Crime and Police

Could Ferguson, New York or South Carolina happen here? Answer: It already has

"Science tells us, we [police officers] have limited time. Action is always faster than reaction. So what we are telling officers is, they have to understand that if you're waiting for a person to do something, chances are, you're going to be behind the curve, and you're going to have to play catch-up. Our policy, as it's written, states that an officer does not have to wait for a person to act first. But what we want an officer to be able to do is to look at the situation based on what we know about how a person may attack, assault, resist or run; and understand, that maybe, just maybe, we [police officers] want to act first in that situation."

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.

Marijuana Decriminalization, Legalization Bills Filed in Illinois

Marijuana Decriminalization, Legalization Bills Filed in Illinois

By Thomas H. Clarke |  The Daily Chronic

Senate Bill 753 bill would legalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana for adults, while House Bill 218 would replace criminal penalties with a $100 fine.

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Two separate proposals pending in the Illinois General Assembly could lead to dramatic changes for adults possessing up to 30 grams of marijuana in the state.

Both proposals — one filed in each chamber — would eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple possession of marijuana.  While the House version would replace criminal penalties with a $100 fine, the Senate version would legalize the possession and limited cultivation of marijuana for adults 21 or older.

Busting 'Three Men in a Room’ Culture: Good Enough for New York, So What About Illinois?

It was interesting to read about the US Attorney in NY's Southern District Preet Bharara comments about the case he's filed against Sheldon Silver, the former strong man in the NY state legislature, for taking bribes and public corruption. Bharara aggressively pursued the case against Silver after Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut down a commission looking into public corruption. Silver probably thought he was good at that point. Rather like Mike Madigan felt after getting his daughter elected Illinois attorney general. Madigan's own tenure far exceeds Silver's run at the top and rumors of how one retains such a lock on the state's business year in and year out abound, no matter who gets elected.

Things could be changing. The "three men and a room" political culture in Illinois is most likely not a clean version of what went on under Silver in New York. The real question remains when will the law apply at the top in Illinois in the cruel way it applies to the rest of us after decades of Madigan misrule?

Reclaiming MLK's Radical Roots

'History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.' -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.CUCPJ and UCIMC will host “Reclaiming MLK’s Radical Roots” as part of a national effort to bring the #BlackLivesMatter movement into the New Year.  The event will be:

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.

Julian Assange: Who Should Own the Internet?

Julian Assange on Living in a Surveillance Society

Turning Point: The top E.U. court orders Google to grant the “right to be forgotten.'’

It is now a journalistic cliché to remark that George Orwell’s “1984” was “prophetic.” The novel was so prophetic that its prophecies have become modern-day prosaisms. Reading it now is a tedious experience. Against the omniscient marvels of today’s surveillance state, Big Brother’s fixtures — the watchful televisions and hidden microphones — seem quaint, even reassuring.

Everything about the world Orwell envisioned has become so obvious that one keeps running up against the novel’s narrative shortcomings.

250 Rally, Sing, Pray, and Shut Down Main Street to call for Justice in Ferguson, and Champaign

The day after the announcement that no charges will be brought against the police officer that killed unarmed 18 year old Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, over 250 people took to the streets in Urbana as part of a national call to action. A diverse group -- representing campus and community, black, white and brown, young and old -- chanted, sang, shared poetry, and marched in a "circle of hope" between the Champaign County Courthouse and the Sheriff's office and county jail. See photo gallery. Watch the rally on Urbana Public TV

The seriously messed-up ugliness of per se laws

by Pete Guither

This has been out for a bit (and even had some discussion in comments here), but I really wanted to put it front and center, because this kind of thing really demonstrates the kinds of outrages that exist in the drug war.

Island Lake fatal crash cited as Illinois no-tolerance DUI pot law is challenged

In December 2011, Scott Shirey and his 10-year-old twins, Griffin and Nicholas, were driving to swimming practice.

Along the way, a distracted driver in an overloaded pickup truck ran a red light at Route 12 and Old McHenry Road near Lake Zurich and slammed into Shirey’s Lincoln sedan, killing Griffin and severely injuring Nicholas.

Even though another driver caused the accident, it was the Island Lake father who faced up to 14 years in prison. He was not impaired at the time, but Shirey, now 52, was charged two months later after a blood test showed traces of marijuana in his system from — according to his attorney — smoking it a month beforehand.

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.

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