Who Are We Letting Out of Prison?

Featured image Here in California, the federal courts have ruled that California’s overcrowded prisons amount to violation of the 8th Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment,” and rather than build more prisons, California is releasing a large number of inmates. This coincides with the national move to “de-incarcerate.” Who are we letting out? The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has a website where you can scroll through the names of inmates »

Harry Reid under investigation by Utah prosecutor

Featured image A Utah county prosecutor says he is investigating Sen. Harry Reid in connection with a pay-to-play scheme involving two former Utah attorneys general. The prosecutor investigating Reid is Troy Rawlings of Davis County, a Republican. The former Utah attorneys general are Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow, both Republicans. The two were arrested last summer after prosecutors accused them of engaging in a wide-ranging scheme through which they traded favors with »

Ferguson Comes to Minneapolis [Updated]

Featured image At 12:45 last Sunday morning, Minneapolis police were called to the scene of an assault that occurred less than two blocks from the nearest precinct station. A 24-year-old man named Jamar Clark had beaten his girlfriend. When police arrived, Clark had returned to the scene and, according to police accounts, was interfering with the paramedics who were trying to treat his girlfriend. A scuffle with one or more of the »

Eric Holder backs softer sentencing legislation

Featured image Former Attorney General Eric Holder spoke last week in support of softer sentencing for criminals. Holder called the sentencing reform proposals in the House and Senate “a historic opportunity,” though naturally he called on Congress to make the legislation even more lenient. Holder also disputed the existence of a “Ferguson effect,” whereby rants against the police have made some officers less proactive in their work, thus increasing the level of »

Found: a signed copy of Clinton’s agreement on handling sensitive compartmented info

Featured image The Washington Free Beacon reports that a day after becoming Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton signed a Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement that set forth the criminal penalties for “any unauthorized disclosure” of classified information. It had been assumed that she signed this document, but now it has been confirmed that she did. By signing the statement, Clinton affirmed, among other things: “I have been advised that the unauthorized disclosure, »

Carly Fiorina on sentencing reform

Featured image After Carly Fiorina’s address at the Iowa state fairgrounds last Saturday, I joined the crowd that wanted to meet her. My impression of how she interacted with the crowd is recorded here. When it was my turn to meet the candidate, I thanked her for running such a good campaign and asked if she would take a question. Fiorina readily agreed, and I asked her about criminal sentencing reform. Here »

Chris Christie on sentencing reform

Featured image I went to Iowa intending to ask every candidate I could about sentencing reform. Unfortunately, Chris Christie was the only one of the ten GOP contenders I saw who took questions. Thus, he and Carly Fiorina, whom I approached after her speech at the State Fairgrounds, were the only candidates I was able to discuss the matter with. Here is how it went down with Christie: The question I asked »

Obama “bans the box”

Featured image President Obama, with the help of some seriously misguided Republicans, is devoting the last segment of his presidency to helping one of his favorite interest groups — criminals. Not content with letting thousands of them out of jail early, the president is now attempting to improve their chances of obtaining federal employment by banning federal agencies from asking applicants about their criminal histories on job application forms. This policy goes »

Who wants to be “Willie Hortoned”

Featured image Willie Horton was an inmate at a Massachusetts corrections facility serving a life sentence for murdering a man when he received a weekend pass thanks to a prison furlough program maintained by then-governor Michael Dukakis over the objection of the state legislature. While out of prison, Horton twice raped a Maryland woman after pistol-whipping, knifing, binding, and gagging her fiancé. When Dukakis ran for president against George H.W. Bush, a »

The decriminalization delusion

Featured image Heather Mac Donald has made herself the most valuable player supporting law enforcement in the teeth of the generation-long movement against it originating in the American Civil Liberties Union. The movement has now culminated in Black Lives Matter and embedded itself inside the Obama administration. Celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary, City Journal has just published Heather’s powerful new essay on the subject under the title “The decriminalization delusion.” I asked City »

Comey, complete and unexpurgated

Featured image Yesterday’s New York Times carried Michael Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo’s page-one report “FBI chief links scrutiny of police to rise in violent crime.” On Thursday President Obama spoke up for the virtues of the disgusting Black Lives Matter movement. On Friday at the University of Chicago Law School FBI Director James Comey provided a sort of counterpoint. Comey’s comments do not comport with the Times’s prescribed views or, I think, »

Sentencing reform clears committee, but may not reach the floor this year [Corrected]

Featured image As expected, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (more accurately called the Drug Dealers’ Relief Act) has cleared the Judiciary Committee. That’s the bad news. The good news is that five members, including Ted Cruz, voted against it. The others were Orin Hatch, Jeff Sessions, David Vitter, and David Perdue. With five Republican members opposed, it seems unlikely that the bill will make it to the Senate floor »

The folly of empowering judges to go easy on criminals

Featured image I’ve written before about the problem of under-incarceration in America. Too many criminals who should be in jail are instead on the streets, having received ridiculously low sentences for prior offenses or having been released outright by liberal judges. The under-incarceration problem manifested itself again this week. Tyrone Howard is a 30-year-old criminal with 16 prior arrests, mostly for drug offenses, and 12 prior incarcerations. He stands accused of shooting »

Ed Meese denounces the rush to pass sentencing reform

Featured image Ed Meese was Attorney General of the United States when the nation finally said “enough” to crime and to the lenient sentencing by federal judges that was helping to fuel it. This was the beginning of reforms, most notably in the form of mandatory minimum sentencing, that led to a 50 percent reduction in crime. Naturally, then, Meese is concerned about the attempt of a “gang” of bipartisan Senators to »

Judiciary committee goes through the motions in hearing on major sentencing reform

Featured image This afternoon, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. Echoing what many have said, Chairman Grassley called this legislation “the most significant criminal justice reform legislation in a generation.” Yet, the Committee saw fit to hold only three hours of hearings on it. Moreover, the hearings took place on the Monday after a long recess, a nearly unprecedented move by the »

Heather Mac Donald Explodes Criminal Justice Myths

Featured image Today the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on proposed legislation to “reform” criminal sentencing by, inter alia, releasing large numbers of felons from federal prisons. The great Heather Mac Donald testified in opposition to the proposed changes. The video below, of her opening statement, is only around six minutes long, but it is an excellent introduction to the topic. Some notable quotes: Drug enforcement was not the driving factor »

Sentenced to be snookered

Featured image The Weekly Standard has published an article Bill Otis and I wrote opposing the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. We thank the Standard for enabling us to sound the alarm on the effort, by Senators who should know better, to undo two decades of success in the fight against crime. I also want to thank readers who, in response to my request, called Senators to demand hearings on »