NJ: The former head of the Hudson County Public Defender’s Office was expected to be sworn in last night as an Essex County Superior Court judge in a ceremony in Newark. ⇒ Crazy. I can’t see anything like this ever happening here…
NH: But does wealth mean a superior defense in capital murder cases, which can cost between $1 million and $3 million to defend? The answer depends on whom you ask. ⇒
Salvagni, 60, announced his intention Friday to seek a third term when voters go to the polls in November. The two-term district judge is currently running unopposed. Each term is six years. ⇒
Justice of the Peace Donald Strine ruled that officers who aided in the rescue needed a search warrant before removing the dogs, who were discovered living in a sea of their own feces and urine inside four dilapidated mobile homes and camp trailers a mile off Blue Slide Road west of Thompson Falls. ⇒
“I will go to my grave believing these people just sent an innocent man to prison for the rest of his life,” said Melody Brown, public defender. ⇒
A recent Justice Talking episode focused on the question: Are drinking and driving laws too punitive? It’s possibly a good question, but it seems a better one is: When simply making a behavior illegal and increasing punishment for that behavior does so little to stop it, shouldn’t we look for other solutions to the problem?
Much of our society is rabidly against drinking and driving. It’s one of the only crimes you see advertised in the media on a regular basis—don’t drink and drive, friends don’t let friends drink and drive, etc. Many of these ads are even paid for by the alcohol industry. Yet, at the same time, that industry is actively advertising its products and our society is very accepting of the consumption of alcohol so long as people don’t consume and then drive. Also at the same time we have a car culture; our society and physical space is designed around the individual driver of the individual vehicle.
So we have a dilemma: We basically encourage drinking — it’s a big industry and many off us enjoy it. Prohibition didn’t work because so many people just like a drink now and then. Yet, we also fail to provide adequate alternatives to driving in order to get from A to B, and specifically from bar to home after a night of fun. And although cabs are available in larger towns and cities, people are often reluctant to call a cab to get home from the bar because they know they’ll face the problem in the morning of somehow retrieving their car, or having it towed before they can do that, etc.
Instead of continuing to encourage people to do two incompatible things, why not provide an alternative? Here’s one idea that will never happen but which I think would greatly reduce the incidence of DUI : Require establishments that serve alcohol to provide rides to anyone who purchases a drink. But not just that, the ride also will include a transport of your personal vehicle back to your home with you. That would mean each bar would have to employ at least two people for transportation services — one to drive you and one to drive your car home. It would be costly, but it would eliminate a lot of the excuses people use for driving home after they know they’ve had one or a few too many.
MT: Bonds date back centuries to guarantee appearance. Pretrial supervision is a relatively new idea, and, unlike a bond, it guarantees nothing. Instead it often serves as a vehicle for extortion. ⇒
OH: The old categories of sexually oriented offender, habitual sex offender and sexual predator are out, replaced by three tiers. Instead of a judge deciding which tier to place an offender, the new law assigns offenders by their crime without considering the risk to the community or likelihood of re-offending. ⇒
MT: Bromgard served 15 years before DNA tests showed he didn’t commit the crime. He was exonerated and was released from prison in 2002. He filed the lawsuit two years later. ⇒