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Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Two Powerful Signals of a Major Shift on Crime"

From the New York Times:

Critics have long contended that draconian mandatory minimum sentence laws for low-level drug offenses, as well as stop-and-frisk police policies that target higher-crime and minority neighborhoods, have a disproportionate impact on members of minority groups. On Monday, Mr. Holder announced that federal prosecutors would no longer invoke the sentencing laws, and a judge found that stop-and-frisk practices in New York were unconstitutional racial profiling.

. . .

Michelle Alexander, an Ohio State University law professor who wrote “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” an influential 2010 book about the racial impact of policies like stop-and-frisk and mandatory minimum drug sentences, said the two developments gave her a sense of “cautious optimism.”

. . .

But not everyone was celebrating. William G. Otis, a former federal prosecutor and an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School, described Mr. Holder’s move as a victory for drug dealers that would incentivize greater sales of addictive contraband, and he suggested that the stop-and-frisk ruling could be overturned on appeal.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2013/08/two-powerful-signals-of-a-major-shift-on-crime.html

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