- 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]
- After criticism of heavy-handed Ankeny, Iowa police raid on persons suspected of credit card fraud, not actually reassuring to be told militarized methods needed because one house occupant had firearms carry permit [Radley Balko, more, more]
- Advocates strain mightily to fit unpopular Dunn verdict into Stand Your Ground theme [David Kopel, Jacob Sullum] More: sorry, pundits, but Rasmussen poll shows public’s plurality SYG support unshaken [Althouse]
- “‘Drop the Cabbage, Bullwinkle!’: Alaskan Man Faces Prison for the Crime of Moose-Feeding” [Evan Bernick, Heritage] “Criminalizing America: How Big Government Makes A Criminal of Every American” [ALEC “State Factor”]
- “We’ve also bred into dogs … an eagerness to please us.” Bad news for K-9 forensics [Balko]
- “Has overcharging killed the criminal trial?” [Legal Ethics Forum] Is the “trial penalty” a myth? [David Abrams via Dan Markel, Scott Greenfield]
- What if cops, as opposed to, say, gun owners, were obliged by law to purchase liability insurance? [Popehat]
- That’s productivity: North Carolina grand jury managed to crank out roughly one indictment every 52 seconds [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
“A Charlotte man blames the breakup of his marriage not only on the other guy, but also on the online infidelity service that he says made it happen. … North Carolina remains one of only a half-dozen states that still awards punitive damages when a marriage fails and someone other than the husband and wife is to blame. The so-called alienation of affection/criminal conversation laws have survived numerous efforts by judges, lawyers and some legislators to repeal them, and in recent years they have led to million-dollar judgments for wronged spouses.” [Charlotte Observer]
In North Carolina, lawmakers seem inclined to favor the big distributors, who as a group are major campaign donors. [NBC Charlotte]
- More details on my panel discussions on food issues next week at the Heritage Foundation [Monday, Sept. 23] and at Vermont Law School [Friday, Sept. 27];
- “A Ban on Some Italian Cured Meat Is Ending” [Glenn Collins, N.Y. Times] “Market Forces Lead to Better Treatment for Farm Animals” [Steve Chapman]
- “Tempering temperance: Puritan attitudes on alcohol still linger decades after Prohibition” [National Post]
- Dozens of class-action suits: “Bay Area courts center of legal battle against food industry” [Mercury-News]
- “Plain and/or Terrifying Packaging Considered for Junk Food in New Zealand (and Australia)” [Katherine Mangu-Ward]
- If the dangers of rice aren’t enough to alarm even today’s Margaret Hamburg-headed FDA, they’re probably not very serious [ACSH]
- North Carolina: home visits to make sure Medicaid recipient kids are eating their veggies? [Rick Henderson video]
Mark Hansen in the ABA Journal with an overview of how crime labs have finally come under scrutiny following a “string of shoddy, suspect and fraudulent results” in Boston, New York, North Carolina, Nassau County, N.Y. and elsewhere.
In St. Paul, Minn., assistant public defender Lori Traub stumbled into her local lab’s problems and
says she was horrified by what she found: The lab, an old-fashioned “cop shop,” was run by a police sergeant with no scientific background, had no written operating procedures, didn’t clean instruments between testing, allowed technicians unlimited access to the drug vault, and didn’t have anyone checking anyone else’s work. Analysts didn’t know what a validity study was, used Wikipedia as a technical reference, and in their lab reports referred to “white junk” clogging an instrument.
It gets much worse. A West Virginia state serologist, following the DNA clearance of a man he had previously identified as a rapist, “was eventually found to have falsified test results in as many as 134 cases during a 10-year period.” Oklahoma City Police Department crime lab chemist Joyce Gilchrist
who testified as a prosecution expert in 23 death penalty cases, including those of 12 inmates who were later executed, was fired in 2001 for doing sloppy work and giving false or misleading testimony. Nicknamed “Black Magic” by detectives for her seeming ability to get lab results no other chemist could, Gilchrist was never prosecuted for her alleged misdeeds, though she reportedly was named a defendant in at least one lawsuit against the city by a convicted rapist who was later exonerated.
More: And according to a new paper, it turns out that many state police labs are actually paid per conviction, a practice that tends to incentive false-positive error.
- “Retirement benefits cost Connecticut more than half of payroll” [Raising Hale] Jagadeesh Gokhale, “State and Local Pension Plans” [Cato] “In the report Krugman cites, the researchers note (repeatedly) that the trillion-dollar figure is very likely a dramatic understatement of the size of the unmet liability.” [Caleb Brown]
- California: “Bill would reinstate state workers who go AWOL” [Steven Greenhut]
- Eyebrow-raising federal salaries at unaccountable-by-design CFPB [John Steele Gordon, Commentary]
- “North Carolina Ends Teacher Tenure” [Pew StateLine]
- Not all states would benefit from a dose of Scott Walkerism, but Massachusetts would [Charles Chieppo, Governing]
- “Prison Ordered to Hire Back Guards Fired over an Officer’s Murder Because Everybody Else Was Awful, Too” [Scott Shackford]
- “New York State Lags on Firing Workers Who Abuse Disabled Patients” [Danny Hakim, New York Times] NYC educators accused of sex misconduct can dig in for years [New York Daily News]
- “Pennsylvania’s GOP: Rented by Unions” [Steve Malanga, Public Sector Inc.] NYC’s Working Families Party expands into Connecticut [Daniel DiSalvo, same]