Author: Kent Scheidegger

Latzer and Mangual: The Myths of Mass Incarceration and Overpolicing

Here is a very worthwhile event, available online at the Heritage Foundation. Barry Latzer and Rafael Mangual will speak on the topic above at noon EST on Thursday, January 26. We have quoted both Latzer and Mangual often on this blog. Our friend Cully Stimson is the host.

In criminal justice, as the old saying goes, it’s not what we don’t know that gets us in trouble; it’s what we know for a fact that just is not so. We can expect Latzer and Mangual to expose many “woke” myths at this event.

A Bipartisan Push Back in California?

Bill McEwen at GV Wire reports, “Addressing shoplifting and serial thefts is a bipartisan cause in the [California] state Legislature.” But there’s a catch.

But, if history is a guide, neither of the two recently introduced bills to amend Proposition 47 will make it to the November 2024 ballot for voters to decide. Continue reading . . .

Comedians in Jail and the Right to Counsel

The WaPo has this story about a strange case on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Jan. 6 conference list.

A Texas inmate filmed as part of a Comedy Central roast by comedian Jeff Ross while in jail is appealing his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the stand-up’s footage was improperly used to sentence him to death for attacking an elderly married couple.

Gabriel Hall was awaiting trial for a high-profile capital murder charge when Ross, known as the “Roastmaster General” for his insult comedy, was invited to Brazos County Jail and interviewed Hall and other inmates in 2015.

Though it never aired, the video was later subpoenaed and presented to the jury by the prosecutor, who argued Hall did not show remorse four years after the 2011 killing. But Hall’s legal team has argued that the taping happened without his lawyers’ knowledge and violated the inmate’s Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Continue reading . . .

Millionaire Serial Rapist Likely to Be Released in 4 Years Due to “Reforms”

The soft on crime crowd likes to call their agenda “criminal justice reform.” The term “reform” is usually associated with efforts to make things better, but so-called criminal justice reform in California appears to be aimed at creating as many miscarriages of justice as possible.

Andrew Luster, heir to the Max Factor make up fortune, committed multiple rapes by drugging his victims. In 2003, he was convicted of 86 offenses and sentenced to 124 years in prison, according to this story by Travis Schlepp for KTLA. With a sentence that long, one would think that the victims could rest assured he would never get out and put him out of their minds to the extent possible, right?

In 2003, Luster’s sentence was vacated on the ground that the original judge did not state the reasons for giving him the maximum on each count, as obvious as they may be, and the new judge resentenced him to 50 years. But that is still pretty much life without parole for a defendant who was 40 at the time of the trial, right? The victims could still rest assured he would not get out until he was dead or at least very old, couldn’t they? Enter Proposition 57. Continue reading . . .

Nevada Gov’s Plan to Clear Death Row Blocked by Marsy’s Law

Outgoing Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak had begun the process to clear out Nevada’s death row via a mass clemency. Fortunately, he does not have the authority to do that by himself. He had asked the state’s pardon board to put this step on its agenda. However, Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks challenged that action. Judge James Wilson ruled that the short-notice meeting violated Nevada’s version of Marsy’s Law, which gives victims a right to 15 days notice. The Nevada Independent has this story. Continue reading . . .

Co-Defendant Statements and Joint Trials

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning took up a case on the perennial knotty problem of the admissibility of co-defendant statements in joint trials. The case is Samia v. United States, No. 22-196. The out-of-court statement of one defendant is admissible against the defendant who made it, but generally not to incriminate other defendants. Continue reading . . .

Venue and Double Jeopardy

Does a venue error equal a Get Out of Jail Free card? That is, if the government files its charges in a locale that is later determined to be incorrect, does the defendant walk regardless of how clearly guilty he is or how atrocious the crime is? Or can he be retried in the venue now deemed correct?

The U.S. Supreme Court took up this question this morning in Smith v. United States, No. 21-1576.