Monthly Archive: January 2020

How Not to Deal With a Murderer

Today’s “how not to do it” lesson comes from our neighbors to the north. Stephane Giroux reports for CTV in Montreal:

A parolee charged with murder had been allowed by his case manager to meet women for sex.

In 2004, Eustachio Gallese killed his wife, Chantale Deschenes, by beating her with a hammer before repeatedly stabbing her. A judge sentenced him to life in prison in 2006. After serving 15 years, in Sept. 2019, Gallese was granted day parole. Last week, while out on parole, Gallese entered a Quebec City hotel where 22-year-old sex worker Marylene Levesque gave massages. Police later arrested and charged him with her murder.

Gallese was on parole despite a moderate risk of reoffending, his case manager had written.

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News Scan

Georgia Executes Double Murderer:  A Georgia man convicted in 1999 of the brutal murder of his ex-wife and her boyfriend was put to death Wednesday by lethal injection.  Joshua Sharpe and Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal Constitution report that in 1967 Donnie Lance shot and killed his ex-wife’s boyfriend Dwight “Butch” Wood Jr. with a shotgun, then used the butt of the gun to beat Joy Lance to death.  The woman’s face was so badly beaten it was unrecognizable.  The Washington Post reports that jurors learned at trial that Lance had terrorized his ex-wife for months with beatings, strangulation, electric shocks, threats of death by handgun and chain-saw, and more. Witnesses testified that they had heard Lance threaten to kill his wife if she divorced him or started a romantic relationship with Wood.

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Successive Habeas Corpus Petitions and Intervening Judgments

In the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, Congress clamped down hard on repeated habeas corpus petitions by prisoners. Under 28 U.S.C. §2244(b), “second or successive” petitions are only allowed under very narrow circumstances.

But what happens if a prisoner obtains partial relief from his judgment and a new judgment is entered? Does that reset the petition counter to zero, giving him full range to attack the judgment on any ground?

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The Lethal Consequences of Woke Justice

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now a candidate for President, is apologizing for one of the most successful policies he supported when he was serving as Mayor.  It was proactive policing that drove violent crime down in New York between 2002 and 2013, while Bloomberg was Mayor.  In her piece in The Hill, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald notes that the most valuable tool police used during that period was “stop, question and frisk.”  Today as a candidate for President, Bloomberg is apologizing for allowing police to use that tool. “I got something important really wrong,” he said at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. “I didn’t understand that back then, the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities.”

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CA Bill to Expand Protection of Violent Juveniles

In 2018 the California Legislature passed and Governor Brown signed SB 1391 into law.  That bill removed the authority of District Attorneys and Superior Court Judges to try violent juvenile offenders under the age of 16  in adult court.  While trying a defendant of that age was already quite rare, in some cases where the murder was particularly horrific and clearly planned, a trial in adult court would allow the killer to be sentenced to a long incarceration or even a life term.  Murderers tried in juvenile court can only be held until age 25.  An example of why this is important is the case of Daniel Marsh.  In 2013 the 15 year-old stabbed to death and mutilated the bodies of an elderly couple in the small college town of Davis.  Marsh admitted to he had butchered the couple because he wanted to know what it felt like.

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Frisco County Line

Incentives matter. Increase the likelihood or severity of the penalty for doing X and fewer people will do X. This is a basic principle of human behavior, yet the soft-on-crime crowd regularly insists that deterrence is useless (implying that criminals are mindless beasts, not fully human).

San Francisco has only one land boundary, with San Mateo County to the south. (SFO Airport is in San Mateo.) The differing approaches to auto burglary provide one more data point confirming what common sense tells us.

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“Rescue us from the morass of the categorical approach.”

For purposes of sentencing and immigration, federal courts must often categorize prior convictions from state courts to see if they qualify as “aggravated felonies” or “violent felonies.” The “categorical approach” is the method established by the Supreme Court that looks only at the elements of the crime under state law, not what the perpetrator actually did. It asks if it is possible to commit that crime in a way not included in the “generic” definition of the crime.

Concurring in an immigration case, USCA9 Judge Susan Graber “write[s] separately to add my voice to the substantial chorus of federal judges pleading for the Supreme Court or Congress to rescue us from the morass of the categorical approach. [Citations.] The categorical approach requires us to perform absurd legal gymnastics, and it produces absurd results.”
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