Tuesday August 10, 2010

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There’s lots of interesting stuff up on the Internet right now. I highly recommend taking a look at these articles and posts from all over:

  • 3 Years And 14 Days to Justice | Florida criminal defense attorney Brian Tannenbaum usually blogs about the law in a more theoretical or philosophical way, rather than a personal one. This time, however, he takes us into a 3 year long investigation of a client who was clearly innocent of any wrongdoing, and prosecuted in federal court anyway. The story’s got a happy ending, but getting to that happy ending will probably fill you with a bit of disgust for some people who wear the prosecutor’s shoes.
  • A market solution for graffiti costs? | Scott Henson of Grits For Breakfast once again demonstrates why he’s one of the smarter voices talking about criminal justice issues in Texas (and beyond). He’s always been a pretty insightful guy when it comes to the issue of graffiti, respecting that there’s a cultural benefit to artists who work in the medium, and this is a particularly good idea: Rather than levy huge fines against the 1% of graffiti writers who get caught and convicted to pay for the cleanup, why not add a surtax to the cost of spray paint? Put that money in a separate fund, and use it to clean up private property when it gets tagged. It’s not totally dissimilar to what they used to do with cassette tapes, where a portion of each sale went to pay for the presumed losses the RIAA would suffer for home bootlegging. (How’s that for a reference that was totally relevant ten years ago, and will get you only blank stares from today’s college freshmen?)
  • Police question if officer in dog shooting was legally allowed to carry gun | I wrote about Bear Bear from Baltimore last week, the dog who was shot by an off-duty federal police officer in an off-leash dog park. The police report was made public over the weekend, and the Baltimore Sun – which has been covering the story well – has some good questions stemming from it, like why the city cop on the scene was so quick to close the case after a gun was discharged in a public park. (And for those who wonder why we care so much about dogs when people are being shot, too, there are a few good answers, but here’s one – we can learn a lot from how the system treats police officers by looking at a situation where a cop whose right to have a gun at the time is in question was considered above reproach even when he shot a stranger’s dog in a dog park.)
  • Drugs: the problem is more than just the substances, it’s the prohibition itself | Finally, the Guardian has some good, in-depth editorials up about the drug war right now. Here’s one of them.

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