Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Around the Blogs, Tuesday, June 26, 2007

  • Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy has several good posts up, including a rumination on how sentencing issues suddenly seem to be important even to People Magazine (with a really nice rip on Martha Stewart, Doug) and a notice of a hearing today in the House on mandatory minimums and the strong stand against “one size fits all” justice from the fed judges. Proponents of man-mins, of course, will argue that they can use the threat of them to get more “just” sentences for individual offenders in plea bargains. This post makes the point, but, in my experience with three states (not the feds), the limited number of offenses that Doug feels get the man-min treatment by prosecutors is much, much broader at the state level. (I’m not linking to his post on porn in Sweden, but that should get plenty of people coming to him from Google.)
  • Corey Rayburn Yung at Sex Crimes catches a NY Times piece that had gotten by me on how the Duke lacrosse case was the exception that proved the rule regarding regular prosecutor misconduct, the difference in this case being that the prosecutor’s victims had resources and access to the media, unlike the folks who face similar manipulation far too often with no real recourse. (Like this guy, executed in MO but now his case is being reconsidered since the two chief witnesses have recanted and another witness at the scene who says the executed man didn’t do it was never called. The prosecutor in the case says, "I tried probably 60 homicide cases and a number of those were capital murder cases," said Ankney, now in private practice. "I'd have to say this case was as strong as any of them. There's nothing wrong with the evidence or the witnesses in this case. (my emphasis)" Uh-huh. Exactly. We’ll see if the new report confirms that it matters who you are and what resources you have.)
  • Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage finds a good article on what may be a hopeful sign in corr sent reform. The young mayor of Newark is outraged at the way our treatment of offenders is keeping him from cleaning up his town, making the cycles of crime permanent. He’s talking starting a civil rights-type movement to focus attention on what’s happening to poor communities, including maybe spending time himself behind bars if that’s necessary. It will take a movement, not simply well-meaning academics preaching to their own choirs, to get people halfway serious about reform with impact, and it’s sure not coming from Obama or Hillary or any of the other politicos who claim to be concerned about minority communities. This mayor is sharp and mediagenic. Who knows what he might pull off?
  • Joel Jacobsen over at Judging Crimes may have the quote of the year on the US Supreme Court and its sentencing decisions: “The justices have accomplished something truly special: they've taken an area of the law that no one even thought about and turned it into something no one can understand.”
  • Mind Hacks alerts us to an Australian Broadcasting Company Radio National series on neuroscience, law, and ethics that you can link into if your antenna aren’t that strong.
  • Grits for Breakfast has been doing good work covering a restorative justice conference, revealing many of the intricate aspects of this important concept. I’ve been a court mediator in my life and done an evaluation of victim-offender mediation. I’m a strong proponent, as someone concerned about victims and their sense of justice and system legitimacy. Too many prosecutors tend to only find victims useful when the victims support a vindictive agenda and to ignore those of us who have been victims that don’t see victims protected by every bumper sticker policy that comes along. I’ve worked with victim coordinators in DAs offices who could barely contain their distaste for the way they’ve been treated, either as nuisances or, worse, something to be ignored if at all possible. If we take victims rights and restoration seriously, we develop restorative justice in every avenue we can. Hoist one to Grits tonight for bringing some light and focus to a remedy that doesn’t have tv shows based on it but actually can help victims recover and prevent other victims from happening.

No comments: