Government -- Local

Guiding Families to a Fair Day in Court

by David Bornstein

If a member of your family was arrested, would you know how to help? Would you know what to look for in a police report? Or guide your relative about what to expect from the defense attorney?

For a wide swath of Americans, these are not hypothetical questions. More than 2.3 million people are in prisons and jails, and 5 million are on parole or probation. More astonishingly, nearly one-third of Americans have been arrested on criminal charges (other than a minor traffic violation) by age 23.

Chicago Prosecutor Seeks to Lessen Marijuana Penalties: How About It, Ms. Reitz?

Low-level Class 4 felony drug offences, including for cannabis, represent 25% of the Cook County felony caseload. Besides being a complete waste of time -- any other gov't program with so little to show in terms of results would have been shut down years ago -- the cost of these pointless prosecutions is basically padding to argue for bigger budgets. With Gov. Rauner putting everything in government spending on the chopping block -- supposedly there is no better place to start with than policies the public does NOT support, that have demonstrated decades of failure, and that basically amount to a jobs program for politically connected insiders. This is a good first step, but the legislature should impose this significant first step in cutting the pork at the courthouse on a statewide basis by simply revising state law to take these realities into account. For cannabis, it should ***at a minimum*** be decriminalized. In a state run by the Democratic Party for years, it is nonsensical that cannabis has yet to be decriminalized as in so many other states.

 

Need Bigger Jail? Think Again...Incarceration’s Front Door: The Misuse of Jails in America

The idea that Champaign County needs a bigger jail just won't go away. In fact, they should quit wasting taxpayer funds on what is basically a talking point for judges and prosecutors to get re-elected, but which makes for expensive, ineffective social policy as a debtor's prison. The present jail is more than large enough to hold those who need to be there versus those who simply can't afford to post bail, are mentally ill, etc and end up there despite being no threat to the public.

Jails Have Become Warehouses for the Poor, Ill and Addicted, a Report Says

by Timothy Williams

Jails across the country have become vast warehouses made up primarily of people too poor to post bail or too ill with mental health or drug problems to adequately care for themselves, according to a report issued Wednesday.

Federal Study Refutes Legal Fiction Basis of Illinois THC "DUI" Law

Federal Study: THC-Positive Drivers Not More Likely to be Involved in Motor Vehicle Crashes

By Paul Armentano |  NORML Deputy Director

WASHINGTON, DC — Drivers who test positive for the presence of THC in blood are no more likely to be involved in motor vehicle crashes than are drug-free drivers, according to a federally sponsored case-control study involving some 9,000 participants.

The study, published Friday by the United States National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), is the first large-scale case-control study ever conducted in the United States to assess the crash risk associated with both drugs and alcohol use by drivers.

Congress Votes to End Federal-State Conflict on Medical Marijuana

By Kris Hermes |  Americans for Safe Access
 

Advocates say restriction on enforcement will end federal prosecutions, asset forfeiture litigation, and imprisonment of patients

Evidence Fails to Support Proposed DUI Impairment Levels for Cannabis

Illinois is one of the eleven states that have a zero tolerance cannabis/metabolite per se standard.

By Paul Armentano |  NORML Deputy Director
 

WASHINGTON, DC — Available science fails to support the imposition of driving under the influence (DUI) impairment thresholds for cannabis in a manner that is analogous to the per se limits already in place for alcohol, according to the conclusions of a November 2014 publication published by the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Per se traffic safety laws criminalize those who operate a vehicle with trace or specific levels of a controlled substance in their bodily fluids, even in the absence of any further evidence indicating that the subject was behaviorally impaired.

Activists Wield Search Data to Challenge and Change Police Policy

by Richard A. Oppel Jr.

DURHAM, N.C. — One month after a Latino youth died from a gunshot as he sat handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser here last year, 150 demonstrators converged on Police Headquarters, some shouting “murderers” as baton-wielding officers in riot gear fired tear gas.

The police say the youth shot himself with a hidden gun. But to many residents of this city, which is 40 percent black, the incident fit a pattern of abuse and bias against minorities that includes frequent searches of cars and use of excessive force. In one case, a black female Navy veteran said she was beaten by an officer after telling a friend she was visiting that the friend did not have to let the police search her home.

A.C.L.U. in $50 Million Push to Reduce Jail Sentences

A message our county board and those down at the courthouse need to hear loud and clear...

by Eric Eckholm
 

With a $50 million foundation grant, the largest in its history, the American Civil Liberties Union plans to mount an eight-year political campaign across the country to make a change of criminal justice policies a key issue in local, state and national elections.

State, Local Marijuana Legalization Measures Win Big On Election Day

By Paul Armentano |  NORML Deputy Director
 

WASHINGTON, DC — Oregon and Alaska legalized and regulated the commercial production and sale of marijuana for adults, while voters residing in the nation’s capitol and in numerous other cities nationwide similarly decided this Election Day to eliminate marijuana possession penalties.

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