Author: Kent Scheidegger

Asking the Correct Question in a Death Penalty Poll

I have long been critical on this blog of the way major polling organizations phrase their questions on the death penalty. Professors Joseph Bessette and Andrew Sinclair of Claremont McKenna College have done it right. They have this article at Real Clear Policy explaining their work and results. The full technical report is here. (Hint: no one familiar with my prior posts will be surprised at the results.) Continue reading . . .

Early Releases, Crime, and Evidence

In May, the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation put into effect regulations that greatly increased the credits that violent criminals can earn to shorten their sentences. Sam Stanton of the Sacramento Bee has this article on a lawsuit by 45 district attorneys (out of 58 in the state) to invalidate these regulations.

I will have more to say about this suit later, but right now I want to focus on a statement by a supporter of the regulations that illustrates the kind of pseudoscientific posturing that is rampant in policy debates today. Continue reading . . .

Bluegrass Bloodshed and Possible Solutions

Joshua Crawford of the Pegasus Institute has this op-ed on the horrific rates of shootings and homicides in Louisville, Kentucky and the city council’s reaction.

Louisville Metro Council recently took significant measures that could help save lives and stop the out-of-control bloodshed. They passed a budget with notable measures including allocating $620,000 to expand the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system, $500,000 to help with the implementation of Group Violence Intervention (GVI), and millions that can be used to increase officer pay in the hopes of improving recruitment and retention. They also admirably resisted calls from radicals to defund LMPD.

Continue reading . . .

The New York Mayoral Primary

Earlier this week, after much grinding through the complex ranked-choice voting system, AP called the Democratic primary for Mayor of New York for Eric Adams. Today the WSJ has this editorial. “Perhaps the city that these days never sleeps safely has a chance to reverse its eight-year downward spiral under mayor Bill de Blasio.”

Perhaps, but that is a very tall order. Continue reading . . .

Ineffective Assistance, Strategic Decisions, and Making a Record

The U.S. Supreme Court wrapped up its October 2020 Term with a summary reversal of a federal court of appeals decision for — you guessed it — giving the state court insufficient credit as required by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s so-called “deference” provision, 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d). This time it was the Eleventh Circuit, further undermining my old “circuits divisible by three” rule.

The twist in Dunn v. Reeves, No. 20-1084 is that the Eleventh had based its holding on Justice Sotomayor’s dissent from denial of certiorari earlier in the same case. The unsigned opinion of the Court rebukes the Eleventh for its failure to properly observe § 2254(d), noting that the case is in a different posture on habeas corpus than on the Supreme Court’s direct review of a state court decision. Despite that difference, Justice Sotomayor is livid, with a dissent as long as the opinion of the Court. Continue reading . . .