5 Dead Since 2008

Iberia Parish Jail

Iberia Parish (La.) Sheriff Louis Ackal was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy and deprivation of civil rights in relation to multiple alleged beatings of detainees in the parish jail’s chapel.

Several deputies who pleaded guilty to charges related to the abuse of prisoners testified that Ackal and one of his most senior officers, Lt. Col. Gerald Savoy (who was also indicted), ordered a number of men to be taken to the chapel, where there were no security cameras, and “take care” of them.

Via Louisiana Sheriff Indicted Over Jailhouse Chapel Beatings of Detainees @ Hit & Run :

Modern-Day Debtors’ Prisons

In one stroke, the Justice Department has dramatically amplified our efforts. It has issued a strong letter to state chief justices and court administrators making it clear that the 14th Amendment prohibits jailing people for nonpayment of court fines and fees without procedural safeguards. These measures include an ability-to-pay hearing before a neutral judge on whether a person’s nonpayment was willful or due to poverty, meaningful alternatives to jail for people who cannot afford to pay, and legal representation in certain collection enforcement actions.

DOJ’s letter also echoes longstanding ACLU concerns about the bias introduced when municipalities enlist for-profit probation companies that have a direct financial stake in the debts they are hired to collect. Employees hurt the company bottom line when they help courts identify indigent people whose payment of company service fees should be waived. The ACLU has sued the for-profit probation company Judicial Corrections Services, Inc. in Georgia and Biloxi.

Via The Department of Justice Throws Its Weight Behind Ending the Jailing of the Poor for Unpaid Fines @ American Civil Liberties Union.


According to an investigation by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, federal prosecutors turned down 12,703 out of 13,233 total complaints against cops between 1995 and 2015.

The newspaper looked at data from nearly 3 million U.S. Justice Department records related to how the department’s 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices handled civil rights cases referred to them by the FBI and opened on their own.

Via Cops Not Charged In 96 Percent Of Federal Rights Violation Cases @ Cop Block.

LAPD Officers Charged With Repeatedly Raping Women While on Duty 

“Two veteran Los Angeles Police Department officers who worked as partners assigned to the Hollywood Division have been charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting four women, often while the pair was on duty, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today. James Nichols (dob 2/4/72) and Luis Valenzuela (5/11/72) are scheduled to be arraigned on…

About the crime-objection to open borders 

One of the putative downsides of open borders is that immigrants might cause crime. According to this argument, immigrants are statically more likely to commit various crimes than domestic citizens, and for that reason, it is justifiable to exclude.

One response to this argument is to dispute the empirical claims. In fact, empirical studies generally find that immigrants are less likely to commit crime than domestic-born citizens. Bas van der Vossen and I will summarize the studies in our forthcoming book with Oxford. I’m not bothering to link to them here, though, because I want to ask, instead, what if immigrants did in fact cause more crime? What if immigrants were more likely to be criminals than the domestic population? Would that be sufficient reason to restrict international migration?

Via The Crime Objection to Open Borders @ Bleeding Heart Libertarians.

“How mass shootings joined a ‘series of sensational crime categories that have been granted the media’s intense spotlight’ “

He doesn’t merely mean that mass shootings are now covered more frequently and more intensively. He is suggesting that the media learned to treat “mass shootings” as a category, and at times to expand that category’s boundaries. “It seems to me ‘mass shooting’ is a bit of a nebulous term,” the linguist Ben Zimmer told Roeder. And that, Zimmer added, has “allowed journalists to use it as kind of a catch-all.”

The sociologist Joel Best once wrote that “crime waves” frequently turn out to be little more than “waves in media attention: they occur because the media, for whatever reason, fix upon some sort of crime, and publicize it.”

Via The Creation of a Crime Wave @ Reason Hit & Run.

Minnesota Scales Back the Drug War

State leaders have signed off on a plan, years in the making, to reduce the time spent behind bars for first-time drug offenders and better distinguish addicts from potentially violent drug dealers.The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission voted 7-3 to overhaul the state’s drug sentencing guidelines, reducing recommended prison sentences for first-time offenders convicted of first-degree drug possession from seven to four years, and sentences for first-degree drug sale from seven to five years.The commission also changed presumptive prison sentences in second-degree sale and possession cases to probation.

Via Minn. Sentencing Guidelines Commission signs off on drug sentencing reform @

Life without Parole for Juveniles

From May to October of 2015, the Phillips Black Project collected information about people sentenced to life without parole for crimes they committed as juveniles. Using this data, we recently issued a report concluding that juvenile life without parole sentences are clustered in a handful of counties, and that these sentences are disproportionately handed to people of color.

Via How We Counted the Juveniles Sent to Prison for Life @ The Marshall Project.

Juveniles in Solitary in Nebraska 

“I think it’s fair to say as we look to comparisons with our sister states and across the national landscape that Nebraska’s use and policies regarding juvenile solitary confinement truly shock the conscience,” ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad said Monday morning.

On any given day in Nebraska, the report said, juvenile justice facilities routinely subject kids to solitary confinement. There is no uniformity in how kids are kept alone for periods of time ranging from hours to months.

Via Solitary confinement of Nebraska youth said ‘disturbing’ @ Journal Star Breaking News


“In late September, a Harris County grand jury declined to indict Klimek for murder. Klimek’s defense centered on Texas’ Stand Your Ground law, one of the most expansive in the nation. In 2007, the Texas Legislature passed legislation explicitly stating that civilians have no “duty to retreat” from their vehicles before using deadly force in…