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Targeting Drug Traffickers in Mexico:  Mike Scarcella reports on for Blog of Legal Times that the Department of Justice has unsealed an indictment targeting a drug trafficking ring in Mexico that is pumping drugs into the United States.  Justice officials are charging nineteen reputed members of the Gulf Cartel/Los Zetas drug trafficking organization, now known as the "Company," in federal court in Washington and in Manhattan for their alleged roles in the drug trafficking conspiracy.  Leaders of the group are apparently directing shipments of cocaine and marijuana via boats, airplanes and cars from Venezuela and Colombia to Guatemala and Mexico, and then transporting them into Texas for distribution in the United States.  Officials are offering up to $50 million for information leading to the capture of 10 of the defendants, including four leaders of the organization.

Ohio's Executions: 
At Sentencing Law and Policy, Doug Berman opines that after this morning's execution, "[w]ith respect to the death penalty, I think it is fair and appropriate to now call Ohio the Texas of the north..."  Berman wonders why few academics or leading public policy groups are making waves about Ohio's execution rate.  His "cynical explanation" is that Ohio does not fit "easily or effectively fit into certain anti-death-penalty narratives often stressed by academics and public policy groups and abolitionists..."  As Kent points out, this observation "isn't cynical; it is realistic.Ohio doesn't fit the profile that the anti side is trying to create..."

Was the Prosecutor Wrong?:   Ashby Jones blogs on Wall Street Journal's Law Blog about the Fischer Homes saga, and Jon Entine's Washington Post piece discussing the case.  The Fischer Homes saga began when the FBI raided construction sites in northern Kentucky overseeen by homebuilder Fischer Homes. In an attempt to assemble a wide-sweeping illegal-immigration case against the company and its officials, the government took documents, handcuffed Fischer Homes superintendents and locked down the company's headquarters.  Apparently, nothing came of the crackdown, but Jon Entine believes it is a clear example of prosecutorial misconduct.  He believes the prosecutor's facts were wrong, and that the raid was entirely political.  He writes, "the justice system wields enormous power, which often depends on extracting plea deals, sometimes from the innocent and often from supposedly deep-pocketed businesses."  In response to Entine's book discussing the case, U.S. attorney Robert McBride said the prosecution was justified because later approximately eight subcontractors for Fischer were convicted of harboring illegal aliens.

Playing It Safe:  A women's blog, The Double X, has posted a guest post from former SCOTUSblogger and current Yale Law student, Adam Chandler.  In his post, Chandler argues that judicial confirmation hearings are teaching students one thing: "Play It Safe."  According to Chandler, Judge Sotomayor's predicted confirmation (The Ninth Justice posts anticipated "yay" and "nay" votes here) teaches the politically ambitious to "Say nothing, and join nothing, within a pole's length of controversy."  Jess Bravin at Wall Street Journal's Law Blog has similar thoughts as he writes, "[a]t her confirmation hearing last week, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor took extraordinary pains to avoid saying anything that conceivably could spark the tiniest bit of controversy from any possible constituency." This is a disturbing message.  If political figureheads are taught to avoid voicing, and backing, controversial positions early in their careers, how can we trust they'll make controversial decisions when necessary?  Are we moving away from Truman's "The Buck Stops Here?"

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