Are Conservatives Rethinking their Hostility to Criminal Justice Reform?

Tough-on-crime usually means tough-on-taxpayers.

by Steven Greenhut| Nov 30, 2012

For advocates of less-intrusive government, finding the good news in the recent election is like looking on the bright side after your house has been wiped out by a hurricane. You never did like that floor plan, anyway, and this seems like a great opportunity to rethink your lifestyle.

The political storm was particularly fearsome in California. Democrats already are floating trial balloons now that they have gained a legislative supermajority that allows them to pass direct tax increases without GOP support.

But there was some good news, however slim, on the ballot in the long-neglected area of criminal-justice reform. California voters passed, by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin, a measure (Proposition 36) that reforms the state’s notoriously tough three-strikes-and-you’re-out sentencing law.

In 1994, California voters passed Proposition 184, which targeted repeat offenders. Under that law, if a person convicted of two serious or violent felonies commits a third “strike,” it would automatically lead to a life term with no possibility of parole for 25 years. The verdict is out on how much “three strikes” contributed to falling crime rates, but there is little question that California’s strict version led to rising incarceration costs and high-profile instances of injustice.

Unlike any of the other 23 states that passed “three strikes” laws, California imposed the life sentence on offenders whose third conviction was for “any” felony, rather than for a serious or violent one. So we’ve witnessed cases where offenders have received that life term for stealing a piece of pizza, kiting a bad check, and other relatively minor crimes.  Click to read more.

 

 

Court upholds ‘citizen’s right’ to film cops

The second article down on this post was posted by David Bailey on our Gadfly Radio Group wall on Facebook, as a comment or amendment to a post I made of this Reason Youtube video called

Who will watch the watchers? In a world of ubiquitous, hand-held digital cameras, that’s not an abstract philosophical question. Police everywhere are crackiing down on citizens using cameras to capture breaking news and law enforcement in action.

In 2009, police arrested blogger and freelance photographer Antonio Musumeci on the steps of a New York federal courthouse. His alleged crime? Unauthorized photography on federal property.

Click on this www.youtube.com direct link to watch the video and or to read more.

Yesterday, David Bailey, resident of the City of Fullerton, and our guest tonight on Gadfly Radio posted this article yesterday.–

August 29, 2011

Court upholds ‘citizen’s right’ to film cops
Arrests for filming cops violate Constitution, court ruled

By PoliceOne Staff

BOSTON — Arresting someone for filming the police is a constitutional violation, the Massachusetts district court announced Friday.

The case began when Simon Glik was taken into police custody for recording an arrest with his cell phone camera, according to Tech Dirt. Glik told police he saw an officer punch the suspect and believed their use of force was excessive, sources say. Officers reportedly asked him to stop recording because audio recording — a capability of Glik’s phone — violated Massachusetts wiretap laws. Click to read article.