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overcriminalization
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A New Day in the City of Brotherly Love

If you haven’t heard, the new district attorney of Philadelphia is a lifelong defense lawyer who used to sue the government for violating people’s civil rights. He even ran on a campaign against overcriminalization. It’s a pretty amazing thing. Now the city’s top prosecutor has put his money where his mouth was during the campaign. Read More

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The Most Patriotic Thing

Here’s a gift for the holidays: James P. Gray arguing relentlessly against drug prohibition as he has for twenty-five years now. He calls it the best thing, the most patriotic thing, that he can do for his country. If you don’t know Jim Gray, you should. He’s a former state judge from Orange County, California who used Read More

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Reasonable Minds Can Differ

But they will usually find more to agree on. Case in point: this short interview with the junior U.S. senator from Utah. He’s considered one of the more conservative members of Congress, but he’s also part of a bipartisan group that’s pushing to reform our criminal justice system. As a former federal prosecutor, he’s asked how he feels about the justice Read More

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Two Tears

Two true stories, that is, of people on a sex-offender registry. The first. Today, she’s a 34-year-old mother of two great kids. Back then, she was a teenager herself when she slept with a boy on the night of her 19th birthday party. The boy was mature enough to pursue her but, as it happened, he was 14. His Read More

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Lifetime Sex-Offender Registration for Kids

Do you think sex-offender registration is punishment? What if it’s for life? What if it’s for a 12-year-old boy? Last week, the California Court of Appeal ruled that it’s not punishment to call a kid a sex offender for life because of something he did when he was twelve years old. According to the court, the boy’s early years Read More

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No Correlation Between Drug War and Use

According to an independent, well-regarded think tank, there is statistically no reason to think that we can reduce drug abuse by locking more people up. The nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts spelled it out in a letter this summer to a federal commission that’s looking at ways to combat the widespread problem of opioid abuse. Its study, which drew on data Read More

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The Restoration of Rights Project

Have you ever been arrested? Do you have a prior conviction? Do you wonder whether you can clean up your record and how that affects you, if at all? Start here. It’s called the Restoration of Rights Project, and it looks at the law in every state for restoring your rights and status after an Read More

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The Modern Public Square

This week brought us another unanimous U.S. Supreme Court case that’s arguably more important because it concerned the First Amendment. The issue was a North Carolina law that made it a felony for registered sex offenders to use any social-networking site that let minors join. So, to be clear: that’s any social-media site, period, that let minors join. That Read More

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Judge Not, Lest We Be Judged

If you’re still not sold on the power of redemption, I may not be able to sway you. But consider this guy. He committed a carjacking at 16 and spent eight years in prison for it. Today, at 35, he has a wife, two bouncy sons, and now, a law degree from Yale. He just graduated last month. I Read More

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A Model Penal Code for the 21st Century

Charging decisions, which we wrote about last week, matter for many reasons. They drive plea bargains, and they affect sentencing. You file a felony, for example, so that the guy will plead to a misdemeanor without giving you much trouble. It happens all the time. Bad charging decisions, though, don’t just cause wrongful convictions or unjust sentences. They cause other consequences that Read More

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