Fuck Yeah Drug Policy
Posts tagged with civil liberties.
5 Reasons Why This Week Was Historic for Ending America’s War on Drugs and Cruel Incarceration Policies | AlterNet
2. NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Ruled Unconstitutional
Last Monday, a federal judge ruled that the New York Police Department’s use of stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional, violating the rights of minorities in New York City. Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling is a blow to the crime fighting legacy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police commissioner Ray Kelly, who credit police stops with reducing major crime in the city to historic lows. But according to Scheindlin, the crime-fighting efficacy of the policy is irrelevant. “Many police practices may be useful for fighting crime…but because they are unconstitutional, they cannot be used, no matter how effective,” she wrote in her 195-page decision. She concluded that stop-and-frisk demonstrates an institutional disregard for the Fourth Amendment—which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government—as well as the Equal Protection Clause under the 14th Amendment.
The judge accused the NYPD of institutionalizing a “policy of indirect racial profiling” under which police routinely stop innocent “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.” Though she claimed she was “not ordering an end to the practice of stop-and-frisk,” she called for a number of reforms to be made, including the use of cameras worn on patrol officers to record street encounters across the city. The judge also ordered the appointment of the police department’s first-ever independent monitor to oversee broad changes to its policies, naming private attorney Peter Zimroth, who was the city’s top lawyer in the late ’80s, to monitor the constitutionality of the NYPD’s practices. “No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves home to go about the activities of daily life,” Scheindlin wrote in her decision, citing the “demeaning and humiliating experience” that defines the “human toll of unconstitutional stops,” according to testimony of individuals who describe being stopped.
Though blacks and Hispanics account for a little over 50 percent of the city’s population, they are involved in about 83 percent of the 4.4 million police stops that occurred between 2004 and 2012. And most of them are not criminals. "Nearly 90 percent of the people stopped are released without the officer finding any basis for a summons or an arrest," Scheindlin countered in reference to Bloomberg and Kelly’s claim that the stops reflect the disproportionate percentage of crimes committed by minorities. Mayor Bloomberg said Scheindlin had misinterpreted what the Constitution allowed and announced that the city will file a notice of appeal today (Friday). The mayor said he hoped stop-and-frisk will continue through the end of his term, because he “wouldn’t want to be responsible for a lot of people dying,” and said it would be irresponsible of the next mayor to stop the appeal.
full article

5 Reasons Why This Week Was Historic for Ending America’s War on Drugs and Cruel Incarceration Policies | AlterNet

2. NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Ruled Unconstitutional

Last Monday, a federal judge ruled that the New York Police Department’s use of stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional, violating the rights of minorities in New York City. Judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling is a blow to the crime fighting legacy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police commissioner Ray Kelly, who credit police stops with reducing major crime in the city to historic lows. But according to Scheindlin, the crime-fighting efficacy of the policy is irrelevant. “Many police practices may be useful for fighting crime…but because they are unconstitutional, they cannot be used, no matter how effective,” she wrote in her 195-page decision. She concluded that stop-and-frisk demonstrates an institutional disregard for the Fourth Amendment—which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government—as well as the Equal Protection Clause under the 14th Amendment.

The judge accused the NYPD of institutionalizing a “policy of indirect racial profiling” under which police routinely stop innocent “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.” Though she claimed she was “not ordering an end to the practice of stop-and-frisk,” she called for a number of reforms to be made, including the use of cameras worn on patrol officers to record street encounters across the city. The judge also ordered the appointment of the police department’s first-ever independent monitor to oversee broad changes to its policies, naming private attorney Peter Zimroth, who was the city’s top lawyer in the late ’80s, to monitor the constitutionality of the NYPD’s practices. “No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves home to go about the activities of daily life,” Scheindlin wrote in her decision, citing the “demeaning and humiliating experience” that defines the “human toll of unconstitutional stops,” according to testimony of individuals who describe being stopped.

Though blacks and Hispanics account for a little over 50 percent of the city’s population, they are involved in about 83 percent of the 4.4 million police stops that occurred between 2004 and 2012. And most of them are not criminals. "Nearly 90 percent of the people stopped are released without the officer finding any basis for a summons or an arrest," Scheindlin countered in reference to Bloomberg and Kelly’s claim that the stops reflect the disproportionate percentage of crimes committed by minorities. Mayor Bloomberg said Scheindlin had misinterpreted what the Constitution allowed and announced that the city will file a notice of appeal today (Friday). The mayor said he hoped stop-and-frisk will continue through the end of his term, because he “wouldn’t want to be responsible for a lot of people dying,” and said it would be irresponsible of the next mayor to stop the appeal.

full article

Texas State Troopers Caught on Camera Performing Body Cavity Search on Women in Search of Marijuana | NY Daily News

Multiple highway patrol officers in Texas have been captured by dash cams doing unconstitutional cavity searches on women’s genitals during traffic stops. 

The shaken women have filed federal lawsuits. Lawyers and civil rights advocates say these cavity searches are standard policy among the Texas Department of Public Safety’s state troopers, despite their illegality—not to mention that they were conducted on the side of the road in full view of passing motorists.

full article

The Human Rights Costs of the War on Drugs

"We are seen as non-citizens. And because we are non-citizens, we can be scapegoated. This allows governments to say you are criminal, you are bad, you are evil; and therefore we can lock you up, we can take away your rights, we can torture you, and we can execute you if you sell drugs."

"Progressives love to point out the hypocrisy of social conservatives who righteously rail against (and demand legal sanction for) the very same sexually sinful behavior in which they enthusiastically engage — and rightly so. But what about a society that continues to imprison millions of human beings for using substances that vast numbers of people in the nation have secretly used and enjoyed, or which empowers people with the Oval Office, or reveres people like Steve Jobs, who have done the same? The DOJ claims dispensaries are now masking non-medical marijuana sales, leading to this question: even leaving aside the rather significant (and shameful) fact that drug laws are enforced with overwhelming disproportionality against racial minorites, what possible justification is there for putting someone in a cage for using a substance they choose to use without any evidence that they’ve harmed anyone else or even risked harm to anyone else?

All of this becomes even more incomprehensible when one considers the never-ending preaching about the need for “austerity,” which means: depriving poor and middle class citizens of services and financial security. In this environment, how can it possibly be justified to expend substantial sums of money investigating, arresting, prosecuting and then imprisoning large numbers of people for doing nothing more than consuming marijuana or selling it in states where it is legal to sell it to other consenting adults? That makes about as much sense as deploying a State Department army of 16,000 for a permanent presence in Iraq at the same time political and financial elites plot cuts to Social Security and Medicare. I genuinely don’t understand why a policy that single-handedly sustains America’s status as World’s Largest Jailer — and that consigns huge numbers of minorities and America’s poor to prison and permanent criminal status for no good reason, in the process breaking up families at astonishing rates (to say nothing of the inexorable erosion of civil liberties) — isn’t a higher priority for progressives.

But just like the senseless and monumentally wasteful Endless military War, America’s Drug War feeds the pockets of a powerful private industry: the growing privatized prison industry, which needs more and more prisoners for profits, gets many from drug convictions, and thus vehemently opposes and lobbies against any reform to the nation’s drug laws as well as reform of harsh criminal sentencing. That, combined with self-righteous, deeply hypocritical anti-drug moralizing and complete obliviousness to evidence, has ensured not only that the Drug War and its prison obsession endures, but that it remains outside the scope of what can even be discussed in mainstream political circles. And as the Obama DOJ’s newly intensified attacks on marijuana demonstrate, the problem is, in many respects, getting worse, even as most of the world moves toward a much more restrained and health-based (rather than crime-based) approach to dealing with drug usage.”

Glenn Greenwald - Steve Jobs and drug policy | Salon

fuckyeahdrugpolicy:

Just announced:
The CIVIL LIBERTIES COLLEGE TOUR ”The War on Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and the Constitution” (February 6-10, 2012)
This campus tour will bring together three civil liberties experts to discuss the greatest threats to our individual rights.
Though the drug war is not included in the title, I’m sure it will come up in this discussion. Regardless, this is a sweet lineup and should be interesting. Each member of this panel has criticized the drug war on numerous occasions:
Glenn Greenwald - author of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies
Bruce Fein - former drug warrior in Ronald Reagan’s administration who is now openly opposed to the drug war and is a member of the Just Say Now (a campaign seeking to legalize cannabis) advisory board
Jacob Hornberger - founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation who has written numerous articles making a case against drug prohibition
tour schedule

Can’t make it? Tune in to the live stream at www.YALiberty.org/tour Feb 6-9.

fuckyeahdrugpolicy:

Just announced:

The CIVIL LIBERTIES COLLEGE TOUR ”The War on Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and the Constitution” (February 6-10, 2012)

This campus tour will bring together three civil liberties experts to discuss the greatest threats to our individual rights.

Though the drug war is not included in the title, I’m sure it will come up in this discussion. Regardless, this is a sweet lineup and should be interesting. Each member of this panel has criticized the drug war on numerous occasions:

tour schedule

Can’t make it? Tune in to the live stream at www.YALiberty.org/tour Feb 6-9.

Just announced:
The CIVIL LIBERTIES COLLEGE TOUR ”The War on Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and the Constitution” (February 6-10, 2012)
This campus tour will bring together three civil liberties experts to discuss the greatest threats to our individual rights.
Though the drug war is not included in the title, I’m sure it will come up in this discussion. Regardless, this is a sweet lineup and should be interesting. Each member of this panel has criticized the drug war on numerous occasions:
Glenn Greenwald - author of Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies
Bruce Fein - former drug warrior in Ronald Reagan’s administration who is now openly opposed to the drug war and is a member of the Just Say Now (a campaign seeking to legalize cannabis) advisory board
Jacob Hornberger - founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation who has written numerous articles making a case against drug prohibition
tour schedule

Just announced:

The CIVIL LIBERTIES COLLEGE TOUR ”The War on Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and the Constitution” (February 6-10, 2012)

This campus tour will bring together three civil liberties experts to discuss the greatest threats to our individual rights.

Though the drug war is not included in the title, I’m sure it will come up in this discussion. Regardless, this is a sweet lineup and should be interesting. Each member of this panel has criticized the drug war on numerous occasions:

tour schedule

Endless Evil: The Drug War’s Continuing Collateral Damage, Part 1

When Richard Nixon first uttered the phrase “war on drugs” in 1971, he didn’t choose those words by accident. Government declarations of war signal to the country that the threat it is facing is so perilous, so grave, so existential, that in order to defeat it, Americans should prepare to give up basic freedoms, make significant sacrifices, and accept the inevitable collateral damage they may endure on “their” way to victory. Whatever one may think about the justness and morality of America’s actual wars, they were at least all predicated on the idea that the United States faced an enemy that threatened its very way of life. (Of course, that was true only in a small number of cases.) The drug war doesn’t even put up that sort of pretense. Elected officials argue — and Americans have mostly played along — that all of this sacrifice, erosion of civil liberties, and collateral damage are necessary to … keep people from getting high.
The “war on drugs” metaphor grew increasingly literal during the Reagan administration. And through Reagan’s, Clinton’s, both Bushes’, and Obama’s administration, both major political parties have only inflated and doubled down on what has arguably been the most destructive and wasteful government policy of the last 40 years. The drug war touches nearly every area of American life, and distorts nearly all facets of American public policy. But there are a few examples of where drug prohibition has done more damage than others. +

Endless Evil: The Drug War’s Continuing Collateral Damage, Part 1

When Richard Nixon first uttered the phrase “war on drugs” in 1971, he didn’t choose those words by accident. Government declarations of war signal to the country that the threat it is facing is so perilous, so grave, so existential, that in order to defeat it, Americans should prepare to give up basic freedoms, make significant sacrifices, and accept the inevitable collateral damage they may endure on “their” way to victory. Whatever one may think about the justness and morality of America’s actual wars, they were at least all predicated on the idea that the United States faced an enemy that threatened its very way of life. (Of course, that was true only in a small number of cases.) The drug war doesn’t even put up that sort of pretense. Elected officials argue — and Americans have mostly played along — that all of this sacrifice, erosion of civil liberties, and collateral damage are necessary to … keep people from getting high.

The “war on drugs” metaphor grew increasingly literal during the Reagan administration. And through Reagan’s, Clinton’s, both Bushes’, and Obama’s administration, both major political parties have only inflated and doubled down on what has arguably been the most destructive and wasteful government policy of the last 40 years. The drug war touches nearly every area of American life, and distorts nearly all facets of American public policy. But there are a few examples of where drug prohibition has done more damage than others. +

"The so-called ‘war on drugs’ by the federal government is not only an abject failure, it has become a tool by which power-hungry despot-wannabes strip hundreds of thousands of harmless, peaceful Americans of their freedoms and liberties. There are tens of thousands of people languishing behind prison walls that have never harmed a single person, have never stolen, have never committed an act of violence, or have never even shown the slightest aggression toward a fellow human being. They languish for decades and even for a lifetime in harsh prison conditions because of this never-ending, always escalating ‘war on drugs.’"
Florida: Welfare drug-testing yields 2% positive results | The Tampa Tribune

08/24/11—Since the state began testing welfare applicants for drugs in July, about 2 percent have tested positive, preliminary data shows.
Ninety-six percent proved to be drug free — leaving the state on the hook to reimburse the cost of their tests.
The initiative may save the state a few dollars anyway, bearing out one of Gov. Rick Scott’s arguments for implementing it. But the low test fail-rate undercuts another of his arguments: that people on welfare are more likely to use drugs.
At Scott’s urging, the Legislature implemented the new requirement earlier this year that applicants for temporary cash assistance pass a drug test before collecting any benefits.
The law, which took effect July 1, requires applicants to pay for their own drug tests. Those who test drug-free are reimbursed by the state, and those who fail cannot receive benefits for a year. +

Florida: Welfare drug-testing yields 2% positive results | The Tampa Tribune

08/24/11—Since the state began testing welfare applicants for drugs in July, about 2 percent have tested positive, preliminary data shows.

Ninety-six percent proved to be drug free — leaving the state on the hook to reimburse the cost of their tests.

The initiative may save the state a few dollars anyway, bearing out one of Gov. Rick Scott’s arguments for implementing it. But the low test fail-rate undercuts another of his arguments: that people on welfare are more likely to use drugs.

At Scott’s urging, the Legislature implemented the new requirement earlier this year that applicants for temporary cash assistance pass a drug test before collecting any benefits.

The law, which took effect July 1, requires applicants to pay for their own drug tests. Those who test drug-free are reimbursed by the state, and those who fail cannot receive benefits for a year. +

ACLU Sues Linn State Technical College Over Mandatory Drug Testing | The Huffington Post →

09/15/11—A federal judge has blocked a mandatory drug testing program for students at a Missouri technical college after the American Civil Liberties Union went to court challenging the tests’ constitutionality.

The ACLU of Eastern Missouri filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of six students at Linn State Technical College seeking an injunction to end what it called the “suspicionless” screenings of all first-year students and some returning students for drugs including cocaine, methamphetamines and oxycodone.

Linn State implemented the program this fall, saying it was necessary to ensure student safety at a school where the coursework includes aircraft maintenance, heavy engine repair, nuclear technology and other dangerous tasks. The two-year college’s drug testing policy may be the most far-reaching in the country. +

While You Were Sleeping, They Abolished the Fourth Amendment →

Two recent Supreme Court cases have served to virtually abolish the Fourth Amendment in the United States of America, with citizens no longer being “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

In a precedent described by dissenting justices as “breathtaking” and “unnecessarily broad,” the Indiana Supreme Court ruled last week in a 3-2 vote that doing anything to resist police busting down your door and conducting an illegal search is now a criminal act.

“[We] hold that the right to reasonably resist an unlawful police entry into a home is no longer recognized under Indiana law,” the court ruled in the case of Richard L. Barnes v. Indiana.

Read more

Supreme Court OKs warrantless searches

From the newest episode of ADAM VS THE MAN

"Standards of reasonable search and seizure have been debated since before the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was even proposed. But this really takes it to a new low. This has rendered it practically irrelevant."

Supreme Court upholds warrantless search of apartment based on marijuana smell
The smell of marijuana smoke and sound of evidence being destroyed is enough reason for police to knock down an apartment door and search the place without a warrant, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Supreme Court upholds warrantless search of apartment based on marijuana smell

The smell of marijuana smoke and sound of evidence being destroyed is enough reason for police to knock down an apartment door and search the place without a warrant, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Response to the last post…

Response to the last post

Supreme Court Rules on Warrantless Search →

(WASHINGTON) — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against a Kentucky man who was arrested after police burst into his apartment without a search warrant because they smelled marijuana and feared he was trying to get rid of incriminating evidence.

In her dissent, Ginsburg said her colleagues were giving police an easy way to routinely avoid getting warrants in drug cases. “Police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant,” she said.