PC and Effective Policing Don't Mix

| No Comments
The always noteworthy online magazine LifeZette tells us about the predictable effects of shutting away inconvenient facts in the hope of offending no one about anything. See, e.g., this story about how the Portland, Oregon Police Department has stopped tracking gangs because gang membership tends to be concentrated among minority rather than white populations.  Tracking gang membership might thus be viewed as "insensitive" and, in some bizarre sense "discriminatory," notwithstanding that the records are true, legal and useful in suppressing crime, particularly in stressed neighborhoods.   

Heather MacDonald and I agree, as we often do, that going willfully blind  --  in the teeth of spiking violence, much of it from drug gangs  --  is not the path toward better policing or safer, more peaceful minority communities.

An Officer Doing His Job

| No Comments
Barry Latzer, Emeritus Professor of Criminal Justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, has this article at City Journal.

The case against Pantaleo rests on the supposed chokehold that he used to make the arrest. He never sought to choke Garner to death, or even injure him. He was doing his job, taking a resisting man to the ground, as NYPD regulations provide. Had Garner been cooperative, as the officers requested, the confrontation would never have happened. "We can do this the easy way or the hard way," Pantaleo's partner had told him.
*      *      *
Police should not be afraid to carry out their duties. The Pantaleo case tells cops that, even if they're just doing their job, they can't count on institutional support if the incident becomes a media sensation. New York City's safety, like that of any city, depends on police feeling secure in performing their duties. It's time to end Officer Pantaleo's ordeal. NYPD chief James O'Neill and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should step up to the plate and dismiss the unwarranted charges against him.

How Antifa Violence Has Split the Left

| No Comments
Ian Lovett, Jennifer Levitz and Cameron McWhirter have this article in the WSJ with the above headline and the subhead "Tactics of the group are creating a rift among liberals about whether to denounce a radical fringe whose objectives, if not methods, they often share."

Proposition 66 Update

| No Comments
Thumbnail image for Prop66.jpg
As reported on August 24, the California Supreme Court on that day upheld the death penalty reform initiative approved by the people in last November's election.  The court rejected every argument made by the opponents and their supporting amici (including a gaggle of law professors who dubbed themselves "Constitutional Law"), and most of the arguments were rejected unanimously.

On September 8, the petitioner filed a petition for rehearing (79).  The next business day, the court gave itself (80) until November 22 to consider it, postponing the finality of its decision.  Since the new effective date of Proposition 66 and the stay order previously entered are tied to finality, this effectively postpones the implementation of Proposition 66 an additional month.

I very much doubt that the main decision -- that Proposition 66 as a whole is valid -- is in any danger.  The court likely gave itself extra time to resolve some differences between the majority opinion and the concurrence (which is also joined by a bare majority of the court) regarding the weight to be given to the time limit sections.

There are, however, many parts of Proposition 66 that can and should be implemented immediately.  The removal of execution protocols from the Administrative Procedure Act, in particular, affects the consideration of the new protocol by the Office of Administrative Law as well as the validity of an injunction placed on executions by the Marin County Superior Court.  For these reasons, the campaign committee filed on Monday, along with its Answer to the Petition for Rehearing (81), a Motion to Vacate or Modify Stay (82).

The documents in the case are available here.  The numbers in parentheses above are the document numbers in this dropbox.

News Scan

| No Comments
Sanctuary State Bill Awaits Brown's Signature:  SB54, the "sanctuary state" bill introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De Leon has passed both houses of the California Legislature on a straight party line vote and is on Governor Jerry Brown's desk awaiting signature.  Jazmine Ulloa of the Los Angeles Times reports that the bill was drastically scaled back in order to assure the Governor's support.  The original bill would have prohibited state law enforcement from using any resources to cooperate with federal law enforcement regarding illegals in state custody unless they had violent or serious criminal convictions.  The amendments allow federal agents access to jails to question illegals and permits state law enforcement to share information and transfer arrestees to federal law enforcement if they have been convicted of one of 800 crimes.  While the state Police Chiefs Association changed its position to neutral after the amendments, the County Sheriffs remain opposed. 

NY Sheriff Ignores Cuomo's Immigration Order:  The Sheriff in Erie County New York has told his deputies to ignore Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent order to state law enforcement on immigration.  Fox News reports that following Cuomo's order prohibiting state law enforcement officers from inquiring about or disclosing a person's immigration status to federal authorities, Sheriff Timothy Howard called it an effort to score  "cheap political points" and instructed his deputies to ignore it.  Cuomo's lawyer fired back that the Governor's order only involved state police.  The Sheriff responded that Cuomo's order was causing confusion among his deputies, which he felt should be resolved before the weekend.  Cuomo, who is considering a run for President in 2020, said he signed the order "as Washington squabbles over rolling back sensible immigration policy."  

News Scan

| No Comments
Illegal Immigrant Charged in San Francisco Murder:  An illegal immigrant, enjoying sanctuary in San Francisco, has been charged with the robbery/murder of a 23-year-old man in the Mission District on August 15.  NBC Bay Area reports that Erick Garcia-Pineda was one of three men charged with the crime, which involved shooting the victim with a stolen handgun.  At the time of the murder, Garcia-Pineda was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet, which placed him at the scene.  Garcia-Pineda was linked to the murder after his arrest later that day for the assault and battery of another victim.  During the investigation of that crime, a stolen handgun believed to be the murder weapon was seized.  Fox News reports that the .38 caliber Smith & Wesson was stolen by Garcia-Pineda and co-defendant Jesus Perez-Araujo from a police officer's car four days before the murder. San Francisco is one of several dozen "sanctuary cities" which refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement.  The city is currently suing the Department of Justice for announcing that it will cut off grant funds to sanctuary cities.

Massive Vote Suppression Down Under

| 1 Comment
Australia is having a referendum on same-sex marriage, but there is a problem, Rob Taylor reports for the WSJ.

Is Antifa a Street Gang?

| No Comments
David Pyrooz and James Densley assert that Antifa can be designated a street gang in this op-ed in the WSJ. They note that there are many definitions of "street gang":

Yet under any scientific or official definition, Antifa makes the grade. Gangs are groups. They have a collective identity, which includes signs, symbols and other features that distinguish the in-group from the out-group. Bloods wear red; Crips wear blue; Antifa wear black. It's obvious when Antifa members join protests, even for the untrained eye. And don't be fooled by Antifa's diffuse structure. Conventional street gangs are pretty disorganized too.
*      *      *

News Scan

| 1 Comment
Bike Sharing Not Working in Baltimore:  In 2015, riots broke out in Baltimore after the death of small-time criminal Freddy Gray while in police custody.  Although an intensive, nationally scrutinized review found that none of the officers involved in Grey's arrest and transport were determined to be responsible for his death, political pressure forced the city's police department to end proactive policing.  This has resulted in sharp increases in crime, particularly in minority districts. The impact of this is even being felt by innocuous, politically-correct programs like bike sharing.  Colin Campbell of the Baltimore Sun reports that the $2.36 million Baltimore Bike Share system has experienced so many thefts and damage that it is being shut down so operators can try new anti-theft technology.  While authorities have repeatedly declined to say how many bikes have been stolen, most are currently out of service.  A spokesman for the Canadian operation told the Sun, "we don't have this issue anywhere else, not at this level." 

Federal Judge Stays Cutoff of Funds to Sanctuary Cities:  In a ruling announced today, a federal district judge in Chicago ruled that Attorney General Jeff Sessions cannot withhold federal grant funds from sanctuary cities.  Fox News reports that District Judge Harry Lenenweber granted Chicago's request for a temporary "nationwide" injunction of the Attorney General's requirement that, in order to receive the funds, cities would have to be willing to cooperate with federal law enforcement on illegal immigrants.

Antifa Professor Steps in it:  There was a time long ago when a college professor was assumed to be worthy of the respect of his students, colleagues and community.  This is what passes for a college professor today.  Fox News reports  JohnJayProf.jpg
that Michael Issacson, an adjunct-professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and known Antifa leader, tweeted Aug. 23, "Some of y'all might think it sucks being an anti-fascist teacher at John Jay College but I think it's a privilege to teach future dead cops."   This is not a joke, that's what he said and that's his picture.  Someone please
defend this guy. 

News Scan

| 1 Comment
Ohio Murderer's Death Sentence Upheld:   The Ohio Supreme Court voted 6-1 Wednesday to uphold the conviction and death sentence of habitual felon David Martin, who killed a man and severely wounded a woman during a robbery.  Guy Vogrin of the Tribune Chronicle reports that a jury convicted Martin on September 11, 2014 of the robbery, murder and attempted murder committed two years earlier.  The court's decision describes how Martin, a low level drug dealer, visited the apartment of Jeremy Cole, 21 and Melissa Putnam, 27, on September 27, 2012.  During the visit, Martin pulled a gun and had Putnam tie up Cole and herself.  After a fruitless effort to get  money and car keys from Cole, Martin shot him in the head, then shot Putnam.  Putnam raised her hand just before the shooting deflecting the bullet which struck her in the neck.  Martin's defense attorney argued that his incriminating statements to police should have been excluded, and that his troubled childhood should have been given more weight at sentencing.  The court rejected these claims.  One justice, with longstanding opposition to the death penalty, voted against the sentence.     

"Smart on Crime's" Best Example Explodes

| 8 Comments
"Smart on Crime" is the name given a well-intentioned libertarian organization promoting, most prominently, reducing prison populations by shorter sentences and early release.  Those targeted to benefit would be  --  heard this one before?  -- "low-level, non-violent" criminals. 

The Number One example of Smart on Crime's success has been Texas.  The Lone Star state has been displayed relentlessly as a "deep red" jurisdiction that's made huge strides in criminal justice reform. As always, it was promised that such reform would "keep us just as safe."

Smart on Crime has not been shy about claiming credit for Texas's continuing low crime rate while these "carefully crafted programs" have done their intended work. Never once have I seen the phrase "correlation does not mean causation" used in discussing the relationship between maintaining low crime in Texas and reform's implementation. 

I have a strong feeling, however, that, in light of Texas' just-released and disastrous UCR violent crime statistics for 2016, that phrase is about to make a big comeback. 
I am not making this up:

Chelsea Manning will be joining Harvard University as a visiting fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, according to the school's website.

Manning will speak on issues of LGBTQ identity in the military, Institute of Politics Fellows co-chairs Emily Hall and Jason Ge wrote in an announcement posted Wednesday.

"We welcome the breadth of thought-provoking viewpoints on race, gender, politics and the media," Bill Delahunt, IOP acting director, said in the announcement.

Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst, was convicted in 2013 for leaking a huge cache of classified and sensitive documents. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison after a military judge found her guilty of six Espionage Act violations and multiple other charges relating to the dissemination of more than 700,000 classified military and State Department documents to WikiLeaks.

After President Barack Obama commuted her sentence [three days] before leaving office, Manning has worked to re-brand herself as an activist for queer and transgender rights.

Kent Scheidegger is probably the leading habeas corpus expert in the country. What do you think the chances are of his getting offered a fellowship at Harvard?

UPDATE:  This morning brings a report that, after a storm of criticism, Harvard has withdrawn the Visiting Fellow offer, but will still invite Manning to the University for a day and allow her/him to speak to students.

News Scan

| No Comments
Ohio Executes Double Murderer:  The state of Ohio executed double-murderer Gary Otte Wednesday, 25 years after he robbed and killed a man and a woman in February of 1992.  CBS News reports that Otte was pronounced dead at 10:54 a.m., about 13 minutes after he fell unconscious after receiving an injection of the anesthetic midazolam.  On February 12, 1992, Otte asked 61-year-old Robert Wasikowski if he could use his phone. Once inside the apartment, Otte shot Wasikowski and stole about $400.  The next day Otte broke into another apartment in the same building and shot 45-year-old Sharon Kostura before stealing $45 and her car keys.  On appeal, Otte's attorneys did not dispute his guilt, but blamed his drug addiction, intoxication, depression, age, and trial lawyers for his death sentence, saying that he had matured and tried to better himself.  Bummer that his victims did not get a chance to do that. 

Parolees Charged in Ole Miss Rape:  A University of Mississipi (Ole Miss) student was kidnapped and raped Monday, and two parolees have been charged.  Harold Gater and Therese Apel of The Clarion-Ledger report that two coeds got into a car with two men at about 1:11 a.m.  Charles Prince, 34, and Kedrick Norwood, 28, drove the girls around for about an hour before stopping on a county road and letting them out.  One of the coeds got back into the car and was driven to a house, held against her will, and raped.  An anonymous tip led officers to the house where the victim was discovered, and the two parolees were arrested. Both face charges of kidnapping and rape.  Prince was on parole for assaulting a police officer and grand larceny.  Norwood was on parole for dealing cocaine.

News Scan

| 1 Comment
Execution Set For Georgia Murderer:  A September 26 execution date has been set for a 59-year-old Georgia man who murdered his sister-in-law in 1990.  Rhonda Cook of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Keith Leroy Tharpe will be the second murderer executed in Georgia this year.  In 1990 Tharpe's wife left him to escape a violent marriage and moved in with her mother.  Responding to Tharpe's repeated threats to kill her and her family, the ex-wife received a court order prohibiting Tharpe from contacting them.  A few weeks later, Tharpe, whose own mental health expert called a "mean son of a bitch," forced his ex-wife's car off the road as she and her sister were heading to work.  He then shot the 29-year-old sister twice with a shotgun and rolled her body into a ditch, before kidnapping his ex-wife and raping her.  He was later caught in Macon trying to withdraw money from his ex-wife's credit union.  His guilt was undisputed, leaving his lawyers to unsuccessfully claim that his death sentence was the result of racial prejudice.

Appeals Court Overturns Murder Conviction:  The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned the murder conviction of a Bethany man who beat his girlfriend to death in 2012.  Maxine Bernstein of the Oregonian reports that Paul Joseph Sanelle was convicted on overwhelming evidence but the court's unanimous ruling held that his Miranda rights were violated during questioning following his arrest.  Sanelle lived with Julianne Herinckx and Terlin Patrick.  The trio has been in a polyamorous relationship for about five years.  On April 29, 2012, Herinckx called in sick for work at about 5:20 p.m. Within the next hour, Sanelle beat her so badly that she died of blunt force injuries to her head and a crush injury to her chest the medical examiner believed was caused by her being stomped or jumped on.  When police responded to Terlin's 911 call, they found Senelle naked over Herinckx's body attempting CPR.  At trial his attorneys claimed that the young woman died as the result of a violent sparing match.         

Flight 93

| No Comments
Pennsylvania has long been home to the Gettysburg Cemetery, a somber reminder of both the necessary of valor and its price.  Now it is also home to the Flight 93 National Memorial.  David Tulis has this article for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

News Scan

| No Comments
Looters Jailed, Burglar Shot in Florida:  In the wake of hurricane Irma, while residents and business owners wait for an "all clear" from authorities before returning home to survey the damage, news video shows looters breaking into businesses and carrying out goods and police report that at least one criminal has been shot for burglarizing a home.  Fox News reports that several dozen looters have been arrested in Fort Lauderdale and Miami Dade.  Police agencies across the state are warning that looters will be arrested and prosecuted.  "Going to prison over a pair of sneakers is a fairly bad life choice," one official warned.  A 17-year-old offender was shot at 3 a.m. Sunday by police who caught him burglarizing an abandoned home in Broward County. 

Antifa Violence at Prayer Rally:  A rally by a prayer group originally planned for Portland, but moved to nearby Vancouver, Washington, to avoid a confrontation with counterprotesters, became violent in both cities Sunday when hundreds of anti-fascists, many wearing black masks and carrying weapons, showed up.  Derek Hawkins of the Washington Post reports that Antifa members hurled smoke bombs and projectiles at police and supporters of Patriot Prayer, a religious free speech group that critics claim is actually a white-supremacist hate group.  All of the violence was initiated by the Antifa protesters.  At least nine of them were arrested.

The ACLU's Deceptive Anti-DA Campaign

| No Comments
Guest post by David Boyd

The ACLU has rolled out a new campaign in California to help people learn about the "most powerful elected official you may not know"; the elected District Attorneys. Instead, the ACLU has managed to increase misunderstanding rather than enhance any knowledge.

The ACLU states that a California DA has the "sole" power to decide what charges to bring and the severity of those charges. This is not true. Many, perhaps even most of the felony charges that are filed in California, can be charged either as a felony or a misdemeanor and the court has the authority to reduce that type of charge even when the DA chooses a felony charge. This power under section 17 of the Penal Code is not mentioned, but most certainly relates to the severity of a charge.

"They alone decide who is deserving of a jail or prison sentence and who will instead be routed into a diversion program to help rebuild their life, or have charges dismissed." Let me count the ways in which this is false. Odd that the ACLU would not mention that most crimes, including some violent crimes such as robbery, are probation eligible. In those instances, the court gets the final say on who goes to jail or prison, not the DA. Of course, the ACLU does not mention the power of the court to dismiss charges, penalties, or both, under section 1385 of the Penal Code either--a section invoked by the court, over the DA's objection, every single day in trial courts throughout the state.

News Scan

| 2 Comments
Impact of Obama Consent Decrees on Policing:  The Obama Justice Department put more police departments under federal control that any previous administration.  Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald examines the impact that these consent decrees have had on policing in this City Journal piece.  She also discusses Attorney General Jeff Sessions' effort to mitigate these consent decrees, which are binding contracts between police departments and the federal government.  One of the primary reasons that cities have agreed to have their police departments placed under federal control has been to respond to accusations of racial bias.  The news media has been complicit in advancing these accusations, often misreporting incidents to advance the narrative.  MacDonald examines this, particularly in Milwaukee and Chicago.   

Reconsidering Campus Sexual Assault

| 4 Comments
The handling of complaints of sexual assault on campus has been a mess.  The charge that victims have been treated insensitively and had their complaints too lightly dismissed has often been valid.  The countercharge that campus administrations, whether voluntarily or coerced by the U.S. Dept. of Education, went too far the other direction and degenerated into witch hunts has also been valid at times.

Melissa Korn reports for the WSJ:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday said the department plans to roll back the Obama administration's guidance on how colleges and universities should handle sexual assault cases.
*      *      *
The federal government will solicit public comment and establish a new regulatory framework to help schools adjudicate the cases, Mrs. DeVos said.

News Scan

| No Comments
Illegal Immigrant Arrested for VA Murder:  A Salvadorian national has been arrested in Georgia for the a gang-related murder in Virginia last month.  Megan Cloherty of WTOP reports that Hector Amaya-Gamez was arrested last Friday for his direct involvement in the August 22 murder of Miguel Angel Ruiz Carrillo in Nokesville, VA.  Amaya-Gomez is believed to be a member of the brutal MS-13 gang and is in the U.S. illegally.  He has been charged with first-degree murder and is awaiting extradition to Virginia for trial and sentencing.  

Manson Follower Granted Parole:   A panel of California Parole Board has voted to grant parole for Leslie Van Houten, a former follower of Charles Manson, convicted of murder more than 40 years ago.  John Rogers of the Associated Press reports that Van Houten was the youngest of the Manson cult that participated in the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders in Southern California.  While she did not participate in the brutal murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others, days later she joined other followers at the Los Angeles home of Leno and Rosemary La Bianca, first holding down the woman while others stabbed her, then taking a knife and stabbing her at least 12 times.  The group then used blood from the two victims to write "Death to Pigs" on a wall in the home.  Governor Jerry Brown must now decide to allow, deny, or modify Van Houten's parole, or ask the full Board of Parole Hearings to reconsider the panel's decision.

The USA is in the same category as ... ?

| 6 Comments
Yesterday I posted a comment, the 16th, to Bill's August 30 post "Is the United States Isolated in Using the Death Penalty?"  Knowing that comment threads have diminishing audiences, I thought I would copy it as a post:

In death penalty debates, the anti side regularly asserts that having the death penalty places the United States in the same category with despotic regimes. Nonsense.

Any rational system of classification begins with the most important distinctions at the top, separating the major categories. Biological classification, for example, begins with separating plants from animals, only later gets down to separating felines from canines, and later still separates dogs from wolves.

If you wanted to classify countries by their legal systems, you would begin with such major distinctions as (1) providing due process of law, (2) not criminalizing political dissent, free exercise of religion, etc., and (3) democratic adoption of the governing laws.

In a classification tree of countries' legal systems, then, by the time we got down to whether a system had capital punishment or not, the United States would be in the same category as Japan, and perhaps India and Taiwan. (I don't claim to be knowledgeable on their legal systems, so I hedge on that.)

Should it bother us that we are with Japan rather than Italy? Doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Proposition 57 Implementation

| 1 Comment
Last Friday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation held a public comment hearing on its regulations to implement Proposition 57.  This initiative, approved on last November's ballot, authorizes parole for many felons sentenced to what were previously determinate terms.  It was backed by big bucks from George Soros et al., and the opposition had pitifully little funding to tell the people what it will really do.

Tracey Kaplan and Robert Salonga of the Bay Area News Group have this article on the controversy.

I did not attend the hearing because these events are just for show.  I mailed in comments for CJLF, for all the good they will do.  As bad as Proposition 57 is on its face, CDCR is determined to make it worse.

Neighborhood Crime Rates

| No Comments
Like increasing the resolution on a camera, going to finer-grained data gives us a sharper picture of crime, seeing things that we don't see from coarse-grained data.

"Well the south side of Chicago is the baddest part of town," Jim Croce told us musically in '73.  It still is.  Rafael Mangual of the Manhattan Institute has this article in the City Journal.

What this analysis shows is that, in many American cities, a substantial number of residents live through what can only be described as a homicide epidemic. And, despite assurances to the contrary, nowhere is that epidemic more pronounced than in Sub-Chicago, which happens to be 88 percent black and Latino. If we're serious about improving life in places like South and West Chicago, we must confront the uncomfortable truths about crime concentration in U.S. cities. Step one is recognizing that while most of the country is relatively free from such violence, a portion of the country lives in the urban equivalent of a killing field. These Americans don't need to be told that crime is down nationwide; they need protection.
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs has this post, providing further detail on a murder noted in last Friday's News Scan:

Prior to AB 109, a no bail warrant for a violation of parole would have been issued for Littlecloud and served upon him following his December 2016 arrest. He would have remained in custody while awaiting both resolution of his new criminal cases and a parole revocation hearing that, based on his continued criminality, would have resulted in a one-year return to state prison. Most importantly, he would not have been on the streets in August, 2017 and able to murder Deputy French.
Update:  CJLF President Michael Rushford will be on KFI with John & Ken at 5:00 p.m. PDT today to discuss this issue.  That's 640 kHz on AM if you are in the Los Angeles area or stream here.
John Paul Wright and Matt DeLisi, writing in the City Journal, identify the primary problem in criminology today: criminologists.

Walter Miller, one of the few mid-twentieth-century criminologists whose work was unapologetically conservative, suggested that ideology can turn "plausibility into ironclad certainty . . . conditional belief into ardent conviction . . . and reasoned advocate into the implacable zealot." When shared beliefs take hold, as they often do in the academic bubble in which most criminologists live, ideological assumptions about crime and criminals can "take the form of the sacred and inviolable dogma of the one true faith, the questioning of which is heresy, and the opposing of which is profoundly evil."

Miller's observations have proved prophetic. Led by the work of Jonathan Haidt, a growing number of scholars now acknowledge that a lack of ideological diversity in the social sciences skews research in favor of leftist claims, which become the guiding principles of many fields, challenged only at the risk of harming one's career. Liberal assumptions go unchecked and tendentious claims of evidence become fact, while countervailing evidence doesn't get published or faces much more rigorous scrutiny than the assertions that it challenges.
This is a major problem that requires more attention from policymakers than it has received.  Nothing is more toxic to science than dogma.  The validity of academia's output depends on assumptions and conclusions being challenged.  If academia has articles of faith that cannot be challenged without risk to one's career, then its output does not deserve confidence. 

Academia is heavily dependent on government funding in various forms.  Government needs to start insisting on diversity of viewpoint in the faculty and freedom to challenge sacred cows as conditions of funding.  Bias against conservative viewpoints in hiring, publication, and tenure decisions should be regarded as serious misconduct and sanctioned accordingly.  (Bias against liberal viewpoints should also, if that actually happened.)

News Scan

| 2 Comments
Illegal Immigrant Arrested For Molesting Little Girl:   A twice-deported Guatemalan national was arrested in Stamford, CT, last week for molesting a 6-year-old girl.  Jennifer Glatz of Fox News reports that Pedro Catalan-Veliz was taken into custody and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a minor and several related crimes and is being held on $200,000 bail.  A neighbor intervened after catching Catalan-Veliz with his pants down while holding the little girl against a vehicle.  Catalan-Veliz was deported in 1996 and again in 2000.  He will be arraigned on Friday.   

Habitual Felon Held in Hammer Attack:  Nevada police arrested habitual felon Deandre Chaney, Jr. Saturday for the brutal September 1 assault on a Sacramento woman and her two young children.  Nashelly Chavez of the Sacramento Bee reports that Chaney was arrested in Winnemucca, NV, after he fled from officers during a railroad stop.  Detectives believe that Chaney attacked his former girlfriend, her 8-year-old son, and 7-year-old daughter with a hammer at about 6:20 a.m. Friday.  The little girl is in critical condition while the son and mother remain hospitalized with serious injuries.  Chaney is a registered sex offender with priors, including assault with a deadly weapon and felony battery with serious bodily injury.  He was free on "post-release community supervision" (i.e., probation) under California's "Public Safety Realignment" at the time of the attack.

News Scan

| No Comments
Judge: Sex Offender Registry Unconstitutional:  A federal district judge in Denver has ruled that Colorado's sex offender registry violates the Constitution's Eighth Amendment.  Kirk Mitchell of the Denver Post reports that District Judge Richard Matsch found that the registry exposes sex offenders to a "serious threat of retaliation, violence, ostracism, shaming and other irrational treatment from the public; directly resulting from their status as registered sex offenders..."  The judge also announced that the state's registry violates the 14th Amendment due process clause.  The ruling came in a 2013 civil case filed by three sex offenders.

Sheriff's Deputy Killed by Repeat Felon:  A 21-year veteran of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department was gunned down Wednesday by a habitual felon wanted by both state and federal law enforcement.  The Associated press reports that shooting suspect Thomas Daniel Littlecloud had been sent to prison four times since 2004.  At the time of the shootings, he was on probation (now called "post release community supervision" under California's Realignment), had skipped bail for a federal indictment on four felony charges, and was on the run from Sonoma County bench warrant on drug, firearm and stolen credit card charges.  Around noon Wednesday CHP Officers and Sacramento County Deputies knocked on the door of a room at a Ramada Inn in North Sacramento, where detectives believed an auto theft ring was headquartered.  Littlecloud fired shots from a high-powered rifle through the door, injuring two CHP officers, then fired from a balcony fatally wounding Deputy Robert French, before jumping from the balcony and fleeing in a stolen car.  Littlecloud then led police on a high-speed chase which ended when he crashed into a utility pole near a high school about four miles from the hotel.  He then exited the car and fired on pursuing officers until he was seriously injured by return fire.  Prior to enactment of AB 109 (Realignment), it is highly likely that this murderer's 2013 and 2015 felonies would have put him back in state prison, rather than leaving him loose on streets to kill a police officer.          

 
A:  Although we are often told that the answer is "yes," in fact the answer is "no, not at all."

Now if abolitionists wanted to ask whether the United States is isolated among predominately white countries in using the death penalty, there would be a different answer.  But being politically correct, they prefer to avoid that question.

Next question:  There are eight countries in the world with a population over 150,000,000.  How many have an active death penalty?

Answer:  Seven.
The battle over criminal justice "reform" can be seen as a struggle between two forces: Some, in the name of increased safety and the better lives and opportunities safety creates, prefer crime suppression as the touchstone of progress. Others see incarceration itself as the problem,  certainly at its present levels. They think that, in a country dedicated to freedom, less incarceration is in order even if it means a degree of increased crime.  (Those claiming we can significantly reduce incarceration without increasing crime simply are not serious.  Fifty years of nationwide data show this proposition is false).

Who has the better of the argument?  I'm in the first camp, for reasons I've elaborated in dozens of posts.

But the debate over criminal justice reform elides a crucial point.  How much crime and incarceration we get depends less on the laws we adopt  --  tough or easy  -- than on the culture we create.  In the 1950's, we had an admirable degree of safety (roughly comparable to what we have now) with a prison population vastly smaller.

This did not happen by magic.  It happened because of what is derisively called "bourgeois" culture.  Astonishingly, and with great courage, two professors, Amy Wax of Penn and Larry Alexander of San Diego, have described what we can achieve when we embrace standards and reject excuse-making.

Think for Yourself

| 1 Comment
James Freeman of the WSJ points us to some advice for students from 15 Ivy League professors.  Freeman calls the advice "a flagrant micro-aggression."

Monthly Archives