I am a little late on New Year’s resolutions. But I thought I would shoot for three things I would like to see happen in the criminal justice system in 2012.

At number three I would like to see the U.S. Supreme Court declare, loud and clear, that lawyers must be constitutionally effective at the pretrial stage of criminal proceedings, and if they are not, then the remedy is to place criminal defendants in the same position they would have been in had they not been ineffectively represented. These are the issues the Court faces in Missouri v. Frye, No. 10-444 and Lafler v. Cooper, No. 10-209.

At number two, I would like to see passage of former HR 2344, the Prisoner Incentive Act, which would overrule the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Barber v. Thomas, 560 U.S. ___ (2010). In Barber, the Court held that the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ good time calculations allowing prisoners only 47 rather than 54 days of good time a year was correct. HR 2344 would restore the original belief that federal prisoners could earn up to 54 days a year. Not only would the bill release prisoners more quickly, it would also save the federal government around 97 million a year.

Coming in at numero uno is the hope that Ron Paul can either win the Republican primary or at least win enough delegates to alter the Republican platform. Paul is an outspoken critic of the failed War on Drugs, and if he becomes President, he has vowed to pardon all non-violent drug offenders. If Paul is taken at his word (which I have no reason to doubt), this would literally decimate, overnight, the mass incarceration problem we have in this country, especially the federal prison system which is packed full of drug offenders.