Why Are More Women Buying Firearms?

According to a recent study, “close to half of all new U.S. gun buyers since the beginning of 2019 have been women” the Wall Street Journal’s Zusha Elinson reports. The study, 2021 National Firearms Survey, found that over 3.5 million women were first time gun purchasers between January 2019 and April of this year. What caused this sharp increase in women buying firearms?

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Police Blame Defund Movement for Oakland Bloodbath

Oakland, CA on Monday, September 13, 2021, was a “bloodbath” according to Sgt. Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association. Homicides in Oakland increased from 67 by September 2020 to at least 93 by September 2021, which amounts to a 38.8% increase.   “This devastating violence is brought to you by the majority of Oakland’s City Council that defunded the police that discounts the plight of Oakland’s victims of violent crime, and hide behind their zoom screens, ignoring the decade-high violent crime occurring on city streets,” said Donelan.

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Dangerous New DOJ Policy On Chokeholds and “No-Knock” Warrants

A new memo released from the Department of Justice (DOJ) by Attorney General Merrick Garland makes policy changes that have the potential to endanger the lives of federal agents, as well as the limit the seizure of criminal evidence.  According to the memo released September 14th, 2021, the DOJ is changing policy effective immediately regarding the use of chokeholds and “no-knock” warrants.  The change appears inspired by the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.  Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of causing Floyd’s death by using a form of a chokehold to pin him down after he resisted arrest.  Breonna Taylor died in a shootout which began when her current boyfriend shot at police executing a “no-knock” warrant to arrest her former boyfriend, drug dealer Jamarcus Glover.   Continue reading . . .

Dubious CJCJ Report Claims that Republican Counties Suffer from More Violent Crime

California, like the rest of the country, suffered a major increase in homicide in 2020. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice (CJCJ) has released a report by Mike Males that presents differences between Republican- and Democratic-voting counties (identified by majority voting Democrat in 2020) in terms of homicide rates. He argues that Republican counties tend to have higher homicide rates, stating that: “the clearest difference between areas that have cut crime substantially and those suffering the worst crime trends and rates is not geographic nor demographic, but how they vote – Republican versus Democratic.” However, this report ignores a number of important variables that could be obscuring this finding. Namely, Republican-voting counties tend to be more rural, suburban, and overall have a lower median income when compared with Democratic-voting counterparts, all of which could also impact homicide rates. The classic phrase to remember here is: “correlation does not equal causation.”

It is perplexing why a researcher would compare two groups that are vastly different from each other without attempting to control for outside factors that might differ between groups, such as geography or population size. As a result, the groups are not entirely comparable because they are not similar enough; in this situation researchers would need to apply adequate statistical controls to account for these differences, something that is missing from this analysis. Ideally, a well-conducted study would attempt to control for all factors that differ between counties, except for the political affiliation, i.e., the main variable of interest. Continue reading . . .

Bloody Weekends in Chicago and NYC

The  Chicago Sun Times reports that 64  people were shot in Chicago last weekend (9/3-9/5) with 9 killed.  There were more deaths last weekend than over the three-day Labor Day weekend.  Among those shot with nine children ranging in ages from 12 to 16.  There were two mass shootings including a random attack at people leaving a birthday party Saturday night, killing a woman and injuring three others.  Hours earlier another mass shooting killed a 24-year-old man and injured three others.  According to the New York Post, New York City fared better over the weekend with only 35 shootings and no deaths so far.  In one incident two shooters fired randomly into a group of roughly 100 people listening to music outdoors at a housing project at about 12:30 am Monday morning.  Six were injured.  At least 15 people were shot in 11 incidents Friday,  13 in 9 incidents  Saturday, and 7 in 4 incidents Sunday.   Shootings in New York are up from 1,087 at this point last year, to 1,163 this year.   Weekends in these “woke” cities are more dangerous than a month in Beirut.

Recent BJS Report Examines 10-year Recidivism Rates of State Prisoners

As stated in a recent Bill Otis’s post on Wednesday, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) recently released a report that examines 10-year recidivism patterns of prisoners released in 2008 from 24 states. The study has a lengthy follow-up period of ten years, which is useful in tracking recidivism rates over time. A similar report was released on the topic in July 2021 that included data from 34 states, but the follow-up period was only five years (2012-2017). Similarly, BJS also released a report in May 2018 that examined recidivism rates of offenders from 30 states with a nine-year follow-up period. Extending the follow-up period allows researchers to examine recidivism patterns over longer periods of time, which is one of the main benefits of the current study.

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What Do Inmates Do After They’re Released?

That’s one of the most important questions any sensible person would ask in considering whether criminals are sentenced too harshly, or (relatedly) whether their existing sentences should be shortened by mass clemency or other expedients such as First Step Act re-sentencing.  After all, we should be guided by “facts” and “data,” not emotion, right?  Emotion is, after all, the province of revenge-driven right-wing kooks, while reliance on criminal justice “data” is the specialty of the more tempered among us.

Well OK then, let’s look at the data.  What do they tell us?

In brief, they tell us that, in overwhelming numbers, after they’re released, criminals get back in the crime business.  Most of them return fast, and over time, close to all of them return to harming us, our property, and our right to live in peace and safety.

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Marsh Appeal Dismissed

This morning the California Court of Appeal (3rd Appellate District) dismissed Daniel Marsh’s appeal in an unpublished opinion (found here). A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post that detailed this appeal’s convoluted procedural history (here).   The Court of Appeal agreed that the juvenile court’s reinstatement of the original 2014 criminal judgment was final before SB 1391 went into effect.  Because it “did not constitute a new judgment from which to appeal,” the Court of Appeal found it was not appealable, and thus “the appeal must be dismissed.”

The Human Cost of Zero Bail

In 2020 California voters resoundingly rejected a state law eliminating cash bail for most people arrested for crimes.   Yet in Los Angeles and San Francisco thousands of arrestees are routinely released without bail.  A piece by Thomas Elias in the Napa Valley Register discusses the no-bail policy implemented by Los Angeles DA George Gascon.   Under Gascon “Offenses legally defined as nonviolent and non-serious including things like solicitation to commit murder, many felony assaults, felony domestic violence resulting in a traumatic condition, resisting a peace officer, molesting a child over 15 and sexual penetration of a mentally or developmentally disabled person” will be released without bail.  “Most Californians would consider any of these crimes both serious and violent,” notes Elias.  “Most folks would probably also believe a suspect arrested for sucker-punching an elderly Asian woman in a hate crime may have committed a serious offense.  But that suspect would be freed pending trial if deputies follow Gascon’s orders.”

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