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12 Sep, 2017

Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner Retires

2019-03-18T18:47:15+00:00September 12th, 2017|Tags: , |

The legal world was shocked when the infamous Judge Richard Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit announced his retirement last week, effective immediately. Judge Posner is well-known in the legal community for being witty and outspoken, sometimes courting controversy with his statements. Though his retirement is seen as abrupt, [...]

18 Sep, 2013

My Written Testimony to the U.S. Senate on Mandatory Minimum Sentences

2013-09-18T14:35:05+00:00September 18th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , |

Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 (you can read a primer on the JSVA here). The JSVA would allow federal judges to sentence criminal defendants below all mandatory minimum sentencing provisions. And the JSVA would prevent some of the worst injustices in federal [...]

28 Jul, 2013

Paying Billions to Warehouse those Addicted to Drugs

2019-03-18T18:47:41+00:00July 28th, 2013|Tags: , , , , , |

We are one of the few Western countries in the world that deals with drug addicts primarily through incarcerating them, and especially incarcerating those that support their habit by selling small quantities of drugs. Is this a wise, cost-effective, or even productive solution to the drug problem? And is it even a [...]

18 Apr, 2013

The Need for Prosecution Clinics in Ending Mass Incarceration

2019-03-18T18:47:42+00:00April 18th, 2013|Tags: , , , , |

There is a debate fermenting at my law school, the University of Washington, over whether the school should fund a criminal prosecution clinic. I weighed in on the debate, and to the surprise of many, I said that I favor a prosecution clinic. I favor it because I think such a clinic, [...]

25 Sep, 2012

Judge Posner Allows Defense Attorney To Testify Against His Client

2019-03-18T18:47:43+00:00September 25th, 2012|Tags: , , , , |

Judge Posner has been in the news a lot lately (reviewing tearing apart Justice Scalia's new book here). He is normally known for being a pragmatic judge, which is why his recent opinion is so bizarre. In United States v. Williams, Judge Posner's pragmatism was instead replaced with a cavalier attitude towards the right to counsel and towards [...]

3 Aug, 2012

The ACS Blog Talks With A Public Defender About What Arguing A Case In The Supreme Court Felt Like

2019-03-18T18:47:44+00:00August 3rd, 2012|Tags: , , , , |

Over at the ACS blog, Nicole Flatow interviewed attorney and State Appellate Defender Valerie Newman about her experience arguing before the Supreme Court on behalf of the respondent in Lafler v. Cooper. Rarely, do we hear an unvarnished take on what it is like for attorneys to argue before the high court. Speaking of the [...]

20 Apr, 2012

Judge Dismisses Government’s Attempt to Prosecute Man Handing Out Jury Nullification Pamphlets

2019-03-18T18:47:45+00:00April 20th, 2012|

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood dismissed jury tampering charges against retired chemistry professor Julian P. Heicklen after he stood outside a courthouse and distributed pamphlets containing information about jury nullification. Reason and the New York Times have coverage. If there was ever a time to reprimand an Assistant U.S. Attorney for bringing frivolous [...]

18 Apr, 2012

Racist Criminal Laws Examined At The Supreme Court

2019-03-18T18:47:46+00:00April 18th, 2012|Tags: , , , , |

This week the Supreme Court considered, in Dorsey v. United States and Hill v. United States, whether the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 applies retroactively to those prisoners sentenced before the act took effect. A number of media outlets reported on the oral arguments, including  Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSBlog; Adam Liptak at the New York Times; Mike [...]