Tuesday, January 29, 2013

 This is something we should remember about Regan and Amnesty for immigrants.

Conservatives may be reminded what their party was like in the 1980s.  Many young Republicans may become informed. This NPR piece is something that present "social conservatives" will be surprised by. 

A Reagan Legacy: Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants

"I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally," Ronald Reagan said in 1984.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
As the nation's attention turns back to the fractured debate over immigration, it might be helpful to remember that in 1986, Ronald Reagan signed a sweeping immigration reform bill into law. It was sold as a crackdown: There would be tighter security at the Mexican border, and employers would face strict penalties for hiring undocumented workers.
But the bill also made any immigrant who'd entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty — a word not usually associated with the father of modern conservatism.
In his renewed push for an immigration overhaul this week, President Obama called for Republican support for a bill to address the growing population of illegal immigrants in the country. This time, however, Republicans know better than to tread near the politically toxic A-word.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Reinvigorating the Federal Pardon Process: What the President Can Learn from the States | ACS

Margaret Colgate Love
Publication Date: 
January 24, 2013
ACS is pleased to distribute “Reinvigorating the Federal Pardon Process: What the President Can Learn from the States” by Margaret Colgate Love of the Law Office of Margaret Love and formerly of the Office of the U.S. Pardon Attorney.
The presidential exercise of the pardon power, or lack thereof, has been the subject of national conversation in recent months.  As Margaret Colgate Love describes in her Issue Brief, this much discussed, but not often used, executive power and process "has lost its vigor, its integrity, and its sense of purpose.”  The latest assessments of the federal pardon process suggest a process plagued by racial and class disparities, and in at least one case, misconduct on the part of the Pardon Attorney.

Reinvigorating the Federal Pardon Process: What the President Can Learn from the States | ACS

Obama's Pot Dilemma: Is It Time to Evolve?

Obama's Pot Dilemma: Is It Time to Evolve?

December 8, 2012, 12:00 AM
What's the Big Idea?
When the clock struck midnight this past Wednesday, dozens of pot smokers lit up in plain sight at Seattle's Space Needle. At that exact moment, the state of Washington's liberal marijuana law went into effect. No federal officials were in sight. No arrests were made, even though smoking marijuana in public is still subject to a fine in Washington. Law enforcement officials seem to want to stay as far away as possible from these types of celebrations, so as not to open up a legal can of worms.

Obama's Pot Dilemma: Is It Time to Evolve?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Professor Doug Bermans blog has very good commentary about the NY Times article on gun laws and mandatory minimums.  It is worth the read.

More proof mandatory sentencing laws are never really mandatory and can enhance disparities

Guns-prison5One typical argument for mandatory sentencing provisions, whether in the form of statutory minimums or rigid guideline structures, is that they ensure all persons who commit a certain kind of crime will be sure to get a certain kind of sentence. But even if one believes such one-size-fits-all approach to sentencing can be justified normatively in some settings, real-world evidence reveals again and again and again that criminal justice actors will devise various ways (some hidden, some in the open) to avoid consistent application of these mandates. The latest proof of this reality appears in this lengthy article from yesterday's New York Times, which is headlined "Prison Isn’t as Mandatory as State’s Gun Laws Say." Here are excerpts:

Go to:  This link

Manifest Injustice !

 PS Ruckman's fine blog Pardon Power has another great post today.

Today, Pulitzer Prize winner Barry Siegel's new book, Manifest Injustice: The True Story of a Convicted Murderer and the Lawyers Who Fought for His Freedom, is on the shelves of the Nation's bookstores (see ad here).

The book is about the case of one William Macumber whose situation was highlighted in many of our posts (click here). We have asked (and gained) permission to quote the following passages from the book:                 This is the link -  Manifest Injustice !

Friday, January 18, 2013

The War on Fast Food: Can a D.C. Suburb Fight Fat with Zoning?

Maryland's Prince George's County has the highest obesity rates in the Washington, D.C. area. Now the county council is considering a bill that would give it zoning authority to keep new fast food eateries out of its jurisdiction.
But is tackling obesity as easy as keeping cheeseburgers and fries out of people's hands?
The author of the bill, Karen Toles, thinks so and tells Reason she's just trying to hold fast-food restaurants accountable for "preying" on her constituents. The Center for Consumer Freedom's Justin Wilson says the bill violates the rights of customers and businessmen and argues that “obesity is far more complicated than blaming...one single industry.”
The bill's worst enemy maybe Prince George's itself: The county recently loaned $300,000 to a local businessman so he could open up two new Little Caesars pizza restaurants.
The bill is scheduled for a vote later this year.
About 2.30 minutes. Produced by Joshua Swain and hosted by Kennedy.

The War on Fast Food: Can a D.C. Suburb Fight Fat with Zoning?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director January 17, 2013
The Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the most senior member of the Senate, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) again spoke out against the War on Drugs today during a briefing on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s upcoming agenda.
“The fact that so many people, especially young people, go to prison for a relatively minor thing, a drug offense. And then you ask, why can’t they get jobs afterward? Why do they have problems from then on?
I think we have spent tens of billions, hundreds of billions of dollars on the so-called War on Drugs. Well, we’ve lost.” – Sen. Leahy
Senator Leahy also addressed the disproportionate toll marijuana prohibition takes on people of color:


Monday, January 14, 2013

The New York Times has an article about another medical marijuana provider being prosecuted. This is such a sad and consistant story that it is increasingly confounding that Congress has not done anything about removing marijuana from the CSA.  

Just another reason why citizens question the ability of these isolated individuals serving in Congress and who are given the priviledge of representing us.  When even more momentum builds and it is obvious that the majority abhors this excessive use of government force being used to prosecute people for life style choices - perhaps our elected leaders will run to the front of the line and insist they are leading.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bloomberg - Daddy Knows Best

Radley Belko writing for the Huffington Post shines the light on Mayor Bloomberg's latest ill considered decision.  Bloomberg is now practicing medicine in all city  hospitals in New York.  We have given our government the mandate to keep us safe from all harm, Bloomberg is now acting as citizens physician.

link to article

The Nation: Re Weldon Angelos

The Nation: Re Weldon Angelos   

PS Ruckman on his pardon power blog shares his thoughts about Presidential Pardon power.  Sasha Abromsky has written an article for The Nation about the case of Weldon Angelos and the lack of attention paid to his case. 

Friday, January 4, 2013


This is the link to a Group Petition for Commutation submitted by the law office of Michael Kennedy for five elderly non-violent, marijuana inmates serving life sentences in Federal Prison for selling marijuana.  This petition was submitted in the middle of November of 2012.  Please read it and let us know if you could support the concept of Group Clemency.

Wisconsin: Scott Walker, Blithering Pardon Idiot

Wisconsin: Scott Walker, Blithering Pardon Idiot

PS Ruckman's blog Pardon Power is a wealth of information about the exercise of Clemency by state governors and by Presidents.   If you're interested in this powerful execuative power you can't find a better source for statistics and analysis.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A very good article on AlterNet written by Kristen Gwynne about five elderly marijuana inmates serving sentences of Life Without Parole for selling marijuana.

The Law Office of Michael Kennedy submitted a Petition for Commutation to President Obama asking him to commute the sentences of these five non-violent, marijuana offenders who are serving sentences of Life Without Parole for selling marijuana.