Multnomah County, Oregon DDA Mark McDonnell (Ret.) has this op-ed in Oregon Live with the above title. The article is addressed specifically to Oregon’s SB 1008 which essentially repealed a 1994 ballot measure, Measure 11. The concerns he raises are the same in many states, though. Continue reading . . .
Monthly Archive: April 2020
Although Orange County jails are not full, a court commissioner recently ordered the early release of seven high risk sex offenders because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Jessica De Nova of ABC news reports that all of the released criminals have previously violated parole, some several times. The Sheriff told reporters that his jail population is down by 45% since March and that none of releases are related to measures taken to protect inmates from the virus. “We have responsibly created the capacity need in the jail to house sex offenders and other dangerous criminals.”
This article in USA Today reports that mass testing in a North Carolina prison revealed far more prisoners infected with the Covid-19 virus than was previously believed. This result provides an additional reason not to release large numbers of prisoners, although that implication evidently did not occur to USA Today. Continue reading . . .
Whenever the Supreme Court makes a significant change in the law — as it did last week when it overruled its prior approval of nonunanimous juries in state criminal cases, see this post — the question arises of what to do about cases that have already been tried under the old rule.
Today the high court sent back a bunch of cases from Louisiana and Oregon for reconsideration in light of the Ramos case. Justice Alito noted, “I concur in the judgment on the understanding that the Court is not deciding or expressing a view on whether the question was properly raised below but is instead leaving that question to be decided on remand.” Continue reading . . .
During the Covid-19 lockdown, New York’s subways are supposed to be a primary mode of transportation for people working in hospitals, grocery stores and other essential services. But as reported by CBS New York, nurses taking the subway to work are sharing the cars with dozens of passed out homeless and shopping carts filled with garbage. “There is an astronomical amount of homeless people now in the subway,” one conductor told reporters.
The Federalist Society’s annual Executive Branch Review is online this year, for the obvious reason. Next Tuesday there are three webinars on separation of powers issues. None is directly focused on criminal law, but these issues do spill over into our work sometimes.
CLE credit is available with prior registration. The webinars are free. Continue reading . . .
The Supreme Court took up the case of Barton v. Barr, No. 18-725, to resolve a division of opinion among the courts of appeals regarding when a legal permanent resident alien is eligible for relief from deportation after being convicted of an offense that makes him deportable. Today the Court decided, 5-4, on the stricter of the two interpretations. Continue reading . . .
While many police departments are reporting lower rates of most crimes during the coronavirus stay-at-home order, auto thefts have increased in several urban communities. Scottie Andrew of CNN reports that in Seattle car thefts have jumped by 24%. Los Angeles saw an 11.3% increase. But while auto thefts have increased by 53% in New York City over the past 28 days, some other crimes have also increased in the Big Apple. According to NYPD Chief Terence Monahan, homicide and burglary have also increased by 5.7% and 21% respectively. Perhaps the elimination of bail this year and the Mayor’s decision to release inmates to protect them from the virus in NYC had something to do with this.
Jason Riley has this column in the WSJ denouncing “coronavirus opportunism on both sides of the aisle.”
Mr. Trump will catch grief for using the coronavirus scare to push a mostly unrelated immigration agenda, but his political opponents are playing similar games. Springing criminals from jails and prisons to protect them from catching the virus is one of many examples, and potentially the most dangerous one. Since when did the well-being of convicts become more important than the safety of society? Continue reading . . .