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June 4, 2013

Would legalizing marijuana be a huge step toward a less racialized criminal justice system?

Web-Jus-MJ-1-Header-V02The question in the title of this post is prompted by this notable New York Times article headlined "Blacks Are Singled Out for Marijuana Arrests, Federal Data Suggests." Here are excerpts:

Black Americans were nearly four times as likely as whites to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession in 2010, even though the two groups used the drug at similar rates, according to new federal data.  This disparity had grown steadily from a decade before, and in some states, including Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, blacks were around eight times as likely to be arrested.

During the same period, public attitudes toward marijuana softened and a number of states decriminalized its use.  But about half of all drug arrests in 2011 were on marijuana-related charges, roughly the same portion as in 2010.

Advocates for the legalization of marijuana have criticized the Obama administration for having vocally opposed state legalization efforts and for taking a more aggressive approach than the Bush administration in closing medical marijuana dispensaries and prosecuting their owners in some states, especially Montana and California.

The new data, however, offers a more nuanced picture of marijuana enforcement on the state level.  Drawn from police records from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the report is the most comprehensive review of marijuana arrests by race and by county and is part of a report being released this week by the American Civil Liberties Union....  “We found that in virtually every county in the country, police have wasted taxpayer money enforcing marijuana laws in a racially biased manner,” said Ezekiel Edwards, the director of the A.C.L.U.’s Criminal Law Reform Project and the lead author of the report.

During President Obama’s first three years in office, the arrest rate for marijuana possession was about 5 percent higher than the average rate under President George W. Bush.  And in 2011, marijuana use grew to about 7 percent, up from 6 percent in 2002 among Americans who said that they had used the drug in the past 30 days.  Also, a majority of Americans in a Pew Research Center poll conducted in March supported legalizing marijuana.

Though there has been a shift in state laws and in popular attitudes about the drug, black and white Americans have experienced the change very differently. “It’s pretty clear that law enforcement practices are not keeping pace with public opinion and state policies,” said Mona Lynch, a professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California, Santa Cruz....

The cost of drug enforcement has grown steadily over the past decade. In 2010, states spent an estimated $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws, a 30 percent increase from 10 years earlier.  The increase came as many states, faced with budget shortfalls, were saving money by using alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders.  During the same period, arrests for most other types of crime steadily dropped.

Researchers said the growing racial disparities in marijuana arrests were especially striking because they were so consistent even across counties with large or small minority populations.  The A.C.L.U. report said that one possible reason that the racial disparity in arrests remained despite shifting state policies toward the drug is that police practices are slow to change.  Federal programs like the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program continue to provide incentives for racial profiling, the report said, by including arrest numbers in its performance measures when distributing hundreds of millions of dollars to local law enforcement each year.

Phillip Atiba Goff, a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that police departments, partly driven by a desire to increase their drug arrest statistics, can concentrate on minority or poorer neighborhoods to meet numerical goals, focusing on low-level offenses that are easier, quicker and cheaper than investigating serious felony crimes. “Whenever federal funding agencies encourage law enforcement to meet numerical arrest goals instead of public safety goals, it will likely promote stereotype-based policing and we can expect these sorts of racial gaps,” Professor Goff said.

The ACLU report and materials on which this story is based can be found through this webpage, which provides links to reports, graphics, videos and other related coverage of this significant story.  The full 187-page ACLU report is titled "The War on Marijuana in Black and White," and can be accessed at this link.

In addition to believing this potent new ACLU data should provide civil rights groups with a strong reason to become even more vocal in support of marijuana legalization, I hope it will force opponents of marijuana legalization to recognize and reflect on who really bears the brunt of marijuana prohibition.  Though the rich and powerful like Michael Phelps and Justin Bieber might get a little negative press when seen smoking pot, it is people concentrated in poorer and minority neighborhoods who endure real burdens from the persistence of modern pot prohibition. 

Unless and until supporters of marijuana prohibition face up to this disturbing data and aggressive advocate ways to reduce this racial skew in enforcement patterns, I think they can and should be accused of being complicit in perpetuating racial dispaprities in the operation of modern American criminal justice systems.  That's right, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, I am talking about you two first and foremost.  Unless and until you express at least some support for state marijuana legalization efforts, I will continue to accuse the first black president and the first black attorney general of being complicit in perpetuating racialized American criminal justice system. 

June 4, 2013 at 09:19 AM | Permalink


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There are two very prominent organizations who make a living with (1) incendiary race-mongering and (2) pushing for pot. That would be the ACLU and the NYT.

This report is the umpteenth re-tread of those two agendas. Their views on race and pot have all the credibility of Donald Rumsfeld's views on the Iraq war or Kathy Boudin's views on armed robbery.

Let me know when something from a neutral source shows up.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 4, 2013 9:35:03 AM

Since their numbers are based on those given to them by law enforcement, I'm certain that those agencies wrongfully accused will correct the report.

Of course, you realize that legalization or decriminalization is not the only possible response to this report. I have always advocated for equal enforcement. Let's test it and see how long marijuana remains illegal when children of privilege are arrested and incarcerated at the same rate as everyone else. I give it about a year. Only that long because we would have to wait for the legislature to come back into session to change the law.

Posted by: Ala JD | Jun 4, 2013 10:06:32 AM

Ala JD --

"Since their numbers are based on those given to them by law enforcement, I'm certain that those agencies wrongfully accused will correct the report."

It is precisely the problem with biased sources (and I see you wisely don't dispute that these are biased) that they can manipulate data to suit the pre-approved result. As if you didn't know this.

P.S. I'll also assume that you'd like me to send you Rumsfeld's book, "How We Secretly Won the Iraq War." I hear it's chock full of data.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 4, 2013 10:15:41 AM

Unlike Bill Otis, I am very thankful we have the ACLU and the NYT. To believe, as Bill does, that these organizations "make a living with (1) incendiary race-mongering and (2) pushing for pot" is just silly.

Posted by: historian | Jun 4, 2013 12:12:19 PM

historian --

"Unlike Bill Otis, I am very thankful we have the ACLU and the NYT."

Where did I ever say I'm not thankful for them? I'm VERY thankful for them. They do more than most to drop the mask from liberalism's shrill and myopic character.

"To believe, as Bill does, that these organizations 'make a living with (1) incendiary race-mongering and (2) pushing for pot' is just silly."

Either that, or it's just being able to read what they publish.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 4, 2013 12:43:39 PM

Bill, while you're around I have a question for you. I attended Conrad Black's Q&A last week in Vancouver. Early on he recited this bit of data: in the UK about 50% of all cases find for the prosecution, in Canada close to 60%, and in the US 99%. Are American prosecutors that much superior to their commonwealth counterparts, defense attorneys that much lamer than those Canuck and Limey solicitors, or is there some third possibility? Black didn't give sources, but given that he's known to do intense research on his various historic subjects, and had plenty of time for research courtesy of the American taxpayers, I'm not questioning those figures.

For an unabashed capitalist (and baron, and British lord), several times in the evening Black said some surprising things, calling for decriminalization of all drugs, more equitable taxation, and, no surprise, reforms to the American legal and political systems. And some of the stories he told about prison made him sound like a script consultant for the better episodes of The Wire.

Posted by: Bill K | Jun 4, 2013 1:10:06 PM

I want American tobacco companies capturing the profit. I want to end the funding of our adversaries in Mexico, destroying a friendly nation. I want relief for national bankruptcy by including cannabis activity and tax revenues in the legal economy, including income taxes for dealers. I would like it to become uncool to drink, do drugs, and to smoke, in our culture, not imposed by the police. Although an atheist, I recognize the effectiveness of religion in persuading people to act right, far better than the law, and appreciate the value of religion. I want the law to appear logical, to be effective, and to promote safety. So marijuana is prohibited, while alcohol is advertised. People high on marijuana are fat and lazy, do not want to go out to commit crimes. Alcohol is found in half the murderers, half the murder victims, half the suicides, now a third of car crashes (used to be half). I love the rule of law, and want it to avoid any mistakes it makes that bring it mass contempt by the public. Can't prohibit pot, allow alcohol. You can prohibit both and tobacco, with 10 lashes for users (cheap, plentiful punishment, and death penalty for dealers). I have no problem with that scenario. It is the inconsistency that is bothersome. I admit the nation would be afraid, less fun loving, and a different place if there were milllions getting the lash, and 10,000 executions a year. But I urge you to support legalization of marijuana, or effective prohibition of alcohol and tobacco. I would strongly urge persuading the public of the wisdom prior to the passage of Draconian measures, not the other way around. The most realistic and practical view is to take advantage of legalization of cannabis. Its current profit is far greater than the entire profit of all of legal agriculture. That money would address your concern with national bankruptcy, too.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 4, 2013 1:23:27 PM

Bill K: There are 20 million FBI Index felonies. 2 million prosecutions. So the prosecutors can select the best supported cases. The other countries have less crime, and prosecutors need the job, so bring weaker cases.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 4, 2013 1:24:58 PM

Yeah, that's the New York Times, alright — always pushing for pot.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Jun 4, 2013 2:44:41 PM

Bill K --

Glad you asked. I debated Lord Black about three months ago in a recorded Federalist Society conference call, which you can find here: http://www.fed-soc.org/audiolib/isamericanjusticeblind-4-4-2013.mp3

Lord Black goes first, then Prof. Podgor of Georgetown Law Center, then me.

Happy listening!

P.S. My opening statement is transcribed here: http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/2013/02/debating-prosecutorial-discret.html#more

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 4, 2013 3:03:45 PM

Michael Drake --

What a newspaper "pushes" for is found on its editorial page, not in its news sections. The NYT still does report news, at least every now and then.

Still, I'm glad you linked the news article about pot's dangers, and I hope you take it to heart.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 4, 2013 3:09:56 PM

"What a newspaper 'pushes' for is found on its editorial page, not in its news sections."

I see. So the NYT "make[s] [its] living" through its (1) editorials (2) about marijuana? Far out, man.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Jun 4, 2013 3:49:19 PM

Wait a moment:
Crack has been the racial injustice card, now its to include mary Jane..
Ok, then I also think Meth and heroin should be on the list along with PCP and powder coke.... This way we cover the racial injustice for sure...

No doubt crack is to blacks as meth isto whites.

Why is nothing being done to help the crank heads in this country.
Not the king pins, but the lower level addicts that had nothing to squel to the feds on....The Biggees, bled the mule types to death, for sure.

Now if you want to fix an injustice...Give all of inmates that were convicted of meth a 2 level drop and also fix the psuedo conversion to mary jane...(look it up) Its 10 times what meth is...Not pure meth, but what they make and sell on the street....But nobody has the guts to even mention it, much less go there...

If you want to accomplish something I'm your man. If you want to talk, run for Congress...Thats what I have to say..

Posted by: MidWest Guy | Jun 4, 2013 3:55:02 PM

Michael Drake --

Somehow, I doubt you know a whole lot about the NYT's finances, but whatever. Do you actually doubt the NYT backs pot legalization? Really? Do you read it?

You're more convincing waving the flag for "the innocent accused," a/k/a Dzokhar, Ariel Castro, Bradley Manning, and similar Martyrs to the Fascist System.

I mean, they are innocent..............aren't they?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 4, 2013 5:07:35 PM

Bill, little good can come from jumping the shark while chumming the waters with red herring.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Jun 4, 2013 6:41:49 PM

Michael Drake --

Since you didn't answer, I'll ask again: Do you actually doubt the NYT backs pot legalization?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 4, 2013 6:47:57 PM

"They do more than most to drop the mask from liberalism's shrill and myopic character."

Speaking of dropped masks...

Posted by: anon | Jun 4, 2013 7:32:03 PM

"Do you actually doubt the NYT backs pot legalization?"

Of course I don't. Do you actually believe that backing pot legalization is "pushing pot"?

Posted by: Michael Drake | Jun 4, 2013 7:52:14 PM

anon --

I couldn't agree more that professional grievance mongers want to intimidate judges into giving only PC-approved speeches.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 4, 2013 7:52:56 PM

Michael Drake --

1. I asked whether you had any doubt that the NYT backs pot legalization. You now acknowledge that you don't. You might have said so a while back, instead of dancing around the point, as you did in your entry here, Jun 4, 2013 3:49:19 PM.

2. I had thought it was clear that, in the context of commenting on Doug's post here about pot arrests, the shorthand "pushing pot" meant "pushing legalization of pot," and I'm sorry you didn't understand that.

3. As it happens, some people pushing the legalization of pot also push its use, thinking that it's relaxing or soothing or in some other way healthy. Whether the people who write NYT editorials are among that number, I don't know.

4. As to jumping sharks: Many times, you have made it clear that you regard defense work as being on the side of the angels, working to oppose mean-spirited, smug and self-righteous prosecutors. That being your attitude, it's perfectly fair to remind you of some of the "angels" your side so gleefully attempts to help beat the rap.

If you now want to say that the defense doesn't really cotton to the likes of Dzokhar, Ariel Castro, and Bradley Manning, well, there are other jobs, aren't there? But in fact you think helping these people is just fine, if not noble. That's why you and your colleagues spend your life doing it.

OK, it's a free country. But if you want to embrace that clientele, embrace them fully.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 4, 2013 8:26:45 PM

"In Morgan and Pike Counties, AL, Blacks make up just over 12% and 37% of the population, respectively, but account for 100% of the marijuana possession arrests."

Yeah, there they go, manipulating statistics.

Posted by: Liberty First | Jun 4, 2013 9:59:22 PM

A slapdown of this "study."


Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Jun 4, 2013 10:48:49 PM

liberty1st --

"'In Morgan and Pike Counties, AL, Blacks make up just over 12% and 37% of the population, respectively, but account for 100% of the marijuana possession arrests.'...Yeah, there they go, manipulating statistics."

And just what was the NUMBER of the marijuana possession arrests? Think that might matter? Do they give it to us?

As I said, manipulation. Wake up.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 5, 2013 12:27:07 AM

Bob Marley, Bush Doctor-- Legalize Marijuana

Warning - The surgeon general warns
Cigarette smoking is dangerous... Dangerous
Hazard to your health
Does that mean anything to you?

Then legalize marijuana
Right here in Jamaica yeah
Dem say it cure glaucoma yeah
I'm an a de bush doctor yeah
So there'll be no more
Smokin' and feeling tense
When I see dem a com
I don't have to jump no fence

Legalize marijuana
Down here in jamaica yeah
Only cure for asthma yeah
I man a de minister yeah
So there'll be no more
Police brutality
No more disrespect for humanity

Legalize marijuana yeah
Down here in jamaica yeah
It can build up a failing economy yeah
Eliminate the slavish mentality

So there'll be no more
Illegal humiliation
And no more police

Legalize marijuana
Down here in sweet jamaica
Only cure for glaucoma
I'm an a de bush doctor yeah

And there'll be no more need
To smoke and hide
When you know you're takin'
A legal ride

Legalize marijuana
Down here in Jamaica
It's the only cure for glaucoma
I'm an a de minister...

Posted by: Liberty1st | Jun 5, 2013 12:56:38 AM

One has to wonder, not about race and Fifth Amendment Equal Protection, but about legality of alcohol and illegality of marijuana. I know the courts defer to the slightest rational basis for any law and any hit of relevance to public purpose. However, is it fair, is it equal treatment to prohibit marijuana and to allow advertising of tobacco and alcohol? May one quantify rational basis by lives saved by a law? So if marijuana kills 50 people in car crashes, and alcohol tobacco kill 500,000, does the disparity violate the Equal Protection rights of those arrested for possession?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 5, 2013 3:06:40 AM

With statistics of this type, you have to wonder if somebody is using what is actually correlation to translate into something else.

It is pretty much a given that most crime is committed in poorer, predominately minority, neighborhoods. If the police are doing their jobs right, they should be increasing their presence in those communities to cut down on crime and arresting the criminals who prey on those communities. So before using the disparity in minority marijuana arrests to assert that police are targeting minorities for marijuana offenses, I would want to know how the breakdwon of marijuana charges compares to the breakdown of other charges and the breakdown of reported offense. (In other words, if 35% of crime is committed in minority neighborhoods, you would expect around 35% of all arrests to be minorities, and, because police might discover marijuana incident to those arrests or while investigating those offenses, you would expect 35% of marijuana arrests to be minorities, regardless of the actual population of the jurisdiction.)

Posted by: tmm | Jun 5, 2013 9:45:11 AM


You began with the claim that (1) "the New York Times" (2) "make[s] a living" (3) by "push[ing] pot." Over the course of four exchanges, this has been reduced to the observation that the New York Times, on its editorial page, has (as have many notable conservatives) endorsed marijuana legalization. At the same time, you maintain that it was only this more modest claim that you'd meant to make all along.

So if either of us is dancing, it's you. (And may I say, you have two left feet.)

The rest of your remarks are off-topic in this thread, and irrelevant to anything I've said. So I won't bother explaining why they're wrong.

Last word's yours, if you want it.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Jun 5, 2013 10:08:05 AM

Michael Drake --

1. And I sometimes say "pot lovers," too. But everyone understands that I'm not claiming anyone is in love with pot; they understand that, in the context of discussions like this, it means "people who smoke a lot of dope."

Same deal with my use -- in the context of a thread that discusses whether we should have fewer (or any) pot arrests -- of the phrase "pushing pot." No other commenter has expressed a bit of trouble understanding that that was shorthand for "advocating pot legalization."

So my claim has not been "reduced," Michael. It's the same now as it started; it just had to be put into more words because you (claimed to) not understand the shorthand.

And yes, newspapers still take their positions -- or PUSH their positions, if you need to have that spelled out too -- in the editorial pages, not in, e.g., the comics, pull-outs and classifieds.

Do you always try to make a big deal out of juvenile linguistic niggling?

2. "The rest of your remarks are off-topic in this thread..."

You're right about that. The reason I have to put them on this thread is that, when I address them to you in a thread where they're on topic, you just disappear. And the reason you disappear there is identical to the reason you refuse to answer here, with the "off-topic" excuse.

The reasons is that, while you claim great and aggressive pride in the work of the defense lawyer -- often juxtaposed with the yuuuchy, slimy, self-righteous, Puritanical and evidence-hiding prosecutor -- you (wisely) decline to get into specifics about the behavior of people who actually show up as clients.

Well, Michael, there are three folks in the news who are currently prominent defense clients: Dzokhar Tsarnaev, Ariel Castro, and Bradley Manning.

Would you care to give details about what, specifically, these people did to wind up needing defense lawyers?

No, of course you don't, because that would illustrate what sort of people you've devoted yourself to trying to put back on the street, guilty or not. It would relatedly show the gymnastics you go through in order to claim that it's simultaneously true (1) that you are a good, moral and caring man, and (2) that it makes no difference to you whether these people are, in fact, guilty and extremely dangerous to boot. If you win the acquittal you hope for, truth be damned, and they're out on the street to murder, rape and brutalize again -- hey, look, that's somebody else's problem.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 5, 2013 10:52:05 AM

Morgan County, Alabama - Population: 119,953 (2011)

Pike County, Alabama - Population: 32,915 (2011)

I live in a "diverse" town with a population of approx 50K and if I read that 100% of pot arrests made by our local PD were people of only one race/ethnicity, I'd be concerned about our town's policing methods.

Posted by: Liberty First (not 1st) | Jun 5, 2013 11:39:34 AM

Everyone is being far too polite with Mr. Otis here. The logic is as follows:

There is a study by some group he does not like. It was reported in a newspaper he does not like. (This is actually irrelevant to the issue).

This study appears to establish some serious unequal treatment under the law.

Because the study is by a group he does not like and reported in a paper he does not like (and a lot of other papers as well, btw. See, irrelevant) the study is biased and not worthy of belief. This of course is his personal belief.

Somehow believing that his personal bias against the ACLU refutes the numbers produced by the ACLU he then expects us to accept his argument without citing any evidence attacking the study at all. There is the crux of his BS. His argument is that we should ignore the study because he says so.

Can't do it.

But his argument brings up a more damning point which is this? What's with the cavalier attitude regarding unequal treatment under the law? To ignore a study because of its author and not even note the troubling implications- with no evidence of significant error in the study- seems an implicit suggestion that the results of the study are of no concern.

There are some who hold the view that racial imbalances in law enforcement are not evidence of anything other than a reflection of the activities of offendors. Some such even make it on to Courts of Appeals. But if that is the position then state it, rather than hide behind some argument about the liberal biases of the ACLU and the NYT, which, you know, duh.

Posted by: Matt | Jun 5, 2013 11:42:30 AM

Matt unmasks the "shrill and myopic" character of Bill Otis.

Posted by: Liberty First (not 1st) | Jun 5, 2013 11:56:51 AM

How is it shrill?
How is it myopic?

Posted by: Adamakis | Jun 5, 2013 1:05:16 PM

"The reason I have to put them on this thread is that, when I address them to you in a thread where they're on topic, you just disappear. And the reason you disappear there is identical to the reason you refuse to answer here, with the 'off-topic' excuse."

This and the remaining part of your comment is all well beyond the scope of rebuttal, so here's a brief surrebuttal:

You call the charge that you were off-topic an "excuse." Yet here, you grant that it's true.

Now, if it wasn't true in other threads, you were certainly free to make that case in those threads. So the fact that you are raising the issue here suggests that you were unsatisfied with your own efforts on that score. In that respect, at least, we can agree.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Jun 5, 2013 1:09:17 PM

Bill Otis, from what you say here and in the Black debate, you're making yourself out to be a functionary of the system the people voted for. The people voted for the congressmen and state reps who passed mandatory minima and 3-strikes laws, and voted for the DAs to use them as a weapon against the accused. Nice system.

Posted by: Bill K | Jun 5, 2013 1:14:48 PM

Bill K --

God forbid that I should speak up for laws the people voted for! If I spoke up for the laws they voted for last year in Colorado and Washington, would you have the same reaction? Or is approval for democracy just a sometime thing?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 5, 2013 2:15:02 PM

Matt --

"Everyone is being far too polite with Mr. Otis here."

That's it, Matt. Excess politeness, especially to conservatives, is the problem with this forum.

"The logic is as follows: There is a study by some group he does not like. It was reported in a newspaper he does not like. (This is actually irrelevant to the issue)."

It has nothing to do with what I like. It has to do with the fact that the ACLU and the NYT have a distinct and longstanding left wing bias -- something neither you nor any other commenter could plausibly dispute. And their bias is plenty relevant, as you would readily agree if you didn't share it.

"This study appears to establish some serious unequal treatment under the law."

The law is SUPPOSED to give unequal treatment to unequal behavior.

"There is the crux of his BS. His argument is that we should ignore the study because he says so."

I don't give two hoots in hell whether you and allied race-baiters ignore the study or sleep with it under your pillow. It takes no study -- not this one or the last few dozen your side churns out -- to convince you that America stinks. The Race Lobby has been yelping for years that the United States is a racist, imperialist, war-mongering, etc., et al. empire, and that's what you're going to believe.

It's not that you're without allies, see, e.g., Michael Drake, who at least has the guts to sign his name.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 5, 2013 2:28:24 PM

Business as usual


Posted by: Bill K | Jun 5, 2013 2:52:46 PM

The answer to the question entitling Doug's original post is yes. And it's yet another good reason to legalize pot.

Posted by: William Jockusch | Jun 5, 2013 2:53:10 PM

Michael Drake --

Do you think the people who comment here are eight years old and can't see the obvious? Look, if you had a good answer to my point about your enthusiasm for representing cruel and violent people, you'd make it.

But you don't.

So you give none.

What you do instead is meander about what's appropriate "surrebuttal,"and whether I'm satisfied with my answers on prior threads.

Don't worry, Michael. My satisfaction need not concern you. If a point be made of it, however, I'll be happy to match the satisfaction of my won-lost record in litigation with yours. Wanna?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 5, 2013 2:53:53 PM

Isn't "Bush Doctor" one of Peter Tosh's songs?

Posted by: Chris Jenkins | Jun 5, 2013 3:39:38 PM

Public attitudes about the legalization of marijuana have changed. This is true for both ends of the political spectrum. People who support some degree of legalization are in the majority. A much larger majority believe that the cost of marijuana enforcement is a waste of money.


Law enforcement has a higher presence in minority neighborhoods. This does not reduce the number of arrests. Wherever law enforcement has the greatest presence arrests go up. Police are hired to make arrests - that is what they do.

Posted by: beth | Jun 5, 2013 3:48:49 PM

On this subject, the Administration has been at best middle of the road, which as the OP notes, and beth cites a simple reason why, has a de facto racial discriminatory affect. This might be ironic given the race of the President and AG, but not really surprising. President Obama has to if anything be more on guard about certain things. Nixon could go to China. It might require a white conservative leaning sort to truly change our drug policy.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 5, 2013 6:32:00 PM

Bill, if you want to have a debate about the legitimacy and morality of defending...my God, CRIMINALS!!!, I guess I'm happy to do that in a forum that makes sense. But this thread ain't it. (Want to do dueling blog posts? Great — shoot me an email.)

As for the argument here, it is submitted.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Jun 5, 2013 8:59:56 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB