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“He looks young,” the judge said.

Life Times Six: How Travion Blount got 118 years and six life sentences for a robbery. In 2006, 15 year old Travion Blount, along with two 18 year olds, robbed a group of teenagers at a party at gunpoint. No shots were fired. The two older boys accepted sentences of 10 and 13 years in exchange for a guilty plea. Blount plead guilty but refused to accept a sentence of 18 years. He went to trial, was found guilty, and received a mandatory 118 years in prison, without parole. On top of that, he received six life sentences. His only chance to exit prison alive is through geriatric release at age 60. He will most likely die behind bars. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 24, 2013 - 144 comments

"That’s cruel and unusual punishment to me.” -Angola Warden

A LIVING DEATH: Sentenced to die behind bars for what?
For 3,278 people, it was nonviolent offenses like stealing a $159 jacket or serving as a middleman in the sale of $10 of marijuana. An estimated 65% of them are Black. Many of them were struggling with mental illness, drug dependency or financial desperation when they committed their crimes. None of them will ever come home to their parents and children. And taxpayers are spending billions to keep them behind bars.

A LIVING DEATH: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses (PDF)
posted by andoatnp on Nov 13, 2013 - 32 comments

McCutcheon v. FEC

Supreme Court to consider lifting campaign contribution limits. Reversing McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission would allow unlimited individual campaign contributions.
posted by kliuless on Oct 7, 2013 - 101 comments

"I have never been custodian of my legacy."

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia "On the eve of a new Supreme Court session, the firebrand justice discusses gay rights and media echo chambers, Seinfeld and the Devil, and how much he cares about his intellectual legacy ("I don’t")." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 6, 2013 - 89 comments

No, this is not an Admiralty Court.

Canadian self-described "Freemen" in Alberta have recently attracted a great deal of public attention to themselves. The justice system generally takes a very dim view of their shenanigans, as laid out in one of the most comprehensively researched and bizarre judgment issued in recent memory. Here's a general overview and debunking of the arguments they use. [more inside]
posted by thewalrus on Sep 23, 2013 - 142 comments

"This was not a complex killing"

On Monday, a 12-year-old California boy was convicted of the second-degree murder of his father, regional Neo-Nazi leader Jeff Hall. [more inside]
posted by Benjy on Jan 15, 2013 - 114 comments

“I thought that modern penology has abandoned that rehabilitation thing”

In Sentencing Criminals, Is Norway Too Soft? Or Are We Too Harsh?
It’s not very often the concept of restorative justice gets much play outside scholarly publications or reformist criminal justice circles, so first, some credit for Max Fisher at The Atlantic for giving it an earnest look last week. In seeking to explain Norway’s seemingly measly twenty-one-year sentence for remorseless, mass-murdering white supremacist Anders Breivik—a sentence that is certain to be extended to last the rest of his life—Fisher casts a critical eye on the underlying philosophy that animates that country’s sentencing practices, finding it to be “radically different” from what we’re used to in the United States.
The Effectiveness of Restorative Justice Practices: A Meta-Analysis [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 12, 2012 - 87 comments

Money Unlimited

Money Unlimited How John Roberts Orchestrated the Citizens United decision. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on May 15, 2012 - 87 comments

Addressing the Justice Gap

Several commentators are advocating the deregulation of the practice of law.
posted by reenum on Aug 26, 2011 - 125 comments

Literal Wisconsin Supreme Court battle

Two weeks ago, the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted 4-3 [video] to reinstate the controversial anti-union Budget Repair Bill, which a district judge had declared void due to a law requiring 24 hours' public notice of meetings. The Supreme Court's deliberations were heated. The liberal Justice Ann Walsh Bradley now says that after she asked conservative Justice David Prosser to leave her office, he put his hands around her neck in a choke-hold. Justice Prosser denies the allegation. [more inside]
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jun 26, 2011 - 160 comments

Muzzle the Defense

The chances that a powerful person will make an error are much greater than those of a weak person. Scott Horton translates Benjamin Constant, references Robespierre, and offers insight on modern efforts to preclude meaningful trials in federal court. [more inside]
posted by fartknocker on Apr 2, 2011 - 20 comments

Conviction

Betty Anne Waters's brother Kenny was sent to prison for first degree murder and armed robbery in 1982. Over the next 16 years, Betty Anne got her GED, college degree, and law degree, all in an effort to prove Kenny was innocent. With the assistance of the Innocence Project, Betty Anne was able to use DNA evidence to show Kenny was innocent. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Mar 24, 2011 - 28 comments

“There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

Elena Kagan will be officially nominated to replace John Paul Stevens today, ending weeks of speculation and controversy as to who would replace the retiring Supreme Court Justice. Significant criticism has hounded Kagan throughout the nomination process, as she has never tried a case in court (much like Earl Warren). Many worry that her notable statements and writings do not provide a clear progressive record; some go so far as to claim she is Obama's Harriet Miers.
posted by mek on May 9, 2010 - 186 comments

Life and death of a black and white

Texas executes Mexican national who was denied consul visit. [more inside]
posted by mrducts on Aug 6, 2008 - 121 comments

Under His Robes

U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals Chief Justice Alex Kozinski [wiki] is currently adjudicating a remarkably hardcore obscenity case.  He is currently facing his own obscenity case as well, having allowed public access to NSFW or illegal-for-minor-viewing material posted on his own vanity website, as reported in the LA Times.  Although he maintains that the material's posting was just innocent fun, he clearly knows his way around the internets.  Kozinski is a prolific and well-regarded essayist, and is occasionally mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee.
posted by rzklkng on Jun 11, 2008 - 96 comments

His object all sublime / He will achieve in time

Court Decision, re: Fisher v. Lowe, Feb. 1999. Car ends up in man's yard. Man sues driver. Judge administers poetic justice. [via]
posted by Smart Dalek on Jan 30, 2007 - 40 comments

And the hell with the law.

New York Justice. Because every woman needs a good pounding every now and then.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great on Sep 26, 2006 - 106 comments

Woman Hits Two Boys with SUV

Woman charged with running down boys who hit SUV with golf ball. Her family said this is completely unlike her, yet she told the judge this morning, "I'm mentally ill." Well, obviously, but does that mean she isn't accountable for three counts of attempted murder?
posted by Miss Beth on Dec 6, 2004 - 36 comments

This is some scary stuff. Life in prison for malicious hacking? We can't keep rapists and murderers away from society for very long but now hackers & crackers could be jailed for life? And on top of that the FBI can monitor internet packets without a warrant? If you enjoy your freedom from gov't surveillance, it looks like it's time to start using PGP.
posted by mathowie on Jul 16, 2002 - 21 comments

Nike Can't Just Say It, Court Rules

Nike Can't Just Say It, Court Rules Law: Firms can be found liable for deceptive public statements, justices decide. Critics call the decision a blow to free speech. You've got to love it.
posted by onegoodmove on May 5, 2002 - 15 comments

Arundhati Roy Fined, Sent to Jail for a Day.

Arundhati Roy Fined, Sent to Jail for a Day. The Supreme Court of India on Wednesday sentenced Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy to a day's imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 2,000 for contempt of court. If she doesn't pay the fine, she will be jailed for three months.
posted by Ty Webb on Mar 6, 2002 - 19 comments

Terrorists should be tried in front of military tribunals

Terrorists should be tried in front of military tribunals instead in civilian courts in front of juries.
posted by Steven Den Beste on Sep 29, 2001 - 19 comments

Republicans Step Up Campaign Against Global Court

Republicans Step Up Campaign Against Global Court

Jesse Helms and co. against international war crimes court treaty.

Guess somebody's got some skeletons to hide.

Bush administration against it too.
posted by Mr. skullhead on Jan 3, 2001 - 7 comments

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