Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How Many Drops of Water in the Bucket?

Can't believe it's been nearly 2 weeks since I posted, and a month since baseball began. Here is a case in which FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) played an active role, which just shows that not all mandatory minimum sentences relate to drug offenses.

The case is US v. Polouizzi, No. 08-1830 (2d Cir. April 24, 2009) (available thanks to Doc):

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Nothing Criminal

The O's won a nailbiter 10 to 9 last night at Texas in a game that had it all including a double steal by Texas in the bottom of the ninth to no avail as closer George Sherril got the strikeout to end the inning and the game with the winning run on second. Uehara got the win. Almost everybody had rbi or scored. They improve to 5-2. Hitting was no problem either but the pitching was nerve wracking. The rotation needs a little work.

The Texas bullpen held Baltimore to 4 scoreless innings to end the game. The O's Uehara loaded the bases in the 6th and everybody made it around on 3 hits to make it close. Baez gave up a two run homer in the 8th to make it a one run game. Ranger's Kinsler started the 9th with a leadoff double, Sherril gave up a walk before getting the all important K. That's how it ended.

Nothing criminal about that. WP/AP (Stephen Hawkins) on it here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

No Shrimpy Fried Rice?

Why is This News? Because somebody ought to charge her with criminal mischief for wasting the time of at least two valuable public servants and peace officers.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Reform of Criminal Justice Much Needed

And of reforming the legal / criminal justice system, we have this development, the dismissal of indictment against Sen. Stevens, a judge demanding accountability of the prosecutors office, and vows of reform. How far will it go (stealing one of Doc's good lines)? Supremacy Claus sure has talent as evidenced by his biting wit in the comments in the source (see link). Recall that the prosecutors misconduct purportedly caused dismissal, and only the Senator's age prevented his retrial. He's not on his deathbed but what good is it to prosecute the elderly? This is a pragmatic business after all. And of course he's suffered enough, probably lost his status as well as the election. Enough already.

Prison Nation or Nation of Jailbirds?

Getting serious attention, if Lexington can be serious over at Economist. The new crime bill is newsworthy. The article begins:

THE world’s tallest building is now in Dubai rather than New York. Its largest shopping mall is in Beijing, and its biggest Ferris wheel in Singapore. Once-mighty General Motors is suspended in a limbo between bail-out and bankruptcy; and the “war on terror” has demonstrated the limits of American military might.

But in one area America is going from strength to strength—the incarceration of its population. America has less than 5% of the world’s people but almost 25% of its prisoners. It imprisons 756 people per 100,000 residents, a rate nearly five times the world average. About one in every 31 adults is either in prison or on parole. Black men have a one-in-three chance of being imprisoned at some point in their lives. “A Leviathan unmatched in human history”, is how Glenn Loury, professor of social studies at Brown University, characterises America’s prison system.

Conditions in the Leviathan’s belly can be brutal. More than 20% of inmates report that they have been sexually assaulted by guards or fellow inmates. Federal prisons are operating at more than 130% of capacity. A sixth of prisoners suffer from mental illness of one sort or another. There are four times as many mentally ill people in prison as in mental hospitals.

As well as being brutal, prisons are ineffective. They may keep offenders off the streets, but they fail to discourage them from offending. Two-thirds of ex-prisoners are re-arrested within three years of being released. The punishment extends to prisoners’ families, too. America’s 1.7m “prison orphans” are six times more likely than their peers to end up in prison themselves. The punishment also sometimes continues after prisoners are released. America is one of only a handful of countries that bar prisoners from voting, and in some states that ban is lifelong: 2% of American adults and 14% of black men are disfranchised because of criminal convictions.

It is possible to pick holes in these figures. Some of the world’s most repressive regimes do not own up to their addiction to imprisonment (does anyone really believe that Cuba imprisons only five in every 1,000 of its citizens?). No sane person would rather be locked up in Russia or China than in America. A country as large and diverse as America boasts plenty of model prisons and exemplary training programmes. But all that said, the conclusion remains stark: America’s incarceration habit is a disgrace, wasting resources at home and damaging the country abroad.