Crime and Police

Do Police Need An MRAP? An Analysis of SWAT Raids in CU

Since Ferguson, and more recently Baltimore, the searing images of police wearing riot gear, carrying high-powered rifles, and riding in armored trucks, have made police militarization a national issue. Not only is this a trend in big cities, but also in small towns like Champaign-Urbana where police have recently acquired a Mine-Resistant Armor-Protected (MRAP) vehicle fresh from the wars in the Middle East.  

Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Approved in Illinois

by Thomas H. Clarke |  The Daily Chronic

HB 218 replaces the threat of jail time and a criminal record with a civil penalty — a $125 fine, similar to a traffic ticket — for possession of a small amount of marijuana
 

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Illinois could soon become the latest state to remove criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana after both chambers of the legislature approved a measure to replace criminal charges with a civil law violation.

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.

 

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.

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