Weed hits the high court...

Dahlia Lithwick is not only an astonishingly prolific writer, and an absolutely fabulous editor (I know this first hand) but she's also hilarious. Her recent piece in Slate is a new high water mark.

Dude, Where's My Integrity? - Medical marijuana tests the Supreme Court's true love of federalism. By Dahlia Lithwick


Race and the federal guidelines

A new study by the US Sentencing Commission shows that blacks receive harsher sentences than whites, that the length of the average sentence has doubled since the guidelines were imposed, and 40 percent of federal prisioners are now Hispanics imprisoned on immigration charges. Psssst, according to the USSC, 81 percent of those absurd mandatory minimum drug sentences were handed out to black folks, just in case you confused the war on drugs with a race neutral policy.

The New York Times > National > Sentencing-Guideline Study Finds Continuing Disparities


Greenberg's Whopper

Here's an astonishing article that highlights just how far we have fallen. Ethan Greenberg, who is not a particularly awful judge, nonetheless issues a completely fraudulent ruling--and gets away with it. As it turns out, in an attempt to get a jump on Crawford, Greenberg issues a bogus (and totally politically motivated) decision saying that the complanant's call to 911 isn't testimonial under Crawford. The only problem is: the complainant didn't even make the call--turns out Greenberg issued his hasty decision without bothering to listen to the 911 tape. The complainant isn't even on it. Oops. But of course his dumb-ass pro-prosecutorial decision gets cited by prosecutors and followed by Judges eager to rule around the US Supreme Court and maintain their now untennable DV prosecutions.

"If the facts turn out to be wrong" snifs some prosecutor "I don't see how it changes much" Sure... The hell with those pesky facts.

The New York Times > New York Region > Legal Precedent Doesn't Let Facts Stand in the Way


Blue Hawaii--When liberal states get tough on crime

Here's a link to my latest Slate piece about Hawaii's scary new constitutional amendments and what they portend for all of us.

Blue Hawaii - When liberal states get tough on crime. By David Feige:


Someone at the Washington Post Cares About Indigent Defense

It's always heartening to see an editorial that takes indigent defense seriously. This one, about the fabulous Rich Goemann and his efforts to shape up indigent defense in Virginia, is worth the read just to remember what it sounds like when editorial boards actually say something nice about public defenders. "generally better than outside appointed counsel" ain't much but I'll take it.

Making the Right Real (washingtonpost.com)


My Latest OpEd

In today's New York Times you can find my argument that the problem with the Guy Velella case is not that he got out of jail, but that so few others did.

The New York Times > Opinion > N.Y. Region Opinions > The City: Jail Breaks


The Bronx Defenders Bash Back

In The Price Paid for Blood on a Child, http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/17/nyregion/17family.html Andrea Elliott utterly fails to raise either the race or class implications of the Bronx DA's office's continuing criminalization of parenting. Elliott, who seemed to believe that the whole thing was a big mistake failed to report, for example that the DA's office (whom she glowingly praised for eventually dropping the case,) had actually asked to have Carlene and Neville jailed!

I can tell you that the lawyers of the Bronx Defender's Family Defense Unit tried like hell to explain to Elliott that there was a bigger picture here--that poor black parents have their decisions second guessed by the criminal justice system in ways that would be unthinkable were they wealthy or white. Alas, that seems a point that even supposedly intrepid Bronx beat reporters just don't want to accept.

Below is the letter to the editor from Dave Jaros and Kara Finck:

The New York Times > Opinion > Bronx Child Abuse Case


More Debt for the Supposed Fiscal Conservatives

After recovering from a chronic case of P.E.D.—post election depression—I open the papers to find that it really does just keep getting worse.

The New York Times > Washington > Senate Backs Higher Debt