Weekly ReCAP: November 9, 2012

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.
– Albert Einstein


More Hawai‘i Election Results 2012 in Brief from Kat, CAP Blog, Nov. 7, 2012

Results 2012: Election and Ballot Measures, CAP Blog, Nov. 7, 2012


Softer 3-strikes law has defense lawyers preparing case reviews, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 8, 2012
“A day after California voted to soften its three-strikes sentencing law, defense lawyers around the state Wednesday prepared to seek reduced punishments for thousands of offenders serving up to life in prison for relatively minor crimes. The process of asking courts to revisit old sentences could take as long as two years and benefit roughly 3,000 prisoners. They represent about a third of incarcerated third-strikers.”

Election 2012: Grassroots Justice, The Crime Report, Nov. 8, 2012
“While this week’s presidential election, as measured by the popular vote, showed the nation was as divided along partisan lines as ever, voters in many states proved themselves willing to take a more pragmatic approach to once-divisive criminal justice issues.”

Beyond Pot Legalization: Stopping the War on Drugs, The Crime Report, Nov. 7, 2012
“With Colorado and Washington passing laws to make marijuana legal (the initiative failed in Oregon), backers of saner drug laws have to be celebrating as the nation moves a step closer to the day when hundreds of thousands of Americans annually won’t be needlessly turned into felons. But even in states with pot laws still on the books, there is a relatively simple way we can quit filling our nation’s prisons: Jury nullification.”

With Prez Obama projected to win second term, could sentencing reform get a boost?, Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, Nov. 7, 2012

In some areas, law enforcement still resists science, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Nov. 7, 2012
There is some truth to this: DNA has become an identification tool of unequaled power. But look beyond DNA, and you’ll see something different: When the science concerns eyewitness identification, suspect interrogations, or more traditional, non-DNA forensic testing, law enforcement doesn’t embrace science. Most police agencies and prosecutor’s offices in the United States actively resist the scientific findings on these common types of police investigation.

Deaths at OPP shine light on problems handling mental illness, WWLTV.com, Nov. 7, 2012

Will California Reform Three Strikes?, Huffington Post, Nov. 6, 2012

Iowa offenders struggle to regain right to vote after policy change, Des Moines Register, Nov. 6, 2012
“Thousands of Iowans convicted of crimes are ineligible to vote today under a policy imposed by Gov. Terry Branstad, while others remain uncertain about whether they can cast ballots because of confusing state laws and guidance, the Associated Press reports. Branstad last year reversed a 2005 policy by former Gov. Tom Vilsack in which felons automatically regained their voting rights once they were discharged from state supervision. The change made Iowa one of four states where felons must apply to have voting rights restored, a lengthy process.

Colorado alliance divided on how wrongfully convicted may be compensated, Denver Post, Nov. 6, 2012

D.C. jail helps inmates vote, a rarity nationwide, USA Today, Nov. 6, 2012

Kids in Solitary, The Crime Report, Nov. 5, 2012
“For the past two years, Lisa Ortega has watched her son decay mentally and physically behind bars. With every visit to Rikers Island, the mammoth New York City jail complex which houses juvenile as well as adult offenders, she saw her once-outgoing boy “change for the worse.” “He lost his hair, he got juvenile diabetes,” said Ortega, 44. “I would get eye contact only sometimes, but his shoulders would slump. There was nothing except bitterness.” Kendall Davis, Ortega’s son, was convicted of two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in 2010, when he was 16 years old, she said…“He’s losing touch with reality,” she said. “He doesn’t know how to build a conversation any more, he seems like he’s somewhere else. I don’t know what’s going to happen.”Ortega blames what she claims is the repeated use of solitary confinement as punishment for minor infractions like walking in line too slowly, which left her son locked in a tiny room by himself for weeks at a time. Davis’ case is far from unusual. According to an October report prepared by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the use of solitary confinement as a punishment for juvenile offenders held in detention facilities “makes many young people feel doomed and abandoned, or in some cases, suicidal, and can lead to serious physical and emotional consequences.”

This Week at the U.S. Supreme Court: Oral Arguments in Criminal Procedure Cases, CAP Blog, Nov. 5, 2012

Colorado spending $208 million on empty solitary confinement prison, Denver Post, Nov. 4, 2012
“Three days ago, Colorado shut down a brand-new prison it didn’t need, the Denver Post reports. Unless the state government finds someone else who can use it, Colorado taxpayers can expect to spend $208 million for an empty building. Colorado State Penitentiary II, also known as Centennial South, consists of 948 solitary-confinement cells. It has no dining room, no gym, no rooms where a group of prisoners could take classes or go to therapy or get vocational training. It’s row after identical row of empty cells.”

Fifteen of 250 men executed under Rick Perry faced death declaring innocence, Grits for Breakfast, Nov. 3, 2012
“But a significant minority of those 250 men faced death declaring their innocence – 15, to be precise, or six percent, by Grits’ count…That list excludes those who claimed innocence by self-defense, including only those who said flatly some version of “I’m innocent,” “I didn’t do it,” “They got the wrong guy.” Some suggested alternative suspects, begging to tell victims’ families who really did it just before the needle went in.”

Mexico study: US legalization cuts cartel profits, SeattleTimes, Oct. 31, 2012
A study released Wednesday by a respected Mexican think tank asserts that proposals to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado, Oregon and Washington could cut Mexican drug cartels’ earnings from traffic to the U.S. by as much as 30 percent.”


Performance Incentive Funding: Aligning Fiscal and Operational Responsibility to Produce More Safety at Less Cost, Vera Institute, Nov. 7, 2012
“[D]etails how PIF programs can lead to better offender outcomes while reducing overall corrections costs.  It presents the findings of a summit held in September 2011, which was convened by Vera, the Pew Center on the States, and Metropolis Strategies, to discuss the key challenges and tasks that states must address to develop and implement a PIF program.”

Achieving positive outcomes, such as reduced recidivism and revocations and safer and stronger communities, is a goal that tax payers, policymakers, and criminal justice professionals can all agree on.  By emphasizing the use of evidence-based practices, reporting on outcomes, and paying for success, PIF programs can help states reduce their corrections costs, strengthen their community supervision programs, and build safer neighborhoods.”

 The Sixth Amendment Rights to Fairness: The Touchstones of Effectiveness and Pragmatism, Robert P. Mosteller, 45 Texas Tech Law Review, Volume 1, 2012
“The Sixth Amendment is aptly described by Akhil Amar as the “heartland of constitutional criminal procedure.” It is a major part of the Framers’ designed to ensure a fair trial and provides the opportunity for the accused to challenge the prosecution’s case and to demonstrate innocence. However, as woeful inadequate funding for indigent defense undercuts the reality of the constitutional right to counsel and as trials become more and more rare, a broader focus is needed.”

Crime Reports:
· FBI Releases 2011 Crime Statistics http://1.usa.gov/S6Ujv5

· Drop In Crime Continues in the U.S.
Reductions are seen in arrests for drug abuse violations as well as property and violent crimes
Justice Policy Institute Fact Sheet on FBI Crime Statistics http://bit.ly/U5fjBa

· Drug Possession Arrests in U.S. Up 80% in 20 Years, Down More Recently http://1.usa.gov/Rvf5X5



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