Monthly Archive: October 2022

Judge Expedites Hearing For Gascon Recall Campaign

The campaign to recall Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon won a ruling last week setting a December 6 hearing date for their challenge the county registrar-recorder’s refusal to allow a review of roughly 90,000 petition signatures rejected as invalid.  City News Service reports that the recall campaign had asked for an earlier hearing date than the January 26, 2023 date previously announced.  The campaign argued that the registrar’s office has not been transparent and that an injunction is necessary to provide more access and information to conduct a thorough review,

No New SCOTUS Cases

The U.S. Supreme Court issued an orders list from last week’s conference. No new cases were taken up for full briefing and argument. There were no opinions of the Court issued and no opinions dissenting from denial of certiorari.

In other words, the orders/opinions aspect of today’s session was boring. All attention is on the oral argument in the school admission affirmative action cases being argued today.

Tomorrow, the Court will hear argument in Jones v. Hendrix, No. 21-857, asking whether Congress left a huge loophole when it cracked down on successive collateral petitions by federal prisoners. We think not. CJLF’s amicus brief is here. Unfortunately, the Solicitor General has gone over the hill and joined the defendant on the main point, although disagreeing on the details and the application to this case.

Also on tomorrow’s docket is Cruz v. Arizona, No. 21-846, regarding the way Arizona has treated past capital cases where the trial court refused to inform the jury that the defendant would not be eligible for parole if sentenced to life in prison.

Continue reading . . .

Political Violence

The WSJ has this report on the break-in of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and attack on her husband, Paul Pelosi. It appears at this time that the attack was politically motivated.  “The intruder shouted, ‘Where is Nancy?’ before attacking her husband, one of the officials said.” Continue reading . . .

Rising Crime Rates Are a Policy Choice

Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr has this op-ed in the WSJ with the above headline.

The violent crime surge was preventable. It was caused by progressive politicians reverting to the same reckless revolving-door policies that during the 1960s and ’70s produced the greatest tsunami of violent crime in American history. We reversed that earlier crime wave with the tough anticrime measures adopted during the Reagan-Bush era. We can stop this one as well.

I haven’t seen any reactions to the op-ed yet, but I can predict them. Continue reading . . .

Attacking the Truth

California may be the capitol of wokeness.  On almost every area of policy, be it energy, education, the economy, elections, morality, climate, jobs, health, law, religion and crime, the Golden State has set the national standard for political correctness.   The commitment to the extreme leftist narrative is so entrenched that even as the state’s policies are making life unbearable for large segments of the population, its leaders and their supporters continue to push it.  Crime and law enforcement have become dominant political issues precisely because of the government’s obsession with a reform agenda that began to be implemented by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011.  As crime and violence have increased, anyone pointing this out has been labeled a “fearmonger” or “racist” by the dominant media and both state and local political leaders.

Continue reading . . .

Plea Bargains and Restitution

Plea bargains often involve an agreement for the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser offense and for the government to dismiss charges of a greater offense. When the bargain also includes an agreement for the defendant to pay restitution to the victim, does it matter that only the greater, dismissed charge carries a restitution requirement, and the lesser charge to which the defendant pleads guilty does not?

No, it does not matter in federal criminal cases, the Ninth Circuit decided yesterday in Jane Doe v. U.S. District Court (Alexander), No. 22-70098. Continue reading . . .

Waukesha Christmas Parade Killer Convicted

Darrell Brooks, the posterboy for progressive sentencing reform, was found guilty today of six counts of first degree murder and 61 other felony counts.  Michael Ruiz of Fox News reports that the jury held Brooks accountable for driving an SUV through the Waukesha, Wisconsin Christmas Parade on November 21 of last year, killing six and injuring dozens.  Brooks, a habitual felon with a 50-page rap sheet, chose to represent himself at trial, insulting the judge and intimidating witnesses.  It took a day-and-a-half for the jury to reach its unanimous verdict.  In Wisconsin a conviction of intentional first-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence.  Days before he ran down paradegoers, a Milwaukee judge released Brooks on $1,000 bail after he ran over his child’s mother with the same SUV during a domestic dispute.  At that time, he was free on bail awaiting charges of illegally carrying and firing a gun during an argument with his nephew.

Continue reading . . .

Oklahoma Child Killer Put to Death

An Oklahoma man who in 2004, was angered that his nine-month-old daughter’s crying was interrupting his video game, killed her by bending her backwards until her spine was broken.  That murderer was executed Thursday by lethal injection.  Olivia Land of the New York Post reports that lawyers for Benjamin Cole claimed that their client was mentally incompetent due to his long exposure to drugs and alcohol.  A state panel rejected Cole’s bid for clemency last month.  Cole was one of four Oklahoma murderers who in 2015, challenged the state’s lethal injection process, claiming that it violated the Eighth Amendment bar against cruel and unusual punishment.   In its June 20, 2015 decision in Glossip v. Gross a 5-4 Supreme Court majority rejected the claim, holding that a murderer who challenges a state’s method of execution, shall be required to present an available alternative method.   The CJLF brief in this case argued for that holding.   Cole was the sixth Oklahoma murderer put to death since the state resumed executions in 2021.  The Glossip decision made it possible.

2021 national crime rates are a mystery as FBI transitions to a new data system

Earlier this month, the FBI released the national-level crime statistics for 2021. According to that data, violent crime, particularly murder, remained a major issue in the United States. Crime remained relatively consistent from 2020 to 2021 with no statistically significant changes between years, though violent crime was still elevated compared to 2019 levels. From 2020 to 2021, national levels of violent crime decreased slightly (-1.0%), largely driven by decreases in robbery (-8.9%). Murders, however, increased (+4.3%). The data is available for download via the Crime Data Explorer, or it can be accessed using a new tool called the Law Enforcement Agency Reported Crime Analysis Tool (LEARCAT). But the data this year may be lower quality than years past, limiting our ability to draw inferences about national-level crime rates.

Policymakers and researchers rely on these data to understand state and national crime trends, but that may be more challenging this year. Unfortunately, the FBI’s plan to modernize its reporting of crime data has not gone according to plan, so it’s hard know how accurate these 2021 estimates are. The new system has advantages over the old system, but it is much more cumbersome and time-consuming to use, which has negatively impacted law enforcement agencies’ willingness to submit their data. And because of these low participation rates, there are huge gaps in nationwide crime statistics for 2021.

Continue reading . . .