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July 27, 2010

Is polling on Proposition 19, California's pot legalization initiative, subject to a "Broadus Effect"?

A helpful reader pointed me to this fascinating post by Nate Silver over at FiveThirtyEight under the heading "The Broadus Effect? Social Desirability Bias and California Proposition 19."  Here are excerpts:

The three automated surveys all have Prop 19 passing by a double-digit margin. The human-operator polls, meanwhile, each show it trailing narrowly.... Although some of these polls contain incomplete demographic information, the split appears to be driven more by minority voters than by whites....

There are a couple of reasons why these discrepancies might have arisen. One might be that the automated surveys are having difficulty getting a representative sample of minorities. Automated surveys generally have lower response rates, and that impact may be most felt among minorities, who are usually harder to get on the phone.

Nevertheless, this is a relatively highly-rated group of automated surveys, particularly SurveyUSA and PPP, which don't take as many of the shortcuts that some of their competitors do. And so it raises another possibility:

What if voters are more likely to admit their tolerance for marijuana to an automated script, which may create the feeling of greater anonymity? Marijuana usage remains fairly stigmatized in polite society in America, enough so that even liberal politicians like Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown and Barack Obama have refused to state their support for legalizing the drug. But as most Americans between ages 20 and 55 have smoked marijuana, they may not consider it such a big deal in the privacy of their homes -- or the privacy of the ballot booth.... [I]t's possible that we're seeing some sort of Bradley effect in reverse, which I've reluctantly dubbed the "Broadus Effect" after the given name of the rapper Snoop Dogg, himself a frequent consumer of cannabinoid-rich products.

The original Bradley Effect, named for former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, occurs when respondents in surveys are asked about socially desirable behaviors, such as being free from racial prejudice. Although the racial version of Bradley effect itself is probably a thing of the past, social desirability bias may manifest itself in other ways. Automated polls have sometimes shown relatively lower levels support for gay marriage initiatives, for instance, in states like Maine and California. Homophobia is fairly common, but has become socially undesirable; the purveyors of the automated polls have sometimes claimed that their respondents are free to be more honest when there's not another human being on the line. If the theory holds, automated polls might also provide a setting for voters to be more honest about their feelings on marijuana use, another behavior that is probably more widespread (and privately tolerated) than it is socially acceptable. If so, that would be good news for Prop 19.

July 27, 2010 in Drug Offense Sentencing, Elections and sentencing issues in political debates, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

"An Open Letter to Lindsay Lohan from the ACLU"

The title of this post is the descriptive heading given to this page at the ACLU of Southern California.  I praise the ACLU for trying to turn LiLo's experiences into a teachable moment, and here are excerpts from the letter:

Dear Lindsay,

We know that going to jail is scary. But we can assure you that your experience at the women’s facility in Lynwood, outside Los Angeles, is likely to be starkly different from the thousands of others serving time and awaiting trial in the Los Angeles jails.  Based on the ACLU’s decades of experience as an official court-appointed monitor of the jails, and the stories of countless women with whom we’ve spoken, the facility where you are staying is an overcrowded detention facility where women are needlessly humiliated for so long that they come to expect sub-human treatment....

We know from the more than 4,500 complaints we receive annually that the women’s facility is a lot nicer than the Men’s Central Jail -- where rats roam the tiers, and violence is as routine as sunshine in California. We’ve seen men with broken legs and black eyes.  It‘s not uncommon for a prisoner to be thrown up against the wall or punched, simply for asking a deputy a question....

Lindsay, even though it’s going to be difficult for you to be incarcerated even for a few weeks, rest assured that your celebrity is something that we who frequently visit Los Angeles’s jails see as an opportunity to draw attention to conditions in the jails.  You will have a window into the world of Los Angeles jails, and we hope you will use it to talk to the press about conditions here.

July 27, 2010 in Celebrity sentencings, Prisons and prisoners | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Lower courts struggling to figure our Padilla's retroactive impact

The New York Law Journal has this interesting new piece, headlined "Courts Differ About Retroactive Effect of High Court Counsel Ruling," which spotlights lower courts struggling to implement the Supreme Court's work in Padilla. Here are excerpts:

In Padilla, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), the Court held that an attorney's failure to inform a client of the collateral deportation consequences of a guilty plea amounted to ineffective assistance of counsel.

However, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Abraham Clott last week declined to give retroactive effect to Padilla, "at least with respect to a misdemeanor conviction."

"This Court concludes that in Padilla the Supreme Court announced a new rule of criminal procedure rather than applied settled law to a new set of facts and that the Padilla rule is not a 'watershed' change that must be applied retroactively to cases on collateral review," Clott wrote in People v. Kabre, 2002NY029321, 2003NY021859, 2004NY017122.

The ruling comes just two months after Bronx Criminal Court Judge Lynn R. Kotler arrived at the opposite conclusion in People v. Bennett.  In Bennett, 2010 WL 2089266, Jermaine Bennett claimed that his attorney told him that he did not think pleading guilty to criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree would have any immigration consequences.  Concluding that Padilla should be applied retroactively, Kotler ordered a hearing to decide whether Bennett's conviction had been obtained in violation of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

And in June, Eastern District of New York Judge Joanna Seybert noted in People v. Obonaga that "[r]easonable jurists have disagreed about whether Padilla has retroactive effect." 2010 WL 2629748.

In an interview, Steven Banks, attorney-in-chief of the Legal Aid Society, said that while no federal or state appellate court has decided whether to apply Padilla retroactively, the issue is coming up more frequently as defendants try to have their convictions overturned based on the Supreme Court's April ruling.  Legal Aid is planning to file several such cases and the number of actions "seem to be increasing as time goes on," Banks said.

"Looking across the country, more courts than not have correctly applied Padilla.  We are hopeful as time goes on that the Bennett decision will be the one that is embraced," Banks said, adding that the issue "may well end up at the [New York State] Court of Appeals, depending on how the Appellate Divisions handle the matter."

But according to Robert S. Groban Jr., the population of litigants who can challenge their convictions based on Padilla, while large in theory, might be limited as a practical matter, since defendants who face deportation as a result of a guilty plea might not have access to the judicial system.  It "may be difficult to get the jurisdiction of a U.S. Court … if you've been removed and are sitting in Burma," Groban, the national chair of Epstein Becker Green's immigration law group, said in an interview.

July 27, 2010 in Procedure and Proof at Sentencing, Sentences Reconsidered, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 26, 2010

Notable discussion of federal child porn sentencing in Connecticut

The Connecticut Law Tribune has this notable new piece on federal child porn sentencing headlined "Discretion Debate: Study, attorneys note inconsistent sentences in child pornography cases."  Here are excerpts:

The arrests and convictions are in the news every week, and often the details make us cringe.  In most cases, the bottom line is that some guy has been caught with child pornography on his computer.  Just last week, David Besaw, of Newington, was sentenced to 32 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill for possessing child porn.  Earlier in the year, Kevin Davis, of Putnam, was sentenced to just under four years by Chief U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson for possessing the graphic sexual images involving children.

In April, Judge Vanessa Bryant sentenced William Golia, of New Haven, to five years in prison for the same crime. A month earlier, Judge Janet Bond Arterton sentenced an Old Saybrook man, Joseph Rock, to 6 ½ years behind bars for child porn possession. And last year, Judge Robert Chatigny sentenced Roger Chapell of Manchester to 14 months for possessing the child porn.

This is but a small sampling, but it makes two things clear: Child porn convictions are distressingly common.  And sentences are not very consistent.

Such sentencing disparities – especially when it comes to child porn and white-collar financial crimes – have prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to call for “a comprehensive review” in its most recent report to the U.S. Sentencing Commission....

Longtime New Haven defense attorney William F. Dow III, of Jacobs, Grudberg, Belt, Dow & Katz, handles many of the child porn cases.  He’s noticed sentencing disparities in Connecticut, and said it may reflect a change in thinking on the part of some judges.

“I think what’s happened is judges have realized that looking at child porn does not equate to an action of molesting children,” said Dow....

To be sure, all federal child porn cases are not alike.  At the low end is possession of child pornography, where the sentencing guidelines are voluntary and judges’ discretion most often comes into play.  For more serious charges, Congress has instituted mandatory minimum sentences, which were not affected by the 2005 Supreme Court ruling....

But in cases where judges have options, Hartford attorney M. Hatcher “Reese” Norris, of Butler, Norris & Gold, said there’s often a good reason why one child porn defendant is sentenced more harshly than another.  “Some of the sentences may have involved a different number of images and different types of images…sadomasochistic…that obviously has an impact… so it’s hard to put them all in one category,” explained Norris....

“The guideline sentences are certainly astronomically high and just way out of proportion to the criminal charge,” said Dow.  “That’s not to say this is pleasant stuff or children aren’t being exploited but child pornography standing alone is a disquieting quest that is inevitably pursued by people who have some emotional or mental health deficits.”  Dow described the typical child pornography defendant as “sad sacks, lonely and despondent people.”...

The issue of discretionary sentencing has been in the political spotlight in Connecticut, where Judge Chatigny has been accused by some conservatives of handing out light sentences in sex crime cases.  This came to light after Chatigny was nominated for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals....

Norris said lawyers aren’t sitting around strategizing as to how to get on a certain judge’s docket in the federal child pornography cases because one is perceived as so much more lenient than another.  But Dow admitted: “Yes, a particular judge can make a difference in terms of sentence,” but said that’s the case with all sorts of crimes, and not just child pornography.

Some related prior federal child porn prosecution and sentencing posts:

July 26, 2010 in Booker in district courts, Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Sex Offender Sentencing, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Despite Baze ruling, defense lawyers in Kentucky still pushing for one-drug execution protocol

This new local article from Kentucky provides proof that even a Supreme Court smack-down does not seriously deter the efforts of capital defense attorneys to block execution.  The piece is headlined "Attorney seeks to force change in execution method: Three-drug protocol 'unconstitutionally cruel'," and here are the basics:

On the heels of two states switching to a single-drug execution method, a defense attorney for multiple Kentucky death row inmates wants a judge to consider if the state's three-drug protocol is unconstitutionally cruel.

Defense attorney David Barron said Ohio's successful use of one dose of sodium thiopental to execute inmates is proof that there are safer, quicker and less painful methods of carrying out a death sentence.

Barron filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court on Friday, asking Judge Phillip Shepherd to reopen an ongoing challenge to Kentucky's method and consider forcing the state to put a one-drug execution protocol in place....

Kentucky has argued against a one-drug protocol, saying it was unproven and could take longer to induce death. Since then, Ohio has executed seven inmates using a one-drug protocol — accounting for 21 percent of the 35 executions carried out nationally since December.

Barron said those single-drug executions should be considered before decisions are made about Kentucky's protocol. "That evidence did not exists before now," Barron said. "Now we know both the presumptions they made are not true."...

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is weighing whether to set an execution date for one of the inmates bringing the suit, Ralph Baze, who was convicted of the 1992 shooting deaths of Powell County Sheriff Steve Bennett and deputy Arthur Briscoe.  Beshear is also considering requests to set execution dates for two other inmates.

The challenge stems from a suit brought by Baze and another death row inmate, who say the state violated multiple rules in adopting the current three-drug protocol, which went into effect in May.

The inmates claim the state failed to spell out how the chemicals would be injected, authorized unqualified people to insert intravenous lines and that death row inmates weren't allowed to address a public hearing about the three-drug protocol.

July 26, 2010 in Baze lethal injection case, Death Penalty Reforms, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

New York about to require ignition locks as mandated punishment for drunk driving

I am pleased to see this new New York Law Journal piece, headlined "Drunken Drivers in N.Y. Must Install Devices to Monitor Alcohol Use," reporting that the Empire State is about to mandate a seemingly effective form of technocorrections for persons convicted of a crime that leads to thousands of deaths every year. Here are some of the interesting details:

A new program will go into effect on Aug. 15 in New York that requires anyone convicted of drunken driving to install a device in their cars that will determine whether they are sober before the vehicle will start.  Roughly 25,000 people statewide are convicted each year on charges of drunken driving.

Under the new program, which was adopted as a part of "Leandra's Law," anyone convicted of driving while intoxicated must have the devices installed at their own expense and once a month report to a location where the data recorded by the machine can be analyzed to determine how often the driver exceeded blood alcohol limits.

With the device, known as an ignition interlock breathalyzer, installed, the drivers will have to pass a test to show they have less than one drink in their system before the car will start, and they must use a Breathalyzer at regular intervals to prove they are not drinking and driving.

The devices will not permit a car to start if the driver registers a blood alcohol level of .025 percent or higher. Drivers face criminal charges if their blood alcohol reading exceeds .08 percent....

Judge Judy Harris Kluger, chief of policy and planning for the court system, said that the courts are "well prepared" to meet the Aug. 15 startup date.  About 1,000 village and town court justices and employees of those courts have been trained on implementing the new law, she said. A similar program will be conducted through the Internet for all 1,300 state-funded judges on Aug. 3.

Kluger recognized that judges will have an "additional responsibility" in analyzing detailed financial statements from defendants to determine if they are eligible for a fee waiver, but added that the courts will not know the impact for several months....

Motorists convicted of drunken driving charges will have to pay up to $100 to have the devices installed and a monthly fee of between $70 and $100 depending upon which model and which installer they use.  The seven manufacturers approved by the Department of Probation, will bear the cost of providing the devices to convicted motorists who are unable to pay for them.

In any case where a motorist is convicted of driving while under the influence, judges must require the defendant use the device for at least six months.  The requirement can be imposed with a conditional discharge, most likely in the case of first offenders, or as a condition of probation.

Currently, probation is required in about 9,000 of the 25,000 drunken driving cases, with several hundred jailed and the balance fined, [according to Robert Maccarone, the director of the New York State Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives].  He added that he did not expect that figure to change after Aug. 15. Defendants who go to sentence would be required to install the devices once they have served their terms....

The seven manufacturers must contract with enough installers -- retailers of electronics and security systems -- so that no convicted motorist will have to travel more than 50 miles to have the device installed or to attend monthly compliance checkups.

Each of the manufacturers produces devices at varying levels of sophistication. In addition to the basic model, some have cameras to record who is taking the breathalyzer test and others have global positioning systems.

The requirement for the interlock ignition devices was enacted as a part of Leandra's law, which was adopted in response to the October 2009 death of Leandra Rosado, 11, who was thrown from a car being driven by a drunken driver.

I believe that New York is the largest state to create an ignition lock mandate for those convicted of drunk driving.  As detailed in some prior posts, there is (undisputed?) evidence that every state with serious ignition lock laws have experienced significant decreases in the number of drunken-driving accidents and deaths.  If a very politically prominent state like New York has such positive experiences with Leandra's law, it could prompt adoption of similar programs nationwide and perhaps significantly decrease the harmful scourge that is drunk driving.

Some related posts on sentencing drunk drivers and advocacy for ignition locks:

July 26, 2010 in Criminal Sentences Alternatives, Offense Characteristics, Technocorrections | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

"From Error Toward Quality: A Federal Role in Support of Criminal Process"

The title of this post is the title of the latest issue brief from the folks at the American Constitution Society dealing with criminal justice matters.  This issue brief can be accessed here, where this overview can also be found:

ACS is pleased to distribute “From Error Toward Quality: A Federal Role in Support of Criminal Process,”, an Issue Brief by James M. Doyle.  Mr. Doyle is a lawyer in private practice with the Boston law firm of Carney & Bassil and the former head of the Public Defender Division of the Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services, which is the statewide public defender agency.

Mr. Doyle begins his Issue Brief by observing that “[c]ontemporary medicine is experiencing a vibrant quality reform movement born in the aftermath of horrific reports of fatal medical errors.”  Based on the reform experience in medicine, which is a team-oriented effort built on learning from routine human errors to improve practices and “prevent those inevitable errors from ripening into tragedies,” he sees an opportunity for the federal government to “catalyze the willingness of criminal justice practitioners and stakeholders to learn from their own mistakes . . . and lay the groundwork for a continuous quality improvement initiative in America’s criminal justice systems.”  With the federal government’s help in designing a common template for assessing errors in the system, serving as a clearinghouse for collecting and sharing the analyses of errors performed at the local level, and providing other modest technical and financial support, Mr. Doyle believes that this effort could “set in motion a cultural shift that improves criminal justice, not by imposing top-down federal micro-management, but by exploiting the talents and insights of local systems’ frontline practitioners.”  He also believes that it could “change a culture to one that routinely, every day, concentrates on improving the reliability of the criminal process for the victims, the accused, and the public.”

Mr. Doyle’s Issue Brief is the second in a series that ACS will be publishing focused on ideas about a possible role that the federal government can play in improving indigent defense systems in states around the country.  Attorney General Eric Holder, Congress, and many other federal policymakers have taken notice of the crisis in indigent defense that has existed since 1963 when the U.S. Supreme Court held in Gideon v. Wainwright that each state has an obligation under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to provide a criminal defendant with an attorney when he or she cannot afford one, and they have specifically identified reform of the system as a priority.  Mr. Doyle’s systemic approach to criminal justice reform, which he believes will help identify problems that undermine compliance with the Sixth Amendment, offers another recommendation as to what the U.S. Department of Justice, Congress, and other parts of the federal government do to help bring about reform.

July 26, 2010 in Purposes of Punishment and Sentencing, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Heading off to hear about how Ohio should reinvest in justice

I am about to head off-line for the day to attend a conference at which the Council of State Governments' Justice Center will present its first findings as part of Ohio's involvement in CSG's Justice Reinvestment project.  This AP article, which is headlined "Ohio's probation system called costly, ineffective," previews what I am going to be hearing about through the day:

Ohio's probation system is a jumble of overlapping and fragmented agencies without common rules for improving the way the state treats offenders under supervision, according to a report to be released today.

The study also says that offenders who commit minor drug and property crimes are often supervised for years, while inmates who pose a high risk to public safety are released from prison without supervision.

The study by the Council of State Governments Justice Center also confirms something that Ohio officials have known for years: A large number of offenders cycle through prisons with sentences of just a few months each, placing a costly burden on an already-strapped agency.

One reason for the cycling is that the minimum sentence for lower-level felonies is six months in Ohio; it is one year in many other states. The Ohio study, to be unveiled at a daylong symposium, found that only four of every 10 inmates serving short sentences have a low risk of offending again. Two of every three are property-crime or drug offenders and have two or fewer prior convictions.

July 26, 2010 in Criminal Sentences Alternatives, Prisons and prisoners, Purposes of Punishment and Sentencing, State Sentencing Guidelines, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is the House finally about to pass the compromise crack/powder reform bill?

As regular readers know, there has mostly been radio silence in the House of representatives concerning reform of federal crack/powder statutes since the Senate passed a compromise reform bill back in March.  But lately there has been a lot more buzz about this bill, including this editorial in today's New York Times headlined "The House Should Listen and Learn."  (This follows up last week's Washington Pot editorial on the same topic.)  Here is an excerpt of the NYT editorial:

A “tough on crime” federal law that requires harsher prison terms for people arrested with crack cocaine than with the powered version of the drug is scientifically indefensible and hugely unfair. A bill that reduces this onerous sentencing disparity has passed the Senate easily. The House, which has been vacillating over whether or not to schedule a vote on the Senate bill, needs to show the same good sense....

Senator Richard Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, sensibly called for equalizing the sentences in his original Senate bill. Mr. Durbin accepted a compromise that still penalizes crack more heavily than powder, but less so than the original law. It is still unfair. But it would ensure that thousands of drug defendants each year received fairer treatment from the courts.

The Senate passed its bill unanimously with the support of law enforcement groups like the National District Attorneys Association and the sponsorship of conservative Republicans, including Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, John Cornyn of Texas and Jeff Sessions of Alabama. That means that House members have all the political cover they need to quickly do the same.

I suspect all this new buzz on this important topic means that there is a real move afoot to get the House to vote on this bill and to try to get something to President Obama before the August recess.  I hope this is what is going on, because the misguided 100 to 1 ratio has been law far too long, and any change is change for the better.

Some related posts from when the Senate passed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010:

July 26, 2010 in Drug Offense Sentencing, Race, Class, and Gender, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Following the money as the marijuana laboratory of California is heating up

Pot farm This new report from Reuters, which is headlined "High finance and corporate pot, California style," highlights just some of the reasons why the California initiative to legalize marijuana is potentially such a big deal. Here is a snippet from the piece:

The magnitude of the experiment is difficult to fathom -- the world's eighth largest economy will tear down barriers to the most used illegal drug in the United States. The state that invented car culture will have open freeways to take the bounty to the rest of the nation, where higher prices -- and the risk of handcuffs -- beckon.

Even the cops who most hate it see legal California marijuana as a different breed of drug -- and a game changer for the country. "The stuff we are getting in California is fricking leading the world," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Senior Narcotics Detective Glenn Walsh. "We already send marijuana all over the States, presumably all over the world."

A drug of hippies and cartels, marijuana has become a cultural touchstone. To advocates, it symbolizes counterculture freedom and alternative medicine; to detractors, it is a drug that saps the resolve of hardworking Americans, draws children down a path to other more dangerous drugs and enriches ruthless Mexican cartels.

Economists see a different picture -- a multibillion dollar market about to be unfettered with little sense of how consumers will react. Two rules they expect to apply: competition will lower prices and expand the market; businesses will look for ways to get ahead of the pack.

One recent study predicted California marijuana would underprice high-quality Mexican imports in virtually every city in the United States, even including the costs of smuggling and state taxes.

The reaction of drug cartels behind vast imports into the United States is anybody's guess, from abandoning the field to doubling down in a legal market where they can plow profits into political campaigns for legitimate allies.

But fear of the effects of legal California 'bud' already has made its way to the streets of Tijuana, the Mexican sister city to San Diego and a major gateway of drugs into the United States. "We're screwed," said Juan V., a street dealer in the grimy border city of around 2 million people. "They are going to want us to lower prices," he said. "We'll just have to sell more here."

I have been following and blogging the issues of pot legalization in California so closely in large part because I share the view that the "magnitude of the experiment is difficult to fathom."  And there are lots and lots of ways in which the impact of this experiment will echo into sentencing law and policy at both state and federal levels.

July 26, 2010 in Drug Offense Sentencing, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 25, 2010

Notable front-page pieces from the Sunday NYTimes

These two long pieces appearing on the front-pages of my New York Times both seemed Sunday blogworthy:

July 25, 2010 in Offense Characteristics, Who Sentences? | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

"Jail Source: The Inmates Are Sick of Lindsay Lohan"

The title of this post is the headline of this new People magazine piece that provides a LiLo update for sentencing fans.  Here are the particulars:

As far as reports go, Lindsay Lohan is eating the same meals as regular inmates at the Century Regional Detention Facility. But that doesn't mean she's being entirely treated like the others.

"She's not treated like if it was anyone else going to jail," Maria Medina, a relative of an inmate at Lohan's jail tells PEOPLE. "Like, if they even want to bring her new clothes or bring her anything, they put the whole facility on lockdown. It happens all the time."

Medina, 40, says residents at the jail, based in Lynwood, Calif., find it unfair that someone they're not even allowed to see is exerting so much control over their stay. "All the inmates are sick of Lindsay," Medina says. "It's almost like Lindsay Lohan's here, but she's not. Like if she even moves, they put the whole facility on lockdown. It happens all the time. For example, just yesterday [Friday], Lindsay had to go to the mini-clinic, and the whole place was on lockdown again."

Los Angeles Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore denied Medina's claim. "It's business as usual. Lindsay's getting no special treatment," he told PEOPLE on Saturday. He also said there is no such thing as "lockdowns."

As far as Lohan is concerned, she's now apparently in a much better state of mind than earlier this week. "[Lindsay's] doing well, she's doing fine," Lohan's lawyer Shawn Chapman Holley tells PEOPLE. "Her outlook is definitely more positive."

Despite speculation that Lohan was given exemptions when it came to visitation limits, Holley told reporters her client is playing by the rules, saying,"[Her family's] not allowed any more visits this week."

Whitmore earlier this week told PEOPLE that Lohan received her visits during the week to avoid disrupting other families visiting on the weekend with ensuing TV crews and photographers.

July 25, 2010 in Celebrity sentencings, Prisons and prisoners | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack