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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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California’s Next Gold Rush Is Green

Last week, California legalized recreational marijuana. So did Maine, Nevada, and Massachusetts, and four other states passed medical-marijuana laws: Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota. It marked the end of prohibition as we know it, which didn’t work for alcohol and doesn’t work for pot. Too many millions of people enjoy it responsibly or know others Read More

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Federal Court Puts a Stop to Medical-Pot Prosecutions

In a resounding decision last week, the country’s largest federal court of appeals forbade the Justice Department from prosecuting people who comply fully with their states’ medical-marijuana laws. The court’s decision consolidated ten separate appeals from cases in Washington and California. The decision also applies in Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Hawaii, and Arizona. It doesn’t apply in Idaho because Read More

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California Medical Association Says Legalize Marijuana

On February 1, the California Medical Association endorsed the Control, Regulate, and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Here’s the story from the Sacramento Bee, which features a short video running down the big questions about the ballot initiative. And here’s the press release from the CMA, which is the largest representative body of physicians in the state. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has signaled Read More

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New California Criminal Laws: Part Deux

To conclude our two-part series on the state’s new criminal laws, here are three more important ones that went into effect on January 1, 2016. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys must account for the immigration consequences of a plea deal. This is Assembly Bill 1343. It amended the Penal Code to reflect that defense lawyers must advise noncitizens accurately about Read More

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A Doctor’s Plea for Compassionate Release

Speaking of mercy, clemency, and compassion—here is a short, moving essay about a doctor and her patient. The author is the doctor; she specializes in end-of-life care, and she seems to be an exceptionally capable and compassionate person. Two years ago, she was one of five finalists for a national nonprofit’s award to a healthcare professional who demonstrates extraordinary compassion Read More

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The Mercy Project

Life is fragile. We sometimes forget that, but we remember quickly when we lose something or someone important to us. We often forget it because, in the developed world, we tend to live longer and better than people ever have. We forget that, even in our own country, not everyone lives (and has lived) as we do. Last Friday, President Obama granted Read More

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