A group of Chicago defense attorneys are currently seeking to prove that racial bias was at the root of a long series of Chicago drug stings. The ruling could have implications at the national level.
In our last post, we highlighted the inherent problems in proving marijuana impairment during a traditional DWI stop. Essentially, police are not yet equipped to scientifically determine whether a driver is impaired by marijuana, and roadside sobriety tests geared towards detecting alcohol impairment could not properly reach those conclusions.
As much as the décor, the music and the fashions favored by people may change, there is one thing about dance clubs, bars and nighttime hotspots that will never change: the presence of illegal narcotics. Indeed, the reality is that while most responsible owners do everything in their power to run clean establishments, customers and even staff will often find ways to bring drugs onto the premises for use or sale.
In recognition of the astronomical cost and grave injustice that has resulted from keeping non-violent drug offenders locked in federal prisons for decades owing to draconian sentencing schemes established roughly 30 years ago, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder formally adopted what was known as the "Smart on Crime Initiative" in 2013.
When it comes to the always controversial issue of marijuana, Illinois has recently taken some actions that could be described as progressive from decriminalizing possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana to launching a pilot program permitting the sale of medical marijuana to those with one of 40 debilitating diseases.
While people might have missed it, the U.S. Sentencing Commission -- the independent federal agency tasked with creating sentencing policies for the federal courts, advising Congress and the executive branch on effective crime policy, and analyzing federal crime and sentencing issues -- released a rather eye-opening report a few weeks back.
During the chaos of the holiday season, many people might have missed what turned out to be a significant announcement by the Drug Enforcement Administration concerning marijuana extracts, including cannabidiol, or CBD.
Thanks to a significant amount of news coverage, most people are now well aware that even though many states -- Illinois included -- have adopted what could best be described as a progressive approach to marijuana, it nevertheless remains illegal under federal law.
You don't have to be a constitutional law scholar to know that law enforcement officials couldn't legally conduct a search of hundreds of homes in an attempt to uncover evidence of some suspected criminal activity. Indeed, as ridiculous as this premise may sound, it was actually playing out in one Texas town, albeit to transit passengers, where police officers were essentially using a local gas station as a checkpoint to conduct random drug searches of passenger buses traveling through the area.
In a recent post, our blog discussed how President Obama made history back in August by granting 325 commutations to federal inmates convicted of nonviolent drug crimes, a truly remarkable figure representing the single largest number of sentence reductions ever handed down in a single month by a U.S. president.