January 4, 2014
Re "Why execs, not companies, should face prosecution," Column, Jan. 1 Michael Hiltzik and U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff get it right. The lack of will to prosecute crooks goes back at least a decade, when our anti-tax members of Congress made the government too weak to prosecute the privileged and wealthy. White-collar crime has been effectively decriminalized. Most instances of government weakness can be blamed on inadequate funding. Part of this is because we have the poor and middle class hit the hardest by sales taxes while a transaction tax that hits the investor class is a no-no.
December 17, 2013 |
LAS VEGAS - Advocates for so-called plural marriages are applauding a ruling by a U.S. District Court judge that struck down key segments of Utah's anti-polygamy law, saying they violated constitutional rights to privacy and religious freedom. In a 91-page decision issued Friday, Judge Clark Waddoups effectively decriminalized polygamy in Utah, ruling that a central phrase in the state's law forbidding cohabitation with another person violated the 1st and 14th amendments. The ruling, which distinguishes between polygamy and bigamy, was the result of a lawsuit filed in 2011 by Kody Brown, star of the reality series "Sister Wives," now in its fourth season on cable TV's TLC. Brown has four "wives" - who together have 17 children - but is legally married only to his first, Meri Brown.
June 7, 2013 |
Vermont has become the latest state to remove criminal penalties for the possession of small quantities of marijuana with legislation signed into law. Civil fines will replace criminal penalties for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana or 5 grams of hashish. “This change just makes common sense,” Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a statement after signing the legislation on Thursday. “Our limited resources should be focused on reducing abuse and addiction of opiates like heroin and meth rather than cracking down on people for having very small amounts of marijuana.” Possession under the age of 21 will be treated the same as underage possession of alcohol -- a court referral for a first offense, possible civil penalties and/or license suspension, and criminal penalties for a third offense.
May 17, 2013 |
BOGOTA, Colombia - The Organization of American States said Friday that countries should consider decriminalizing drug use, a shift backed by several Latin American leaders but opposed by the United States. Decriminalization could be one of many “transitional methods” in a public health strategy that could include “drug courts, substantive reduction in sentences and rehabilitation,” according to a report released by the OAS on the possible liberalization of drug polices. The report, presented by OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza in Bogota, was commissioned during the April 2012 Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, in response to many leaders' complaints that U.S.-driven drug prohibition policies of recent decades had failed to stem the illicit drug business.
July 3, 2012 |
On Monday night, the always-opinionated director Oliver Stone paid a visit to “Piers Morgan Tonight” to promote his latest film, “Savages,” which tells the story of two pot-growing Southern California friends who clash with a Mexican drug cartel. Not surprisingly, the conversation turned to the subject of the war on drugs, which Stone opposes. “Fifty percent of our prison system is victimless crimes,” he claimed. “People who've never hurt anybody, they're in for marijuana and it has nothing to do with punishment.
April 13, 2012 |
CARTAGENA, Colombia - President Obama will highlight trade and business opportunities in Latin America at a regional summit in Colombia this weekend, but other leaders may upstage him by pushing to legalize marijuana and other illicit drugs in a bid to stem rampant trafficking. Obama, who opposes decriminalization, is expected to face a rocky reception in this Caribbean resort city, which otherwise forms a friendly backdrop for a U.S. president courting Latino voters in an election year.