Monday, September 24, 2007

Around the Blogs, Monday, September 24, 2007

  • CrimProf Blog has a couple of related posts up today, whether it meant to or not. One discusses and links to an article on the problem of not quantifying a “dosage” of medical marijuana when the law limits legal users to a supply for a given time period. The other notes that the quantities of Americans affected by sex trafficking laws passed in one of our latest hysterias don’t turn out to be in reality anywhere close to those estimated by gov analysts at the time of the hysteria. Imagine that. Good thing that’s an isolated occurrence.
  • Grits for Breakfast also has a couple of more notable posts among the always good ones he has on the zoo that is TX. Here, you’ll get a great definition complete with examples of “The Silly Season” as politicians wheel out their toughness on somebody else’s dime, and here, you’ll get a nice analysis of the recent GAO report that basically says our War on (Some) Drugs through interdiction programs couldn’t be more screwed up if we were trying. (And you’re right, Grits. Our salvation is better coordination with Mexico? Let’s wait until they get back to us on that one.)
  • While in the state of TX, Texas Prison Bidness has a good post we missed last week (sorry, Judy) on the ability of jail systems to develop and run good alternative sanction programs, which is something we fail to emphasize as much as we should here. My experience with the law enforcement folks on the commissions I’ve staffed is that they’re almost always among the brightest and most innovative people on those commissions, not to mention the system as a whole. Here’s hoping the program detailed in the post works. (But then again, as Grits notes, there’s Dallas Co.)
  • Brandon Bryn is having the same problem over at Prevention Works that we generally have here, getting folks to launch a discussion on a topic that needs discussion, in his case, the proposals to allow cops to patrol with assault rifles. Not really corr sent directly, but surely you have some thoughts you could share with him over there.
  • The Situationist is running a series on the contextual considerations of the Jena 6 case, with some good reporting on the nature of prejudice and how it reveals itself both inside and outside the crim just system.
  • Deliberations has the “17 Best Tips for Voir Dire” up at her place for those of you who actually deal with juries. Since she actually gets paid to consult on juries, consider this a freebie.
  • Speaking of voir dire, the blog Voir Dire has bits from the NY Times interview with Justice Stevens. I liked this quote, which highlights how completely we fail to learn the lessons of history: Last June, in his dissent from Roberts’s opinion upholding the power of a school principal to suspend a student for a banner that read, “Bong Hits for Jesus,” Stevens mentioned some “personal recollections that have no doubt influenced my conclusion that it would be profoundly unwise to create special rules for speech about drug and alcohol use.” He went on, “The current dominant opinion supporting the war on drugs in general, and our anti-marijuana laws in particular, is reminiscent of the opinion that supported the nationwide ban on alcohol consumption when I was a student.” Just as prohibition in the 1920s and early 30s was “secretly questioned” by thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens, he continued, so opponents of the war on drugs today may express their views only silently for fear of majority disapproval. Of course, as they say, the only lesson of history is that we never learn the lessons of history.

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