Sunday, October 12, 2008

Catching Up: A Week of My Favorite Posts... by Others!

Ok, just because I am in trial, (in Queens County NY) doesn't mean I am not keeping up with my reading. It is my writing that goes to pot.

Anyway, I want to get this post up, so no more small talk:

1.Over at Sentencing Law and Policy Blog, Prof. Berman had three interesting posts that make my list this week:

A. USSC is considering alternatives to incarceration... It is about time. It is a lot cheaper to spend 60K to rehab a person, than 25 a year for 10 years to incarcerate them. Article here

B. Berman also points out that the sheep we elect to office are creating gulags for sex offenders through zoning laws. Someone has to tell me Why the concept of having paid for his crime doesn't apply to sex offenders. Especially since we keep enlarging the definition of sex offender.

C. Then there is the story on how Florida wants to stop clusters from happening. That doesn't mean they want to allow convicted Sex offenders to live anywhere, just that they don't want too many in any one place. Trouble is, that will lead to banishment.

Money quote:
White says he would like to have sexual offenders housed in a designated commune-like facility in Hillsborough County. The facility would be gated, well marked and a good distance from churches and schools. "Along the perimeter of that facility you could have the postings and the markings that this is a certified sex offender location -- please keep children so many feet away and children beware," White said.

2. Staying with the Sex Offender theme Sex Crimes Blog:
A. has an article on the ACLU suit against Allegany County which has a sex offender "banishment law" where they say that a sex offender (no definition)must live 2500 feet away from places where children might congregate.

B. Prof. Yung also blogs about a NIMBY (Not in MY backyard)protest and petition drive that seeks to keep a sex offender rehab out of a Utah neighborhood. The rehab would be a football field away from a daycare "center".

C. Finally, we have the most ridiculous application of the Adam Walsh Act. A law meant to protect a child from child pornography will now cause the child to have to register, because she sent a nude picture OF HERSELF to a boy. Oh my God, How will this affect Disney stars????

Money Quote:
State Rep. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, wrote the state's Megan's Law bill, the predecessor of the Adam Walsh Act, and said this case was not something the legislature envisioned.

That is because they are stupid. They only want to pander to crazed voters who they misled into believing there was a problem where one never existed. They haven't solved a real problem in so long that it is no wonder the courts are left to sort this garbage out. I have a case like this in Suffolk County NY. A Florida cop, broke the law and got a minor to send porn to him (the cop was pretending to be 14). Nevertheless, it is according to the District Attorney a crime. What is really absurd is that given the age difference, the boy and a real girl could have sex but not talk about it or simulate it over a computer?!? This garbage has really made the law appear foolish...

Ok there were a lot of other good stories about sex crimes, but we must move on.

3. There is a prolific blogger out there by the name of Radley Balko. He writes The Agitator and offers posts to Reason magazine's Hit and Run blog too. Radley was focused on Law this week:

A.This post at The Agitator leads to a story about a man who could not afford to keep up his lawn in his gated community. He had gotten hit with a 600 a month ARM increase and his adult daughter and two grand kids had to move in when they lost their home. Still the community board chose to spend nearly 1000 dollars on legal fees instead of helping the neighbor get his lawn in gear (He needed to resod the lawn which went brown in the Florida Sun when his sprinkler broke). They actually put the guy in prison. Sounds like debtor prison all over again. What was this judge thinking? I remember when I was at Legal Aid,District Court Judge Mike Steinberg fined a guy 20 dollars and then he paid the fine himself...Oh yeah, at 24k a year average cost to incarcerate someone, it should take about a month before it would be cheaper for the county to sod the home itself than keep the man in jail. Given his age and health, it could cost them more far sooner.

B. Not satisfied with lambasting stupid legislators, Balko also picks on a stupid judge, Mark Rusch, who in a capital murder case, had to be removed from the case because he signed a search warrant for police to search a lawyers office to get incriminating evidence against the lawyer's client... Then he had the evidence brought to his home where he and prosecutors handled it!!!! Where the heck did this idiot go to law school? And how the hell did he pass the bar exam? That is Constitutional law 101!!

Radley rightly asks:
Good to hear the judge was taken off the case, but shouldn’t this guy be removed from the bench?

C.Finally over at Slate Magazine, Balko tears apart what appears to be Obama's criminal justice policy. Namely block grants that neither Congress nor the President can oversee. Two grants he has named are for:

a)Neighborhood policing (which was a failed Clinton initiative that Bush phased out.)The Neighborhood policing initiative took $8 Billion Dollars and reduced crime by less than one(1%)percent and

b)the other is the Byrne grant for Drug Eradication which in fact took drugs off the streets but focused on low level pushers and favored numbers. This led one rouge cop to falsely arrest pretty much all the black people in his town on trumped up charges. I wish I had any hope that some of the Criminal Defense Lawyers supporting Obama were going to serve in his Justice Department or that he was going to name one to the Supreme Court...hmm on second thought...

Ok that's 9 stories. That is about all I have time for now. I hope to have some more tomorrow.
In the meantime, Jets won, blog's updated, and I am ready for more cross examination. All and all, a pretty good weekend.
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