februari 10, 2017

De travel ban van Trump in rechtsvergelijkend en politiek perspectief

Gisteren heeft het Court of Appeal in San Francisco de ‘travel ban’, ‘immigration ban’ of ‘muslim ban’ (er circuleren diverse etiketten voor het decreet van Trump) in scherpe bewoordingen de nek omgedraaid. Dat laatste is misschien te sterk uitgedrukt, want  strikt genomen ging het om een hoger beroep tegen de beslissing van een federal judge om dat decreet ‘nationwise’ te bevriezen. En dat hoger beroep beperkte zich tot de vraag of deze federale rechter de juiste procedurele weg had bewandeld. Er is veel over deze beslissing van het Hof te zeggen en nog meer over de vervolgstappen die kunnen worden gezet. Ik moet mij tot de hoofdlijnen beperken en zal een kort uitstapje maken naar Nederland. Want het gaat immers in de kern om het beveiligen van een land tegen terroristische aanslagen. En dat is een onderwerp dat helaas vele landen raakt. Tot nu toe is ons land gevrijwaard gebleven van dergelijke aanslagen. Of dat zo zal blijven is zeer de vraag. En wat als er dan een met het decreet van Trump vergelijkbare ‘wet’ wordt uitgevaardigd? Kan die de toets der kritiek doorstaan? Hoe moeten dan de juridische en politieke implicaties worden gewaardeerd?
november 10, 2016

The criminal justice reform will continue on a state level

Most likely Donald Trump will undo many changes President Obama has made and with the help of the Senate and the Supreme Court prevent important criminal justice reforms at the federal level for the next four years. But it is a blessing in disguise that many reforms are constituted on a state and local level. The main disaster however is that death penalty won’t be abolished in all three states where it was on the ballot. Remember “The Central Park 5”? About 12% of prisoners in America are in federal prisons run by the executive branch, while the vast majority are in local jails and state prisons. In many ways, local district attorneys have a bigger impact on criminal justice and incarceration in their districts than the president does. And reformers had a very good night in DA races. Challengers pledging reform defeated tough-on-crime prosecutors in Houston, Tampa, and Birmingham, and won an open district attorney election in Denver. This is especially good news for Houston, whose DA Devon Anderson has increased arrests for low-level drug possession, defended seriously flawed death sentences, and once jailed a rape victim during the trial of her rapist. Those results continued a trend from […]
november 9, 2016

The dark and gloomy future of criminal law enforcement in the USA

It all seemed pretty clear. Economy is doing great, (violent) crime rates are reducing according to FBI statistics 2016 (except Chicago) and Obama is a popular president, even after two elections, who together with his wife, put much effort in the election of Hillary. And in addition to that Hillary Clinton is an experienced politician who beat Trump three times at the presidential debates. But it all turned out totally different. Election Night was, among many other things, form a legal point of view a choice between Donald Trump’s dark and misogynist vision of America as a violent country demanding “law and order” and Hillary Clinton’s vision of an inhumane criminal justice system in need of reform. Maybe her perspective about this reform was inspired by the fact that mass incarceration cost The United States a tremendous amount of money. Maybe she truly beliefs that much of this incarceration is caused by bias and poor execution, employment and drugs and she want to stimulate measures that prevent people from committing a crime and set forward more reduced mandatory sentencing guidelines. The darker vision was largely a figment of the Republican’s imagination but, Trump seems likely to take the election as […]