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In praise of pretrial-detention algorithms, the 'failure to appear fallacy,' Louisiana ↓ technical revocations, and other stories

Several national items merit Grits readers' attention here during the calm before the 86th Texas Legislature storm. Debtors-prison reform: Economic populism and the justice system The New York Times this week published a lengthy, excellent feature on how criminal fines and fees oppress the poor. Good analysis and background. Best evidence supports use of risk assessments in pretrial release decisions Some prominent heavyweight corrections researchers responded to criticisms in the press, not to ...
Tags: Texas, Law, Philippines, Aclu, New York Times, Louisiana, Harris County, FTA, Texas Legislature, Gritsforbreakfast, 86th Texas Legislature, Jennifer Skeem, Skeem, Intermediate Sanctions Facilities, Louisiana The Bayou State


Book review: “Ruth Bader Ginsburg”: The evolution of a justice

One might think that the market for treatments of the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be saturated by now. The past three years alone have seen the release of a carefully curated collection of the justice’s writings, “My Own Words,” a surprise hit documentary about her life and career, “RBG,” and a recent feature film, “On the Basis of Sex,” which focuses on the first sex-discrimination case Ginsburg argued in federal court. Now comes “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life,” by Jane...
Tags: Featured, Sweden, Supreme Court, Law, Virginia, Book Reviews, Brooklyn, United States, Aclu, Bill Clinton, Naacp, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Columbia Law School, Harvard Law School, Senate Judiciary Committee, American Civil Liberties Union


NYT: credit card companies should cut off (or report) gun sales

In the New York Times, financial writer Andrew Ross Sorkin asks why credit card companies and banks should not be made to monitor customers’ accounts for unusual gun purchases and share the information with law enforcers. Excerpts from my response at Cato. …In an advocacy piece imperfectly dressed up as a news story, New York Times financial reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin observes that some perpetrators of mass public shootings have bought guns and ammo using credit cards, and asks why credit card ...
Tags: Guns, Law, Banks, Uncategorized, Aclu, New York Times, Sorkin, Andrew Ross Sorkin, WO writings


After rejection of contentious proposed amendments, FIRST STEP Act passed by Senate by vote of 87 to 12!!!!

In this post back in August I wondered "Could enhanced FIRST STEP Act get more than 90 votes in the Senate if even brought up for a vote?".  Well, it seems I was off by three votes, as tonight the the US Senate voted 87 to 12 to enact the FIRST STEP Act.  With a vote in the House scheduled for later this week, this bill should be on Prez Trump's  desk before the end of this week and law before Prez Trump heads down to Mar-a-Lago for the holidays.  This USA Today article, headlined "Senate passes...
Tags: Utah, New York, Law, Congress, Senate, America, Barack Obama, Arkansas, House, Ted Cruz, Aclu, Mitch McConnell, US Senate, Louisiana, Usa Today, Naacp


On coercion and plea bargaining

This fall the Cato Institute held a policy forum on plea bargaining featuring Clark Neily, vice president for criminal justice at Cato, Scott Hechinger of Brooklyn Defender Services, Bonnie Hoffman of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Somil Trivedi of the ACLU. Description: Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has observed that “criminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials.” Although nowhere mentioned in the text of the Consti...
Tags: Supreme Court, Law, Uncategorized, United States, Aclu, David Lat, Constitutional Law, Crime And Punishment, Cato Institute, Anthony Kennedy, Clark Neily, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Somil Trivedi, Bonnie Hoffman, Cato Scott Hechinger of Brooklyn Defender Services


Tax deadline for exonerees, Blakinger on 'Fresh Air,' judge rubber stamps flawed blood-spatter forensics, and other stories

Lots going on this week, even if your correspondent hasn't had much blogging time. Here's a quick roundup of items presently filling up Grits' browser tabs: Texas Exonerees: Tax deadline looming Any Texas exonerees receiving compensation from the state: You have until December 17 to file to have your state compensation declared tax exempt. Act now! This time next week it will be too late! Journalistic scoop scored inmates dentures, national press for reporter Congrats to Keri Blakinger! Terry Gr...
Tags: Texas, Law, Senate, Aclu, Npr, Alcala, Bryan, TX, Walker, Keri, Court of Criminal Appeals, Joe Bryan, Department of Criminal Justice, Shaver, Gritsforbreakfast, TDCJ


Symposium: The establishment clause strictly prohibits government preference for one faith — that could change with the Bladensburg Cross case

Heather L. Weaver is a senior staff attorney for the Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief at the American Civil Liberties Union. A 40-foot-tall Latin cross made of marble and cement stands on public property at one of the busiest intersections in Bladensburg, Maryland. The Bladensburg Cross is impossible to miss and overshadows everything nearby. Erected as a memorial to soldiers who died in World War I, it is now owned and maintained by a state entity, the Maryland-National Capital Parks a...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, California, Court, David, United States, Aclu, Jesus, Kennedy, Trump, Antonin Scalia, Buddhist, American Civil Liberties Union, Scalia, 9th Circuit


Symposium: Supreme Court at the crossroads of the establishment clause as it considers a cross

Marci A. Hamilton is Robert A. Fox Professor of Practice and Senior Resident Fellow of the Program for Research on Religion at the University of Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court’s grant of certiorari in The American Legion v. American Humanist Association (along with a companion case brought by the state involving the same facts) is troubling. There was no split in the circuits that required the Supreme Court’s attention and the rulings in both cases were eminently reasonable. In the American Leg...
Tags: Texas, Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Kentucky, United States, Aclu, Circuit, Department Of Justice, Smith, Christ, Hobby Lobby, Lemon, Mitchell, American Legion, Trump


Why you should tolerate intolerable ideas

Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen argues that without freedom of expression we don't have freedom of speech. With some major college campuses disavowing "dangerous ideas" from certain speakers on campus, this can lead to a slippery slope wherein ideas—and even ways of life—can be marginalized entirely. The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new ...
Tags: Sponsored, Video, Politics, Society, Aclu, Language, Innovation, Mind, Debate, Speech, Nadine Strossen, Charles Koch Foundation, Jwplatform.com


Title IX campus regs: the new proposal

The Education Department has published for public comment proposed changes in regulations to Title IX on campus discipline and sexual misconduct; its Obama administration predecessors had decreed major changes in the same law through a “Dear Colleague” letter without public notice or comment. The new proposals differ on some points from draft versions circulated earlier. Cathy Young and Robby Soave provide overviews, and Soave writes on how response from the ACLU left much to be desired. FIRE (...
Tags: Law, Obama, Senate, Uncategorized, Aclu, Title IX, Education Department, Robby Soave, Soave, John McGinnis, Cathy Young, FIRE Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Samantha Harris, Susan Kruth


EFF, ACLU Petition Court To Unseal Documents From DOJ’s Latest Anti-Encryption Efforts

The DOJ lost its attempt to break into Facebook but got the court to keep its failure under wraps.
Tags: Facebook, Technology, Privacy, Law, Cybersecurity, Aclu, Eff, Department Of Justice, Doj


Morning Docket: 11.20.18

* ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights score win with court order proclaiming the obvious: No, you can't blanket deny asylum seekers. [Associated Press via Huffington Post] * Cyrus Vance accuses someone of seeking publicity over justice. [Variety] * Are you suggesting that law firms and clients don't listen to each other? [American Lawyer] * The Trump administration wanted to share census answers with the cops... which is why they were so hot to get those illegal citizenship questions on...
Tags: Justice, Law, Washington Post, Immigration, Aclu, New Jersey, Harvey Weinstein, SEC, Associated Press, Donald Trump, Huffington Post, Law Schools, Biglaw, Securities And Exchange Commission, Forbes, Trump


"Women’s Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2018"

The Prison Policy Initiative has today posted an updated version of its remarkable incarceration "pie" graphic and associated report on the particulars of who and how women are incarcerated in the United States.  Here is part of the report's introductory text and subsequent discussion: With growing public attention to the problem of mass incarceration, people want to know about women’s experience with incarceration.  How many women are held in prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities i...
Tags: Law, United States, Aclu, Douglas A Berman, Campaign for Smart Justice


Federal judge: suit can go forward against Cuomo over regulatory squeeze

A federal judge has ruled the National Rifle Association can proceed with its First Amendment suit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his pressure on regulated banks, insurers to cut ties with gun rights advocacy groups like the NRA. “U.S. District Judge Thomas McAvoy questioned Cuomo’s claim that his messages about the wisdom and propriety of providing financial services to the NRA amount to nothing but legitimate regulatory oversight and protected government speech.” [Jacob Sullum and bac...
Tags: New York, Guns, Law, Uncategorized, Aclu, Andrew Cuomo, First Amendment, Cuomo, Nra, National Rifle Association, RATTNER, Jacob Sullum, Eugene Volokh, Hans Bader, Regulatory Retaliation, NRA U S District


"The Power and Prejudice of DAs on Drugs"

The title of this post is the title of this interesting investigation by Rory Fleming published at Filter, which is a relatively new resource seeking "to advocate through journalism for rational and compassionate approaches to drug use, drug policy and human rights." I recommend the piece in full, as well as these associated "Interactive Graphics," and here is how it gets started: Public opinion is souring on the criminalization of drug use. But what prevents this from translating into practice...
Tags: Law, Eric Holder, US, America, United States, Washington Dc, Aclu, Memphis, Commonwealth, Fairfax Virginia, Amy Weirich, Douglas A Berman, Wake County NC, Shelby COUNTY TENNESSEE, Lorrin Freeman, Raymond Morrogh


October 17 roundup

Antitrust legislation once targeted the unstoppable rise of chain stores A&P and Sears, both now bankrupt [my new Cato post, quoting Joe Nocera, Bloomberg (“The next time you hear somebody say that the dominance of Walmart or Amazon or Facebook can never end, think about Sears. It can — and it probably will.”)] When you wish upon a suit: visitor grabs Disney cast member and screams at her after she asks him to move out of parade route, later pleads no contest to disorderly conduct, now wants...
Tags: Amazon, Facebook, Florida, Minnesota, Small Business, Law, Senate, Uncategorized, Disney, Walmart, Aclu, Antitrust, Sears, ABA Journal, Crime And Punishment, NACDL


Argument analysis: Are there limits to the government’s power to detain immigrants without a hearing?

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Nielsen v. Preap, which involves a challenge to the government’s interpretation of one of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s detention provisions: 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c). The relevant portion of 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)(1) states that the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security “shall take into custody any alien who— [is inadmissible or deportable on certain specified statutory grounds], when the alien is released, without rega...
Tags: Featured, Supreme Court, Law, Congress, Aclu, Kim, Nielsen, Department Of Homeland Security, Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, Pereira, Roberts, Ginsburg, Alito, Wang


"'You Miss So Much When You’re Gone': The Lasting Harm of Jailing Mothers Before Trial in Oklahoma"

The title of this post is the title of this big new report produced by Human Rights Watch and the ACLU. Here is part of the report's starting summary: Every day in Oklahoma, women are arrested and incarcerated in local jails waiting — sometimes for weeks, months, a year, or more — for the disposition of their cases.  Most of these women are mothers with minor children. Drawing from more than 160 interviews with jailed and formerly jailed mothers, substitute caregivers, children, attorneys, serv...
Tags: Law, US, Aclu, Oklahoma, Human Rights Watch, Douglas A Berman, US Bureau of Justice Statistics


Facebook named in suit alleging job ads on its platform unlawfully discriminated against women

Facebook’s ad platform is facing charges that it has enabled gender-based discrimination against millions of women in a class action suit filed on behalf of three female workers and backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The legal action also names ten employers who are alleged to have used the social media giant’s platform to exclusively and unlawfully target job adverts at male Facebook users, thereby excluding women and non-binary users from receiving the ads. The ACLU, law f...
Tags: Travel, Social, Facebook, Europe, Gender, Advertising Tech, Law, Social Media, Diversity, Eu, Aclu, Discrimination, Targeted Advertising, Data Mining, Online Advertising, American Civil Liberties Union


Dissension in ACLU ranks over NRA brief

Last month we noted that the ACLU had filed a brief on the side of the NRA in its regulatory-retaliation First Amendment suit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The brief “strikes me as quite sound legally,” writes Eugene Volokh, who quotes and annotates its text. But the action has roused passionate opposition within the organization itself, reports Mark Joseph Stern at Slate. For example, the ACLU’s New York affiliate declined to join the brief and its officials issued a public statement crit...
Tags: New York, Guns, Law, Uncategorized, Aclu, Cuomo, Nra, Mark Joseph Stern, Eugene Volokh, New York Gov Andrew Cuomo, Pro Bono, Scott Greenfield, Howard Wasserman, Regulatory Retaliation


ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice launches "Smart Justice 50-State Blueprints"

As detailed in this ACLU press release, titled "Smart Justice Blueprints Launch With 24 State Reports And Interactive Web Tool, Remaining 27 To Be Rolled Out In Coming Months," the folks at the ACLU have an interesting new set of state-focused national resources advocating for criminal justice reform. Here are portions of the press release: The American Civil Liberties Union’s Campaign for Smart Justice today unveiled the Smart Justice 50-State Blueprints, a comprehensive, state-by-state analys...
Tags: Law, Pennsylvania, United States, Aclu, Michigan, Louisiana, District Of Columbia, Urban Institute, Udi Ofer, Douglas A Berman, ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice, Smart Justice


Federal district court finds Louisiana LWOP sentence for low-level recidivist unconstitutionally excessive under Eighth Amendment (and local DA will not appeal to Fifth Circuit)

A helpful reader made sure I did not miss this local press report, headlined "Judge orders release or resentencing of St. Tammany man serving life for burglary," discussing a notable ruling from the federal district court in New Orleans.  Here are the basics: When he went before a judge in 2010, Patrick Matthews was a 22-year-old father of two who had a criminal record but had never spent a day in prison. But to the office of former north shore District Attorney Walter Reed, he was a hardened c...
Tags: Law, US, Aclu, New Orleans, Louisiana, Walter Reed, Montgomery, Reed, Brown, Legislature, American Civil Liberties Union, Matthews, Cain, Fifth Circuit, Harrell, St Gabriel


California Botched Its Attempt to Abolish Cash Bail

The law that passed is so flawed its original co-sponsor, the ACLU, disowned it.
Tags: Crime, Law, California, Aclu, Bail, Criminal Justice, Shane Ferro


Judge Kavanaugh’s record in national-security cases

Jonathan Hafetz is a senior staff attorney in the Center for Democracy at the American Civil Liberties Union and a professor of law at Seton Hall Law School. In his 12 years on the bench, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, has accumulated an extensive record in cases implicating national security. In such cases, Kavanaugh has consistently articulated a broad view of executive power, a narrow conception of the judiciary’s role (at least absent express instruc...
Tags: Usa, Featured, Guantanamo, Maryland, Supreme Court, Law, Obama, Congress, California, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Fbi, United States, Taliban, Aclu, Edward Snowden


ACLU: don’t let New York regulators squelch NRA’s First Amendment rights

I’ve been critical of the ACLU lately but its amicus-brief defense of the NRA’s First Amendment rights against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s strong-arm use of insurance and bank regulation is vital, timely, and right: Public officials are, of course, free to criticize groups with which they disagree. But they cannot use their regulatory authority to penalize advocacy groups by threatening companies that do business with those groups. And here the state has admitted, in its own words, that it focu...
Tags: New York, Guns, Law, Banks, Uncategorized, Aclu, Andrew Cuomo, First Amendment, Insurers, Cuomo, Communist Party, Nra, Regulatory Retaliation, Clark New York Law Journal


Constitutional law roundup

Judge says Emoluments Clause suit based on Trump’s DC hotel can proceed [Andrew M. Harris, Bloomberg, Washington Post; two views at Volokh Conspiracy from David Post and Josh Blackman and Seth Barrett Tillman; earlier on Emoluments Clause litigation] Last year I noted the hotel-competitor fact pattern as the kind of emoluments case most likely to clear the standing hurdle; Excessive fines are unconstitutional, whether levied on persons or on groups of persons [Ilya Shapiro and Matthew Larosie...
Tags: Law, Uncategorized, Alabama, America, Aclu, Birmingham, North Carolina, Constitutional Law, Trump, Josh Blackman, Andrew, Birmingham Ala, Eugene Volokh, Eleventh Circuit, David Post, Volokh Conspiracy


Morning Docket: 08.06.18

* You know your client sucks when...: This weekend, President Trump admitted on Twitter that his eldest son's 2016 Trump Tower meeting was held to "get information on an opponent," not to discuss "a program about the adoption of Russian children," as he'd dictated in his son's earlier account. His lawyer, Jay Sekulow, then had to walk back a statement he'd made earlier to get in line with Trump's comments, because "over time facts develop." [Daily Beast] * A federal judge has ruled for the seco...
Tags: Twitter, Law, Russia, Immigration, Dhs, Family Separation, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aclu, Usa Today, Donald Trump, Department Of Homeland Security, Law Schools, Trump, Jay Sekulow, Donald Trump Jr, Stanford Law School


Free speech roundup

Senators have big plans for government regulation of social media but U.S. Constitution keeps getting in way [John Samples, Cato; David McCabe, Axios, earlier] “Censorship breeds censorship envy, and that’s true of private suppression by massively influential platforms such as Facebook as well as of governmental censorship.” [John Samples, Eugene Volokh] Is it lawful for a state lawmaker to block someone on Twitter who’s publicly discussed ways of murdering him? [Dorit Reiss, PrawfsBlawg, ear...
Tags: Facebook, Twitter, Europe, London, Law, Uncategorized, Social Media, Bbc, Idaho, Aclu, Denmark, Hate Speech, Free Speech, European Parliament, Ucla, Ninth Circuit


"Why Can’t We Redeem the Sex Offender?"

The title of this post is the title of this revised commentary appearing at The Crime Report.  Here are excerpts: When large nonprofit organizations otherwise committed to making the American justice system less draconian hire people with violent criminal records, they send a strong message that justice-involved people change, and are capable of not only reentry but success. But these same organizations do not have anyone on the sex offender registry on staff, regardless of qualifications or de...
Tags: Law, Aclu, Gallup, Marrero, American Civil Liberties Union ACLU, Douglas A Berman, Edward Marrero


U.S. House moves to side with religious agencies in adoption debate

Three years ago I took a critical view of the trend in many states and cities toward excluding from publicly funded adoptive placement of kids in public care relatively conservative religious agencies that decline to handle placements to families outside their belief group, to non-traditional families such as same-sex couples and single parents, or both. In recent years the ACLU and like-minded groups have stepped up the pressure with lawsuits in states like Michigan aimed at excluding these gro...
Tags: Law, Senate, Uncategorized, Aclu, House Of Representatives, Adoption, Michigan, Foster Care, Sexual Orientation, Human Rights Campaign, Deseret News, Brigham Young University, University of Illinois College of Law, Religious Liberty Commission, U S House, U S Conference of Catholic Bishops



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