The view here at C&C is that if you shred and demoralize the police force, and have lax prosecution policies, sooner or later (probably sooner) your crime rate will increase; prospective criminals will notice when the cost of doing business goes down. Still, that might not always be the case. Seattle — as progressive a city as there is — may be on the cusp of showing us how to dramatically decrease the number of convictions no matter how much you shrink and demoralize the police force.
Monthly Archive: October 2020
C&C has had a few posts on “progressive prosecutors,” to wit, those, like former Public Defender Larry Krasner, now District Attorney for Philadelphia, who tend to see things from the defendant’s point of view.
As ever with the defense side, however, one step forward is never enough. Thus, I want to bring you the next step. Continue reading . . .
Appellate court opinions and news reports about cases often begin with a brief statement of the facts of the case. Too often, though, those “facts” are not facts at all. Sometimes they are merely allegations in a case that has not yet been tried, assumed by the court due to the procedural posture of the case. Sometimes they are representations by an attorney on one side. The public is often left with a seriously distorted view of what really happened in the case.
Jones v. Mississippi, to be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court on election day, is a widely misreported case. The brief by Jones’s lawyers recite his own self-serving testimony about the circumstances of his murder of his own grandfather as if they were actual facts. Continue reading . . .
As the national election nears, police in cities across the country are preparing for the possibility of rioting and violence. Mark Berman of the Washington Post reports that “with the anxiety and toxicity across the country” many fear that the election could give way to potential violence. The article cites police officials in Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Madison, Wis., Phoenix, Portland, Los Angeles, D.C., Charlotte, and Miami-Dade which are ramping up for violence following next Tuesday’s vote. Business owners in many cities are boarding up their store fronts in anticipation of a continuation of the earlier rioting following the death of George Floyd, by groups angry with the outcome of the election.
On July 31, 1979, a 45-year old mother of four named Dolores Rocha Wulff mysteriously disappeared in the middle of the night with only the clothes she was wearing from her home in Woodland, Yolo County, California. Five weeks later, a torso was discovered by two fishermen 50-miles away in the Benicia Bay. Given the limited scientific technology at the time, the torso was never positively identified. She became known as “Jane Doe 16.”
Immediately after Dolores vanished, the close knit Rocha family searched for her extensively. They knew that she would not have simply walked out of her children’s lives on her own accord. Her husband, Carl Wulff Sr., was looked at as the prime suspect. He was the last one to see her alive and a search of his car produced a bloodstained blanket. Almost five years after she disappeared without a trace, Carl Sr. was charged with her murder. But, his case was subsequently dismissed for a lack of evidence. Carl Sr. died in 2005. Continue reading . . .
That may be the question, but Joe Biden won’t be giving us the answer. Instead, he’s going to create a commission to “study” the issue of court packing, and other supposed judicial “reforms,” and get back to us.
Creating a commission is one of the oldest dodges in DC, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Mr. Biden would recur to it — he having been in this town since the War in Vietnam. But it’s still just a dodge. Continue reading . . .
Kent discussed here the recently released BJS Report showing that the prison population in America declined again last year. “Reform” advocates are likely to use the report as evidence that declining incarceration does not result in more crime. As Kent explains, this is so much sleight of hand. Part of the overall decrease in crime rates over the last decade stems from the trend in some large states to simply refuse to label more and more anti-social behavior (e.g., retail theft, small-time drug use) as crime, and part results from systemic delay, to wit (1) the delay between cause and effect, and (2) the delay between the commission of crime, its adjudication, its collection in crime statistics, and the statistics’ publication.
Still, it’s worthwhile looking at the BJS statistics themselves. Even with their shortcomings, they tell a very different story from the one you’re going to hear from “reform” advocates. Continue reading . . .
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics has released its annual report on prisoners for 2019. The “imprisonment rate,” defined as number of sentenced prisoners per 100,000 population, continued to decline, as it has since peaking in 2007.
While many people obsess about the imprisonment rate, I consider it to be a statistic of little value, at least by itself. Why is it down? Is it down because crime is down? Because legislatures lowered statutory penalties? Because prosecutors use their discretion not to charge every crime a defendant has committed more often? Because judges use their discretion in sentencing more leniently? Continue reading . . .
This term the Supreme Court seems to be interested in the law of arrests. Last week, the Court held oral argument in the case of Torres v. Madrid on the subject of what is a “seizure.” (My FedSoc podcast is here.) The common law rules on what is an “arrest” figured prominently in the argument, although there is some question of whether an arrest is necessarily a seizure.
On Monday, in an order that attracted little notice among more politically hot potatoes, the Court took up the case of Lange v. California, No. 20-18. Lange raises the question of whether a person evading arrest for a misdemeanor can thwart the pursuit, at least for the time being, by running into his home.
Continue reading . . .