Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

July 13, 2009

Ronald Kitchen: The Latest Death Row Exoneree

Radley Balko made the following observation at his blog: “Illinois has sentenced 224 people to death since reinstating capital punishment in 1977. Since then, 20 have been exonerated. I’m not sure what an acceptable rate of error in death penalty cases would be, but nine percent seems awfully high, doesn’t it?” One wrongfully killed person […]

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June 26, 2009

Liberty Rock Friday: …And Justice for All by Metallica

This song somehow seems appropriate in marking the end of another term of the U.S. Supreme Court. Metallica …And Justice for All …And Justice for All (1988) Songwriters: Hammett, Kirk L; Hetfield, James Alan; Ulrich, Lars Halls of Justice Painted Green Money Talking Power Wolves Beset Your Door Hear Them Stalking Soon You’ll Please Their […]

Posted By: Stephen Littau @ 9:52 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: Crime and Punishment,Criminal Justice Reform,Culture,Legal,Liberty Rock,Theory and Ideas
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June 23, 2009

SCOTUS: No Constitutional Right for DNA Testing Post-Conviction

Last week in District Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial District et. al. v. Osborne the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that convicts have no Constitutional right to DNA testing even if such testing would conclusively determine the guilt or innocence of the convict. In this particular case, William Osborne was willing to pay for […]

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June 22, 2009

Quote Of The Day

The Sheriff whose deputies raided Berwyn Heights, MD mayor Cheye Calvo’s house predictably doesn’t think they did anything wrong. He said a lot of pretty despicable things in that article, but this one really bothers me: “I’m sorry for the loss of their family pets,” Jackson said. “But this is the unfortunate result of the […]

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May 14, 2009

Drug Czar Calls For End To “War On Drugs”

It’s too early to tell if it’s a semantic change or a major step in the right direction, but these comments from President Obama’s “Drug Czar” are encouraging: WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s new drug czar says he wants to banish the idea that the U.S. is fighting “a war on drugs,” a move that […]

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May 7, 2009

Colorado Senate Defeats Death Penalty Repeal by 1 Vote

Like déjà vu but this time in reverse, the Colorado Senate voted down the bill which would repeal the death penalty and use the savings to fund cold case homicide investigations by a single vote*. Though the Senate stripped out the death penalty provision just 15 minutes before the scheduled vote on Monday, the conference […]

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May 5, 2009

Last Minute Senate Rewrite Jeopardizes Colorado Death Penalty Repeal

Only 2 weeks ago the Colorado House passed H.B. 1274, a bill which would repeal the death penalty and use the savings to solve homicide cold cases, by a single vote. Foes of the bill in the Senate stripped out the death penalty repeal provisions and added an alternative source of funding to satisfy those […]

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April 28, 2009

Fake Cops, Fake Raid, Real Guns

Here’s yet another example illustrating why the practice of SWAT style raids should be ended: robbers posing as cops. Here’s the news story from WRAL: This is the unedited surveillance video: As bad as this situation was, it could have ended much worse. It’s very fortunate that the armed robbers encountered the man on the […]

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April 27, 2009

Cato Report: Portugal’s Seven Year Experiment with Drug Decriminalization “a Resounding Success”

In July of 2001, Portugal tried something which would horrify policy makers the world over: the decriminalization of all drugs. As a result, Portugal turned into a country overrun with drugs, stoners, drug tourists, and criminals…right? Not according to a report by Cato’s Glenn Greenwald entitled Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and […]

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April 22, 2009

Colorado One Step Closer to Abolishing the Death Penalty

The Colorado House passed the bill which would eliminate the death penalty by 1 vote. The Denver Post reports on the dramatic moment: In the hushed state House chamber, all eyes Tuesday stared up at the vote board, which showed lawmakers deadlocked 32-32 on whether to repeal the death penalty in Colorado. All but Rep. […]

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April 11, 2009

Reforming America’s Prison System: The Time Has Come

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) in his recent article calling for a major reform of America’s prisons in Parade Magazine brought some very disturbing, eye opening, statistics about America’s prison system to light. In summary this is some of what he found: -Since 1984, America’s prison population has quadrupled from 580,000 to 2.3 million -Though the […]

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April 1, 2009

Open Thread Question of the Day: How Can We Fix Our Prisons?

Our prison system, holding nearly 25% of the worlds reported prisoners, may seem like an April fool’s joke but certainly is not a laughing matter. I’m in the early stages of writing a post in response to Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) recent article in Parade entitled: Why We Must Fix Our Prisons. Sen. Webb is […]

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March 30, 2009

Maryland House Passes Mayor Calvo’s SWAT Bill by 126 to 9 Vote

Despite the objections of the National Tactical Officers Association, the bill championed by Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo passed the Maryland House by a wide margin: Delegates adopted a bill, on a 126 to 9 vote, that would require law enforcement agencies to report every six months on their use of SWAT teams, including what […]

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March 26, 2009

Obama’s Policy to Fight Mexican Drug Cartels is Doomed to Fail

The Obama administration, rather than dealing with the root cause of the violence along the Mexican border, has decided to adopt a policy to deal with the symptoms. The problem is that this policy will neither alleviate the symptoms nor come close to treating the problem. WASHINGTON – The Obama administration promised Tuesday to help […]

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March 20, 2009

Abandoning the Rule of Law

The United States is a banana republic. The Jeffersonian ideal of a series of republics built upon enlightenment values of freedom and reason has died. It wasn’t a sudden death, like that which occurs in a car crash; where one can pinpoint to the second where death occurred. Rather it was a slow lingering death, […]

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March 19, 2009

Quote of the Day II: Gov. Bill Richardson on the Death Penalty

(CNN) — New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed a bill Wednesday repealing the death penalty in his state, his office confirmed. “Regardless of my personal opinion about the death penalty, I do not have confidence in the criminal justice system as it currently operates to be the final arbiter when it comes to who lives […]

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March 9, 2009

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Last night, 60 Minutes ran a fascinating piece about a man who spent 11 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit, the woman who (incorrectly, it later turned out) identified him as her attacker, and the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. Here’s Part I: Watch CBS Videos Online And, Part II: Watch CBS Videos […]

Posted By: Doug Mataconis @ 3:23 am || Permalink || Comments Off || TrackBack URI || Categories: Constitution,Crime and Punishment,Criminal Justice Reform,Individual Rights,Legal
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March 6, 2009

The Hubris of the National Tactical Officers Association

In my report following the live chat @ The Agitator with Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo last week, I made mention of some very modest reforms he was pushing in Maryland. The bill would require all police departments with SWAT teams to provide monthly reports to the state’s Attorney General, local officials and the general […]

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March 3, 2009

A Song and Open Letter to a President Who is “No Stranger to the Bong”

Thank you, President Obama, for keeping your campaign pledge to end raids on medical marijuana dispensaries that are legal under state laws in California and elsewhere. Thank you for reversing an inhumane policy established by the Clinton administration and continued by the Bush administration. Given the experience you and other elected officials have had with […]

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March 2, 2009

The Root of the Mexican Drug Cartel Violence Spillover Into the U.S.

For those of you who believe that Libertarians focus too much on the War on (Some) Drugs, perhaps it’s time to pay attention to the escalating violence in Mexico which is spilling over into the U.S. PHOENIX (Reuters) – Hit men dressed in fake police tactical gear burst into a home in Phoenix, rake it […]

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