Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hackers spoofing 11th Circuit...

Below is the notice from the court. I feel like there’s a joke in there somewhere.

Notice Regarding Spoofed Calls

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Members of the public have received calls from individuals posing as "agents" working for or with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The callers then ask the recipient to pay a monetary fine. While the recipient's caller ID may show that the call comes from the Clerk's Office main phone number (404-335-6100), these calls are "spoofed" and are not from the Court of Appeals. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals does not call members of the public and ask them to pay a fine over the phone. If you receive one of these calls please hang up and contact the FBI Atlanta Field Office at 770-216-3000.

First steps

Mitch McConnell will bring the First Step Act to a Senate vote.  I like the title because this bill doesn’t give a whole lot of relief, but it’s a nice first step in the right direction for criminal justice reform.  It will pass by a huge number.  From USA Today:

The measure would give judges more discretion in sentencing offenders for nonviolent crimes, particularly drug offenss, and bolster rehabilitation programs for former prisoners. It would also call for placing federal prisoners closer to home – no more than 500 miles – so families could visit more often.

Trump welcomed McConnell's announcement.

“Looks like it's going to be passing, hopefully – famous last words,'' Trump said at the White House. "It’s really something we're all very proud of. Tremendous support from Republicans and tremendous support from Democrats. Lot of years they've been waiting for it.”

Monday, December 10, 2018

William Barr to be Trump's Attorney General

Out with the old and in with the old.

Although Trump is calling for criminal justice reform and even pushed McConnell on Twitter for a vote on the First Step Act, Barr is an old-school criminal justice thinker.  Here's the Brennan Center for Justice explaining that he is similar (if not worse) than Sessions:
Barr’s record suggests he might also be opposed to the FIRST STEP Act, the current bipartisan bill on criminal justice reform. If passed, the bill would shorten some unnecessarily long federal prison sentences and enforce rules that would improve conditions for people currently in prison. Barr’s potential opposition to the FIRST STEP Act would put him at odds with President Trump and the majority of Republicans in the Senate, who support the bill.
Barr’s previous stint as attorney general also included troubling positions on criminal justice issues. During his tenure in the Bush administration, Barr helped devise federal policies that furthered mass incarceration and the war on drugs. Notably, in 1992, he published a book by the Department of Justice called The Case for More Incarceration, which argued that the country was “incarcerating too few criminals.” After serving as attorney general, Barr led efforts in Virginia to abolish parole in the state, build more prisons, and increase prison sentences by as much as 700 percent.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

“Alexander Acosta is being unfairly criticized for his handling of Epstein’s plea deal”

That’s the title of my op-ed in the Miami Herald this morning.  It starts like this:
Alexander Acosta is arguably President Trump’s most successful cabinet member. For starters, job numbers and unemployment rates are breaking records under his supervision as Labor Secretary. And particularly noteworthy for this administration, Acosta has been scandal free. There have been no Twitter fights (like with Jeff Sessions), no misuse of government funds (like with six other cabinet members), or other similar issues (like with Louise Linton going off on Instagram).Instead, Acosta has done what he has always done — kept his head down, worked hard, and gotten good results.Because of his successes, there had been some whispers that Acosta was being considered, albeit as a long-shot, for Attorney General.Acosta, who has dedicated his life to public service (from the civil rights division to U.S. Attorney to dean of Florida International University School of Law to his current position in the cabinet), would have been an incredible choice.Then last week, the Miami Herald retold the story of Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal from over 10 years ago, when Secretary Acosta was U.S. Attorney Acosta. Although Epstein was required to plead guilty, register as a sex offender, pay restitution and go to state prison, there are many — including the New York TimesMiami Herald, and others — who are calling for Congress to investigate Acosta and force him out, equating Acosta’s approval of the deal to Epstein’s actions.Although it is fair to have an honest disagreement about the Epstein plea agreement, the attacks on Acosta are not justified. As for the merits of the agreement, it is important to remember that the federal government only prosecutes federal crimes.
I can’t republish the whole thing here, so please click on the link above and let me know your thoughts.  

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