A CALL FOR CONSERVATIVES TO MAKE PRISON REFORM THEIR OWN
In an enormously important Op-Ed in Monday’s New York Times, Ross Douthat calls on conservatives to “… take ownership of prison reform, and correct the system they helped build.” The democrats don’t have the credibility to do it he says, and in many ways he’s right. And few have shown the inclination for fear of being labeled soft on crime. (Witness our California state legislature.)
Here’s how the essay opens:
If you’re a governor with presidential aspirations, you should never, under any circumstances, pardon a convict or reduce a sentence. That’s the lesson everyone seems to have drawn from the dreadful case of Maurice Clemmons, an Arkansas native who murdered four Lakewood, Wash., police officers over Thanksgiving weekend â€” nine years after Mike Huckabee, then governor, commuted his sentence and the Arkansas parole board set him free.
Even before Clemmons was shot dead the following Tuesday by Seattle police officers, a chorus of pundits had declared Huckabee’s presidential ambitions all but finished. His prospective 2012 rivals â€” Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Sarah Palin â€” hastened to suggest that they never considered issuing a pardon while governor. And even observers sympathetic to Huckabee’s decision (Clemmons’s original 108-year sentence was handed down when he was only 16, and for burglary and robbery, not murder) tended to emphasize its folly. Joe Carter, who handled rapid-response for Huckabee’s 2008 campaign, acknowledged that the “prudent tactic would have been to simply refuse to grant any leniency â€” ever.”
DOES YOUR BOSS HAVE THE RIGHT TO SNOOP THROUGH YOUR TEXT MESSAGES?
The Supreme Court has agreed to take its first texting case— a case that originated in California. The question is whether a company—or in this case, a public agency, the police—have the right to monitor text messages if those messages are sent an/or received on an office-issued phone.
Here’s a bit of what Adam Liptak wrote in Tuesday’s New York Times:
The justices agreed to hear an appeal from the city of Ontario, which was successfully sued by police Sgt. Jeff Quon and three other officers after their text messages — some of which were sexually explicit — were read by the police chief.
At issue is whether the chief violated their rights under the 4th Amendment, which forbids “unreasonable searches” by the government. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the issue, due by June, could set new rules for the workplace in public agencies, and perhaps in private companies as well.
While the 4th Amendment applies only to the government, many judges rely on the high court’s privacy rulings in deciding disputes in the private sector, legal experts say.
Last year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals broke ground when it ruled the officers had a “reasonable expectation of privacy” in their text messages. The officers had been led to believe by a supervisor that they could use their pagers for personal use, the appeals court said.
However, the city had a policy that said employees had no guarantee of privacy when they used computers, phones and other devices that were owned by the city.
The 9th Circuit’s ruling has already had an impact.
“It was a healthy reminder to employers that they need to have clear policies in place. And they have to be consistent in following them,” said Mitch Danzig, a management lawyer in San Diego.
The LA Times also reports on the matter.
MORE ON THE SOUTH PASADENA TEENAGER WHO DIED AFTER A PARTY
Jilly Leovy and Robert Faturechi have an update on the seventeen year old south Pasadena student who died over the weekend after a party.
PIPE BOMB FOUND NEAR USC
Yes, you read right. Here’s the information based on what is known
PRO PUBLICA INVESTIGATING POST KATRINA NOPD SHOOTINGS—WANTS CITIZEN HELP
Pro-Publica has launched what they are calling a major investigation, together with the New Orleans Times-Picayune and Frontline. They are looking into the New Orleans Police Department’s efforts to investigate its officers’ use of deadly force in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, efforts which Pro-Publica’s reporters say are deeply flawed.
The reporters write, “Many of the facts surrounding the post-Katrina police shootings are murky. But the available evidence suggests they’re part of a broader pattern of violent encounters between police and civilians, one that is now under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.”
Now Pro-Pubica is calling out for eyewitnesses who may have knowledge of any such incidents to call or email one of their Phone & email tip lines (504-826-3775 and email@example.com ).
The first of the series of stories may be found here.