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News Scan

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Violent Felons. The Bureau of Justice Statistics has this report titled "Violent Felons in Large Urban Counties." Among the findings are that 38% had prior felony convictions, less than half of which were for violent felonies, further refuting the notion that criminals are neatly categorized as violent or nonviolent. The AP reports on the report here.

Self-Defense. Adam Liptak has this story in the New York Times on a trend in state laws expanding the right of self-defense.

California Prisons. Jeanne Woodford, who resigned as acting head of California's prison system, has this op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.

The Chief Justice
. Charles Lane of the Washington Post has this article with some personal glimpses of Chief Justice Roberts. He also quotes a C-SPAN interview, available here, in which the Chief laments that people are looking to the Supreme Court to settle issues that should be settled politically.

Mafia Lawyers. The National Post of Canada has this story on the misuse of attorney-client privilege by lawyers for the Mafia.

Drones. The Wall Street Journal (subscription) has this article on the FAA's reluctance to allow the use of unmanned aircraft by (among others) law enforcement agencies.

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The problem, I think, with the BJS study, at least as it is described in the AP report is the focus on convictions. For a wide net, that is the only way to go, but the likelihood is that some of the violent felons who were determined to have a non-violent past, in reality had a violent one. The report also does not note the effect of plea bargains, an endemic feature of the urban criminal justice system.

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