Monday, December 10, 2007

Around the Blogs, Monday, December 10, 2007

  • Doug Berman has to be feeling his oats today, far more than he's letting on over at Sentencing Law and Policy, regarding the relative plethora of Supreme Court rulings on sentencing today. Turns out that fed judges actually don't have to stick with the fed guidelines for crack cases, they can turn to a variety of other sources for guidance, the lower appeals courts that have been saying otherwise have all been on crack, and the US Supreme Court may be the most defendant-oriented (read "be wary of powerful government even if it's smiling and telling you they're here to help") court in the US. Which has me thinking that reality must be on crack right now. Which I've been suspecting for a long time now.

  • Prawfsblawg is promoting this book--Marked: Race, Crime, and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration--with a new post. It talks about the experiments done to demonstrate the combined impact of race and prior record on later ability to get jobs. In Milwaukee, but it's safe to assume generalizability. Sounds like one to check out. Or even buy.

  • There are Good Prosecutors, Bad Prosecutors, and Good Prosecutors writing blog posts about Bad Prosecutors. Here at Bad Prosecutors Blog, Howard Wasserman not only continues his blast at the Duke lacrosse case and details, details, details the transgressions. If we're ever going to get the spiral we've been seeing too frequently turned around, it's going to have to come from these folks, so this is great to see.

  • And Blackprof has a post leveling another appropriate blast at our War on (Some) Drugs, and here's some whistle-whetting: "In case you haven’t noticed, there is a disturbingly consistent pattern here. First politicians create a common enemy. Not a real enemy, but an indefensible bogeyman –say, a suicide bomber or a crack rock– that we all agree is bad for society. Then they tell us that we are facing an immediate threat because of this bad entity. Once everyone is sufficiently (and irrationally) scared of our “enemy,” the government then prosecutes a war in order to snuff it out. Given the bellicose nature of American society, this becomes a reasonable if not axiomatic conclusion. After all, if you don’t support a war against bad things then you must a supporter of bad things, right?
    By playing these language games, we are able to ignore clear evidence that these faux-wars don’t work. Thirty-six years into the current drug war, drugs are easier to find, cheaper to buy, and more potent than ever. Since the beginning of the war on terror, Americans have lost layers of freedom with no indication, regardless of what Bush says, that we are any safer. With the current war on gangs, we are bolstering a prison industry without affecting the root causes of gang membership and youth crime. My suggestion is that we rename our wars in more honest fashion. Imagine how the public would respond if they knew politicians were proposing a 'War on the Constitution' or a 'War on Mexican Teenagers.' Perhaps, after recognizing the real stakes, we could begin a much-needed 'War on Wars.”

1 comment:

Alexis Baden-Mayer said...

Good stuff. This adds another layer to it:

Only 0.6% of Americans, and not a single person of color polled, told Zogby that if hard drugs like cocaine and heroine were legal they'd be likely to use them: