LA Riots or Uprising?

I was reading a real estate blog, when I noticed a story about a community garden.  The garden had been planted on a lot that had been empty for 25 years.  The lot started out 1992 occupied by a structure, which was destroyed by arson during the civil unrest that followed the Rodney King verdict. ... Continue Reading →

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Public Defenders Play the Race Card

I just finished an article on Slate with the headline "When Race Tips the Scales in Plea Bargaining."  It discusses a study out of Loyola Law school that analyzed 30,807 misdemeanor cases in Wisconsin over a seven-year period and found that white people facing misdemeanor charges were more than 74 percent more likely than black... Continue Reading →

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14

"The criminal law stands to the passion for revenge in much the same relation as marriage to the sexual appetite." (James Stephen, General View of the Criminal Law of England, p. 99.)

The whole point of justice consists precisely of our providing for others through humanity what we provide for our own family through affection. -Lactantius

Jarvious Cotton is a Murderer

"Today, Jarvious Cotton cannot vote because he, like so many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole."  (Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow (2010) at p. 1.)  Can you tell what part of this sentence, from the very first page of The New Jim Crow, made me... Continue Reading →

Perils of Plea Bargaining

“Justice and liberty are not the subjects of bargaining and barter.”  (Shelton v. United Staes (5th Cir. 1957) 246 F.2d 571, 579.)  This noble statement is simply not true: 90% of all convictions in the United States are obtained by plea bargain, rather than by trial.  The system of plea bargaining, therefore, has almost overwhelmed the... Continue Reading →

The Mercy Rule

When I used to play ping pong in the garage, we followed the "skunk rule".  If anyone went up 7-0 on their opponent, they clinched the game and won early, without needing to go all the way to 11 points, like normal.  I've heard other people call it "the mercy rule." I just finished a... Continue Reading →

Too Much Hart

Three years into my job as a prosecutor, I still feel shockingly ignorant about the big picture of criminal law.  I don't mean the nuts and bolts of doing trials, I've figured that out, and I don't mean criminal procedure and evidence, I'm doing fine there.  What are they saying about the purposes of criminal... Continue Reading →

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