Criminal Justice

Eric Holder: Patron Saint of Trigger-Happy Cops

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Attorney General Eric Holder received a tidal wave of laudatory media coverage for his visit to Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of a local white policeman’s killing an 18-year-old black man. Holder assured the people of Missouri, “Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent.” But Holder’s own record belies his ... [click for more]

TGIF: “The Police Force Is Watching the People”

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Political philosophy — the libertarian philosophy included — can take you only so far. The libertarian philosophy provides grounds for condemning aggression, that is, the initiation of force, and along with some supplemental considerations, it identifies in the abstract what constitutes aggression, victimhood, and self-defense. But the philosophy can’t identify the aggressor and victim in particular cases; relevant empirical ... [click for more]

Due Process versus Secret Courts

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Due process is a set of legal requirements that protect the individual against abuse by the state. Examples are a person’s right to be notified of court proceedings in which he is involved and the right against self-incrimination. Due process is woven into the fabric of American society through both the Constitution and legal precedent. Few practices are as damaging ... [click for more]

Crime and Punishment in a Free Society

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Would a free society be a crime-free society? We have good reason to anticipate it. Don’t accuse me of utopianism. I don’t foresee a future of new human beings who consistently respect the rights of others. Alas, there will always be those who would invade the boundaries of their fellow human beings. Rather, I want to draw attention to the ... [click for more]

How the Castle Crumbled

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Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces by Radley Balko (Public Affairs 2013), 400 pages. “A man’s home is his castle,” the old English saying goes. Since the American Revolution, Americans’ homes have been considered sanctified space. Under the Castle Doctrine, first expressed in English common law, a person’s home — whether it’s a shack or ... [click for more]

Is Edward Snowden a Lawbreaker?

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Most people believe that Edward Snowden, who has confirmed that the U.S. government spies on us, broke the law. Even many of his defenders concede this. While in one sense the statement “Snowden broke the law” may be trivially true, in another, deeper sense it is untrue. He may have violated the terms of legislation passed by Congress and signed ... [click for more]

Stand Your Ground Makes Sense

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The July 13, 2013, acquittal of George Zimmerman in the February 2012 self-defense shooting of Trayvon Martin has brought a flood of criticism against Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. Despite the fact that this law was not a factor in the Zimmerman case, opponents are using the incident as a pretext to lobby for repeal of that statute. More than ... [click for more]

Where’s the Body Count from Shootings by Police?

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Barack Obama has made curtailing Americans’ right to own firearms one of his highest priorities. Earlier this year, he appealed to “all the Americans who are counting on us to keep them safe from harm.” He also declared, “If there is even one life we can save, we’ve got an obligation to try.” But some perils are not worth ... [click for more]

TGIF: Is Edward Snowden a Lawbreaker?

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Most people believe that Edward Snowden, who has confirmed that the U.S. government spies on us, broke the law. Even many of his defenders concede this. While in one sense the statement “Snowden broke the law” may be trivially true, in another, deeper sense it is untrue. He may  have violated the terms of legislation passed by Congress and signed ... [click for more]

Obama and His “Most Evident” Right: Equality

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In his second inaugural address, Barack Obama quoted the Declaration of Independence and hailed “the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal.” Obama never explained why “created equal” was more evident than the right to liberty. He understands that he can capture far more power by invoking equality than he could by promising to ... [click for more]
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