Social media has been a battlefield since the murder of George Floyd. One of the things I keep reading is that non-white people should keep their opinions to themselves. There is no way for them to understand what life is like for people of color, their opinions would therefore lack validity and should not be... Continue Reading →

The System is Broken? There Is No System

Finally, the incremental and diffuse way the war on crime was waged made it difficult for some African American leaders to appreciate the impact of the choices they were making. Mass incarceration wasn’t created overnight; its components were assembled piecemeal over a forty-year period. And those components are many. The police make arrests, pretrial service... Continue Reading →

Prison Was For Punishment. Until 2017

California Penal Code section 1170 used to read as follows: "[t]he Legislature finds and declares that the purpose of imprisonment for crime is punishment." The clarity of this finding is breathtaking. There are no references to incapacitation, rehabilitation, or anything else. In California, the reason for prison is punishment. Until 2017. Former section 1170 stood... Continue Reading →

Whips and British Barons

What's the difference between whipping someone during sex and injuring them during a boxing match? It turns out that it all comes down to whether you believe morality has a place in the criminal law. I began my strange journey to reading the phrase "voluntary sadomasochistic wounding" with the criminal law textbook that I studied... Continue Reading →

The Stupidity of the Manual

You can summarize everything in the manual with the phrase: "do a thorough, diligent job prosecuting your cases." Our manual is extremely detailed. It's over 700 pages long. It covers virtually everything that could come up in a felony prosecution. The list of things that the manual requires a deputy to do is so long... Continue Reading →

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