Thursday, October 11, 2007

Around the Blogs, Thursday, October 11, 2007

  • I was glad to see Doug Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy link to this article on the affective structure of support or opposition to the death penalty. I know that, as a fiscal conservative, I come off hammering the folks who blindly throw dollars at less effective methods of crime control and victim prevention primarily because it makes them feel better. But it makes them feel better, and that’s a point that we can never forget when we frame our discussions about what values and goals we should have in corr sent debates. Much of law’s legitimacy comes not just from objective perceptions of its effectiveness but from subjective perceptions of its justice, a point that too many lawyers and law schools pride themselves on abdicating. My point is always that a community also has the right to ask why it should pay for this “justice premium” if the dollars spent could have gone toward preventing fewer victims and even more injustice. That doesn’t mean, however, that the point is irrelevant or unjustifiable. So it’s really good that articles like these are taking up the debate, and that Doug’s catching them for us. [See also Grits for Breakfast for a similar take on TX executions.]
  • A post at blackprof highly recommends Angela Davis’ new book on the all-but-unrestrained power of prosecutors, especially as that power impacts the black community, demonstrated in the Genarlow Wilson, Jena 6, and Duke lacrosse cases. You do sort of sense that African-American activism may be reigniting around the incarceration and other crim just issues. Every now and then you even see a tv show that isn’t about omnipotent prosecutors and cops. Probably not in the lifetime I have left, but maybe by the next generation.
  • Good to have Corey Rayburn Yung back over at Sex Crimes Blog. And he’s hitting the ground running with some insightful posts. Go welcome him with some hits, if you haven’t already.
  • At Crime and Consequences, Stephen Erickson has a cautionary post up on the “recovered memory” miasma and the truly horrendous things that have occurred in its name, too many ending up in court with bad results for both victims and the accused. He’s rightfully concerned about the potential of the new advances in neurotechnology to overwhelm reality in the presentation of evidence in trials. So, it might be somewhat comforting for him to know that professionals in that area are already looking into the impact of “visual persuasion” on trials and funding grant projects on related lines, via Neuroethics & Law Blog.
  • Voir Dire takes note that fed drug prosecutions are down in the last few years, as Mr. Bush has also reduced referring to drugs in official statements in the same period. Good to know. What does this mean for the old “will we take this case fed or state” gambit? Is it the terrorism emphasis or something else, like the rise in production of poppies in Afghanistan again, which might cause a bit of embarrassment? Anybody know?

No comments: