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January 18, 2018

An accounting of how criminal justice has changed as the folks inside the Beltway have changed

The Marshall Project has this notable new piece headlined "Trump Justice, Year One: The Demolition Derby; Here are nine ways the law-and-order president has smashed Obama’s legacy." Here is how the piece sets up its listing (readers can click through to review the particulars):

On criminal justice, Donald J. Trump’s predecessor was a late-blooming activist.  By the end of President Barack Obama’s second term, his administration had exhorted prosecutors to stop measuring success by the number of defendants sent away for the maximum, taken a hands-off approach to states legalizing marijuana and urged local courts not to punish the poor with confiscatory fines and fees.  His Justice Department intervened in cities where communities had lost trust in their police.

After a few years when he had earned the nickname "Deporter-in-Chief," Obama pivoted to refocus immigration authorities — in effect, a parallel criminal justice system — on migrants considered dangerous, and created safeguards for those brought here as children.  He visited a prison, endorsed congressional reform of mandatory minimum sentences and spoke empathetically of the Black Lives Matter movement.  He nominated judges regarded as progressives.

In less than a year, President Trump demolished Obama's legacy.

In its place, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has framed his mission as restoring the “rule of law,” which often means stiffening the spines and limiting the discretion of prosecutors, judges and law officers. And under President Trump’s “America first” mandate, being tough on crime is inextricably tied to being tough on immigration.

“I think all roads in Trump's rhetoric and Sessions’ rhetoric sort of lead to immigration,” said Ames Grawert, an attorney in the left-leaning Brennan Center’s Justice Program who has been studying the administration’s ideology.  “I think that's going to make it even harder for people trying to advance criminal justice reform because that's bound up in in the president's mind, in the attorney general's mind, as an issue that they feel very, very passionately on -- restricting immigration of all sorts.” 

Here are nine ways Trump has transformed the landscape of criminal justice, just one tumultuous year into his presidency.

January 18, 2018 at 09:00 AM | Permalink


Obama is a Harvard Law School radicalized lawyer. Every person hired by his administration must be purged from government. Every rule he put in placed must be repealed.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 18, 2018 11:44:20 AM

Thank the lawyer profession for protecting, privileging, and empowering this defendant.


Posted by: David Behar | Jan 18, 2018 1:01:16 PM

Same here. This has been repeated hundreds of thousands of times. Thank the lawyer profession.


Posted by: David Behar | Jan 18, 2018 1:14:45 PM

Law school radicalized, feminist mayor willing to go to prison to protect illegal alien gangbangers.


Posted by: David Behar | Jan 18, 2018 1:32:05 PM

Mr. Behar:

Returning to post four comments over the course of two hours -- when no one else has posted a comment to which you might be replying -- suggests that you need a relaxing hobby. Perhaps painting landscapes far from the Internet.

Posted by: Publius | Jan 18, 2018 3:10:33 PM

Publius. Thanks for being the only one caring enough to reply.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 18, 2018 4:23:15 PM

Or, David, spend more of your time cultivating and promoting (elsewhere) your own blog.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 18, 2018 4:23:48 PM

Or, Doug, you and all the other Harvard Law School radicalized lawyers spend more of your time,cultivating and promoting in another country, like Venezuela, now in the terminal stage of your program.

Posted by: David Behar | Jan 18, 2018 11:00:27 PM

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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