp.

    Also forced support for the Death Penalty into the 1996 Platform.

    Circulating leaflets against the Platform plank outside Convention-related venues got me arrested twice, and participating in a march opposing the provision which spilled from one traffic lane to 2 brought 6 felony indictments under the Illinois Mob Action Statute. Acquitted at trial on all counts.

    Hillary is not Bill (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 11:32:19 PM EST
    She's running on her own record. Don't misrepresent here.

    If I get the chance, Ill ask her (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:55:57 AM EST
    if she'll repeal the death penalty for hemp farmers.

    Don't expect a straight answer Ben....n/t (none / 0) (#60)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:43:30 AM EST
    According to (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 05:43:22 AM EST
    , citing NYT,

    As president, Clinton signed a 1994 crime bill that included a major expansion of the federal death penalty; according to the New York Times, first lady Hillary Clinton lobbied fellow Democrats for that provision.

    but she reminds me of him (none / 0) (#8)
    by dc2008 on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:38:13 AM EST
    Hillary Clinton isn't Bill Clinton, but her claim of being much more experienced than Obama is significantly based on her having been an integral part of the administration of Bill Clinton. If Hillary is to be regarded as the Experience Candidate, then I therefore consider that to imply the Bill Clinton administration's approach to issues, including criminal justice, to be highly relevant.

    I'm not suggesting that Hillary won't make her own decisions by any means. But is there any serious doubt that Bill won't have an enormous amount of influence, both on her and on her staff and Cabinet members? I'm sure that I would end up being heavily influenced by Bill Clinton too, if I were to talk to him on a daily basis about the myriad issues that he had spent eight years setting policy on as president. It simply would be the natural course of events.

    Because of this, Hillary's willingness to criticize Obama for opposing mandatory minimums has revived memories for me of how willing or even eager Bill Clinton was to use "tough on crime" posturing for political purposes, for example, calling for a federal three-strikes law in his State of the Union address. Her opposition to retroactivity in the crack sentencing reforms is reminiscent of the Bill Clinton administration's opposition to making the mandatory minimum safety valve retroactive.

    And I do consider those two differences significant, not minor. If mainstream politics permitted much further reaching reform at this time, I might see them as minor too, in the grand scheme of things. But this is the current edge of the sentencing reform debate in its mainstream political sense -- e.g., areas where things could actually happen, at least with crack sentencing -- and Hillary has staked out the wrong side.  Eliminating the sentencing disparity without retroactivity might have taken political courage in 1997, but it doesn't in 2008.

    Overall I certainly agree that neither is signaling to be the sentencing savior we are waiting for. My instinct, right or wrong, is that Obama might actually try to do something about sentencing as president, and appointing a commission to back him up on it might be a good strategy if so. And my instinct, again right or wrong, is that Hillary will try not to do anything about sentencing.


    I should add (none / 0) (#9)
    by dc2008 on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:47:46 AM EST
    I should add that my instinct -- with absolutely no facts to back it up -- also says that Hillary has better personal views on crime policy than Bill does.  I just doubt that she'll do anything about it, or admit to it.

    I don't think these are first term issues (none / 0) (#12)
    by MaxUS on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 02:19:25 AM EST
    We need to do a gut check on whether the candidate would veto progressive legislation that managed to get through a hopefully more Progressive Congress in a second term.

    My gut says, Hillary's ideology is left leaning enough that it will allow us to bring the country back to our side.

    Where her experience with Bill's Administration is important is in knowing how much she can push in the first term. With good planning, she can select the right running mate that she has a good relationship with that she can press into playing the more moderate role in contrast to her more progressive role in the second term.

    I'm concerned that Obama's first term might look a lot like Bill's first term, with some disasterous missteps. If the media were doing their jobs and reporting on each candidate with equal scrutiny and skepticism, I think we'd see indictions of those missteps from some of the narratives of his campaign. (Example: I think that we should follow DNC rules to the letter, unless doing so favors my opponent.)


    Her own record is tied to Bill's (none / 0) (#19)
    by cannondaddy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 08:24:23 AM EST
    esp. in counting the 35 years of experience.  Unless she goes out of her way to seperate herself on an issue, it's hard to see that it's not shared.

    35 years (none / 0) (#20)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 08:24:39 AM EST

    So this isn't part of Hillary's 35 years of experience?  It seems thar everything Bill did as Gov or Pres that is something likeable is part of Hill's experience, but the unlikeable stuff is 100% Bill's alone.  Is that about right?

    She's running on her own record. Don't misrepresent here.

    BTW, what did Hillary have to say about Ricky Ray Rector?


    Most people do not know (none / 0) (#26)
    by BernieO on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:13:22 AM EST
    that the "retarded" man that Clinton allowed to be executed was not mentally handicapped when he committed his murders, including the murder of a police officer who was just talking to his mother. Rector only became mentally handicapped after he botched a suicide attempt effectively lobotomizing himself.

    Although there are a lot of people who will still find this execution - or any execution - to be wrong, I think the fact that the media never made the facts of this case clear is troubling. There is a difference between executing someone who is not able to function as an adult at the time of a murder and someone who becomes this way as a result of that crime.


    Well, (none / 0) (#27)
    by andrewwm on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:22:31 AM EST
    his execution was unremarkable in that Republicans that were critical don't have a leg to stand on when complaining about it.

    But it should be noted that he self-lobotomized himself before his trial not after.  The court refused motions that he was unfit to stand trial. He was no doubt sane when he killed, but he had no chance once he went to trial.


    True and that is a problem (none / 0) (#28)
    by BernieO on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:31:29 AM EST
    but still most people do not know the facts which the media glossed over to make Clinton look completely heartless.
    Unfortunately the death penalty is like gun control - a loser for Democrats.  After all we are living in a democracy and it is clearly the will of a large majority of people that the death penalty is a good thing. If we want to see either it changed we all need to work harder to change public opinion, but meanwhile we cannot keep having our candidates lose because of these issues.

    True (none / 0) (#33)
    by andrewwm on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:41:17 AM EST
    I think what irritated most progressives, though, was that WJC used it as a "get tough" moment to show that he wasn't a softie on crime. It would have been something different if he'd just treated it routinely, but he used it as proof that he was tough on crime. A really bad case to pick imo.

    It was sort of a Sister Souljah moment where he stuck it in the eye of progressives to prove how moderate he was.


    I have never seen an article (none / 0) (#37)
    by cannondaddy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:59:46 AM EST
    that did not mention this was the result of a self-inflicted wound after the crime.  

    Maybe so (none / 0) (#38)
    by Steve M on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:01:28 AM EST
    But it's something I never knew until now.

    I didn't vote for WJC because of this... (none / 0) (#81)
    by cannondaddy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:36:47 AM EST
    I know most American's stance on the issue means it will be a long time before there is an viable candidate who opposes the death penalty.  I can live with that.  But this case chills me to the core.  It goes beyond opportunistic politics and brushes with an evil I do not like to contemplate.

    Even Wikipedia has (none / 0) (#46)
    by BernieO on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:17:03 AM EST
    and article about this.

    Obama is now taking (none / 0) (#23)
    by PlayInPeoria on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 08:43:30 AM EST
    that approach. His new flyer hits Bill ...

    "8 years of the Clintons, major losses for Democrats across the nation," the flier says, enumerating that from November 1992 to November 2000, Democrats lost 12 governorships, 7 Senate seats, and 46 House seats.

    And basically says Hillary will be the same.

    Why does he so this after such a win over the weekend?


    Come on... (none / 0) (#24)
    by mindfulmission on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 08:47:54 AM EST
    ... I have said this numerous times.

    Hillary has clearly run on the success of the previous Clinton Administration.  Anytime she says things like, "the economy was great in the 90's" she is clearly trying to connect herself to the success of her Husband.

    In turn, if she wants to be connected to the successes, she needs to be willing to to be connected to the failures or other pieces of awful policy that her Husband's administration supported.


    If she were not married to Bill (none / 0) (#113)
    by mexboy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 01:21:56 PM EST
    Would you still object to her talking about taking the country in that direction?

    I mean the republicans are all salivating about Reagan, they mention him more than god in their debates.

    Is it okay for them but not for Hillary?

    I loved the 90's under Bill Clinton's administration. Shouldn't a democrat who believes the policies that brought us a strong economy, a surplus, economic opportunities for disenfranchised Americans and global good will be help up the same way republicans look up to their trickle down economics?

    HIllary is a brilliant woman in her own right. If you think she didn't learn about how to run a more successful white house than her husband, from having watched his errors, you are obviously not being objective.


    ugh... (none / 0) (#118)
    by mindfulmission on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 03:27:15 PM EST
    I never said I had a problem with Hillary taking the country in that direction, did I?

    Though... to be fair... i think that Clinton's administration was much more conservative than I would like.  

    But regardless... that is not what I am talking about.

    I am not saying that Hillary should not talk positively about the Clinton I years.  I am not saying that Hillary should not put forth similar policies and directives.

    I am saying that if Hillary wants to claim the successes of the Bill's administration, she also has to be willing to claim the crap of the Bill's administration.  It is pretty simple.  She can't just claim the good and say that the bad was all Bill's doing.


    I don't read she's claiming success (none / 0) (#120)
    by mexboy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 06:49:08 PM EST
    for the Clintons years in the WH.

    She is saying she gained first hand experience as to how the office works and that she's ready to lead  on day one.

    She is also pointing to the policies that worked, like the Republicans point to Reagan, and that  some of those are good Democratic goals that worked, and we should revisit.

    She didn't make the decisions in the WH, Bill did, so he is solely responsible for them. But it makes sense that she learned a lot about how to succeed as president, and how to work with those who want to block you from establishing your agenda. She has demonstrated as much working in congress.

    I do not speak for Hillary, this is how I understand from researching her campaign.


    Hillary just can't win with some people (none / 0) (#3)
    by RalphB on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 11:41:42 PM EST
    If someone doesn't like a position or action of Bill's, then they blame Hillary for it.  For the good done in Bill's administration, she was only the First Lady and gets no credit.  Sheesh.

    I oppose the death penalty for raising a (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 11:51:21 PM EST
    field of hemp.  

    Me too! (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:35:32 AM EST
    That's an outrage!  I can't stand the thought that my tax dollar would be used to off some weed grower.  I'm growing a couple of danish flag poppies this year because they are so beautiful but am I next?  I am tech growing opium.  Something that under some circumstances can be used in very unproductive ways......far more unproductive than weed!

    has anyone...? (none / 0) (#34)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:42:44 AM EST
    Has there been any person in the US who received the death penalty for raising a field of hemp?  (It might be one of those extreme penalties that a jury would never impose).

    Just wondering . . . .


    I don't know (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:23:47 AM EST
    I would have thought that if someone where on that list the press would be on it considering the number of Americans who smoke pot these days, but who can really know the press?  Doesn't matter to me though if someone has received that sentence or not, it needs to be tossed off the books before someone does end up fried.

    No-one caught with enough, yet. (none / 0) (#112)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 01:19:47 PM EST
    Quite a few serving 15+ year Federal sentences. Not pardoned by Bill.

    me too (none / 0) (#115)
    by mexboy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 01:24:10 PM EST
    I oppose the death penalty, period.
    Humans murdering humans to teach them murder is wrong.
    maybe it's just me, but it just short circuits my thinking.

    No no..its worse than that really (none / 0) (#11)
    by Virginian on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 01:07:41 AM EST
    People at Big Orange Satan were trying to tie Hillary to the hip of Rezko a few weeks ago because she was endorsed by Ed Rendell...who received donations from Rezko...its like the Kevin Bacon game...

    I am sure there is someway in which we can find out that the Clintons are currently the leaders of P2 and are controlling world governments and economies from their secret lair in Italy...remember, you heard it here first!


    Can't be a part time virgin (none / 0) (#15)
    by Rojas on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 07:06:48 AM EST
    I find that quote from the Howard debate telling.
    And ultimately we need an attorney general and a system of justice that truly does treat people equally, and that has not happened under this administration.

    Hell Bush's crime policy has been a continuation of the Clinton years. It was a perfect opportunity to distance herself. Instead she gave an answer that's nonresponsive.

    A little transparency is in order. They could/should release her archives.


    Not convinced (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by AF on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:10:10 AM EST
    that the two candidates are indistinguishable on crime.  That's certainly not what the SF Chronicle article says.  It says they "have converged" but that on issues where they differ "Clinton lines up with the prosecution, Obama with the defense."  It also quotes  Jesselyn McCurdy, an attorney on national legislation for the American Civil Liberties Union, who says: "Clinton is more in the moderate column on these crime issues than Obama."

    Contrary to what you say, Hillary is more pro-prosecution than Obama on mandatory minimums.      In fact, her campaign attacked him on the issue as recently as January. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/Story?id=4088317&page=1
    Most important, I think, is the fact that one of Obama's signature legislative achievements in Illinois was a bill to require videotaping of interrogations.  Hillary has not to my knowledge ever championed a pro-defendant bill.  And this is not even mentioning Obama's stronger ties to the African American electorate, who traditionally form the political base for pro-defendant policies.

    There is little evidence that their superficial "convergence" -- Hillary coming from the right and Obama from the left -- represents actual changes of heart, rather than window dressing.  Obama is almost certain to be better for defendants than Hillary.

    The irony is that his signature legislation (none / 0) (#7)
    by LatinoVoter on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:32:45 AM EST
    after several immigrants had signed confessions and were either serving time in jail or about to for murders they didn't commit. In two of those cases Latino activists went to Sen. Obama for help and he didn't do much.

    This legislation is good but it won't give people back the years they lost spent in jail for crimes they didn't commit.


    What more could he have done? (none / 0) (#17)
    by AF on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 07:40:58 AM EST
    He was a legislator.  He couldn't overturn their sentences.  He couldn't pardon them.  He passed legislation.

    What more could he have done? He didn't (none / 0) (#116)
    by LatinoVoter on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 03:08:41 PM EST
    do anything to begin with. So anything would have been better than ignoring the cries for help or intervention.

    Sentencing (none / 0) (#48)
    by IndependantThinker on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:19:53 AM EST
    is a hot button item with AA. There is statistical proof that AA are more likely to be convicted and sentenced to higher prison terms then whites. I think that there is also statistical proof that AA are more likely to be convicted.  

    If it was such a hot button issue and he cared (none / 0) (#117)
    by LatinoVoter on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 03:09:47 PM EST
    so much about it he wouldn't have voted present on the youth sentencing bill that obviously targeted youths of color.

    the abc article (none / 0) (#31)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:36:56 AM EST
    as I've pointed out before cites an unnamed staffer for that assertion. It's never been repeated and she never did it. It's contrary to her own statements and I don't believe it's accurate. I asked her campaign to verify it and they couldn't.

    Did they deny it? (none / 0) (#53)
    by AF on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:26:18 AM EST
    If not, they said it.  And that is not the only article reporting that Clinton was attacking Obama from the right on crime.

    i think Edwards is going to endorse Obama tomorrow (none / 0) (#6)
    by toddy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:29:32 AM EST
    i think Edwards is going to endorse Obama tomorrow.

    this is how i draw the conclusion:

    1. the leak seems to encourage a larger press corp that the current one following Obama.

    2. why a Obama visit so public and Hillary visit so private? is't this to spare
    the loser an embarassment and maximize media glare to the winner?

    1.  Edwards is not the pope. do you think he risk such a public embarassment to Obama and a private one for Hillary?

    2. under the current environment there is no downside risk to an Obama endorsement.
    endorsing Hillary now will just incur more derision and scorn to Edwards.

    just one more indignity to the Clintons from the current pileon from the MSM, lefty blogostan and the establishment.

    anyway, i am used to eating crow

    Not tomorrow... (none / 0) (#21)
    by cannondaddy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 08:25:59 AM EST

    If he does (none / 0) (#29)
    by BernieO on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:33:40 AM EST
    I will lose a lot of respect for him. He was so adamant about health care and the need for mandates that supporting Obama would represent a cave on an issue of huge importance. He would be better to not endorse if he does not like Hillary.

    Edwards' endorsement (none / 0) (#63)
    by auntmo on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:58:23 AM EST
    Not  gonna  happen.  

    Edwards  was  STRONGLY  for   mandates in his  healthcare plan,  and   openly  told Obama  in the  last  debate with all 3  of  them  that   his  plan  wouldn't  work  without  them.  

    In  that  same  debate,  Edwards  was  DISGUSTED  by    Obama's   vote  against   caps on  interest  rates  for  credit  cards.  


    Edwards will endorse... (none / 0) (#66)
    by doordiedem0crat on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:05:06 AM EST
    Obama...simply...change or status quo. He said it himself.

    Now that Obama has convinced the world he more likely will win the nomination, EVERYONE will be on board, superdelegates included. Especially if Edwards seeks influence in the Obama Administration.


    Edwards endorsement (none / 0) (#68)
    by auntmo on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:07:05 AM EST
    You're  smoking  something.  

    Edwards    has  never indicated   pro-Obama.

    In fact, in the last  debate,  he   ripped  Obama   profusely  for his  poor healthcare plan  and his   lack  of  courage on the  interest  rate   cap  vote.  

    Not  gonna  happen.


    I wish I was... (none / 0) (#73)
    by doordiedem0crat on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:19:38 AM EST
    however, your referencing a couple of policy differences. We're talking about FUNDAMENTAL change. Don't be too upset by this reality.

    HE did say CHANGE vs STATUS QUO. We all know what this means. Once Obama knocks clinton out tomorrow...Edwards may endorse Obama...he would never go clinton.


    Wrong (none / 0) (#96)
    by auntmo on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:10:48 PM EST
    Edwards  canceled his meeting  with Obama  today.  

    But  he  DID  meet  with Clinton  campaign.

    And  Edwards'  most important issue  was   healthcare plan.....Clinton's   matches  his plan   closely.  

    Edwards  ripped  Obama   a  new one  at  the  debate  for not    requiring  mandates  and  for   offering  29-29 year  olds   an  "out"  for   the  plan.  

    Like  I  said,  not  gonna  happen.  


    Superdelegates (none / 0) (#69)
    by auntmo on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:09:18 AM EST
    Sorry,  but you're wrong  again.  

    According  to  Obama rules,  the superdelegates  from  Massachusetts  (Kerry  &  Kennedy included)   MUST  vote  according  to   delegate  count,  and  CLinton won  that.  

    So .....Kerry and  Kennedy  will   be  required  to  endorse   Clinton.  

    Unless  Obama changes  his  mind, AGAIN.  <snark>


    Ah yes, the nebulous change mantra (none / 0) (#101)
    by BernieO on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:34:52 PM EST
    I suppose that universal health care coverage is status quo? On that issue, the most important long term economic problem facing our country, Obama offers less change that does Hillary. Her supporters just don't chant about it.

    Americans love their death penalty (none / 0) (#14)
    by Prabhata on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 06:24:37 AM EST
    Of course it's not that everybody wants the death penalty, but the majority do.  Let's face it, Americans as a rule are violent and don't mind that the innocent gets killed if it's intended to get the guilty. Latin America has not had the death penalty since the turn of last century. We (Latin America) follow Europe.  Most politicians cannot be against the death penalty if they want a to go to Washington.  One district, like San Francisco CA, will accept, nay demands, someone who is against the death penalty.  Our DA does not usually seek the death penalty because most juries in the city don't like to convict if the defendant is likely to get the death sentence.  A policeman was killed and the police department created a furor because our DA was not going to seek the death penalty, but she prevailed.  Given the circumstances, she felt that getting a conviction was better than seeking the death penalty and lose the conviction.

    The problem is that (none / 0) (#72)
    by SFHawkguy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:18:12 AM EST
    the Democrats now lack the courage to fight against the death penalty.  When both parties try to outdo themselves in their support for "killin' the bad guys", it's no wonder there isn't a popular abolishionist movement.  

    It hasn't always been so.

    In the 80s I remember the death penalty being a big issue in the upper midwestern states.  Back then Democrats were comfortable fighting against the death penalty and did so successfully (after all, most civilized nations have abolished it--the U.S. is in the company of Iran, North Korea, China, and Saudia Arabia).  The Republicans in Iowa always tried to install the death penalty but were never able to do so.

    Then the Clintons came in with their Southern understanding of criminal issues and basically forced the Democratic party to give up the fight and join the Republicans in executin' people.

    I forgot about John Kerry pushing to get the death penalty off the platform.  Good for him.  Maybe partially explains the animosity between the Clintons and Kerry?


    I'm still spinning (none / 0) (#16)
    by GV on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 07:18:33 AM EST
    Well, this is certainly a change in position.  You wrote in the comments to a post once that your support of Hillary focused solely on your concern for your "clients," so Hillary was your candidate.  The statement then that Hillary was better for criminal defendants than Obama is just as absurd as your statement here that the differences between them are minor.  

    This post is embarrassing spin.  Obama has championed a number of important pro-criminal defendant pieces of legislation.  Hillary has never taken on a lead on this issue.  You also have never addressed the fact that Hillary opposes making the crack amendment retroactive.  Obama has come out in support.  But, gee, I guess helping correct an injustice that affects 20,000 people is only a "minor" difference between the candidates?  Is that really what you think?  Hillary also supported the AEDPA when it passed in the mid-90s.  

    To the extent that criminal issues are important to an individual, it is clear who is the better candidate.  I certainly understand if this is not a super important issue for everyone.  But to pretend that the candidates are the same on criminal issues is simply, flat-out false.  

    Not true again (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:44:26 AM EST
    I referenced and criticized Hillary on the retroactivity issue several times, follow the links. Here's just one. If you aren't going to read my posts please don't misstate them. False comments will be deleted.

    Obama is not better for defendant's rights. They are essentially two peas in a pod, with slight differences.

    Obama doesnt' seem willing to "expend political capital" on his beliefs. Those are his words. That's a problem for me.

    I have also said many times that since neither is a progressive on crime issues, my vote will be decided by other factors: experience and the ability to get things accomplished in Congress. My view is she is the better candidate there.


    more spin (none / 0) (#122)
    by GV on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:39:03 PM EST
    I should have said addressed Hillary's opposition to making the crack amendments retroactive in the context of explaining how Obama's record on criminal issues is similar to Hillary's.  And you've once again not addressed that fact.  I wonder whether the 20,000 people who could have their unjust sentences reduced if the crack amendments are made retroactive think Obama is similar on criminal issues as Hillary?  

    And I find it odd that you try to minimize the differences between Hillary and Obama on mandatory minimums given that Hillary herself doesn't seem to agree with your characterization, as her campaign attacked Obama for his stance on MM.  Given that they hold basically the same position, why would they bother to attack him?  

    As I said before, perhaps there are valid reasons for supporting Hillary over Obama.  But to pretend their records on criminal issues are the same is simply not true.


    I addressed both (none / 0) (#123)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 01:44:59 AM EST
    several times, see the post above and the posts linked at the bottom and the comments thread here. Your statements are twisting the facts. Mine consist of quotes from the candidates themselves and are well-sourced.

    political approach is important too (none / 0) (#124)
    by dc2008 on Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 05:21:16 PM EST
    I don't think you're misstating any facts, Jeralyn.  I haven't read things carefully enough to know whether anyone else here has.  But I do think you're giving Hillary too much of a pass in saying that she and Barack are two peas in a pod on criminal justice issues.  That may well turn out to be the case, but I believe we need to look at political approach as well as specific votes and positions if we are to predict how a president will act in office, because a presidential candidate is looking toward an upcoming vote, and an aspiring president is looking to get to that point.

    When looking at political approach, the fact that Hillary was willing to criticize Obama for opposing mandatory minimums is something I find pretty discouraging, her willingness at other times to talk about doing something about certain mandatory minimums notwithstanding.

    Her willingness to come out against retroactivity at a time when Congress actually could move to reverse it and judges have decisions to make on real-world cases is pretty troubling.  It's not all that likely that this Congress would reverse the Sentencing Commission on that, but by no means is it outside the realm of possibility.  It might be as simple as Lindsey Graham offering an amendment to that effect on the Senate Floor at 11:00pm.  Nice that he can cite a leading Democratic presidential candidate in support of that amendment.  Will Hillary she vote for such an amendment?  Will she speak in support of it?

    I consider both of these moves by her and her campaign to have potential significance in the actual legislative process.  They could even have an impact on how judges deal with retroactivity cases, and they certainly could lend encouragement to prosecutors who don't like the sentencing reductions.  Plus, this is an issue where civil rights leaders and many others have directly decried racism in the criminal justice system, for well over a decade.  It's really sad to me that she took that position.


    Video taping, and crack issues (none / 0) (#36)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:55:24 AM EST
    videotaping interrogations and confessions is a great idea.  Gotta give some credit to Obama for that.  (Illinois was the first state to do this.)

    As far as crack/powder equavalency goes, I read this on a web-site:

    * Obama believes the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated.

    Source: Campaign booklet, "Blueprint for Change", p. 48-49 Feb 2, 2008

    Wow (none / 0) (#40)
    by Steve M on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:07:46 AM EST
    Thank God I don't vote my clients' interests, I'd be such a Republican!

    Their websites (none / 0) (#18)
    by AF on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 07:49:38 AM EST
    Here's Obama on civil rights, and here's Hillary.

    Three of Obama's issues relate to criminal justice (Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Support, Eliminate Sentencing Disparities, Expand Use of Drug Courts).  None of Hillary's do.

    civil rights (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 09:39:31 AM EST
    are not the same as defendants' rights or criminal justice. Hillary has clearly stated her support for all three of those propositions. That's it's not on her "civil rights" page doesn't mean anything.

    Is it somewhere else on her website? (none / 0) (#41)
    by AF on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:09:48 AM EST
    It doesn't matter whether it's on her "civil rights" page, but it matters whether it's on her website, and I haven't been able to find it.  What candidates highlight on their websites reflects their priorities.   If there is somewhere else on Hillary's website where she highlights her positions on criminal justice issues and defendants' rights, I stand corrected.  Otherwise, my point stands.

    Do some research on her legislative record (none / 0) (#54)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:27:43 AM EST
    and statements and you'll find it. It doesn't have to be on her campaign website.

    Here's another: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum
    Dec 1, 2007

    Q: Some people say your husband's crime bill is one of the primary factors behind the rising incarceration rate for blacks and Latinos. It earmarked $8 billion dollars for prisons and continued a trend to harsher sentencing. Do you regret how this has affected the black community?

    A: I think that the results--not only at the federal level but at the state level--have been an unacceptable increase in incarceration across the board & now we have to address that. At the time, there were reasons why the Congress wanted to push through a certain set of penalties and increase prison construction and there was a lot of support for that across a lot of communities. It's hard to remember now but the crime rate in the early 1990s was very high.

    But we've got to take stock now of the consequences, so that's why I want to have a thorough review of all of the penalties, of all the kinds of sentencing, and more importantly start having more diversion and having more second chance programs.

    I can't do this all day, it's out there. Just look for it.


    Here's two more (none / 0) (#57)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:37:33 AM EST
    Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University, Jun 28, 2007 (link in main post above): On diverting non-violent drug offenders away from prison:

    Hillary: We need diversion, like drug courts. Non-violent offenders should not be serving hard time in our prisons. They need to be diverted from our prison system. We need to make sure that we do deal with the distinction between crack and powder cocaine.

    And ultimately we need an attorney general and a system of justice that truly does treat people equally, and that has not happened under this administration.

    Source: Senate debate in Manhattan Oct 8, 2000:

    Q: What is your approach to the "Drug War"?

    CLINTON: I have spoken out on my belief that we should have drug courts that would serve as alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system for low-level offenders. If the person comes before the court, agrees to stay clean, is subjected to drug tests once a week, they are diverted from the criminal justice system. We need more treatment. It is unfair to urge people to get rid of their addiction and not have the treatment facilities when people finally makes up their minds to get treatment.

    That's a nothing answer.... (none / 0) (#62)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:51:03 AM EST
    only a small portion of drug prisoners are users, most are dealers.

    Too bad Hillary nor Obama has the stones to say "we shouldn't lock up drug dealers, period."  

    They value their careers more than justice or freedom, I guess.


    Users vs. dealers (none / 0) (#65)
    by auntmo on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:02:26 AM EST
    "Only  a  small portion  of  drug  prisoners  are   users,  most  are  dealers."  

    I'll  have  to  see  some  stats  to   accept  that    declaration.   I don't  think you're  right.      

    Numbers, link,  please.


    I'm having trouble.... (none / 0) (#100)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:32:35 PM EST
    finding numbers, most sources seem to lump possesion and distrubution togther.  If you find some I'd be interested in checking 'em out.

    I know there are more arrests for possesion, just kinda assumed actual incarceration rates would be greater for distribution since distribution carries greater penalties.  I hope that assumption is correct, or things are worse than I thought!


    Numbers (none / 0) (#104)
    by auntmo on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:51:43 PM EST
    Fair  enough.   But   I  think   possession  actually    catches  more  people  than  distribution.   Thus,   the  HIGHER  incarceration  numbers  go to   possession.    

    They  do  down here in  Texas.  


    Definitely.... (none / 0) (#110)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 01:05:18 PM EST
    Nationwide there are more arrests for possesion, I guess it varies state by state how many possesion arrests actually lead to incarceration.  

    The amount of drugs needed to trigger a (none / 0) (#121)
    by JSN on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 08:48:20 PM EST
    trafficking charge is very small (in particular for crack) so it is not easy to get a reliable estimate for incarceration for possession versus incarceration for trafficking. IMHO the 90% trafficking figure often quoted should be reduced to about 70%.

    Speaking of death penalty today (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 08:48:19 AM EST

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The United States will seek the death penalty against six Guantanamo Bay detainees who are suspects in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a senior U.S. official said.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is one of six Guantanamo detainees to be charged, an official says.

    The government is expected to announce Monday that it will submit criminal charges against the detainees, which include alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, according to the official.

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the government has not made an official announcement.

    All six suspects are accused of helping plan the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, the official said.

    The New York Times quoted an official familiar with the case as saying that the other five detainees expected to be charged are: Mohammed al-Qahtani, the so-called 20th hijacker in the 9/11 attacks; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, accused of being an intermediary between the hijackers and al Qaeda leaders; Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, who has been identified as Mohammed's lieutenant; al-Baluchi's alleged assistant, Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi; and Walid bin Attash, who is accused of selecting and training some hijackers.

    Is crack/powder equalivalency "minor" (none / 0) (#39)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:03:35 AM EST
    Obama says flat out, at http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/ObamaBlueprintForChange.pdf (p 45) that: "Obama believes the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated."

    Granted, he may not want to spend the political capital on it but at least he's thinking in the right direction.

    Where (this is a genuine question, I don't know the answer) does Hillary stand on this?

    If she doesn't support it, this is not a minor difference, when there are over 5,000 per year convicted under this neanderthal sentencing scheme.  If there are 20,000 who are effected by the minor retractive amendment recently passed by the Sentencing Commission, there must be 2- or 3-times that who would be effected by making crack and powder equivalent.

    (And, to go further, suppose sentences were lowered -- we already know Obama supports retroactivity and Hillary does not "in principle")

    Obama Wavers (none / 0) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:12:25 AM EST
    on crack powder and has said it may not be worth the political capital to fix them. That's a major problem I have with him. He doesn't stick to his positions or his own beliefs.

    The only issue they differ on with drugs is retroactivity, not disparity. Obama first says he will end mandatory minimums and later couches his oppositon in terms of non-violent first time offenders.

    It's so hard to tell where he stands on any of this.  That's a big problem. The devil you know is better than the devil you don't.


    Uh, I know the devil Bush (none / 0) (#49)
    by 1980Ford on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:20:14 AM EST
    Is he better?

    Thanks for the information and now I don't know who to vote for again. Maybe this will become clear soon since they will have to take a stand on Mukasey's propaganda.


    Obama does not waver (none / 0) (#61)
    by AF on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:47:43 AM EST
    This article is what you cite for Obama's wavering, but it doesn't support that assertion.  In the article Obama clearly favors a 1 to 1 ratio.  And his website says: "Obama believes the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated."  The "wavering" allegation comes from his statement that an "even higher priority for me is getting young men and increasingly young women to stop getting involved in the drug trade in the first place."  So a 1 to 1 ratio isn't his #1 priority.  That's a far cry from "wavering."  Particular in contrast to Hillary, who wants to "decrease" not completely eliminate the disparity and doesn't even mention the issue on her website.

    Obama wavers (none / 0) (#70)
    by auntmo on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:15:34 AM EST
    Agree.   He  wavers.

    Did  the  same  thing   with the   nuclear  waste  issues in Illinois....talked  a  big  game,  but when  he  got to  the  Senate,   "worked  with"  the  nuclear  energy  industry  so  that   any   requirements  for  regulation  were  completely   gutted, and  the  regulations  ended up  being  "voluntary"  instead of  mandatory.    Nuclear  energy  industry  got  everything  they  wanted;   Illinois   voters  got  screwed.      

    After  that  legislation,    Exelon   contributed  HUGE  amounts  to his  campaign.  

    His   campaign  director  (Axelrod)  is  a  former  "consultant"  for  Exelon.  

    Didn't   Obama  mouth off  about  not  working  with    lobbyists  and  special  interests?  

    He  lied.  


    So, then, where does Hillary stand on 1:1 ratio? (none / 0) (#71)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:16:39 AM EST
    Anyone?  You attack Obama for being for it but possibly not wanting to spend political capital on it (which is not wholly unreasonable considering all the other things that need to be done to fix the gawdawful mess created in the last eight years), but has Hillary ever said she supports 1:1?

    Yes, she says we should "tackle disparity", but she notably does not say to make them equivalent.

    And on this issue you're so quick to give an advantage to Hillary?

    Obama's the one sticking his neck out here asserting flat-out that he supports 1:1


    I'm not giving the advantage to Hillary (none / 0) (#83)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:37:52 AM EST
    I'm saying they are essentially the same.

    how are they the same? (none / 0) (#108)
    by A DC Wonk on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:57:40 PM EST
    He says flat out that he supports a 1-to-1 ratio

    She says ratio ought to be reduced, with no specificity

    He says we have to ask if it's worth the political capital

    She says nothing either way on how much she would support or not support

    How can you call that a draw?  It's be a draw if she ever said she supported 1-to-1.  She hasn't.

    Further, if penalties are reduced, she's already asserted that she's against retroactivity.

    So how can you call this a draw?


    Hillary on the disparity (none / 0) (#50)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:21:40 AM EST
    2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum
    Dec 1, 2007:

    I believe we've got to decrease the disparity that exists. It is really unconscionable that someone who uses five grams of crack cocaine, compared to 500 grams of powder cocaine would face such disparate sentencing. And it's further compounded because the possession of crack cocaine really is unique in the way that it leads directly to prison for so many people. So I am going to tackle the disparity. I think it definitely needs to be prospective on principle. I have problems with retroactivity. I think that it's something that a lot of communities will be concerned about as well, so let's tackle this disparity, let's take it on. The sentencing commission hasn't come forward yet with its specific recommendation but I'm looking forward to seeing it.

    Be afraid! (none / 0) (#42)
    by 1980Ford on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:11:08 AM EST
    This is all the rethugs have going for them: fear of crime and terrorism. Seriously, what else have they got? Mukasey's crack fight and this are really political talking points meant to win the election for them. So maybe the real question is, "Which Dem will not use fear mongering to manipulate voters?"

    Maybe that is the best we can hope for this election.

    Correction (none / 0) (#44)
    by 1980Ford on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:14:49 AM EST
    This was meant as a reply to Militarytracy's post on the death penalty.

    Domestic violence... crime questions (none / 0) (#56)
    by Hypatias Father on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:34:26 AM EST
    It seems like the thread is going a different direction vis-a-vis death penalty, but I would like to pick some brains here on another crime-related issue.

    With the recent possibility that Dean Tong may be finally getting the comeuppance he so richly deserves, I am hoping that the candidates will take the time to reassert their current stances on violence against women legislation.  This is one issue that Edwards and Clinton had at one time a  better articulated position on, whereas Obama seemed green on the issue, i.e. assuming "neutrality" by showing his willing to listen to Father's Rights extremists.  

    Then, just after Edwards dropped, his surrogates in IL began to talk under the table about how he has seen the light--and finally gets it about how Mothers are getting screwed in family courts by their abusers.  But I can find no official evidence of such a shift.  Does anyone have convenient links for updates on this issue, per candidate?

    I'm against federal domestic violence crime (none / 0) (#59)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 10:39:48 AM EST
    legislation which is one of Joe Biden's hallmarks. It belongs in our state courts. We're already stuck with it.

    That's good to know... (none / 0) (#64)
    by Hypatias Father on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:01:12 AM EST
    Is this the position of most Clinton supporters? If so, then I am having completely abnormal conversations with the ones I know and communicate with.  Most of them are trying (and having some success) to convince me and others that she would be better of the two candidates to draw attention to the plight of domestic abuse and the excesses of the Fathers' rights movement.  

    Don't get me wrong, it is good to know your own opinion on the matter, but I'm asking mainly as a means of drawing points of contrast between Obama and Clinton.  


    no its not the position (none / 0) (#84)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:38:57 AM EST
    of Democrats or Hillary supporters. It's my position as a criminal defense attorney.

    Gotcha, and I thank you (none / 0) (#88)
    by Hypatias Father on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:48:33 AM EST
    for your opinion as a professional in the field.

    Notwithstanding the opinion that domestic violence legislation should be left to the states, I am trying to tease out which candidate will be a better force for protecting victims of abuse, and which will provide better resistance versus Fathers' Rights extremists a la' Dean Tong.  

    Any information or thoughts on this matter would be much appreciated.


    If you want more people (none / 0) (#91)
    by SFHawkguy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:57:14 AM EST
    locked up and fewer rights for criminal defendants then vote Republican.

    The U.S. already imprisons more people per capita than any other country in the world (N. Korea may have recently beat us though).

    If you want violence prosecuted then insist that your local prosecutor focus more on violent crimes (including domestic violence) and less on drug crimes and other non-violent crimes. If you get the honor of sitting on a jury then vote to convict if you believe the prosecution's burden was met.

    There are already laws on the books to prosecute domestic violence.  


    Laws are only one way to help victims of domestic violence.  Forget legislation that criminalizes behavior for a moment, though I do admit that I would like more abusers and pedophiles behind bars, and try to think in other "protective" terms:  money for shelters, money for counselors, legal assitance, etc., the power of a candidate to raise issues re. domestic violence to greater prominence.  

    I understand (none / 0) (#99)
    by SFHawkguy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:29:54 PM EST
    and that's a valid point.  But it's hard for me to focus on anything other than crime and punishment because that has been such a big part of the effort.  The VAWA was originally meant to imprison people until it ran into constitutional problems.

    To me, if we stop the insane war on drugs our resources could be focused on crimes of violence.  Just think of all the work our legions of police, prosecutors, corrections officials, lawyers and jurists could do if they didn't have to incarcerate the world's largest prison population because of the war on drugs.


    don't want to speak for Jeralyn (none / 0) (#87)
    by SFHawkguy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:45:22 AM EST
    but she probably does differ from most other Clinton supporters re this issue.  

    There are many liberals who wish to incarcerate more people and to further tilt the playing field to the prosecution's advantage.  I know a lot of feminists who are conflicted about this.

    Getting tough on crime sounds like a good solution--especially when the crime invokes our moral outrage, e.g. a sex crime or crime based on gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.  

    But a good progressive politician would avoid demagoguery and realize that more criminal crimes and punishment is not the answer right now.  


    Good points (none / 0) (#92)
    by Hypatias Father on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:02:46 PM EST
    Especially good to keep in mind re. more criminals/punishments.

    However, there are implications of the legislation (or the 'spirit' of the legislation) that go beyond simply inventing new means to criminalize behavior.  Aside from criminal court, there are profound implications for our family courts, especially for those of us who live in red states (or worse, deep-red counties within red states), where the backlash against feminism is wreaking havoc on mothers suing to be free of their abusers.  Because of this they are often face with the impossible choice of whether to flee the violence in their homes or risk losing custody of their children.  

    Just saying...  it's a hot issue where I live, and since the campaigns are both coming to town I would like to do my best to represent the clearest contrasts between the candidates, again notwithstanding opinions that legislation should be left to the states.   There are other ways for candidates of Clinton's and Obama's skill to work for positive change.


    Jeralynn (none / 0) (#67)
    by auntmo on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:05:14 AM EST
    Agree  re  domestic  violence.  Belongs in state  court,  not  federal.  

    Hillary supports the legislation, too (none / 0) (#75)
    by Hypatias Father on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:25:50 AM EST
    So, here is one of the links I was sent by a friend who is a Clinton supporter, and I like what I hear.

    Quoting HRC at: http://clinton.senate.gov/issues/women/

    "As Senator I have fought to fully fund the Violence Against Women Act, so that we can continue to support the many women who have turned their lives around after enduring violence. I, along with many colleagues, have urged the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales...  to fully fund VAWA as these programs are critical to women being able to establish lives free from violence and the problems that result from this abuse."

    So, might I assume this is one crime-related issue that Jeralyn and others here might having differing opinions on w/ respect to Clinton?


    From what I can tell... (none / 0) (#77)
    by mindfulmission on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:27:39 AM EST
    ... Jeralyn has many differing opinions with Clinton on crime-related issues.

    And all Clinton supporters do not think alike.  You know that, right?


    In short, yes. (none / 0) (#82)
    by Hypatias Father on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:37:13 AM EST
    What a funny question to ask, but yes, I do know that all Clinton supporters do not think alike.  Which is why I was soliciting a comparison/contrast between the candidates on the issue of domestic abuse and violence against women, not so much asking for Clinton supporters to respond in unison.  

    This is an important issue to me and others besides.  Seems fair to ask for opinions about why Clinton might be the better candidate of the two re. this issue.  Did you have an opinion on the issue, aside from cautioning not to make assumptions about Clinton supporters all thinking alike?


    Well... (none / 0) (#89)
    by mindfulmission on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:51:45 AM EST
    ... you are the one who asked this:
    Is this the position of most Clinton supporters?
    As for my opinion... I am torn between advocating for important protections of women and advocating for more of a balance between the prosecution and the defense.

    I tend to lean towards Jeralyn's position, but I am not firm in that opinion.  


    I'll chime in...... (none / 0) (#97)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:23:31 PM EST
    I'm all about equality under the law....no lesser treatment, no special treatment.

    Crimes against violence are sufficient...we don't a different set of laws for crimes of violenece against women, crimes of violence against minorities, crimes of violence against homosexuals, etc.


    point conceded (none / 0) (#98)
    by Hypatias Father on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:26:47 PM EST
    Please consider the point conceded that newer laws to criminalize are not needed.  This is a much broader topic, however.

    Does anyone feel strongly about Hillary supporting the cause of 'violence against women' in ways that have nothing to do w/ passing laws serve prosecutors?


    Don't need to back down (none / 0) (#102)
    by SFHawkguy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:34:52 PM EST
    you will have plenty of company on other sites supporting Hillary.  I'm sure many of the same sites that have been decrying the misogynistic treatment of Hillary will be four square behind you on more criminal laws and more criminal rules that help the prosecution re domestic violence.

    Not so much backing down as (none / 0) (#105)
    by Hypatias Father on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 12:52:24 PM EST
    just being realistic.  As I understand it, Jeralyn is a criminal defense atty, so it is natural that she sees things from the the accused POV, and that her regular commenters might as well.  This given, it is my own fault and should not have raised the topic in context of the VAWA legislation, when what I really wanted was to invite Clinton supporters to tell me why they feel she is the best candidate to push the general issue of women's and children's rights to the fore of national debate.

    What is going on in red-state county family courts is a travesty, and it is predicated on the backlash against the women's movement.  It will need more than laws to combat this backlash.  It will need enforcing the laws that are already there, and holding the courts accountable in this regard.  I take your point about our resources being tied up in other disputes, and that possibly if we resolve them we may turn to focus on judges in family courts who are simply not upholding the law.  I hope you are right.  

    For the time being, I am trying to figure out who between the two candidates is throwing their explicit support behind this and related issues.  


    The flyer (none / 0) (#79)
    by PlayInPeoria on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:32:02 AM EST
    looks like a Republican attacking a Democrat. I had to do a double take to make sure. That won't set well with the Dem base.

    urls must be html format or they (none / 0) (#80)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 11:35:48 AM EST
    will be deleted as they skew the site. I can't edit comments, only delete them. Use the link button at the top of the comment box.

    Jerilynn (none / 0) (#109)
    by auntmo on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 01:03:13 PM EST
    I'm  not  a  lawyer,  but   I  do  thank you  for posting  this  information,  jerilynn.  And  I  did  read  the  cases  you posted.    Thanks  again!

    Wonder if Obama (none / 0) (#114)
    by SFHawkguy on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 01:24:08 PM EST
    would have the courage to pardon/commute the sentences of 1,000s of people who received harsher sentences because they used the black drug of choice rather than the white drug of choice.

    As a black man he would make a very big statement by doing this.  I think it's actually the best way to achieve justice on this issue.  It's less likely that congress will pass a law ending the sentence disparities.

    I think it's something the next Democratic president should do at the end of his/her term.  It's the right thing to do and history will be kind to this historic move.

    Do the Republicans really want to argue that black people should serve more time than white people for the same crime?

    Disclaimer: I know it's unlikely Obama will spend the political capital to do this.  But I still can't help wondering if he would use his power after the 2012 or 2016 election to do this.  Clinton used his powers to help Mark Rich but I wonder if Obama would use his power for good?

    An iron(y) wrench into the fire (none / 0) (#119)
    by 1980Ford on Mon Feb 11, 2008 at 05:38:40 PM EST
    In the state prison, Iraq war is popular, Hillary Clinton is not

    I think, on the whole, the murderer/author is right.