Posts Tagged ‘illegal drugs’

Rating states on legal climates

“West Virginia courts have a well-deserved reputation for favoring plaintiffs, but the state’s Supreme Court may have gone too far this year when it said drug addicts who broke the law to obtain narcotics could sue the doctors and pharmacies who supposedly fed their addiction.” Rulings like that, writes Daniel Fisher, are one reason West Virginia perennially ranks at the bottom in the U.S. Chamber’s ranking of state legal climates, and did again this year. Louisiana, Illinois, and California are other cellar-dwellers, while Alabama and Texas, despite extensive reforms and the success of business-oriented candidates in many judicial races, also languish in the lower ranks with continuing problems such as the litigation atmosphere of east Texas [Lou Ann Anderson/Watchdog Arena] More: Bob Dorigo Jones. Related, from ALEC: State Lawsuit Reform.

“Take a Valium, Lose Your Kid, Go to Jail”

During pregnancy “occasional, small doses of diazepam (the generic name for Valium) are considered safe… But one morning a few weeks later, when Shehi was back at her job in a nursing home and the baby was with a sitter, investigators from the Etowah County [Alabama] Sheriff’s Office showed up at the front desk with a warrant. She had been charged with ‘knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally’ causing her baby to be exposed to controlled substances in the womb — a felony punishable in her case by up to 10 years in prison. The investigators led her to an unmarked car, handcuffed her and took her to jail.” [Nina Martin, ProPublica]

P.S. Expanded into a longer post at Cato at Liberty.

Medical roundup

  • Study of Type I, Type II error finds FDA much too conservative in drug approval [Vahid Montazerhodjat and Andrew Lo via Tabarrok]
  • Behind push to license/regulate personal trainers in Washington, DC and elsewhere: ACA opened spigot of publicly channeled wellness money [Aaron Davis/Washington Post via Tyler Cowen, Peter Suderman]
  • “Medical lending”: financiers “invest in operations to remove pelvic implants, [reap] payouts when cases settle” [Alison Frankel and Jessica Dye, Reuters]
  • War on Some Drugs again collides with cancer therapy: “Psilocybin, it appears, targets this existential and spiritual distress.” [Ann Althouse]
  • Citing First Amendment, federal court enjoins FDA from prohibiting truthful speech by drugmakers about off-label uses [WSJ, Alex Tabarrok (in recent years, federal government “has extracted billions of dollars in settlements from pharmaceutical firms for engaging in what appears to be constitutionally protected speech”), Beck and Sullivan, Drug & Device Law on Amarin v. FDA]
  • SEIU 1199: “The union that rules New York” [Daniel DiSalvo/Stephen Eide, Daily Beast and City Journal]
  • Controversial therapist who is also anti-vaccine expert witness loses court challenge to Maryland medical license revocation [Beck, Drug and Device Law]

The reach of civil RICO

My new post at Cato describes how a pro-Drug-War group is using civil RICO to go after banks, bonding companies, landlords, and other commercial vendors that do business with marijuana facilities legalized under Colorado’s Amendment 64. Whatever you think of the underlying Colorado law, RICO (I argue) puts too much power in the hands of bounty-hunting private lawyers. More: Josh Blackman.

Crime and punishment roundup

  • “Regulatory Crimes and the Mistake of Law Defense” [Paul Larkin, Heritage]
  • Victims of sex offender registry laws, cont’d [Lenore Skenazy]
  • James Forman, Jr.: case against mass incarceration can stand on its own without flawed Jim Crow analogy [Boston Review and N.Y.U. Law Review, 2011-12]
  • “For-profit immigration jails, where the inmates — convicted of nothing — work for less than peanuts.” [@dangillmor on Los Angeles Times]
  • “The New Science of Sentencing: Should prison sentences be based on crimes that haven’t been committed yet?” [Marshall Project on statistically derived risk assessments in sentencing]
  • Group of 600 New England United Methodist churches issues resolution calling for an end to Drug War [Alex Tabarrok, who was also profiled the other day]
  • Prison guard in Florida speaks up about witnessing abuse of inmate, and pays a price [disturbing content, Miami Herald]

Carrying your medications around in a substitute container

A unanimous appellate panel in New York has ruled that Sephronia Bravo, 39, of the Bronx, is allowed to sue police after being “arrested [at a bus stop] for not having her prescribed medications in their original containers”:

Bravo said she refused to give consent, but the officers searched her purse anyway and found a single bottle containing her daily regimen of prescription medications and vitamins. …She was told she was being arrested for violating Public Health Law §3345, which prohibits possessing prescription medication “outside of the original container in which it was dispensed,” except for “current use.” …No illegal drugs were found and all charges were dropped at her first court appearance.

Police “later claimed they had seen her [at the bus stop] ‘exchanging small objects with another individual.” [New York Law Journal via author Benjamin Bedell, who adds, “Is there any normal day in which you could NOT be arrested for something?”] Earlier on legal hazards of seven-day pill boxes and the like.

Forfeiture roundup

  • How does your state rank on asset forfeiture laws? [Michael Greibok, FreedomWorks via Scott Shackford] Maryland delegate alleges that vetoed bill “would have made it easier for criminals to get their forfeited property back,” seemingly unaware that it focused on rights of owners *not* found guilty of anything [Haven Shoemaker, Carroll County Times] Arizona counties said to have nearly free rein in spending money [Arizona Republic via Coyote]
  • I took part last week in a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. on civil asset forfeiture, sponsored by Right on Crime, and it went very well I thought [Sarah Gompper, FreedomWorks]
  • “Nail Salon Owner Sues For Return Of Life Savings Seized By DEA Agents At Airport” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt] And: “A federal judge has just ordered the government to return $167,000 it took from a man passing through Nevada on his way to visit his girlfriend in California.” [Cushing]
  • “How Philadelphia seizes millions in ‘pocket change’ from some of the city’s poorest residents” [Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post “Wonkblog”]
  • IRS drops structuring forfeiture case against N.C. convenience store owner Lyndon McLellan, will return more than $107,000 it seized [Institute for Justice]
  • Canada, too, has civil forfeiture when there has been no criminal conviction [British Columbia Civil Liberties Association]
  • Michigan testimony: “After they breached the door at gunpoint with masks, they proceeded to take every belonging in my house” [Jacob Sullum]
  • Town of Richland, Mississippi, population 7,000, builds $4.1 million police headquarters with forfeiture money. Thanks, passing motorists! [Steve Wilson, Mississippi Watchdog via Radley Balko]

Medical roundup

  • “Embattled Broward Health paid law firm $10.2 million; tab included a lawyer’s M&Ms” [Miami Herald]
  • “Journalists were not very interested in the areas of vaccine policy that are actually debatable. They just wanted to find fools and laugh at them.” [Matt Welch]
  • Wider access to pharmaceutically based drug rehabilitation may be sound policy. But is it compelled by the ADA? [Huffington Post via @sbagen]
  • Kamala Harris carries water for the SEIU in a hospital deal, and Californians are the losers [John Cochrane]
  • Drug case: “Hagens Berman argument ‘gives new meaning to frivolous,’ judge says; sanctions imposed” [ABA Journal]
  • California: Kaiser Permanente “ordered to pay woman more than $28 million” [L.A. Times]
  • “Bacteria can evolve. So can McDonald’s. Maybe federal policymakers can as well, before it’s too late.” [Steve Chapman]