Monthly Archive: July 2022

Report Finds Bail Reform Tied to Increased Crime

Bail reform has been a major element of the criminal justice reform movement advanced by progressive politicians, activist groups and much of the media, for at least a decade.  The narrative is that reducing or eliminating bail, even for violent arrestees, is necessary to address racial bias in the criminal justice system, because a disproportionate cohort of black and Hispanic suspects are held in jail on bail awaiting trial.  The fact that blacks and Hispanics commit a disproportionate amount of crime is ignored in this narrative.  Toward the end of the last decade several liberal state legislatures adopted no-bail laws, and during the pandemic, several others eliminated or reduced bail via executive orders.  In more than a few big cities such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and New York progressive district attorneys announced their own zero bail policies.   New York City had all of these elements.  The state adopted a bail reform law that took effect in 2020, and both the city’s mayor and district attorney enthusiastically enforced it.   In a recently-released study, Manhattan Institute scholar Jim Quinn takes a hard look at the effect that progressive bail reform has had on crime in the Big Apple.

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What do federal firearms offenses really look like?

A recent report from the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) published this month provided in-depth information on federal firearms offenders sentenced in 2021 under the primary firearms guideline, §2K2.1. This report is part of a larger series that examines various aspects of firearms offenses, such as mandatory minimum penalties and firearms offenders’ recidivism rates. USSC’s past research has found that firearms offenders are generally younger, have more extensive criminal histories, are more likely to recidivate, and are more likely to engage in violent criminal behavior. The number of firearms offenses has risen in recent years, and this report provides details that may be useful to policymakers. Continue reading . . .

Rural America surging worse in homicides

After declining for over two decades, homicides in the United States increased sharply in 2015 and 2016. This slowed a little bit in the years that followed, until another dramatic increase in homicides occurred in 2020. In fact, the 30% increase from 2019-2020 is the largest ever recorded. By 2021, homicides rose another 5%. This uptick was not as striking as the one seen in 2020, though the numbers were still higher than pre-2019. And while cities tend to have higher violent crime rates overall, newer research suggests that cities are now safer than they have been in decades, while small communities are becoming more dangerous. Specifically, the massive increase in homicides in rural areas is astonishing. From 2019-2020, homicides in rural areas rose by an average of 25 percent. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the states with the highest homicide rates in 2020 were Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, and Arkansas.

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Facing Midterm Blowout, Dems Pivot to Become Crimefighters

After a decade of supporting reduced sentences for even the most violent criminals, zero bail, abandoning pro-active policing, and endlessly lecturing Americans that police and prosecutors are racists,  democrats from the President on down are now declaring themselves to be the party of law and order.  This pivot is based on the assumption that the public is so stupid it can’t recall that democrat political leaders had justified the summer riots of 2020 sparked by the killing of George Floyd.  Those riots were followed by unprecedented and continuing increases in crime in most large American cities.  Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald penned this piece in the New York Post discussing the President’s new Safer America Plan announced last Thursday.  The plan promises to fund the hiring of 100,000 additional police officers, presumably to make up for the thousands of cops who have taken early retirement or just quit due to their treatment in cities where democrat political leaders have labeled them racists.  In many parts of the country it has become open season for attacking police officers, usually by black criminals left on the streets by laws and policies adopted by democrats to advance “racial justice.”  As MacDonald notes;

As recently as May 2022, Biden released an executive order alleging that the police disproportionately kill “Black and Brown people” and that there is “systemic racism in our criminal justice system.” The May 2022 order called for “ending discriminatory pretextual stops” — code for ending all remaining proactive stop activity. It called for increased investigations of police departments for civil rights violations.

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President Nominates Another Radical to the Ninth Circuit

A lawyer who serves on the board of Just Communities Arizona (JCA), a radical “abolitionist organization,”  has been nominated to serve of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.  Houston Keene of Fox News reports that nominee Roopali Desai also serves on the Board of the American Civil Liberties Union, and has worked with teachers unions to indoctrinate children with critical race theory, promoting the narrative that American was founded on racism and that all U.S. institutions are racist.

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Fentanyl Traffickers Released Without Bail and Skip Town

Much attention has been given to the dramatic spike in crime in large California cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles and the focus is often on the pro-criminal policies of local politicians and progressive district attorneys.  But crime in rural California has also increased, even though local political and law enforcement leaders often oppose soft-on-crime policies.  As reported by Fox News,  the CHP pulled over a suspicious vehicle in rural Tulare County on June 24, and found 150,000 Fentanyl pills and two kilos of cocaine.  The two men in the vehicle, both from Washington state, were arrested and charged with crimes which carry a prison sentence of up to fourteen years upon conviction.   Within twenty-four hours a county judge had released the traffickers without bail and instructed them to show up for a July 21st hearing.   Is anybody surprised that they left town?

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Misleading numbers: Why are suicides and homicides lumped together under the “gun violence” umbrella?

A recent article in TIME Magazine purports that “California’s answer to gun violence could be a model for the entire country.” In sum, the article states that California’s firearm violence has decreased over the last 20 years or so, relative to the rest of the country. They attribute this to the various gun legislation passed in California over the years that disrupted the manufacturing of cheap guns within the state, closed private sales loopholes, and restricted gun ownership for people convicted of a violent misdemeanor. But when looking at the actual data, these claims appear misleading.

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New SF District Attorney Fires 15

Newly appointed San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has fired fifteen of recalled DA Chesa Boudin’s top staff members, angering progressives.  Eric Ting of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Jenkins told reporters the firings were necessary to help fulfill her promise to hold “serious and repeat offenders accountable.”   Among those getting the ax were Managing Attorney Arcelia Hurtado, a member of the city’s Innocence Commission established by Boudin in 2020.  Hurtado was also the head of the office’s Post Conviction Review Unit, which is currently considering a petition to reduce the sentence of Mayor London Breed’s brother, who is serving time in prison for manslaughter, armed robbery and carjacking.   Mayor Breed payed a $23,000 fine for unethical conduct after asking then-Governor Jerry Brown to commute her brother’s sentence in 2018.

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Lax Sentencing Keeps the Morgue Busy in Baltimore

Baltimore has one of the more notorious “progressive” prosecutors around, Marilyn Mosby.  Apart from her other accomplishments, such as failing to win a single conviction in the Freddie Gray case, which she and other Leftists  hyped relentlessly for its political effect, Ms. Mosby is currently under federal indictment for cheating to obtain a government loan as  part of COVID relief.  Like defendants  everywhere, she’s seeking to postpone her trial, and claiming that the case against her is a product of  —  ready now?  —  the Biden Administration’s racism.

Is there anything these people won’t say?

Of course the main problem with Ms. Mosby is not her cheating or her excessively political bent.  It’s that the Baltimore murder rate, already a scandal, has spiked under the lax sentencing she happily supports, as illustrated here.

Gascón Recall Petition Random Sample Completed, Full Count Required

The Los Angeles County Registrar has completed the process of validating and counting a random sample of 5% (i.e., 1/20) of the recall petitions. See this press release. The sample was 35,793 signatures, of which 27,983 were found valid. If exactly the same ratio holds for the total petitions, the number of valid signatures would be 27,983 x 20 = 559,660.  That would be agonizingly close but 7,197 short of the required 566,857. Continue reading . . .