Pye in the sky, Part Two

Featured image I wrote here about Jason Pye’s attack on those who oppose leniency legislation for federal drug felons. One of my arguments addressed his claim that we shouldn’t fear that leniency legislation will cause dangerous felons to be released from prison early. Why is this not a valid concern? Because, says Pye, decisions about releasing felons will use “risk and needs assessment to determine [a prisoner’s] risk of reoffending.” I countered »

Jury duty

Featured image I’ve been on jury duty this week. This partially explains my lack of production on Power Line. The case we heard involved pretty serious criminal charges. I think the defense lawyer would have opted to strike me from the panel had he been aware of my hard line blogging about various criminal justice matters. However, my writings never came up during voir dire, and both parties seemed fine with having »

Pye in the sky

Featured image Jason Pye of Freedom Works has a column in the Hill defending the First Step Act. . .sort of. It’s mostly an attack on those who oppose this leniency legislation. Pye calls opponents “reactionaries” and accuses us of dishonesty and fear-mongering. But name-calling is no substitute for argument, and when Pye gets around to actually arguing, he consistently hides the ball. Pye writes: Opponents claim that violent crime is rising »

Thoughts On the Synagogue Shootings

Featured image Can we learn any lessons from the horrific Pittsburgh synagogue murders? Maybe. Improved security at places of worship may be necessary (and no, calling for better security is not “blaming the victim.”) Attorney General Jeff Sessions has filed federal hate crime charges against Robert Bowers. This strikes me as symbolic and pointless. Murder is a state crime and state and local authorities are perfectly capable of prosecuting and punishing it. »

Our under-incarceration problem, explosive packages edition

Featured image Inevitably, Democrats and their partners in the mainstream media want to focus on the political leanings of the man suspected of sending packages to leading leftists. However, Daniel Horowitz contends that the real story here is “jailbreak,” i.e., the failure to put criminals behind bars and keep them there. I agree that this is a key element of the story. The suspect apparently has a lengthy rap sheet that included »

“Ban the Box” Gets Boxed in Again

Featured image We reported here last year about research showing that a favorite Obama policy initiative known as “Ban the Box” (that is, prohibit employers from inquiring about a person’s criminal history on employment applications) was having the opposite effect, and was increasing discrimination against blacks. Two women economists writing in the Quarterly Journal of Economics concluded: Our results support the concern that BTB policies encourage racial discrimination: the black-white gap in »

Remembering “Whitewater”

Featured image For the past 20 years, Kenneth Starr has avoided the limelight. And why not? As the independent counsel who investigate Whitewater and other Clinton-related scandals, he received enough attention to last several lifetimes. Now, however, Starr has written a book about those days. It’s called Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigation. The contempt in question was that of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The two manifested it differently, though. According »

Report: Grand jury probe of Andrew McCabe heats up

Featured image The Washington Post reports that the grand jury investigation of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has been proceeding apace and now seems to be intensifying. As I understand it, McCabe is under investigation for misleading government officials about leaking. The investigation was triggered by the Justice Department inspector general’s finding of wrongdoing by McCabe. The inspector general, Michael Horowitz (an Obama appointee), concluded in a detailed report that McCabe »

Is the White House turning criminal justice policy over to Van Jones and Kim Kardashian?

Featured image I hope not, but there’s reason for concern. This morning, the White House announced: Members of the Administration are hosting a listening session about the clemency process. The discussion is mainly focused on ways to improve that process to ensure deserving cases receive a fair review. Here is the list of those who were to participate: INTERNAL ATTENDEES: Jared Kushner Ja’Ron Smith Brooke Rollins Chris Liddell EXTERNAL ATTENDEES: Rachel Barkow »

Trump’s worst tweet yet

Featured image We’re in the middle of a busy news week, but I don’t want to overlook something President Trump tweeted on Monday. It was this: Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff…… I »

The folly of leniency-for-felons legislation: A response to John Malcolm

Featured image John Malcolm of the Heritage Foundation has responded to my critique of his article defending the leniency-for-criminals legislation being pushed in the Senate. I appreciate his response. Like a good lawyer writing a reply brief, Malcolm begins by citing the points he made that I didn’t dispute. Let me begin by returning the favor. Here are points I made that Malcolm does not dispute. I consider them decisive. First, Malcolm »

Law enforcement leaders urge Trump to reject jailbreak bill

Featured image At a White House meeting this afternoon, President Trump reportedly decided that the leniency-for-criminals legislation Jared Kushner, Sen. Chuck Grassley, and a host of liberal Democrats have been pushing is too politically difficult to endorse before the elections. Let’s hope he understands that the legislation is politically fraught after the elections, as well. The legislation is also terrible policy. This point is forcefully made in the following letter, hand-delivered to »

Pecker emerges

Featured image My point, and I did have one, in placing the Michael Cohen plea agreement and related charges before readers here this morning, was to note “the trouble down the road for others,” as I put it. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that the the chief executive of the company that publishes the National Enquirer was granted immunity by federal prosecutors for providing information about Michael Cohen and Donald Trump »

Manafort convicted on 8 counts, jury deadlocked on 10

Featured image The jury in the Paul Manafort has found him guilty on eight of the 18 counts brought against him by Robert Mueller’s team. It couldn’t reach a verdict on the other 10. Judge T.S. Ellis declared a mistrial on these charges. The jury found Manafort guilty on tax and bank fraud charges. Experts told the Washington Post that Manafort might well be looking at more than decade in prison based »

In defense of Tom Cotton’s critique of leniency-for-criminals legislation

Featured image Last week, Sen. Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal opposing the lenient sentencing legislation now under serious consideration by Congress. I summarized Sen. Cotton’s article here. John Malcolm and Brett Tolman of the Heritage Foundation have responded to Cotton. They deny that the legislation is soft on crime. Malcolm is a respected conservative legal analyst. I’m not familiar with Tolman, but I’m confident he is too. »

I Left My S— in San Francisco

Featured image The late novelist Walker Percy used to wonder about why the suicide rate was so high in San Francisco, the most beautiful city in the world by his reckoning. I wish we had Percy still with us today—for many reasons—but especially to update his observations on how San Francisco’s decadence and dysfunctions are a reflections on the defects of the human soul. Even The Guardian, the British leftist rag, is »

Tom Cotton on the leniency-for-criminals legislation

Featured image Our friend Sen. Tom Cotton has written an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal opposing the latest jailbreak legislation that I discussed here. He argues: [U]nder no circumstances should Congress cut mandatory minimum sentences for serious crimes or give judges more discretion to reduce those sentences. That foolish approach is not criminal-justice reform—it’s a jailbreak that would endanger communities and undercut President Trump’s campaign promise to restore law and order. »