Archive for September 2013

Executive Decision – a Clinical Precision

A few months ago, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he would direct United States Attorneys around the country to avoid charging certain low-level and non-violent drug offenders with crimes that carry mandatory minimums. The idea behind the policy change is to direct scarce resources to where they can be most effective. And punishing small-time…

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Changes to Expungement Law

North Carolina’s expungement laws have undergone some important changes in recent years. First, there was the change to allow young offenders to expunge certain non-violent felonies. Then there was an expansion of that law to permit adult offenders to expunge certain non-violent felonies (after a 15 year wait). Those were both good changes to the…

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No Lobby for Criminal Defendants

There are two ways to balance a budget. Reduce outlays, or increase income. While the criminal justice system is not a business, the basic principles of finance still apply. And the basic principles of economics also apply. The economic analysis of public institutions – called the Public Choice School – has, since the 1960s, revolutionized…

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Raleigh DWI Squad targets downtown

Raleigh DWI enforcement is about to pick up with the introduction of a new Driving While Impaired squad, funded in part by a $500,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that is principally charged with funding drunk driving policing across the country. You’ll remember that NHTSA is the same agency…

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DWI and Pilot’s Certificate – Complying with the FAA

A DWI can have consequences for anyone’s job or career. For someone who has a pilot’s license, a DWI conviction or administrative action in North Carolina can have a devastating impact. That’s because any administrative action, including the pre-conviction suspension of a license, must be reported to the Federal Aviation Administration under 14 CFR 61.15.…

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DEA’s massive, invasive search of phone records

While a lot of attention has been focused on the National Security Agency (NSA) and its massive wiretap operation, an equally troubling government search of phone records has recently come to light – the Drug Enforcement Agency’s collection of phone record data. According to the ACLU, quoting the New York Times: According to the Times,…

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Speech Codes and the Criminalization of Speech

In the early 1990s when I attended the University of Pennsylvania for my undergraduate degree, I was an editor at The Daily Pennsylvanian. This was back when printed newspapers ruled the day, and the DP was among the best student newspapers in the country. It was entirely student run, owned by a student-run corporation, and…

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