Author: Bill Otis

“Progressive” Prosecutors Actually Help Crime Victims……

…..except when they don’t.  One particularly dreadful case of a “progressive” prosecutor, Steven Descano, betraying a crime victim is the one set out below, in which Descano agreed to a sweetheart deal with a fellow who, over several years when the victim was in grade school, sodomized her again and again.

The Washington Post, not exactly a friend of stern law enforcement, has the story.  The perversion of justice in this case is so bad that the girl’s family has retained an attorney to fight the plea deal before the sentencing judge.  (Full disclosure:  I’m a resident of Descano’s district, Fairfax County, Virginia, and contributed to the campaign of his election opponent, former AUSA Jonathan Fahey).

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What Do Inmates Do After They’re Released?

That’s one of the most important questions any sensible person would ask in considering whether criminals are sentenced too harshly, or (relatedly) whether their existing sentences should be shortened by mass clemency or other expedients such as First Step Act re-sentencing.  After all, we should be guided by “facts” and “data,” not emotion, right?  Emotion is, after all, the province of revenge-driven right-wing kooks, while reliance on criminal justice “data” is the specialty of the more tempered among us.

Well OK then, let’s look at the data.  What do they tell us?

In brief, they tell us that, in overwhelming numbers, after they’re released, criminals get back in the crime business.  Most of them return fast, and over time, close to all of them return to harming us, our property, and our right to live in peace and safety.

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Two Big and Unanimous Wins for the Death Penalty

Congratulations to Mike and Kent for their work that paid off today in a unanimous California Supreme Court ruling rejecting an audacious, broad-brush challenge to the state’s death penalty.

The CJLF press release starts:

In a unanimous decision announced today, the California Supreme Court rejected a double-murderer’s claim that the state has misapplied its death penalty law since it was enacted 42 years ago, invalidating every death sentence handed down since 1978.

Specifically, Donte Lamont McDaniel argued that the law required sentencing juries to find each aggravating factor of a murder true beyond a reasonable doubt and find that a death sentence is appropriate beyond a reasonable doubt, but that no court has ever complied with those requirements.


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Alarm About Violent Crime Is Now America’s Lead Issue

For years, the Left’s complacency about crime has tried to disguise itself by claiming that it’s really the norm of mature thinking, and that the problem is the “fear” and “hysteria” of those of us who think complacency is a foolhardy and dishonest response.

As has become undeniably evident in recent months, however, even well disguised complacency isn’t going to work anymore.  The country is  headed into its second year of an unprecedented surge in murder (and yes, the correct word is “murder,” not “gun violence”).  The question is whether this will come to a head in the mid-term  elections now less than 16 months away.

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Merrick Garland Suspends Use of the Federal Death Penalty

Attorney General Merrick Garland yesterday announced that he is suspending use of the federal death penalty:

“The Department of Justice must ensure that everyone in the federal criminal justice system is not only afforded the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States, but is also treated fairly and humanely,” said Attorney General Garland. “That obligation has special force in capital cases.”

What to make of this announcement, and of its timing?

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Biden Tanks as Violent Crime Rises

The Washington Post, ever tooting the horn for President Biden and his pet project of more gun control, nonetheless apparently sees itself as forced to cover some of the uncomfortable truths about surging violent crime, what the public wants to do about it, and what the President says he wants to do about it.  (What he’s actually done, so far as on-the-ground results show, is nothing).

The Post’s headline is, “Concern over crime is growing — but Americans don’t just want more police, Post-ABC poll shows.”

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Joe Biden’s Senior Moment in Trying to Deal with Surging Violent Crime

Pres. Biden was older when he took office than Ronald Reagan was when he left.  It’s not exactly a secret that older people can have problems with forgetfulness.  Pres. Biden seems to be having such a moment in his attempts, summarized here and here, to come up with an answer to the dramatic rise in violent crime (a rise that started under his predecessor last year but has continued full throttle during Biden’s tenure).

On the other hand, perhaps it’s not so much that Biden can’t remember how to deal with crime effectively  —  a project he helped advance as a senator 25 years ago  —  as it is that, given the radical leftward shift in the Democratic Party, he can’t afford to remember.  Instead, he has to pretend that the Left’s reality-free narrative  —  a jazzed-up version of the failed soft-on-crime policies of the Sixties and Seventies  —  is the answer.

It isn’t.  It’s pathetic.  And it will cost lives, disproportionately  —  as is always the case with violent crime  —  black lives.

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Hot Pursuit and Entry Into Homes, a Practical Take

Kent did a short introduction of today’s Fourth Amendment case, Lange v. California, and I await his more detailed analysis.  In the meantime, I was discussing the case with a defense lawyer friend of mine, a very smart guy and a bit of a cynic.  One of his pals said that the CNN summary of the case went, “The U.S. Supreme court ruled Wednesday that police cannot enter a home without a warrant when pursuing someone for a minor crime.”  My buddy had a different view:  “That’s a dead wrong description of an opinion that effectively says the police can do this [a warrantless entry in hot pursuit] 99% of the time and claim good faith the other 1%.”

For most practical purposes in future litigation, that strikes me as pretty much dead on.