Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

The Police Killing of Muhammad Muhaymin Jr.

Saturday, July 11th, 2020

In 2017, Phoenix police officers arrested Muhammad Muhaymin Jr. over a “failure to appear in court over a charge stemming from misdemeanor possession of a marijuana pipe.” Officers killed the man during the course of the arrest. This is your War on Drugs.

Shapiro on the Drug War

Saturday, June 27th, 2020

Ilya Shapiro has a lengthy article out, “This is Your Constitution on Drugs.”

Burrus on the Drug War

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

Trevor Burrus supports various police reforms but looks to the underlying problem that “every day, thousands of police suit up to go to war against their fellow citizens.” The drug war is the single most important contributor to abusive policing and judicial injustice today.

Was George Floyd Set Up on Drug Offense?

Sunday, June 14th, 2020

The drug war is a moral and legal atrocity, overtly racist in origin, still racist in effect. One problem is that it heavily incentivizes dirty policing. It turns out that George Floyd “served time in state jail” for a 2004 drug offense by a lying cop.

The Tanya McDowell Case

Saturday, June 13th, 2020

Tanya McDowell got five years in prison for sending her child to the “wrong” school district and for drug charges. Obviously that’s obscene. But it’s not accurate to say the sentence was just because of the school. She also had a previous criminal record for bank robbery.

Racist Drug Laws

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

America’s drug prohibition laws, in many respects overtly racist in origin, have been a major source of police abuses and of racial disparities in the criminal justice system. One aspect of this involves the sentencing laws for cocaine, long used as a pretext to imprison black men at a disproportionate rate.

In 1995 I wrote about the sentencing disparities involved with crack versus powder cocaine.

A new article from the Economist reveals that the racial disparities of drug sentencing have not gone away. The article notes, “When suspects are charged with drug possession, the quantities in their indictments only loosely reflect what they were carrying when arrested. Prosecutors can boost amounts using testimony about previous activity, or by charging people for drugs held by co-conspirators. Some convictions cite 100 times as much crack as the defendant had in hand. Such leeway makes these figures as much a measure of prosecutorial discretion as of suspects’ crimes.”

The piece reveals clear evidence that some prosecutors are abusing this discretion to the harm of minorities: “In 1986 Congress passed a law requiring anyone possessing 50g or more of crack to serve at least ten years in prison. Legislators raised this cut-off to 280g in 2010, making the minimum sentence for possession of 279g half as long as for 280g. By creating a cliff, the law encouraged offenders to carry less than 280g. It also enabled prosecutors who sought extra-long sentences to secure them, by filing charges just above the limit. Before 2010, convictions for 270-280g or 290-300g were just as common as for 280-290g. After that year, the share of sentences for 280-290g surged, from 0.5% to 4%; the rates for adjacent amounts barely changed. Moreover, the burden of these strategically sized charges fell disproportionately on minorities.”

Of course the racist sentencing disparities are only one aspects of the damage of the drug laws. Broader than the problem of black men going to prison longer than white men for comparable crimes is the problem of people going to prison for non-rights-violating behavior. And of course the black market created by the government substantially funds America’s violent gangs. And it has spurred the militarization of U.S. police departments.

Police Kill Breonna Taylor in Drug Raid

Friday, June 5th, 2020

Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason: “She was senselessly killed by Louisville police officers in a no-knock [drug] raid on March 13, during which cops targeted her house in the middle of the night for no good reason and fired at least 20 bullets at the innocent residents. . . . No drugs were found.” The drug war is perhaps the single biggest driver of police abuses. end it.