- “Shaneen Allen’s prosecutor might be having second thoughts” [Radley Balko, earlier] Sequel: Indeed.
- “If you get a parking ticket, you are guilty until you have proven yourself innocent …. And that’s worked well for us.” — “senior” Washington, D.C. government official [Washington Post quoting inspector general report; also includes details on traffic camera protocols]
- Not an Onion story: Eleventh Circuit chides use of SWAT methods in Florida barber shop inspections [ABA Journal (“It’s a pretty big book, I’m pretty sure I can find something in here to take you to jail for”), Volokh, Balko, Greenfield] Militarized cop gear is bad, routinized use of SWAT tactics is worse [Jacob Sullum]
- New England Innocence Project looking at several shaken-baby cases [Boston Herald, background]
- Innocence commissions like North Carolina’s not a big budgetary line item as government programs go, alternatives may cost more [A. Barton Hinkle]
- New evidence continues to emerge in Ferguson police shooting, but is nation still listening? [Scott Greenfield]
- Prosecutors arrayed as organized pressure group is very bad idea to begin with, and more so when goal is to shrink citizens’ rights [AP on “Prosecutors Against Gun Violence”; Robert H. Jackson on prosecutors’ power and role in society]
Disparate impact by way of location? “Four environmental groups announced a federal complaint Thursday alleging that North Carolina’s hog farms discriminate against ethnic minorities because the stench and pollution from the swine operations disproportionately affect African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans who live nearby.” [Raleigh News & Observer]
If you last saw it in the small town of Hamlet, N.C., it might have been impounded by the police on low-level charges and then sold for scrap to junkyards in a series of what appear to be irregular and under-monitored transactions. “In police files were two court orders, signed by a state district court judge, but otherwise left mostly blank. Those pre-signed court orders, which judicial experts say are extremely unusual and do not seem appropriate, appear to have been copied and then used to dispose of at least seven vehicles.” [News and Observer last November via Balko]
More from New York City: “TLC Wrongly Accused Hundreds of Being Illegal Cabbies in Past Year.” And when they accuse, they can and do seize your car, which you may have to go to a lot of trouble to get back. [DNAInfo] Related: “City investigators wrongfully accused a black man of being an illegal taxi driver after they spotted him dropping off his wife at work, believing she was a white livery cab passenger, a lawsuit charges.” [DNAInfo via Alkon]
- Cop caught on camera stealing dying motorist’s $3700 and gold crucifix “walked out of courtroom with big smile on face” [Bridgeport; Connecticut Post]
- Durham, N.C. police officer testifies department would illegally gain access to homes for purposes of search by lying about getting 911 calls [IndyWeek]
- “California Highway Patrol Seizes Medical Records Of Woman An Officer Was Caught On Tape Beating” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
- Drivers routinely expected to give up otherwise-basic civil liberties in exchange for right to use the roads [Michael Tracey, Vice]
- Teen sexting prosecutions in Virginia and elsewhere: “We must destroy the children in order to save them” [Radley Balko]
- Narcotics officers get training credit at tax-funded seminars in how to argue in favor of drug laws [Missouri pro-legalization site via Balko]
- Back from the ashes: advances in fire and arson forensics cast doubt on earlier convictions [Texas Monthly]
Duke University and the heirs of the late actor John Wayne have been fighting in court for nearly a decade over trademark/licensing rights to the word “Duke” [Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter]
- Virginia Gov. McAuliffe vetoes bill expanding procedural rights for motorists facing camera tickets [The Newspaper]
- Attracting drug deals to town was money-making scheme for a Florida community’s law enforcers [Radley Balko] “Civil Asset Forfeiture: The Biggest Little Racket in Nevada” [Jason Snead and Andrew Kloster, Heritage; related, Evan Bernick on Georgia and Texas; Balko forfeiture roundup; and update, reform in Minnesota]
- “Yes, it’s time to get rid of regulatory agencies’ paramilitary units” [Jason Pye, United Liberty]
- (Some of) what’s wrong with “victim’s rights” laws [Steve Chapman]
- A case study in overcriminalization: “Reforming the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” [Vikrant Reddy, Texas Public Policy Foundation] More: Overcriminalization in North Carolina [Jim Copland and Isaac Gorodetski, Manhattan Institute]
- “We emphatically reject the notion that due process of law permits the police to frame suspects.” [Third Circuit in Halsey v. Pfeiffer, allowing Byron Halsey to sue police after being wrongly imprisoned for 19 years in double murder case; Newark Star-Ledger] What to do about ongoing epidemic of police “dropsy” and “testilying”? [Balko]
- Prince George’s County, Maryland police announce in advance they’re going to behave unethically over course of next week [Conor Friedersdorf] Update: police call off plan, claiming announcing it had value in deterring johns.
Durham police paid undisclosed “conviction bonuses” to informants in drug cases, a practice both prosecutors and defense lawyers say comes as a surprise to them [IndyWeek]
I spoke on Thursday to the Bastiat Society chapter in Charlotte with some observations rooted in public choice theory about the “three-tier” system of state liquor regulation familiar since Prohibition. A few further links for those interested in the subject:
- Tom Wark: “Why do wine and beer wholesalers deliver up more campaign contributions than all wineries, distillers, brewers and retailers combined?” (Because of the rents!) The North Carolina microbrewery angle;
- Matt Yglesias at Slate: “How Looser Regulation Gave D.C. Great Specialty Bars“
- AEI held a panel discussion last spring with Brandon Arnold, Jacob Grier (both formerly with the Cato Institute), and Stephen George, moderated by Tim Carney. Video snippets: Jacob on the history of the 3-tier system (2:00); Brandon on homebrewing (0:44). Here’s Jacob discussing the Oregon system at his cocktails-and-policy blog Liquidity Preference, and here’s Brandon on direct-to-consumer Internet sales.
- On “at rest” laws, and the attempted extension to New York: my posts at Cato and Overlawyered, Wark, and recently from CEI’s Michelle Minton on renewed action in New York.
- Oldie-but-goodie David Spiegel, Regulation mag, 1985 (PDF).
- Cato Institute reissues Jonathan Rauch’s classic Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks On Free Thought after 20 years, with new introduction by George F. Will and new afterword by the author [Jason Kuznicki; Reason Foundation] The free-speech Supreme Court decision without which there would have been no gay-rights movement [Rauch guestblogging at Volokh Conspiracy]
- Important stuff: Ken White vs. Mark Steyn on how to respond to lawsuits against speech [Popehat]
- “Blogger: Go Ahead and Sue; I’ve Got Nothing To Lose” [Greensboro, N.C., sued by developer; Romenesko] Is it possible to defame a business by putting up a Craigslist post linking to an online docket showing lawsuits against it? [Cook County Record]
- U.K. aims to tweak existing X-rated internet filters to block “extremist” websites [TechDirt] Europe’s hate speech laws may actually prepare the ground for sowers of hate [Jamie Kirchick, Tablet]
- Public Citizen’s Paul Alan Levy, ACLU of Maryland assist anonymous blogger targeted by Brett Kimberlin [Consumer Law & Policy]
- “Rhode Island Cops Vigilant In Face of Scourge of People Making Fun of State Representative Scott Guthrie” [Popehat]
- “If you are determined to sue 1,200 people for linking to a newsworthy article, you may begin with me.” [John Scalzi]