California has the toughest gun control laws in the nation, receiving an A- grade in a state-by-state analysis by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, officials said Monday.
In the year after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, eight states, including California, passed “major gun reforms,” said Amanda Wilcox, the legislation and policy chair for the California Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
California chapters of the Brady Campaign supported 18 bills sent to Gov. Jerry Brown.
"A record 11 bills were signed into law, including measures to keep guns out of dangerous hands and closing loopholes in California’s law prohibiting large capacity magazines," Wilcox said. "The research shows that strong gun laws can keep people safe from gun violence. We know that California’s strong gun laws are saving lives."
The gun control debate on Capitol Hill has come and gone, but the firearm business is still booming.
Smith & Wesson shares surged 6% in after-hours trading Tuesday following another strong quarterly earnings report from the gun maker, which said its handgun sales had grown 27% versus a year prior.
Gun sales have surged since the reelection of President Obama last year, fueled by concerns about more rigid regulation in the wake of mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo. Smith & Wesson reported record quarterly sales earlier this year, saying it was unable to keep up with demand despite increasing production.
As sites of governmental authority, prisons destabilize Weber’s definition of the state as the monopolist of violence. In prisons, the monopoly is suspended: anybody is free to commit rape and be reasonably assured that no state official will notice or care (barring those instances when the management knowingly encourages rape, unleashing favored inmates on troublemakers as a strategy for administrative control). The prison staff is above the law; the prison inmates, below it. Far from embodying the model of Bentham/Foucault’s panopticon— that is, one of total surveillance—America’s prisons are its blind spots, places where complaints cannot be heard and abuses cannot be seen. Though important symbols of bureaucratic authority, they are spaces that lie beyond our system of bureaucratic oversight. As far as the outside world is concerned, every American prison functions as a black site.
If you spend any time at all studying the death penalty in America today you eventually come across an immutable truth: No one who digs deeply into these grim cases ever seems to evolve from being a staunch opponent of capital punishment into being a fervent supporter of the practice. The movement, over the past 40 years anyway, has almost always been in the opposite direction: The closer one gets to capital punishment, the more dubious it appears to be.
Some conservatives say, ah, but he was a communist. Actually Mandela was raised in a Methodist school, was a devout Christian, turned to communism in desperation only after South Africa was taken over by an extraordinarily racist government determined to eliminate all rights for blacks. I would ask of his critics: where were some of these conservatives as allies against tyranny? Where were the masses of conservatives opposing Apartheid? In a desperate struggle against an overpowering government, you accept the allies you have just as Washington was grateful for a French monarchy helping him defeat the British.
LTMC: There’s a brief but worthwhile exchange in the comments section on this article that’s worth bringing to the surface:
Wes341: But you’ve got to admit that Newt making sense is bound to cause some cognitive dissonance.
Ta-Nehisi Coates: No. It shouldn’t. That right there is the fight. It’s the exact reason why people think no racists actually exist in the world, and bigots live under bridges. If you begin from the premise that all humans are complicated then there really is no dissonance to be had. Dissonance is what we are.
Office and retail work might seem like an unpromising growth area for police and prosecutors, but criminal law has found its way into the white-collar workplace, too. Just ask Georgia Thompson, a Wisconsin state employee targeted by a federal prosecutor for the “crime” of incorrectly processing a travel agency’s bid for state business. She spent four months in a federal prison before being sprung by a federal court. Or Judy Wilkinson, hauled away in handcuffs by an undercover cop for serving mimosas without a license to the customers in her bridal shop. Or George Norris, sentenced to 17 months in prison for selling orchids without the proper paperwork to an undercover federal agent.
The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.
The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
LTMC: "It’s not paranoia if they’re actually watching you."
One of the two greatest scandals in lawyers’ ethics is the general failure of disciplinary authorities and courts to take appropriate remedial action against prosecutors who violate
both the constitutional rights of criminal defendants and the prosecutors’ own ethical obligations. For example, a computerized review has shown that there have been only 100 reported cases of professional discipline of federal and state prosecutors in the previous century—an average of only one disciplinary case per year. Moreover, these cases are not limited to violations of the rights of criminal defendants but include cases of bribery, extortion, conversion, and embezzlement of government funds. As one federal judge observed, “When faced with motions that allege governmental misconduct, most district judges are reluctant to find that the prosecutors’ actions were flagrant, willful or in bad faith.” And Professor Bennett Gershman, the leading authority on prosecutorial misconduct, has concluded that discipline of prosecutors is “so rare as to make its use virtually a nullity.
Note: This is a cross-post from my legal blog, 10 Guilty Men.
In the Fall 2012 issue of the Washburn Law Journal, Monroe H. Freedman and Charles E. MacLean, academics both, had a battle royal on the topic of prosecutorial misconduct.
In Freedman’s article, he makes a vigorous case that…