Hashtags to Laws: A Public-Health Argument on Guns

A physician makes the argument that the hashtag war between doctors and the NRA signals more than just another culture-war feud. It’s a sign, she writes, that public-heath arguments will win the gun-control debate.

What started as an ordinary hashtag-filled battle on Twitter has the makings for actual social change in the nation’s debate about guns, writes Slate commentator Chavi Eve Karkowsky, a physician. Last week, the National Rifle Association used Twitter to fire back at an article in the Annals of Internal Medicine that had argued on public health grounds for greater regulation of guns consistent with the Second Amendment. The NRA’s retort, “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” turned into #ThisIsMyLane posts by doctors showing the gore they see when trying to save the lives of gunshot victims. Karkowsky argues this is more than a routine flareup in the culture wars.

“This kind of argument has happened before, over and over,” she writes. “In fact, it happens almost every time there’s a new public health intervention. And that means I think I know who’s going to win, eventually.” Karkowsky makes the analogy to car safety standards, which started as proposals that generated outrage over impositions on personal freedom and nanny-state coddling of people who should be more careful. “Today, we have seat belts, and airbags, and car seats, and can’t imagine not having them. We no longer want to remove them; we’re even grateful for them,” Karkowsky writes, adding that a similar public-health rationale for constitutional gun control is coming. “However much we love our individual freedom, at some point we love something else more: our lives, or our kids’ lives, or the ability to go to school, or a bar, or a concert, or a yoga class without assuming that every loud noise is a massacre in progress.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Ballistics Database’s Growth Changes Policing Routines

Police departments are increasingly turning to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, a central catalog of more than three million detailed images of spent shell casings, to hunt down suspects and not just to help prosecutors win convictions after an arrest.

Thanks in part to an aggressive campaign over the past two years to promote police use of a central catalog of more than three million detailed images of spent shell casings, police departments are increasingly turning to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network to hunt down suspects and not just to help prosecutors win convictions after an arrest, The New York Times reports. The latest in the Times‘ “American Ammo” series on the business and regulation of bullets describes how more officers are now taking the time to collect shell casings from petty crimes and nonviolent shootings, like when joy riders use stop signs for target practice, because they may eventually help solve more dangerous acts of violence.

Overseen by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the NIBIN database can identify whether the same gun was used in multiple shootings. The equipment for scanning and analyzing bullet casings can cost up to $175,000, and although the ATF sometimes subsidizes this expense, most police departments have to find a way to pay for it themselves. Eleven states still do not have a terminal. But nearly 200 law enforcement agencies — up from 140 in 2012 — now own terminals that allow them to tap into the data, and a clearinghouse in Alabama has reduced turnaround times on potential matches from weeks to mere days. The number of matches nationwide jumped to 47,000 this fiscal year from 11,000 three years ago. Last month, the Justice Department and the ATF delivered new machines to nearly two dozen police departments, vowing that investigative leads would be sent to them within 48 hours of their entering ballistics information into the system.

from https://thecrimereport.org

NY Lawmakers Want Prisons to Adopt Addiction Treatments

A group of New York state lawmakers is seeking support for a bill that would require all jails and prisons in the state to offer medication-assisted treatment to curb opioid overdose deaths of former prisoners released to the streets with cravings left intact by traditional abstinence therapy.

Only six of New York’s 54 state-run correctional facilities offer medication-assisted treatment to help curb opioid cravings and stabilize brain function. And so, the Albany Times Union reports, a group of state lawmakers is seeking support for a bill that would require all jails and prisons in the state to offer medications proven to reduce death among individuals with opioid use disorder. “This is a recurring problem,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said at a legislative hearing on Wednesday. “People come into our facilities with a substance use disorder; others develop it while incarcerated. And when they leave, many go back into the neighborhoods they came from and overdose. So I think it’s incumbent on the state to take a giant leap and go for it in all our facilities.”

Roughly 78 percent of all inmates in New York have a diagnosed substance use disorder, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. MAT has been a proven treatment for opioid use disorder for at least three decades, with studies showing it prevents relapse and significantly lowers overdose rates. But it remains controversial, in part because the medications used to curb cravings are themselves powerful and because abstinence-only proponents view any reliance on drugs as a negative. The high rate of fatal overdoses among former inmates has made the rollout of MAT in jails and prisons a key issue for recovery advocates. A 2007 study, for example, found that former inmates of Washington State prisons were 12.7 times more likely to die in the first two weeks after their release than the average state resident, with drug overdose the leading cause. And that was in the late 1990s and early 2000s, before the emergence of highly potent fentanyl in America’s drug supplies.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Witness Contradicts Police in Illinois Security Guard’s Death

Days after a speedy Illinois State Police exoneration of a local police officer who shot and killed a security guard in a bar melee, an eyewitness who worked with the victim has contradicted key elements of the official version of events.

Contradicting a speedy Illinois State Police exoneration of a local police officer who shot and killed a security guard in a bar melee, the Chicago Tribune reports that one of victim Jemel Roberson’s fellow security guards insists that Roberson was wearing a cap and sweatshirt that had the word “Security” on them. State police on Tuesday defended the actions of a suburban Chicago police officer who killed Roberson on Sunday, claiming that the guard was not wearing a uniform and ignored verbal commands to drop his weapon. But, in an interview with the Tribune on Thursday in which he described Roberson’s clothing, Dorian Myrickes said he and Roberson were part of the six-person security team trying to break up a fight between two groups of men when a patron started shooting and Roberson ended up holding the shooter at gunpoint. Myrickes said a police officer from Midlothian warned Roberson to drop his gun but fired at him within “not even five seconds” of the warning.

Myrickes’ account adds fuel to the controversy that has arisen over the shooting of Roberson, who is black, by the Midlothian officer, who is white and has since been placed on leave. The shooting took place while the officer and others responded to a “shots fired” call at Manny’s Blue Room Lounge in Robbins. “Everyone started panicking, running in different directions,” Myrickes said. “I stumbled out the front door. … That’s when I ran into the (Midlothian) police officer (who) had the AR-15, and he pointed it straight at my head, he said, ‘Put your hands up.’” Myrickes said he told the officer he was a security guard and not to shoot him. The same officer, he said, ran into the bar, aimed his rifle at the bartender, and then shot Roberson.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Oregon Hid High Recidivism Among Criminally Insane

Oregon releases people found not guilty by reason of insanity from supervision and treatment more quickly than nearly every other state in the nation, but they commit far more crimes after their release than the state has previously led the public to believe, a news investigation has found.

Oregon releases people found not guilty by reason of insanity from supervision and treatment more quickly than nearly every other state in the nation, but they commit far more crimes after their release than the state has previously led the public to believe, according to a joint report from ProPublica and the Malheur (Ore.) Enterprise. The speed at which the state releases the criminally insane from custody is driven by both Oregon’s unique-in-the-nation law and state officials’ expansive interpretation of applicable federal court rulings. Release decisions are made by the Psychiatric Security Review Board. The five-member panel of mental health and probation experts has custody of defendants found not guilty by reason of insanity and oversees their treatment. On its website, the board assures Oregonians that repeat offenses by people it supervises are exceedingly rare events, with only 0.46 percent of defendants committing new crimes each year.

The reality is that about 35 percent of those let out of supervised psychiatric treatment were charged with new crimes within three years of being freed by state officials. Between Jan. 1, 2008, and Oct. 15, 2015, the state freed 220 defendants who had been acquitted of felonies because they could not tell right from wrong or control their actions. About a quarter of them, or 51 people, were charged with attacking others within three years. Twenty-five were charged with lesser crimes. Eighteen others were charged more than three years later, including 12 people for violent incidents. They were charged with felonies about as often as people freed after serving prison terms — both 16 percent — according to the news organizations’ analysis and the Oregon Department of Corrections. The review board made similar findings in an internal report almost three years ago, but never shared it with the public or with other state agencies.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Civil Rights Commission: Revive DOJ Scrutiny of Local Police

In the wake of Jeff Sessions’ departure from the Justice Department, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is urging the Trump administration to resume federal oversight of troubled police departments and reinstate the Justice Department’s community policing office.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urged the Trump administration Thursday to resume federal oversight of troubled police departments and reinstate the Justice Department’s community policing office — steps that would reverse an effort by Jeff Sessions, the recently departed attorney general, to limit federal oversight of local police departments, the Washington Post reports. The commission’s 200-page report, endorsed by a majority of the eight members, concludes that black Americans, among others, have valid concerns about police violence and lack of officer accountability. In response, the report concludes, federal officials should resume the practice — abandoned since Donald Trump became president — of investigating local police departments accused of systemic civil rights violations and resurrect the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.

Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department opened more than two dozen inquiries into civil rights violations by local police departments and entered at least 14 “consent decrees” in which local officials agreed to enact reforms and submit to a federal monitor. During the Trump administration, the federal government has walked away from efforts to oversee local departments. During his nearly two years leading the Justice Department, Sessions did not open any investigations of local police departments, and he publicly disparaged the rigor and accuracy of previous federal inquiries that had documented civil rights violations by police. The report recommends that Congress pass legislation requiring local police departments to provide reliable data about police use of force and that federal funding be denied to those that refuse. The commission notes that the most comprehensive data about how often police officers use fatal force is in databases maintained by The Post and other media outlets.

 

from https://thecrimereport.org

Sutter County Sheriff’s Office (CA)

K9 Bandit was shot and killed while attempting an apprehension of a double murder suspect in Butte County.

Officers had been alerted to a suspicious vehicle in the Camp Fire evacuation…

K9 Bandit was shot and killed while attempting an apprehension of a double murder suspect in Butte County. Officers had been alerted to a suspicious vehicle in the Camp Fire evacuation...

from https://www.odmp.org/

Categories: Uncategorized

Trump Judges Named at Faster Pace, With More White Men

An NPR analysis comparing President Trump’s judicial nominees to President Obama’s turns up clear patterns, even though this administration so far has served less than a quarter of the time as the previous one.

President Trump so far has clocked less than a quarter of the time President Obama had to nominate federal judges, but an NPR analysis of both presidents’ judicial nominations reveals that clear patterns have already emerged. And Trump’s critics aren’t happy. “Of his 43 appellate nominations, none are African-American,” said Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “None are Latino. Only nine are women. Our nation’s great diversity should be reflected in its government institutions, especially the federal judiciary, which serves as the guardian of our rights and liberties.” An advocate for conservative judges says the president is delivering on a central promise. “He came into office with a mandate to nominate judges in the mold of Justice [Antonin] Scalia and Justice [Clarence] Thomas,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel at the Judicial Crisis Network. “That was a key reason he won the presidency.”

NPR based its data (which it provided in full) on public sources and inquiries to judicial nominees for nominations formally sent to the Senate as of Nov. 14. Here are some highlights. So far, Trump has filled 29 appeals court seats, better than half the Obama total in two full terms. Trump inherited far more district court vacancies — 92 to Obama’s 45 — and so far Trump has filled 53 positions, just under one-fifth Obama’s eight-year tally. Overall, Trump’s nominees have been nearly 77 percent male, almost 20 points higher than Obama’s, while nearly 19 percent of Obama’s nominees were African American, while only 2.6 percent of Trump’s have been so far. This fall, lawmakers have been holding hearings for nominees while the Senate is in recess, but if Sen. Jeff Flake has any say in the matter, the Year 2 Trump confirmation numbers may not change much at this point.

 

from https://thecrimereport.org

Reformers Take ‘First Step’ Forward, But Then One Back

Criminal-justice reform advocates barely had time to celebrate the president’s endorsement of a new bipartisan sentencing and prison bill before clouds formed over their reverie, in the form of growing opposition and a growing realization of the bill’s limited impact.

Criminal-justice reform advocates barely had time to celebrate the president’s endorsement of a new bipartisan sentencing and prison bill before clouds formed over their reverie. The Washington Post reports that acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker has privately voiced concerns directly to President Trump about drug-sentencing provisions in the bill, according to Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), with whom Whitaker met Thursday. “He said he doesn’t want to kill it,” Graham said. “He just wanted to express his concerns.” While Senate opponents of the bill marshal their forces, Republic leaders continue to voice skepticism that enough time remains in the lame-duck session to proceed with the bill this year. The legislation also faced more setbacks on Thursday when the National Sheriffs’ Association and several other law enforcement groups released a letter announcing that they would oppose the criminal justice overhaul bill “in its current form.”

The New York Times reported on the bill’s many compromises and limitations, which have some advocates calling it more a cop out than a systemic overhaul, even though some sentencing provisions got added after the departure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a strong opponent. The bill makes shorter sentences for crack cocaine retroactive for a few thousand inmates. It increases the number of people eligible to sidestep mandatory minimum sentences, but only by a nudge. And it reduces the three-strikes penalty from life to a still-lengthy 25 years. Less than 4 percent of the federal prison population, about 7,000 people, might get out early, and the federal prison system houses less than 10 percent of the nation’s 2.2 million inmates. Still, the Times notes, many families say even modest reform will improve a deeply flawed system and free many people.

from https://thecrimereport.org

The Agonizing, Pronged Unnecessary, Jail Death of Denny Lovern

Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: The misdiagnosis of inmate Denny Lovern’s chest pains as a stomach ache essentially sentenced him to a death that was both cruel and unusual, stretching out over more than a day during which he occasionally vomited into his shirt because he was too weak to move to the toilet. […]

The post The Agonizing, Pronged Unnecessary, Jail Death of Denny Lovern appeared first on True Crime Report.

Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: The misdiagnosis of inmate Denny Lovern’s chest pains as a stomach ache essentially sentenced him to a death that was both cruel and unusual, stretching out over more than a day during which he occasionally vomited into his shirt because he was too weak to move to the toilet. [...]

The post The Agonizing, Pronged Unnecessary, Jail Death of Denny Lovern appeared first on True Crime Report.

from http://www.truecrimereport.com