Friday, August 03, 2007

News and Blogs Together, Friday, August 3, 2007

  • Following up on the William James quote post below, here’s a story on a study that finds that 2/3rds of wrongful convictions are the result of willful misconduct by the prosecution or police, misconduct that is rarely meaningfully punished, along with a good rec that we start calling them “unlawful” convictions. (h/t Prawfsblawg).
  • Let me second Doug Berman’s wise calculation over at Sentencing Law and Policy (third it, actually, after Ben's post below) regarding the ratio of offenders sentenced to death in states compared to the other important sentencing issues going on there v. the attention given state death penalties by the Supreme Court and students of the courts. When far more people are affected by whether there’s a bail bondsman near the county courthouse and how close that bondsman is to the judge(s) than by the death penalty, you know something is seriously out of whack. (Contact me over there on the right and I’ll explain the bondsman thing if you need me to.)
  • Nissan getting very serious about building alcohol detection systems directly into their cars. Volvo apparently isn’t far behind. Really looking forward to their commercials to convince folks to buy these vehicles.
  • Yeah, I can see Jesus doing this, the New Testament is full of this sort of thing, sitting behind the prosecutor’s table at hearings and keeping records on whether offenders are getting all the punishment they have coming to them, not to mention trying to intimidate the judges. As one of the saner and truly Christian ministers responded, “Churches should focus on drug counseling and ministering to inmates, he said, citing part of the Gospel of Matthew (25:36) concerning the final judgment: "When I was in prison, you came to see me." "It isn't 'I was up for charges and you made sure they threw the book at me,"' Rausch said.
  • Marijuana may enhance your chances for Kaposi’s sarcoma but decrease your odds of a certain lung cancer. Of course, you have to read deep into the article to find out the latter.
  • My friend Kelly Damphousse and some of his students at the U of OK have an interesting NIJ study out putting the final nails in the coffin of voice stress analyzers, focusing on the use of the tech to detect admissions of recent drug use.
  • The news media affecting sensible policymaking for a change. The Chicago Tribune has IL legislators calling for better review of “drug zone” laws after a study showed that the impact of those laws falls disproportionately on minorities.
  • Finally, for those of you who think you deter people well by your public penalties:

“Dude, I totally thought weed was legalized in New Mexico.”

Charles Barnes, who was caught at a New Mexico Border Control checkpoint with 67 marijuana plants in the trunk of his car. Police issued Barnes a citation for the plants, which were mostly seedlings and weighed less than an ounce.

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