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New California Criminal Laws in 2018

We’ve already touched on four of them: Recreational pot. A ban-the-box law for employers. An overhauled sex-offender registry beginning in 2021. New rules for picking juries in civil and criminal cases. Here are five more this week, with five more to come next week. Lawyers can advise clients on cannabis. This is Assembly Bill 1159. It amended the Read More

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New Year’s Resolutions

Speaking of compliance, here are two businesses that ended the year resolving charges they violated U.S. trade sanctions by dealing with blocked countries, people, or entities. Both cases show how the government enforces its sanctions regime, and they illustrate how an ounce of prevention can beat a pound of cure. Both cases were brought by the Office of 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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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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Our Federal Prisons Are Fueled By Drugs

That’s the takeaway from this report by the federal courts and U.S. Sentencing Commission. To summarize, there are almost 200,000 people in federal prison today, and almost half of them (or 48%) are there for drugs. Almost all of them (93%) are men, and the vast majority are young, minority men. The breakdown is 35% Hispanic, 35% black, and 27% Read More

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White-Collar to Blue-Collar in One Day

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two notable decisions on the same day. One was a civil white-collar case, the other a criminal drug-trafficking case, and in both cases, the Court reversed the lower-court ruling on appeal. In the civil case, the Court imposed a five-year statute of limitations on SEC cases that seek to disgorge profits. That’s Read More

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The New DOJ Policy on Charging Decisions

Two weeks ago, the new U.S. Attorney General announced a new policy for charging and sentencing in criminal cases. Although the policy targets drug cases in particular, it applies to all federal prosecutions. You can break it down into three parts. First, prosecutors should file the “most serious, readily-provable” charges in each case. The most serious Read More

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New California Criminal Laws: Part Deux

To conclude our series on new criminal laws, here are two more notable ones. You have more protection against abusive asset forfeiture. This is Senate Bill 443. It amended the Health and Safety Code to curb law enforcement’s ability to take and keep your property without convicting you of a crime. For more background see here. Under Read More

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You Won’t Ever Die From Boredom In a Police Raid

That’s the nice thing about it. But the same can’t be said for being rash or reckless, which is how some police departments are prone to execute their warrants. They may use SWAT teams as a default option for every search or arrest, and they may go in like gangbusters if they do. When they Read More

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