Folks, don’t ever again say I don’t call things. I called this.
Finally, it seems that legislators might be getting “smart” on drugs and drug crimes. And no, the impetus isn’t a wake up call on the inherent unfairness of the drug crimes and the racially disproportionate impact they have. It’s the economy, stupid.
Sen. Toni Harp, chairwoman of the powerful appropriations committee, and Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney hope economics will succeed where other arguments have failed in convincing their colleagues that the costs of prosecuting and punishing pot smokers is an expense Connecticut can no longer afford.
“We’ve got to take a strong look at what we want to pay for as a state,” said Harp, D- New Haven, who with Looney is co-sponsoring a bill that would punish low-level marijuana users with a fine, not a criminal charge.
“To waste our resources on this small problem is not a good use of the people’s money.”
Now, they’re not going as far as I would go, so simmer down (and you know who you are). The proposed bill would decriminalize possession of less than one ounce of marijuana – essentially what Massachussetts did this past November. People found using that small an amount would be fined: akin to a parking ticket. Continue reading
I’m awfully late to this dance, but as a criminal law blog, I might as well shut down completely if I don’t post about Herring. As you may be aware, this past week SCOTUS held in a 5-4 decision that mere negliglence doesn’t require the suppression of evidence obtained as a result of a 4th Amendment violation.
Some have called it the death of the exclusionary rule (or certainly the death knell) and others don’t think it’s such a big deal.
The underlying premise of this decision can be traced, in part, to the “good faith” exception enunciated in United States v. Leon. In Leon:
The justices held that evidence seized on the basis of a mistakenly issued search warrant could be introduced at trial. The exclusionary rule, argued the majority, is not a right but a remedy justified by its ability to deter illegal police conduct. In Leon, the costs of the exclusionary rule outweighed the benefits. The exclusionary rule is costly to society: Guilty defendants go unpunished and people lose respect for the law. The benefits of the exclusionary rule are uncertain: The rule cannot deter police in a case like Leon, where they act in good faith on a warrant issued by a judge.
Herring furthers that proposition by holding that mere negligence of a police department does not trigger the exlusionary rule and thus the evidence seized as a result of an arrest made based on a mistake should be admissible.
If you’re not from CT, you can weep now. Those of you in CT don’t have any reason to be particularly concerned about Herring. This is because, in CT, there is no “good faith exception” to the exclusionary rule. Continue reading
We're gonna get what we want, see?
Here’s the quick answer: almost never. If you’re still interested, read the rest of the post. Be warned, though. It is long.
I realize this is a slightly heavy topic for Christmas Day, but such are the conversations I have over lunch. What precipitated this line of thought is this Kansas Supreme Court decision, up for cert. before SCOTUS in the coming weeks.
In Morton, the Kansas Supreme Court held that the [police officer]‘s deliberate misleading of the defendant led to her confession being involuntary. The officer lied to Morton about her need for an attorney during the interrogation and lead her to believe that all he had were clarifying questions. The KS Supreme Court held thusly (more on Morton and CT law after the jump): Continue reading
So in light of my previous post (and the police’s strange contention that a liquor license makes a closed bar a public place), I decided to look up the public indecency statute and figure out what a public place actually means.
Here’s the answer:
I don’t know what the hell the police are talking about.
The public indecency statute, C.G.S. 53a-186, defines public indecency as: Continue reading
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? That’s exactly the reaction I had when I read this article yesterday. Co-chair of the Judiciary Committee Mike Lawlor claims that the State has spent between $200,00 and $500,00o on “one on one” monitoring of Steven Hayes (one of the accused in the Cheshire murders) since last July. Hayes is on suicide watch and apparently the DOC has assigned a correctional officer to stand outside his cell to watch over him.
Lawlor made a FOIA request to Comm’r Lantz, seeking details of this expenditure. Continue reading
Several occurances in the last week have got me thinking about the death penalty. Miguel Roman should be the new posterchild for abolishing the death penalty. Yes, he wasn’t on death row, but here is a man who spent 20 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit.
Consider the rush to execution that the pro-death penalty crowd loves to push. Imagine if that was actually the case and Roman was on death row. He’d be dead right now. If my calculations are correct, were Roman on death row, he’d be the longest serving member of that club. And people complain about the length of time the other death row members’ appeals and habeas corpus petitions have taken. Many would have killed them already.
The arbitrariness of the death penalty is also something to ponder. Continue reading
how did I end up back here?
One interesting piece of information in this OJ Simpson brouhaha is the revelation that he may have rejected a plea offer for a sentence as low as 3 years. The first word came from a friend of The Juice and it was later confirmed by his lawyer.
Sanders, in the post title, refers to a CT Superior Court decision: Sanders v. Warden1. Obviously, OJ wouldn’t get the benefit of this particular case, because, as much as Mohegan Sun wants it to be, this is not Vegas. The principle Sanders stands for is borrowed from a 1996 Second Circuit decision: Boria v. Keane. Continue reading