Sentencing Reform

A novel idea for combatting the violent crime epidemic

Featured image According to the Washington Post, homicides are up 15 percent in Washington, D.C. compared to this time last year. Homicides reached a 16-year high last year. This past weekend, three men were shot to death in Brightwood Park, a middle-class neighborhood in Northwest D.C. that not long ago was considered safe. Violent crime is up about 23 percent in Brightwood Park this year. The Post reports that neighborhood residents are »

D.C. mayor wants to re-fund the police

Featured image Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, D.C., says she will ask the city council to spend $11 million to hire 20 police officers in the next few months and 150 police officers in fiscal year 2022. With homicides and shootings up in D.C., and with George Floyd fever finally starting to break, one can understand Bowser’s decision. But even if Bowser gets the increase, and she may not, it will »

The stench of raw politics at the Biden DOJ

Featured image This week, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a crack offender is eligible for a sentence reduction under the First Step Act only if convicted of a crack offense that triggered a mandatory minimum sentence. Even Justice Sotomayor agreed with this result. It was a no-brainer. Yet, the Biden Justice Department refused to defend this result after it was reached at the court of appeals level. It went so far »

Support for the death penalty surges

Featured image A new Pew Research poll finds that 60 percent of Americans favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder. This result is a stunning turnaround. Less than five years ago, Pew found that only 49 percent of Americans favored the death penalty for convicted murderers. This was the lowest level of support in more than four decades. The October 2016 poll showed 42 percent opposed to the death penalty. »

“Jailbreak” beneficiary celebrated by Trump is arrested for dealing meth

Featured image On April 1, 2019, President Trump held a White House summit to celebrate passage of the First Step Act, a leniency bill for federal felons. One of the convicts whose case Trump highlighted was Troy Powell. Trump referred to Powell as a great electrician and joked about using him for work in the White House. He noted that Powell had been hired by a lumber company in North Carolina. Trump »

Doug Collins doubles and jailbreak legislation [corrected and updated]

Featured image Rep. Doug Collins has announced that he will run for the Senate. He will challenge the incumbent, Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to fill the seat that Johnny Isakson vacated. Collins was prominent during the House impeachment proceedings as an aggressive questioner on President Trump’s behalf. I didn’t find his questioning particularly cogent, but that’s just my opinion. He did his best, and gained good will from the president and »

Last year in murder

Featured image In 2019, Washington, D.C. had its highest number of homicides in a decade. The Washington Post, quoting unnamed city authorities, attributes the spike to “a proliferation of the use of firearms to resolve disputes.” This “proliferation” wasn’t confined to Washington. In neighboring Prince Georges County, Maryland, homicides increased by 20 percent. Nearby Baltimore, where murder has been on the upsurge since its police force was demonized by the left and »

Our under-incarceration problem, anti-Semitism edition

Featured image Grafton Thomas is the anti-Semite who is being held for assaulting with a knife a crowd of Jews in a rabbi’s home during a Hanukkah celebration. I don’t blame the Democratic Party for Thomas’s anti-Semitism or for his decision to assault Jews. However, I do blame Democrats, and some Republicans, for the criminal justice policies that enabled Thomas to be able to act on his violent anti-Semitism outside of prison »

Our under-incarceration problem, Tennessee edition

Featured image When I read about a high profile murder, I often check the background of the accused killer. Almost invariably, if the killer is an adult, I find that he has a criminal record such that, in a properly functioning justice system, he would be in prison. Last week, in Nashville, a man murdered Clayton Beathard and Paul Trapeni. Beathard is the brother of C.J. Beathard, a quarterback for the San »

Jailbreak in Red States

Featured image Daniel Horowitz asks: “Who needs George Soros when you have Republicans. . .enacting his number one agenda item – de-incarceration?” Horowitz’s case in point is Oklahoma: The Koch-funded “conservative” organizations have convinced Oklahoma Republicans to embark on a one-sided mission of prison release rather than stemming the tide of growing crime. They have made them feel guilty about having the highest incarceration rate of any state. Yet rather than identifying »

The New York Mets’ appeal tested

Featured image Al Pacino once starred with Ellen Barkin in an underrated movie called “Sea of Love.” Pacino played a New York City cop. Early in the film, Pacino organizes a sting to capture dozens of New York City’s most wanted criminals. He has them invited to a special meet and greet with the New York Yankees. Suspecting nothing, the crooks and thugs arrive. They are duly taken into custody. Bill de »

Study puts standard narrative on opioid crisis in doubt

Featured image Pharmaceutical companies are taking the blame for the opioid epidemic in America. We’ve all heard the narrative: Americans become addicted to pills prescribed by irresponsible doctors and peddled by unscrupulous drug companies. Many die of an overdose. There’s no denying that this occurs. However, a new study from Massachusetts strongly suggests that it is not the main reason for the opioid epidemic. The study found: Prescription opioids were detected in »

First Step Act beneficiary wanted for murder

Featured image It was bound to happen, and sooner rather than later. Joel Francisco, dubbed by authorities the crown prince of the Almighty Latin Kings gang, was released from prison thanks to the First Step Act. Now, he is now wanted for murder. Francisco was sentenced in 2005 to life imprisonment for trafficking in crack cocaine. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 reduced sentences for this crime, but not retroactively. The First »

The real world consequences of “jailbreak” policies and practices

Featured image The “jailbreak” crowd, which includes far too many conservatives, likes to point to Texas as providing powerful evidence for the merit of releasing felons from prison early. Indeed, the usually sensible Sen. John Cornyn of Texas was a leader of the federal push for lenient sentencing. In support of his position, he liked to cite the Texas experience. That experience didn’t work well this weekend for Houston’s first Sikh officer, »

Report: Trump doesn’t think much of his “jailbreak” legislation

Featured image For several years before Donald Trump became president, Democrats and Republicans like Lindsey Graham had been pushing for shorter jail sentences and early release for certain kinds of federal criminals. They hadn’t gotten far. That changed dramatically when Jared Kushner persuaded his father-in-law to back leniency legislation. In short order, Republican resistance crumbled and a version of leniency for drug felons was signed into law. Now, according to Politico, President »

Cops keep getting shot by criminals who aren’t allowed to have guns

Featured image The news media reported relentlessly on all matters relating even remotely to the horrific murders in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Fair enough. But I haven’t heard much from the mainstream media about the shooting in Philadelphia of six police officers by a felon who wasn’t permitted by law to possess a firearm. Maurice Hill is believed to have fired more than 100 rounds during his standoff with police. »

FIRST STEP’s first deception exposed

Featured image When the FIRST STEP act was making its way through Congress, its advocates claimed that only “non-violent” federal prisoners would be released from prison early. By non-violent felons they meant, in essence, drug dealers, as opposed to, say, murderers, rapists, and armed robbers. I don’t consider dealers of deadly drugs to be non-violent. Their conduct wrecks lives and sometimes ends them. But let’s accept, for purposes of discussion, the definition »