Feds Threaten Denver Over Safe-Injection Site

The Justice Department threatened fines and prison time for city officials who open a site where people can use illegal drugs under supervision. A Denver official responded, “We’re moving forward, maybe even with more vigor.”

With opioids killing more than 115 people a day, several U.S. cities have been toying with the idea of opening a supervised injection clinic for the past few years. Such sites are places where people can safely use their own illegal drugs under the watchful eye of a medical professional who steers them toward social services like drug and mental health treatment. These clinics exist in a few other countries, including Canada, Australia and several in Europe. Dozens of studies have shown that they reduce overdoses without increasing drug use or crime in the community. The federal government recently weighed in on the matter for the first official time, issuing the city of Denver a stern rebuke over its plans to open a safe-injection site next year, reports Governing. 

A joint letter from the U.S. Attorney and the Denver field office of the Drug Enforcement Administration warned the city last week against moving forward with its plan. The letter stressed that such a facility is illegal under federal law. “Just like so-called crack houses, these facilities will attract drug dealers, sexual predators, and other criminals, ultimately destroying the surrounding community,” the letter read. “More importantly, the government-sanctioned operation of these facilities serves only to normalize serious drug usage.” The letter threatens “criminal fines, civil monetary penalties up to $250,000, and imprisonment up to 20 years in jail for anyone that knowingly opens, leases, rents, maintains, or anyone that manages or controls and knowingly and intentionally makes available such premises for use.” That isn’t stopping city officials. “We’re moving forward, maybe even with more vigor,” says Denver City Councilmember Albus Brooks. “Drug users are not the enemy.” Philadelphia, one of the other cities pursuing a safe injection clinic, is similarly defiant.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Sex, Crime and the Justice System

Sex workers—and sex-trafficked women—continue to be victimized by the justice system despite efforts to change how they’re treated by law enforcement and the courts. That makes a TCR columnist wonder whether we’re really serious about giving them the protection and support they need.  

I recently read about an experiment conducted with Capuchin monkeys in captivity at Yale-New Haven Hospital that offers some intriguing lessons about the relationship between sex and crime.

Under the experiment, monkeys who performed specific tasks at researchers’ behest received silver chips that could be exchanged for a favorite fruit or toy.  The experiment was designed to see if monkeys could be taught the value of money, but in the process they received a lesson in crime control.

Aware that the chips could vanish while they slept, the Capuchin monkeys began to hide them. But female monkeys learned an additional lesson. At risk of having their chips taken by stronger males, they actually began offering chips—“protection money”—to the strongest males.

It didn’t take long for the theft, robbery and protection rackets emerging from the experiment to be infused with another element.

The males began offering the female Capuchins their hard-earned chips to have sex, and the females soon realized that it was far easier to make money “selling” sex then it was to complete tasks for researchers.

They quit performing tricks for humans and got paid by the “tricks” in captivity with them.

The mix of sex, money and crime gets more complicated when it comes to humans. In his book, Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality,

Gayle Rubin writes that “sex law incorporates a very strong prohibition against mixing sex and money, except via marriage.”

Consequently, outside of animal enclosures, legions of police are devoted towards hunting women down who dare to exchange sex for money on a commercial basis.

In my youth, I saw many women on the strip get questioned, frisked and hauled off by police officers for violating the criminal justice system’s catchall crime of “loitering;” but in reality they were targeted as suspected prostitutes.

The local news often had stories about sex workers peddling their wares on the streets, and purportedly reducing the quality of life for the rest of the citizenry.

Yet even when prostitution moved from street corners to websites, sex workers continued to be persecuted.

This is a strange thing for me to see when the city I was raised in now has licensed shops where marijuana can be sold legally, and the county works to make the lives of heroin addicts easier.

There was a time when the culture seemed to be shifting—at least to the extent that female sex workers were coming to be seen as victims of both the criminal justice system and patriarchy: their male clients were sent home after trying to purchase sex, but the women were sent to jail.

Many reformers argued that laws against prostitution restricted freedom and autonomy, and decriminalization or regulation of this activity was a better strategy than continuing to fund Vice Squads and incarcerate (primarily poor) women for selling their bodies for money.

The arguments eventually succeeded in convincing enough people to change the status quo. But in a way that should concern anyone who looks at it closely

The “whores” who had been demonized by society were considered victims of sex trafficking—not of the criminal justice system.  Prostitutes need to be protected.  So they needed to be arrested just the same.

These bait-and-switch reforms can be seen in cities that claim to be progressive.

In Seattle, for instance, women are still being arrested and jailed for the “crime” of prostitution, even though the punishment is more lenient based on the view that these women are considered “victims” by those tasked with prosecuting and sentencing them.

In earlier eras, “fallen women” were saved by progressives who implemented policies to confine the fallen for purposes of domestication.  The contemporary version of this involves incarcerating women to provide them with drug treatment and other skills that will enable them to escape sex trafficking.

But the underlying concept is that the criminal justice system is serving these women’s best interests.

A closer look makes clear that’s not happening.

Social workers are not gaining primacy over police officers; shelters are not supplanting jails; and criminal records are not being expunged to reintegrate the women into society and thereby help them avoid future sex trafficking.

Pseudo-reformers claim that victims of sex trafficking have a unique status that warrants a restorative and rehabilitative approach. But jails and prisons are not therapeutic communities.

In fact, I have no doubt that imprisoned victims of sex trafficking know that a retributive ethos lies at the heart of their present misery, notwithstanding benevolent evocations by prosecutors, judges, and apologists with doctoral degrees in criminology.

Still, while watching the news recently, I learned that throughout the Seattle International Airport, travelers will now see signs informing them how to identify and report suspected sex trafficking.

This marketing campaign has been brought to you by those who never had a problem with sending poor women to the pokey for selling their bodies. It never ceases to amaze me how the criminal justice system adapts when hypocrisy, bias and inequity make it problematic to continue a practice while maintaining legitimacy.

I know how this game works from firsthand experience.

I used to be a super-predator. My youth did not mitigate my culpability for committing adult-like crimes.  Then, developments in psychology made the super-predator evolve into a less wicked being with a greater capacity for reform.

However, as with sex workers, that’s not what happens when the criminal justice system’s machinery swings into gear.

Records are not being expunged or sealed as a matter of course when youths turn 18, even though research tells us that crimes committed by juveniles generally reflect transient immaturity rather than irreparable corruption.

Juvenile detention centers are not being remodeled into therapeutic communities.

All that has changed is the quantum of punishment—not the response to crime or the personnel devoted to prevention.

So it is with sex workers as well.

Nevertheless, there are some ancillary benefits for women ensnared in the criminal justice system.  By conflating all prostitution with sex trafficking, female defendants can use this as a means to obtain mercy.

If you are caught selling drugs, explain during trial or at sentencing that you were strung out by a sex trafficker long ago as a means of control—and now you must peddle narcotics to support the habit that was foisted upon you.  Magically, you will transform from an avaricious, heartless drug pusher into a victim worthy of a reduced sentence and drug treatment.

If you assaulted some man in a domestic violence incident, explain that your actions were a product of the trauma induced by years of being trafficked for sex.  With this plot twist, you will now be seen to have experienced trauma worthy of judicial recognition.

I could go on concocting mitigating arguments based on the present-day sex trafficking meme. It is a gift that can keep on giving.

I have a lot of empathy for women caught in these situations. It makes sense for any woman facing jail or prison time to use sex trafficking as a proxy for all of their criminal misdeeds.

A traumatic childhood defined by physical and sexual abuse, and abandonment and neglect, has not shielded women from draconian sentencing guidelines.  Nor has childhood poverty, a criminogenic environment, and schools that aren’t conducive to learning made these women any less “wicked” to prosecutors, judges, and society once they have been arrested.

The rules of the game require that officials maintain the fiction that our crimes are the result of conscious, willful choice rather than systemic inequalities.

Jeremiah Bourgois

Jeremiah Bourgeois

So, with no other options available to persuade justice officials to recognize their humanity, women who can reinvent themselves as sex trafficking victims might find mercy from a system that is all too often merciless.

Take a lesson from the Capuchin monkeys.

Jeremiah Bourgeois is a regular contributor to TCR, and an inmate in Washington State, where he has been serving a life sentence since the age of 14. He is currently petitioning for release from the Stafford Creek Corrections Center. Readers who wish to support him are invited to sign up here.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Flexible thief climbs into electronic claw game for stuffed prize

A man in Taiwan figured out a creative way to “win” at an electronic claw game. Security camera footage caught the enterprising thief shimmying into the machine through the prize dispenser opening. Once inside, the man grabbed a couple stuffed animals and made his way back out the way he came. 

A man in Taiwan figured out a creative way to “win” at an electronic claw game. Security camera footage caught the enterprising thief shimmying into the machine through the prize dispenser opening. Once inside, the man grabbed a couple stuffed animals and made his way back out the way he came. 

from https://nypost.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Why Senon Louis Ramirez’s Disturbing Sex Act Isn’t Sexual Assault in His State

Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: But what’s arguably even more unsettling is the fact that what an Adams County jury determined Ramirez had done doesn’t qualify as sexual assault under current law according to a recent opinion from the state court of appeals. Westword has the story.

The post Why Senon Louis Ramirez’s Disturbing Sex Act Isn’t Sexual Assault in His State appeared first on True Crime Report.

Breakfast reading from the Voice Media empire: But what’s arguably even more unsettling is the fact that what an Adams County jury determined Ramirez had done doesn’t qualify as sexual assault under current law according to a recent opinion from the state court of appeals. Westword has the story.

The post Why Senon Louis Ramirez’s Disturbing Sex Act Isn’t Sexual Assault in His State appeared first on True Crime Report.

from http://www.truecrimereport.com

How a Minnesota County Found Alternatives to Jail

Almost all the jail growth in the U.S. since 2000 has been in pretrial incarceration, but in St. Louis County, a program that allows more pretrial defendants to be released under supervision has bucked the trend. It’s been a life-changer for Renita Syas.

It’s been five years since Renita Syas was booked into the St. Louis County Jail in Duluth, Minn.

She spent three weeks and a day in custody — a stay that doesn’t exactly stand out in the daily churn of the county lock-up — but it was enough for the Duluth woman to decide she was never coming back.

“I just got really sick of it,” said Syas. “I didn’t want to go spend another 22 days in jail. That was scary enough for me. I knew I didn’t want to live my life like that any more.”

Today, Syas is a success story for local officials who are seeking to find alternatives that offer rehabilitation rather than incarceration for many offenders.

As St. Louis County continues to grapple with a jail-crowding crisis that is among the worst in the state, attention has shifted toward programming that addresses the needs of those who land in the criminal justice system.

Inside the St. Louis County Jail. Inmates’ faces have been blurred as requested by the jail. Bob King / Duluth News Tribune


Syas’ journey to jail is one that police, attorneys, judges and probation officers say they see in criminal defendants on a daily basis.

Born in the Twin Cities and mostly raised in Chicago, she was a teenager when she first moved to Duluth with her mother in the late 1990s. Syas, 36, said she had been abused by a family member from a young age, but for years refused to talk about it, and the trauma went unaddressed well into adulthood.

 In 2013, Syas found herself in what she now describes as a “tornado.”

Her partner at the time went to jail, and Syas said she found herself feeling alone and helpless. Mental illness coupled with chemical dependency overwhelmed her; she was soon arrested and faced multiple felony charges, including assault and robbery.

The jail stay, Syas said, was reality telling her to wake up. She nearly lost her apartment while in custody. After pleading guilty to the assault charge, her saving grace was the opportunity she was offered on pretrial release.

 “I pleaded out and I was just kind of waiting for that sentencing date,” she said. “I got pretrial release kind of at the last minute, so that’s how I was able to come home.”

The release from jail allowed Syas to begin putting the pieces back together in her life.

She ultimately had an 81-month prison sentence stayed for five years of supervised probation.

Probation was not a cakewalk, however. Syas went to treatment and was subject to electronic monitoring and random drug and alcohol testing.

She had to make frequent appearances in the South St. Louis County Mental Health Court program. She was required to complete the Duluth Bethel Female Offender Program.

“I was really going through some mental health issues and trying to deal with my housing situation,” she said. “I remember just being afraid of coming out of jail, and asking, ‘Can I really do this? This is so much.’

“It was a real struggle, but first I had to get my health in line and then work on completing all the things I had to complete. The mental health court really helped me change my life. The Bethel program, too.”

Expansion in Probation Services

In recent years, an expansion in probation services has allowed more defendants to get out of jail on supervised release while their cases are pending. And a reassessment of post-conviction probation violations is seeking to allow offenders an alternative to a repeat trip to jail.

See Also: St. Louis County seeks to buck trend as jail growth surges nationwide

“The real measure is probably not the current jail population, but how many lives can find a successful pathway because we had contact with them,” said Dan Lew, the region’s chief public defender.

“That’s how we’ve got to measure our outcomes. Not our jail population, and certainly not how long we can incarcerate folks. How many folks are living better?”

On any given day, about 80 percent of the inmates at the St. Louis County Jail are in pretrial custody.

Yet to be convicted of a crime, how long they remain in jail is largely dependent on the progress of their case through a court system that is seeing increasingly crowded dockets as case filings continue to climb.

“Cases used to move much quicker,” said St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin, who has 40 years of experience in the local criminal justice system. “Now we’ve got people who are on pretrial sitting in jail for far too long.”

The St. Louis County Jail has trended at or above national percentages for pretrial incarceration.

A February report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 65 percent of inmates in county and city jails across the country were in the pretrial phase in 2016.

“Almost all of the jail growth in the U.S. since 2000 has been in pretrial incarceration,” said Cherise Fanno Burdeen, CEO of the Maryland-based Pretrial Justice Institute.

Rubin said some judges are better than others at moving cases along, but he added the concept of a speedy trial now seems like a relic of a different era.

Advances in technology are leading to far more evidence that must be processed and reviewed by both law enforcement and attorneys. Gone are the days when a criminal case largely relied on a handful of typewritten police reports.

Today, there is DNA and advanced drug tests — and a shortage of the chemists at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension crime lab who are qualified to analyze them. There are body cameras videos that must be reviewed by the prosecution and defense attorneys. A forensic examination of cellphone or computer data can add hundreds of pages to a case file.

An inmate looks through available reading materials at the St. Louis County Jail. Photo by Bob King/Duluth News Tribune

Those are all great tools for the justice system but a significant burden in keeping cases moving forward, according to Lew.

“A typical case now, it’s thousands of pages of discovery,” he said. “We’re talking terabytes of discovery, which can only be accessed when you plug in a huge external hard drive and play 80 body cams.

“Just think of that, 80 body cams. This is just to open the file and read it for the first time. Leaving aside the time it takes to talk about DNA and forensic science, which is terribly time consuming — and our clients need that time.”

State law prescribes that 90 percent of criminal cases should be completed within three months, 97 percent should be done in six months, and 99 percent should be over within one year.

Minor criminal cases that typically wouldn’t result in any significant jail time — a first-time drunken driving offense or a fifth-degree assault, for instance — are generally meeting those marks. But the more serious cases that could result in a lengthy jail stay are more problematic.

In 2017, nearly 10 percent of “major criminal” cases — generally felonies and gross misdemeanors — went beyond a year in St. Louis County. That number has averaged about 8.5 percent since 2013, roughly equal with the statewide average over that time.

“The state has a hard time with the major criminal cases,” said Marieta Johnson, the 6th District court administrator. “That would be one case type where we’re all the same.”

With most inmates awaiting their next court date, a study from former Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Ken Schoen found that about 300 people who were locked up in the St. Louis County Jail in 2012 could have been safely released into the community with certain conditions.

“These were predominantly offenders who were there on higher-risk offenses or had prior offenses,” said Wally Kostich, chief probation officer for the five-county Arrowhead Regional Corrections (ARC). “Maybe some of them had been on probation before and violated the terms.”

Schoen’s analysis provided the spark for a new initiative: intensive pretrial release.

Ross Litman

St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman. Photo by Bob King/Duluth News Tribune

St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman in 2013 offered to reallocate some money from his jail budget to the probation agency, allowing ARC to add two probation officers in Duluth and two on the Iron Range strictly assigned to defendants who could be released into the community with a higher level of supervision.

Kostich said the program offers a level of attention that is similar to what an offender would receive after leaving prison on supervised release, or parole.

“You see very little of these IPT agents in the office,” he said. “They’re more on the streets seeing people in the community, verifying work status, making sure they’re going to their treatment programs.

“There’s drug testing involved. … These are people that normally would be sitting in custody had it not been for the ability to add these positions and see people out in the community.”

The program has a capacity of 50-60 clients each in Duluth and on the Range. With each day of incarceration for a single inmate costing St. Louis County taxpayers about $131, that adds up.

An Arrowhead Regional Corrections analysis found potential savings of $10.6 million through 2016, after 2 ½ years of operation for the program.

“As a judge, it’s a great alternative, frankly, because typically the person has failed on regular pretrial release,” said 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Sally Tarnowski. “I tend to think that many, if not most, of the people at the jail have either a chemical dependency or alcohol issue.

“If we just let them out of jail without addressing that, we’re just going to create this revolving door where they’re going to get back out in community and go back to old behaviors, and not get treated for the very thing that’s brought them to the jail.”

 The success of the intensive pretrial release program prompted Kostich and partnering agencies to take a look at a similar initiative on the back end of criminal cases.

It was apparent that most post-conviction inmates were in custody for probation violations — often technical infractions, such as missing an appointment, failing to check in with their probation officer or failing a drug test.

Rather than filing a formal violation report with the court and asking the judge to issue a warrant, ARC developed an alternative sanctions program that can be utilized in many instances.

A Contract With Conditions

The program offers the client an opportunity to sign a contract with some new conditions, such as additional days of community service, an alcohol assessment, counseling or cognitive skills programming, depending on the offense. If they agree, as most do, the contract goes to the sentencing judge for approval.

“It’s a way to address violations in lieu of a defendant having to appear in front of the court,” Kostich said.

“By lessening those appearances, we can hopefully give the court a chance to dispose of more high-priority cases in a quicker fashion.”

Like intensive pretrial release, the program was initially started with funds from the Sheriff’s Office. It now operates under ARC’s regular budget, with two full-time agents handling the program.

In any phase of supervision, Kostich said it’s important to tailor conditions to hone in on the needs of the individual. He said most clients will get a standard, comprehensive assessment to determine the appropriate level of supervision and programming.

“Sometimes the more conditions imposed upon an individual the more difficult it is for that individual to be able to maintain a crime-free lifestyle,” he said. “It’s just not a helter skelter that we’re just throwing up a bunch of conditions because I’m a true believer in the more we throw out there, the more difficult it is to succeed.”

180-Degree Turn

In just five years, Syas has made a 180-degree turn in her life. Soon after graduating from mental health court and completing the Bethel program, she stopped by the CHUM emergency shelter in downtown Duluth to pick up an application.

She said it took near-daily calls, but she finally convinced the organization to give her a job. Not long after, she was offered another employment opportunity at Life House, the youth homeless outreach agency, where she now works full time as the activities coordinator.

Syas knows her line of work well. She said she benefitted from the services of both CHUM and Life House earlier in life.

“My life is not perfect by a long shot but I’ve bought a house, I’ve had a kid, I now have a vehicle — all these things that I’ve wanted,” she said.

“I can’t complain.”

Syas recalled initially having a dismissive attitude toward the court and the people trying to help her. But the trip to jail, and the resulting opportunities to get treatment and resources, changed that.

Today, Syas makes visits to the mental health court and crisis-intervention training sessions hosted by the Duluth Police Department, volunteering to share her first-person account of going to jail and navigating the criminal justice system.

“I’ve lived it, I’ve experienced it, and it was not too long ago,” Syas said.
“I share that testimonial every day of my life now in the job I work in.”

Tom Olsen, a staff writer for the Duluth News Tribune, is a 2018 John Jay Rural Justice Reporting Fellow. This is a condensed and slightly edited version of the second and final installment of a series on jail incarceration written as part of his Fellowship Project. The complete version and other articles in the series can be accessed here.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Two Ohioans Arrested in Alleged Terror Plots

A 21-year-old man inspired by the Pittsburgh synagogue killings was accused of planning to attack a Toledo synagogue. In an unrelated case, a woman was charged with stockpiling bomb materials and planning a mass killing at a Toledo bar.

An Ohio man accused of planning to attack a Toledo synagogue told undercover FBI agents he was inspired by Islamist propaganda and the suspect in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre that killed 11 people, reports USA Today. The murderous plot is the second to be thwarted in Ohio, say federal prosecutors, who on Monday detailed a separate, unrelated large-scale scheme in which a 23-year-old woman was charged with stockpiling bomb materials and planning a mass killing at a Toledo bar. The suspect in the Toledo synagogue plot told an undercover FBI agent that he appreciated the Pittsburgh assault. “I admire what the guy did with the shooting actually,” wrote Damon Joseph, 21. He added: “I can see myself carrying out this type of operation inshallah,” he said, using the Arabic word for “God willing.”

A gunman shot and killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh in October. Robert Bowers, a Pittsburgh man with social media ties to the white nationalist movement, has been charged with 44 counts of murder, firearms offenses and hate crimes. Joseph, of Holland, Oh., was charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Police arrested him Friday after he took possession of two semi-automatic rifles to carry out the attack. Agents said Joseph, who used the name “Abdullah Ali Yusuf,” drew their attention by posting support of Islamic terrorists on social media accounts, including images from ISIS propaganda. Joseph told the agents he was deciding between two synagogues, depending on “which one will have the most people, what time and what day.” Agents quoted him as saying, “Go big or go home.” In the Toledo case, unrelated to Joseph’s alleged plot, authorities arrested Elizabeth Lecron, after they said she bought bomb-making materials as part of a terrorist attack.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Tuesday round-up

Tuesday round-upYesterday the Supreme Court issued additional orders from its conference last Friday, adding one case to its merits docket. Amy Howe covers the order list for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. At Education Week’s School Law Blog, Mark Walsh reports that the court agreed to review Kisor […]

The post Tuesday round-up appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Tuesday round-up

Yesterday the Supreme Court issued additional orders from its conference last Friday, adding one case to its merits docket. Amy Howe covers the order list for this blog, in a post that first appeared at Howe on the Court. At Education Week’s School Law Blog, Mark Walsh reports that the court agreed to review Kisor v. Wilkie, which raises “an important question about when courts should defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of its own ambiguous regulations.” Additional coverage comes from Tony Mauro at The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required) and from Ellen Gilmer at E&E News, who reports that the case “centers on veteran benefits but has broader implications for the degree to which judges yield to agency decisionmaking.” Jordan Rubin and Kimberly Robinson report for Bloomberg Law that “what the justices say could suggest that Chevron deference—the rule giving deference to agency interpretations of statutes—could itself be in the cross hairs.”

For The Washington Post, Robert Barnes reports that, over a dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, the court also “declined … to review lower court decisions that blocked efforts in two states to cut off public funding for Planned Parenthood, refusing for now to get involved in state battles over abortion rights.” For USA Today, Richard Wolf reports that the cert denial “let stand federal appeals court rulings that allowed the reproductive health organization’s patients to contest laws in Louisiana and Kansas that stripped its Medicaid funds.” Jess Bravin reports for The Wall Street Journal that, “[a]part from the abortion issue, conservatives have been skeptical that federal laws give individuals a right to sue over denial of benefits and similar matters unless Congress explicitly provided for such actions.” Additional coverage comes from Nina Totenberg and Domenico Montanaro at NPR, Adam Liptak for The New York Times, Greg Stohr at Bloomberg, Andrew Chung at Reuters, David Savage for the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Daley at The Daily Caller, and Mark Sherman at AP, who reports that “[t]he court’s order reflected a split among its conservative justices and an accusation from Justice Clarence Thomas that his colleagues seemed to be ducking the case for political reasons.” Another look at the cert denial in the Planned Parenthood cases comes in an episode of Tatter (podcast).

The justices also issued one opinion yesterday: In United States v. Stitt, the court held 9-0 that the term “burglary” in the Armed Career Criminal Act, which requires longer sentences for gun offenders who have three prior convictions for certain drug offenses or violent crimes, includes burglary of a structure or vehicle that has been adapted or is customarily used to sleep in overnight, such as an RV or a mobile home. Rory Little analyzes the opinion for this blog. Subscript Law provides a graphic explainer for the decision. Additional coverage comes from Jordan Rubin at Bloomberg Law and Barbara Leonard at Courthouse News Service.


  • At SCOTUS OA, Tonja Jacobi and Matthew Sag follow up on their previous analysis of “the implications of justices cross-referencing other justices at oral argument,” “focus[ing] on the content of those cross-references.”
  • At Law.com, Tony Mauro reports that “[a] handful of organizations have recently resorted to GoFundMe campaigns to generate donations for covering the cost of producing amicus briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court,” but that “because GoFundMe allows for anonymous contributions, the nascent trend has hit a speed bump”: “the high court’s Rule 37.6, which requires that amicus brief filers ‘shall identify every person other than the amicus curiae, its members or its counsel, who made such a monetary contribution.’”
  • In the most recent episode of First Mondays (podcast), which features “twice as many women … as there were at the Supreme Court podium in the whole December sitting,” Leah Litman guest host Jaime Santos recap last week’s arguments.
  • At The World and Everything In It (podcast), Mary Reichard discusses the oral arguments in Nieves v. Bartlett, which revisits the question of whether probable cause defeats a First Amendment retaliatory-arrest claim, and Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, which involves the timeliness of an appeal from a denial of class-action certification.
  • A recent episode of Bloomberg Law’s Cases and Controversies podcast features a conversation between law professor Steve Vladeck and “Tom Goldstein, the veteran U.S. Supreme Court lawyer and publisher of SCOTUSblog, who is challenging [Acting Attorney General Matthew] Whitaker’s appointment at the high court in an unusual motion.”
  • At The Progressive, Bill Blum observes that during the oral argument last week in Gamble v. United States, which asks whether the Supreme Court should overrule the “separate sovereigns” exception to the double jeopardy clause that allows a defendant to be prosecuted for the same crime in both federal and state court, “the court appeared as divided as the litigants and the amici, but not along the usual ideological lines.”

We rely on our readers to send us links for our round-up. If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, podcast, or op-ed relating to the Supreme Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at] scotusblog.com. Thank you!

The post Tuesday round-up appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

from http://www.scotusblog.com

WA Prosecutors Gather Gun Data for Health Approach

Prosecutors in Seattle’s King County are assembling data on shootings in the area to support a public health approach to gun violence. They hope it will help design interventions to prevent shootings.

How many people get shot in Seattle’s King County every year? It was a simple question no one could answer until two prosecutors and a data analyst spent two years scrutinizing shooting incidents, those that resulted in death or injury, as well as those that didn’t, reports the Seattle Times. The data, gathered from eight of the county’s 40 law-enforcement agencies, confirmed what police and agencies working with youth and families intuitively knew: 67 percent of this year’s firearm homicides and 58 percent of non-fatal shootings occurred south of Seattle city limits. The county is using the data to advance an emerging perspective on gun violence: that people shooting one another is as much a threat to public health as it is a problem for law enforcement. They view gun violence through a public-health lens and, for the first time, are analyzing the relationships between victims, witnesses and perpetrators of gun violence the same way an epidemiologist studies the spread of contagious disease. It’s a philosophy that’s gained traction across the U.S.

The goal is to find ways to intervene in the lives of the most vulnerable individuals before bullets start flying and prevent future violence, said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Karissa Taylor, who with Senior Deputy Prosecutor Dan Carew and Data Analyst Rafael Serrano make up the Crime Strategies Unit spearheading the gun-data deep dive. What those interventions will look like remains to be seen. Programs to prevent gun violence must be developed by community providers and public-health officials, Taylor said. The data give them a starting point. “When we started, there was no data, no sharing of information, everything was siloed,” Taylor said. The eight police departments involved in the Shots Fired Project each had different report-management systems for tracking gun violence, and had different definitions of what constituted a shooting.

from https://thecrimereport.org

FBI Issues Incident-Based Crime Reporting Data

The Federal Bureau Investigation released data on more than 6 million criminal offenses submitted to its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) last year. With more-detailed data collection, NIBRS is scheduled to become the national standard for crime reporting in 2021.

The Federal Bureau Investigation released data on more than 6 million criminal offenses submitted to its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) last year. With more -detailed data collection, NIBRS is scheduled to become the national standard for crime reporting in 2021. The FBI says the new system “offers more context and allows law enforcement agencies to use resources more strategically to prevent and combat crime.” Last year, 6,998 law enforcement agencies reported data to NIBRS. About 42 percent of law enforcement agencies that take part in the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program are submitting their crime data to NIBRS.

FBI director Christopher Wray says the NIBRS data “will give us a more complete picture of what’s really going on in our communities and allow us to do what we need to do to keep people safe.” The NIBRS data released on Monday said that of the 4,524,968 people who were victims of crimes, 23.4 percent were between 21 and 30 years old, and a little more than half were female. More than half (52.2 percent) of victims knew their offenders  but were not related to them. Of 5,266,175 known offenders (meaning at least one characteristic about the person is known, such as age, gender, or race), 1.9 percent were between the ages of 16 and 30. The majority of known criminals (62.4 percent) were men, and 25.5 percent were women.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Alleged Russian Agent Butina to Plead Guilty

Gun-rights activist Maria Butina has spent months in U.S. custody on charges of improperly pursuing Moscow’s interests in Washington, D.C. She is likely to be sent back to Russia.

Alleged Russian agent Maria Butina is expected to plead guilty, her lawyers and prosecutors signaled in a court filing, after the gun-rights activist spent months in U.S. custody on charges of improperly pursuing Moscow’s interests in Washington, D.C., the Wall Street Journal reports. Whether Butina will plead guilty to the original charges or to a different offense remains unclear. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan set a plea hearing for Wednesday afternoon. Butina has been in custody since her arrest in July and would likely be sent back to Russia upon her release.

The unusual case, brought by the U.S. Attorney, accused the former American University graduate student of working with a Russian banking official to develop back-channel relationships with U.S. politicians through the National Rifle Association, in an effort to advance Russia’s aims. Butina has denied acting improperly, saying she was only pursuing policy interests similar to other 20-somethings in Washington. The case has linked Russian officials, the young Russian gun-rights activist and student, the U.S. gun lobby, a Rockefeller heir and a longtime conservative political activist from South Dakota. Prosecutors withdrew salacious allegations they made accusing Ms. Butina of offering sex in exchange for a position. The Butina case is unfolding at a time of public scrutiny of Russian efforts to influence U.S. politics and policy. The case is separate from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Russian officials have said they view Butina as a political prisoner and hostage who is being unfairly prosecuted.

from https://thecrimereport.org