Drug War

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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In Dog We Trust: The Flip Side of Florida v. Jardines

In a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court decided that when police bring a drug sniffing dog to your door, uninvited and without your consent, they are conducting a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The case – Florida v. Jardines – reinforces the long-held principle that the home deserves the highest protections…

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Mandatory Minimums and the Drug War

Mike Riggs has a post over on reason.com about Rand Paul and Patrick Leahy’s efforts to create additional safety valves in federal sentencing to mitigate the effects of mandatory minimum drug laws. Riggs’ post is a good starting point. But there’s a lot more to say. Not All Safety Valves Are Created Equal Right now…

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Challenging the Underpinnings of the Drug War

Richard Branson’s son has just released a new documentary in its entirety on YouTube that looks into the policy implications of the drug war. As a Raleigh drug lawyer, I’m often confronted by these realties as clients who either are addicted to drugs, or implicated in drug conspiracies seek my help. One thing is clear:…

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How will they judge us?

One hundred years from now our descendants are going to look back on this period in American history and wonder how we could allow so many people to be placed in cages for victimless drug crimes. More than half of American citizens favor the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, and yet most states and the…

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Technology, the Fourth Amendment, and the Drug War

The United States Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the Fourth Amendment is hopelessly naive, incoherent, and stupefying. Chalk that up to the Drug War, which for forty years has been a tool by both drug warriors and government officials to expand the government’s power to conduct searches. Let’s take one example: Kyllo v. US, 533 US…

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Heroin Punished Harshly in North Carolina

Heroin is the most harshly punished drug in North Carolina’s sentencing scheme. Possession of 4 grams of heroin will result, upon conviction, of at least 70 months in prison, assuming no substantial assistance is provided to police to help mitigate the sentence. Heroin was originally synthesized in 1874 by an English chemist working in London.…

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New York May Limit Marijuana Possession Arrests

The New York Times is reporting that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed to essentially decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. The move would go a great way toward protecting people’s individual rights given that so many searches are predicated on the smell of marijuana. If small amounts of marijuana were legal…

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Federal Judge Calls for Sentencing Reforms

Anyone facing federal drug charges knows that the prosecutors’ power has far outstripped the judge’s power in the courtroom. That’s because the power to charge someone lies with the prosecutor, and prosecutors have enormous discretion to charge people under various laws that require the judge to impose mandatory minimum sentences even when such sentences were…

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