Category: Politics

‘Defund the Police’ Is Over. Now What?

William Galston, the WSJ’s resident contrarian columnist*, has this column with the above title. Galston notes the political developments in Chicago, New York, and Washington and has this advice for his fellow liberals:

These events prove that dealing with the crime surge is back on the national agenda. Democrats must find a way to demonstrate their commitment to public safety while pursuing reasonable reforms of the criminal-justice system.

I have no quarrel with that statement, but the trick is defining “reasonable.” Continue reading . . .

More on the D.C. Crime Bill

The Federalist Society Criminal Law Practice Group has this teleforum Wednesday at 11:30 am ET / 8:30 am PT on The D.C. Crime Bill: What Happens Next? (See Michael Rushford’s post, earlier today.) The event features “an opening address from U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty [Tenn.], followed by a discussion of the bill and what may come next” led by Zack Smith of the Heritage Foundation. Continue reading . . .

Biden Bails on DC Penal Code Reforms

A District of Columbia penal code revision intended to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences and reduce the consequences for crimes, such as robbery and burglary, has been withdrawn by the DC City Council Chairman after President Biden announced that he would sign a bill to block it.  Because the District of Columbia is not a state, Congress has the last word on its policies. After the district’s council passed the revision last year and voted to override democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser’s veto, it still had to be introduced as a bill and approved by Congress.

Continue reading . . .

Chicago Dumps Soft-on-Crime Mayor

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has conceded defeat, the Chicago Tribune reported at 9:00 CST Tuesday. At about that time, the New York Times listed the results as 36.4% for Paul Vallas and 20.2% for Brandon Johnson, with Mayor Lightfoot third.

Plurality winner Mr. Vallas has run on a tough-on-crime platform, the WSJ reports. He has the backing of the Chicago police union. But the windy city isn’t out of the woods yet. Continue reading . . .

Is Chicago Next to Wake Up?

In the last few elections, there have been some encouraging signs that voters in major cities are beginning to turn the corner and wake up from the delusions of wokeness. San Francisco booted its criminal-coddling district attorney. New York Democrats nominated the relatively tougher-on-crime candidate for mayor, with the general election being a foregone conclusion. The results have not all been positive, though. Philadelphia voters unwisely reelected their criminal-coddling  DA, and a majority of Californians are so allergic to voting for a Republican that Gov. Newsom’s appointed attorney general sailed into a full term.

On a list of big-city mayors rank-ordered by effectiveness in fighting crime, Chicago’s Lori Lightfoot would be near the bottom. Is Chicagoland ready to give her the boot? Collin Levy explores that possibility in this column in Saturday’s WSJ. Continue reading . . .

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 . . .

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 . . .

Lessons from Crime and Punishment in El Salvador

Hans Bader has this post at Liberty Unyielding: “The murder rate has fallen by two thirds since 2018, and crime has fallen by 75%, in El Salvador as it has imprisoned large numbers of criminals. The country has put a hefty 2% of its adult population in prison. This is due to the anti-crime policies of its current president, Nayib Bukele.”

Bader quotes an essay by Edgar Beltrán at Law and Liberty:

In 2015, El Salvador reached a sky-high 103 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The year before Bukele came to power, it was 51 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Now, it is 17.6, about half the rate of American cities such as Philadelphia or Chicago…. Bukele is, by far, the most popular, democratically elected leader in the world. Independent polls have his local approval rating around 80 or 85%. The explanation is relatively simple: El Salvador went from being one of the most violent countries in the world, absolutely dominated by criminal gangs, to reducing crime by 75%. Bukele promised to end crime and he delivered … by putting in jail almost 2% of the adult population of the country.

Continue reading . . .

The Influence of Crime on the Midterm Election

A review of the post-mortems from the November 8th midterm elections indicate that many were surprised by the outcome.  Most polls got it wrong.  The wailing by liberal pundits in the weeks prior to the election suggested that they were afraid voters were ready to put Republicans in charge of Congress and many state houses in response to inflation, crime, immigration and general dissatisfaction with the direction of the country under Democrat management.  With the exception of a handful of contests, this did not happen.  I was among those who felt that the issue of crime, in particular, was going to induce voters to cross political lines to pic candidates pledging to stop the violence, theft and squalor that currently defines many parts of America.   Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald evaluates the voters response to crime with this piece in the City Journal.

Continue reading . . .