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"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

"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

Crash the Justice System

Go to Trial: Crash the Justice System. Michelle Alexander argues that ubiquitous plea bargains have allowed America's politicians and judicial system to short-circuit constitutional due process and ignore the mechanics of mass incarceration. If everyone charged with crimes suddenly exercised his constitutional rights, there would not be enough judges, lawyers or prison cells to deal with the ensuing tsunami of litigation.
posted by the mad poster! on Mar 11, 2012 - 84 comments

Discretion?! They took our jobs!

In the US, for the past thirty years, new laws have been stripping judges of any discretion whatsoever in ensuring sentencing and other consequences of criminal activity are fair. Enter Qing Wong Hu, a Chinese immigrant who arrived in the US when he was 5, and now faces deportation for a string of muggings he committed in New York City in 1996, when he was still a juvenile. This, despite his successfully turning his life around and becoming a hard working, productive member of society.
posted by wierdo on Feb 21, 2010 - 19 comments

Fasten seat belts

O'Connor steps down. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her retirement.
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Jul 1, 2005 - 186 comments

Adopted family values

The Evan Parker Scott case bears more than a passing resemblance to the Baby Richard case of several years ago. Once more, a toddler who barely knows what's going on is being confiscated by the parent who gave him up in the first place. Is the domestic adoption system broken?
posted by u.n. owen on Dec 27, 2004 - 13 comments

Judicial activism

Judicial activism rears it's ugly head. But it is disingenuous to claim that activism is the mantle of liberals. Can you say "strict constructionist?" I didn't think so.
posted by nofundy on Jul 8, 2002 - 11 comments

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