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.

 

 

Our Growing Police State

Today, Afghanistan provides 90+% of the world’s heroin while the largest military action in the 21st Century takes place in that country; the opium poppies in many cases grow right up to the razor wire of American bases. A de facto civil war is taking place between the government and the narcotraficantes in Mexico that has cost 36,000 lives. Today the street prices of cocaine and heroin are at historic lows. It would seem that the War on Drugs is truly lost and that our government simply doesn’t care. And yet over $20 Billion/year is spent on the War on Drugs; most of it on law enforcement. This seems to be a very poor return on the investment.

Articles: Our Growing Police State

Tonight on Gadfly Radio w/ Martha & CalWatchDog’s John Seiler, CA City Journal’s Ben Boychuk & Special Guest Anthony Krinsky on UTLA’s “Big Business Interests” to Occupy L.A.

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT


Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929
October 25, 2011:  Tonight live at 8 p.m. PT on Gadfly Radio, Martha Montelongo along with Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com, welcome Special Guest Anthony Krinsky, the publisher of  Anthony Krinsky’s Education Blog. We’ll talk with Anthony about his recent blog post and the questions he raises and discusses in this post:  

LAUSD Occupation is big business for the UTLA

This blog is cross-posted in the Echo Park Patch.
http://echopark.patch.com/blog_posts/lausd-occupation-is-big-business-for-the-utla

We’ll also discuss a previous post on his blog concerning an alliance between Republicans and the Teacher’s Union, concerning No Child Left Behind’s renewal and the elimination of accountability standards.   Rand Paul is leading the charge for the elimination of these requirements, but will these help the Education Reformers or will it set the movement back?

Rand Paul (R) embraces the NEA/AFT position on ESEA
Why is Rand Paul begging for legislators to invite under-performing NEA teachers to testify against basic testing that costs around $15 per student per year but which tells us whether teachers are doing anything useful with the $700 billion we spend every year on public education? 
Why is Rand Paul casting deciding votes with the National Education Association to scrap the best (and arguably only) good laws that the Department of Education has ever promulgated: RTT and the accountability provisions of NCLB?

We’ll check in with John on the latest hottest stories posted at CalWatchDog.com including:
 
Govt. Union Boss in Top 1%
John Seiler Oct 25, 2011
The Occupy Wall Street crowd is protesting against the high pay of the top 1 percent in income in America. They say they’re part of the “99%ers” — all the working people who keep the country going. Our friend Larry Sand points out that California’s government worker unions, especially the teachers’ unions, are joining the bandwagon, claiming to represent the 99 percent. He writes: It’s almost Halloween and the California Teachers Association, a rich and powerful outfit, is in costume as one of the “99%ers” – protesters who claim to be have-nots. A couple of weeks ago United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten made sympathetic statements about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now the California Teachers Association has jumped in with a full endorsement and suggestions on its website as to how teachers and others can get involved in OWS activities. Well, guess what?  (click on the link at the title to read the full article)

Politics Still Beats Down Police Reform
OCT. 24, 2011 By TORI RICHARDS
A mentally ill homeless man was beaten into a coma that proved fatal by six Fullerton police officers as he screamed, “Help, dad!” Fresno police repeatedly punched a homeless man in the head while he was face down with his arms behind his back. Three BART officers in Oakland detained an unruly passenger, who was then fatally shot in the back. When the victims’ families, the media and civil rights groups tried to discover whether these officers committed any previous acts of excessive force — or even to obtain their names — a gulf of silence ensued.
Welcome to five years after Copley Press v. The Superior Court of San Diego.

We’ll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929.

I am a stand for liberty, freedom and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives.

Thank you for supporting our program, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this post with others.

It’s a pleasure to share this program with CalWatchDog’s team of government policy watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce!

Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are. California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, when we get it right. Join us.

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:



iTunes

 

The American Conservative » A Dark Day for the Constitution: American Killed By Drone Strike

The American Conservative » A Dark Day for the Constitution: American Killed By Drone Strike

Police Abuse of Power: Peace Officers need to be held to higher standards, not granted secrecy, immunity and leeway to use violence against the citizenry.

The examples of Violence committed against citizens by peace officers is alarming.

First we need to expose it, and make common knowledge of how pervasive it is.

Then we need to demand of our public officials that this pattern of violence and abuse be corrected so that we may rest assured that all of us, our children, or neighbors, and our communities are not in danger of being abused or even murdered by our police forces.

Here are a few examples of police abuse of power and casual use of violence against the citizenry: 

The fatal beating of Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic drifter who was allegedly beaten to death by Fullerton, California police officers:

Cops Vs. Cameras: The Killing of Kelly Thomas & The Power of New Media NOTE: Because of violent images, viewer discretion is advised.

Student beaten by cops in College Park, Maryland

Two Officers Indicted In Beating Of Univ. Of Md. Student (includes video clip of beating)

Two officers indicted in Md. college student beating

A step toward justice in UM student beating  

Mace used on Wall Street protesters Both include video of police using mace on non-violent protesters:  (while I don’t agree with their politics and desired outcomes, I don’t support using this kind of violence against citizens who are exercising their First Amendment rights. 
Neither should you.   


MSNBC Interviews Occupy Wall Street Protester Kelly Heresy

Police crack down on ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests

Months after a Connecticut man died shortly after being in the custody of Westerly police, the Connecticut Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide.

State probes man’s death after arrest Ryan O’Loughlin Death Ruled Homicide; Died after Police Custody (with video)

Family alleges man who died was beaten by Westerly PD

Navy veteran’s death after arrest in Westerly called homicide

  There are thousands of cases more out there.   Let’s support peace officers who want to be Peace Officers by shining a light of day on those officers who abuse the public trust and violate the public’s right to be secure and safe in the presence of police “peace” officers.

Tonight on Gadfly Radio w/ Martha Montelongo and CalWatchDog’s John Seiler, CA City Journal’s Ben Boychuk & special guest, LEAP member, Kyle Kazan, former police officer w/ Torrance P.D.


 

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT


Live Call in number: 1-818-602-4929 
September 6, 2011 Tonight live at 8PM PT:  Tonight on Gadfly Radio, Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal joins me as we talk with John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com, with special guest LEAP member, Kyle Kazan, former police officer w/ Torrance P.D. in CA, the sixth-largest department in the county. 

Kyle Kazan twice led his department in felony arrests. He also testified as a court certified expert in drug sales. Kyle’s work as a foot soldier in the war on drugs gave him insight into the …futility and waste of drug prohibition.

We’ll talk about the Drug War and escalation of violence in Mexico, the operations of cartels in CA, the weapons sold by US agents to Mexican cartels, the costs to financially broke CA and our Fed Govt for the War on Drugs.

We’ll also talk about Portugal’s 10 year old program that has produced measurably safer, healthier communities,and a measurably significant drop in drug use and abuse, and significant financial savings for the Portuguese Government. What is the program, how does it work, how does it break down in terms of savings, policy and what are the real numbers of drug use, abuse, rehabilitation and incarceration today in Portugal, v what they were 10 years ago? We know in the U.S. the numbers have gone up. What are those numbers? We’ll ask Kyle that too!

As part of our regular format, we’ll do our closing segment where we talk with John Seiler about the latest, hottest stories at CalWatchDog, your eyes on CA Government.

John Seiler tonight on Gadfly, wants to talk about AB 499 by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. He has just published a report at CalWatchDog on this story. He writes that “In the bill’s language, it ‘authorizes a minor, who is 12 years of age or older, to consent to medical care related to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease.’

Current law allows such care only with a parent’s permission. AB 499 passed both houses of the Legislature and awaits a decision by Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB 499 commonly is called the “Gardasil Bill” because the major drug to be administered to 12-year-old girls — without their parents’ consent — is Gardasil, manufactured by Merck. According to Merck’s Gardasil Web site: GARDASIL is the only human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of HPV….”
http://i2.wp.com/www.calwatchdog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Gardasil-Bottle-2.jpg?resize=320%2C147
Related links:

Merk Bankrolled Anti parent Bill
http://i2.wp.com/www.calwatchdog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Mexico-Drug-Cartel-Wiki.jpg?resize=246%2C320

California Neighbor Mexico Spirals Into Anarchy 

by John Seiler
at CalWatchDog.com

http://i1.wp.com/news.antiwar.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/mx-map2.gif?resize=320%2C163
Add caption

Drug-Related Mexican Violence Soars, As US Policy Bolsters Cartels

Drug cartels are tightening their grip in Acapulco, where civilian communities attempt to resist
by John Glaser,
August 31, 2011


Portugal’s Ten Year Old Drug Policy Program that has legalized drugs  with measurably better results realized in terms of lower usage, crime and government spending for rehabilitation, education, and intervention.

[PDF]
Drug DECRIMINALIZATION IN PORTUGAL
– Cato Institute

Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?

Scientific American reports much more favorably here: 5 Years After: Portugal’s Drug Decriminalization Policy Shows Positive Results Street drug related deaths from overdoses drop and the rate of HIV cases crashes
By Brian Vastag | April 7, 2009

Mixed Results For Portugal’s Great Drug Experiment NPR straddles the fence and is on overdrive to remain “fair” and “balanced.” if you’re not going to argue for the civil liberties of those who commit crimes of sin, such as enjoying a joint for the same reasons one enjoys a beer or a glass of wine, or if really out for an adventure, the same as smoking enough pot to feel like one has had one or two martinis. Pot can be as mild as beer and wine, or as potent as martinis or screw drivers, without the long lasting toxicity and hangover effects from the alcohol poisoning. That said, I thought it was interesting report.

Ann Coulter debates with John Stossel about the War on Drugs in this 9 minute video on YouTube.  I brought it up last night to illustrate the hard set prejudice influential conservatives hold against a Drug Policy that respects individual choices and liberties, and uses resources to support addicts of any drugs they abuse, to free themselves of their addiction and to turn their lives around.    

We’ll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929.

I am a stand for liberty, freedom and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives.

Thank you for supporting our program, by listening, sponsoring, and or sharing this post with others.

It’s a pleasure to share this program with
CalWatchDog’s
team of government policy watch dogs and the great investigative work they produce!

Tuesday nights live, on Gadfly Radio in Southern California or where ever you are. California, the land of beauty and unlimited possibility because of the abundance of our greatest capital resource, our human resources, when we get it right. Join us.

Or you can listen to a podcast later, if you miss the live call-in show by clicking on the white player to stream or the orange player to download and or subscribe to Gadfly on iTunes:



iTunes

Cop n’ attitude: Flash! Speed trap ahead!

Want to warn fellow citizens about check points and speed traps? Well here’s some coppers talking about this kind of behavior, and they don’t take kindly to it. They see it as interfering with their revenue stream, ur, um, I mean their law enforcement duties.

Flash! Speed trap ahead!
One day, a co-worker and I were talking about stuff, and the subject turned to those fools who try to mess up our traffic radar operations by flashing their lights at oncoming motorists to warn all the speeders to slow down before we can catch them and give them their just deserts properly. Such conduct is actually illegal here, chargeable under a fairly broad statue that prohibits interfering with law enforcement operations. So to try something novel, we decided to try to catch a few of these folks one day.

Click to read more.

America’s Flimsy Fortress

America’s Flimsy Fortress

Bruce Schneier
Wired Magazine, March 2004

Every day, some 82,000 foreign visitors set foot in the US with a visa, and since early this year, most of them have been fingerprinted and photographed in the name of security. But despite the money spent, the inconveniences suffered, and the international ill will caused, these new measures, like most instituted in the wake of September 11, are mostly ineffectual.

Terrorist attacks are very rare. So rare, in fact, that the odds of being the victim of one in an industrialized country are almost nonexistent. And most attacks affect only a few people. The events of September 11 were a statistical anomaly. Even counting the toll they took, 2,978 people in the US died from terrorism in 2001. That same year, 157,400 Americans died of lung cancer, 42,116 in road accidents, and 3,454 from malnutrition.

Click to read more.

Now Playing At Security Theater: The Sting
Posted by Jim Babka

The Feds do lots of things to make people feel safer than don’t actually improve security. Bruce Schneier calls it “security theater.”

FBI stings are a perfect example. Most of the “potential” terrorists they trap were NEVER A THREAT to anyone.

These stings are a waste of time and money. I’ve asked Congress to end them using DownsizeDC.org’s “I Am Not Afraid Campaign.”

This is what I wrote . . .

Most of the “terror Plots” the FBI stopped over the past 10 years were of their own making. For instance, I was angered when I read this: (http://motherjones.com/print/125137) . . .

Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkeley have examined prosecutions of 508 defendants in terrorism-related cases, as defined by the Department of Justice. Our investigation found:

* Nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by money (operatives can be paid as much as $100,000 per assignment) or the need to work off criminal or immigration violations.
* Sting operations resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants. Of that total, 49 defendants participated in plots led by an agent provocateur — an FBI operative instigating terrorist action.
* With three exceptions, all of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings. (The exceptions are Najibullah Zazi, who came close to bombing the New York City subway system in September 2009; Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian who opened fire on the El-Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport; and failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.)
* In many sting cases, key encounters between the informant and the target were not recorded — making it hard for defendants claiming entrapment to prove their case.

They also note, “Terrorism-related charges are so difficult to beat in court, even when the evidence is thin, that defendants often don’t risk a trial.”

Victims of FBI stings include . . .Click to read more.

Jose Solorio and Tony Mendoza, Assembly Democrats, Blasted for “Anti-Business” Bills – Orange County News – Navel Gazing

By Matt Coker Tue., Aug. 16 2011 at 7:55 AM
Categories: OC Media, Politics

A proposed law authored by one Orange County assemblyman is being called a big favor for big labor, while legislation from another has powerful California business interests lined up against it.

The legislators are Democrats and California Latino Legislative Caucus leaders Jose Solorio of Santa Ana and Tony Mendoza, whose LA County district includes OC’s Buena Park.

The article also shows they are also anti-civil liberties. They are supported by law enforcement because they support law enforcement’s expansion of power and erosion of individual civil liberties. They help grow the Police State.

Click here 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.

Cop Lobby Flexes Its Muscle–Politics behind the defeat of CA SB 1019

“…law enforcement, after last year’s decision, gets a pass. An officer can mistakenly arrest you, can beat you, can even kill you and then the public (including victims and their families) will learn nothing about the investigation or whether that officer is disciplined. The public now is forbidden from learning about the background of officers who repeatedly use excessive force.

“Ultimately, this bill is about the public’s right to know, about the public’s ability to hold government accountable,” said Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, a liberal Democrat and author of SB1019. In a previous statement, the conservative Sen. Tom McClintock, a Thousand Oaks Republican and a co-sponsor, agreed: “The police exercise the ultimate of official power — and that ought to be tempered by the ultimate of public scrutiny. Unfortunately, because of a combination of bad law and a bad court decision … the police have the least public scrutiny.”

Click to read Steve’s analysis.

Tiawanda Moore Acquitted | The Agitator

A follow up by Radley Balko –A few thoughts on Tiawanda Moore, “former stripper.” Reminds me of how Fullerton PD, the majority of the City Council, and County DA were all indifferent to the fate of a homeless schizophrenic The comments on The Agitator’s post are interesting as well, and Balko post one at the end, or at least it was at the end when I read them.

One other thing. It’s a little odd that most media accounts of this case describe Moore as a “former stripper.” It’s actually the first three words in the Sun Times story. Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s hard to envision the article starting that way if Moore were a former nanny. Or school teacher. Or bus driver. So what’s the point? Even if Moore’s sexual assault allegation was the only newsworthy part of this story, the implication is that her former job is relevant to her allegation. Is the implication that strippers probably act provocatively even when they aren’t working—-indeed, even when they aren’t strippers anymore—and thus should expect unwanted sexual advances from cops? Is it that strippers are inherently untrustworthy? That they’re more likely to make false allegations of sexual assault? (If anything, I would suspect that strippers have built up a fair amount of tolerance for unwanted advances.)

Click to read the article.

Woman who recorded cops acquitted of felony eavesdropping – Chicago Sun-Times

Radley Balko tweeted about this story yesterday: “Jury acquits Tiawanda Moore of eavesdropping charges for recording police. Sounds like possible case of nullification.”

A former stripper, who secretly recorded two Chicago Police Internal Affairs investigators while filing a sexual harassment complaint against another officer was acquitted on eavesdropping charges Wednesday.

“I’m feeling a lot better now,” a smiling Tiawanda Moore said after a Cook County jury returned the verdict in a little over an hour.

The 20-year-old Indiana woman admitted she taped the officers on her Blackberry in August of last year. But she said she only did it because the investigators were coaxing her to not go forward with her complaint.

“I wanted him to be fired,” Moore testified of the cop she alleges fondled her and gave her his phone number during a domestic battery call at the South Side residence she sometimes shares with her boyfriend.

Click to read article