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Four California district attorneys, Anne Marie Schubert, Michael Hestrin, Lisa Smittcamp and Gilbert Otero, have this notable new CNN commentary under the headline “California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s death penalty moratorium is a disgrace.”  Here is how it gets started: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s blanket moratorium on California’s death penalty is a slap in the face to crime victims and their families who have waited years for justice.  With the stroke of his pen last month, Newsom…
I just saw an interesting ruling handed down last week by the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois v. Buffer, 2019 IL 122327 (Ill. April 18, 2019) (available here), which concerns what length of sentence should be considered a de facto life sentence triggering the Eighth Amendment sentencing limitations articulated by the Supreme Court in Miller and Montgomery.  For folks following closely debates over the reach and application of the Eighth Amendment to juvenile term-of-year…
I have not been blogging all that much about some of the notable criminal justice positions and statements by the huge field of candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for US President.  But this press piece about an exchange involving Senator Bernie Sanders at a town hall last night prompted the question that is the title of this post.  The headline of The Hill piece is catchy, “Sanders: Boston Marathon bomber should be…
The title of this post is the title of this notable new “evidence brief” from the Vera Institute of Justice.  Here is its overview: The pretrial population — the number of people who are detained while awaiting trial — increased 433 percent between 1970 and 2015.  This growth is in large part due to the increased use of monetary bail.  But pretrial detention has far-reaching negative consequences.  This evidence brief presents information on the way…
The title of this post is the headline of this lengthy and effective Vox piece from last week.  I call the piece effective in part because, in addition to being well-structured and well-written, it includes lots and lots of links.  Here is how the piece starts (with links retained): Albert Woodfox was held in solitary confinement for more than 40 years in a Louisiana prison before being released in 2016, when he was 69 years…
The Supreme Court granted cert on some notable cases via this order list list morning, the most notable involving questions of how federal employment discrimination laws apply to LGBT employees.  But, for the second Monday in a row, there is little of interest on this list for those of us who obsess over (just) criminal law matters.  However, all is not lost for the week as the Court has on tap for oral argument…
The title of this post is the title of this notable new article now available via SSRN authored by Sandra Mayson and Megan Stevenson.  Here is its abstract: Recent scholarship has underlined the importance of criminal misdemeanor law enforcement, including the impact of public-order policing on communities of color, the collateral consequences of misdemeanor arrest or conviction, and the use of misdemeanor prosecution to raise municipal revenue.  But despite the fact that misdemeanors represent more…
The New York Times magazine has this week’s must read under the headline “Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind.”  The piece is a profile of a noted prison abolitionist along with a broader discussion of prison history and prison abolitionism.  I heartily recommend the terrific lengthy piece in full, and here is an extended excerpt: Prison abolition, as a movement, sounds provocative and absolute, but what it is as a practice…
The title of this post is the title of this interesting new empirical paper now on SSRN authored by David Abrams, Roberto Galbiati, Emeric Henry and Arnaud Philippe. Here is its abstract: In this paper, we show that sentencing norms vary widely even across geographically close units.  By examining North Carolina’s unique judicial rotation system, we show that judges arriving in a new court gradually converge to local sentencing norms.  We document factors that facilitate…
In this new post over at Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform, I have flagged the array of new pieces at Reason in a “Weed Week” series.  Though I recommend many of the ten pieces in the series, two in particular should be of particular interest for sentencing fans.  Here are full headlines, links and short excerpts (with links from the original): “How Even Legal Marijuana Use Can Land You in Jail: Failed drug tests