2015 Is Record Year For False Convictions

The New York Times reports today on a study that found that in 2015, 149 individuals were determined to have been falsely convicted of a crime.  Nearly four in ten exonerations were for murder. According to the study, “[t]he annual tally of false convictions has more than doubled since 2011, the registry said. All told, its researchers have recorded 1,733 exonerations since 1989.”

No system of justice is perfect.  But we can do so much better to reduce the number of false convictions.  (For example, don’t rely on eyewitness identifications without corroborating evidence.)

 


When Felons Rule, Ctd

In an editorial today, The Hartford Courant argues against giving corrupt politicians a second chance at holding public office:

For elected leaders who betray the people’s trust by using their office in a criminal manner to put personal gain above the public good, the right to run again should be revoked.

I expressed the same view in a post on this blog last November, so I agree with the Courant 100%.

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UConn Is Not Above The Law

UConn has become one of the great public universities in the country.  Deservedly so.  But it is not above the law, including the state’s Freedom of Information Act.  Unfortunately, UConn seems to think otherwise.

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President Obama: “We Must Rethink Solitary Confinement”

[S]olitary confinement has the potential to lead to devastating, lasting psychological consequences. It has been linked to depression, alienation, withdrawal, a reduced ability to interact with others and the potential for violent behavior. Some studies indicate that it can worsen existing mental illnesses and even trigger new ones. Prisoners in solitary are more likely to commit suicide, especially juveniles and people with mental illnesses.

I’ll let his moving piece in today’s Washington Post speak for itself. (For the record, I agree with him.)


Why Do I Blog About The Law?

Because of reader responses like this one: “i love getting these blog posts in my inbox. reading them makes me smarter; thanks for writing them.”

Dear Reader: I love writing the posts as much as you enjoy reading them.  And I’m glad you find them worthy of your time. Thank you for your very kind words!


Does President Obama Care About The Law?

“A recurring criticism of the Obama Administration is that it has embraced an inflated notion of executive power and disregarded legal constraints on executive-branch actions.”  So writes Case Western University law professor Jonathan Adler on a post at The Volokh Conspiracy.  His post describes an article by another author, Charlie Savage, that tests the validity of that criticism by citing eight examples in which the Obama Administration did not do something it really wanted to do because the law stood in the way:

  1. Not closing Guantanamo
  2. Not bombing the Bin Laden compound
  3. Not keeping Daqduq in American custody
  4. Not targeting al-Farekh
  5. Revealing, at last, the role of warrantless surveillance in evidence presented in certain criminal cases
  6. Not unilaterally bombing Syrian forces for using chemical weapons
  7. Continuing to enforce DOMA
  8. Not including parents of ‘Dreamers’ in DAPA

I commend Adler’s post to readers (particularly my conservative friends who love to bash President Obama for alleged executive power overreach).


The Ted Cruz Debate: An Example Of Why Interpretation Matters

The current debate over whether presidential candidate Ted Cruz is constitutionally eligible to hold the office to which he aspires demonstrates why arguments about how the federal constitution should be interpreted are so important. They are not mere semantic debates.

Article II § 1 cl. 5,  of the United States Constitution sets forth three requirements for holding the office of President: He or she must be 35 years old, must have lived in the U.S. for 14 years, and must be “a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.” The last requirement is at the core of the Ted Cruz debate and this post.

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Discussing The Death Penalty On “The Legal Eagle”

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Lucy Gellman Photo

I had the pleasure of joining journalist Marcia Chambers this morning on “The Legal Eagle,” her weekly radio show on WNHH, the station owned and operated by The New Haven Independent.  We discussed a range of issues, including the oral argument in the Connecticut Supreme Court last week concerning the death penalty; the case the U.S. Supreme Court heard yesterday concerning the First Amendment and public sector labor unions; and recently enacted police body camera legislation.  Click here to listen to the show!


Is Ted Cruz A “Natural Born Citizen?”

Not if one interprets the U.S. Constitution the way Cruz thinks it should be interpreted.  See this interesting post over at the Volokh Conspiracy.


Handicapping The Outcome of State v. Peeler (Part Two)

In my preceding post I presented my thoughts on how the justices of the Supreme Court would cast their votes in State v. Peeler. In this post I discuss the various possible outcomes (“PO”). As I explain, there are a number of permutations beyond simply reaffirming or overruling State v. Santiago (Santiago II).

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