Three Strikes and You’re Out; Three Minutes and You’re In
Discussing criminal justice reform, CNN Political Advisor Van Jones argues:
This is not a left-right issue. At a certain point it becomes a right-wrong issue. If you think about liberty and justice for all, conservatives are big on liberty making sure that each individual is treated right. You don’t want big government, you want limited government. Prisons are the opposite of that.
You talk about justice for all. People like myself are concerned about racial justice, concerned about the poor. The prison system is putting a lot people in jail just because they don’t have enough money for a lawyer.
Next up in the CNN segment Mark Holdren, General Counsel of Koch Industries, focuses on overcriminalization and practical steps forward for criminal justice and prison reform.
A Koch Industries YouTube video features both Mark Holdren and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Norman Reimer, discussing overcriminalization and overuse of the criminal law:
“We use the criminal law far too much. We now have approximately 70 million people in this country who have criminal records. We are, according to the FBI, arresting 14 million people every year.”
“We did a study a few years ago of the misdemeanor courts. It’s called three-minute justice. The average amount of time that an individual is before the court, from the first appearance to when they plead guilty for something, is three minutes or less.” –Norman Reimer, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Justice Antonin Scalia writing for five Justices, and echoing Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, says that “the life of the law is experience” — and the Court’s particular experience of applying the residual clause over the past decade is so uneven that only “guesswork and intuition” remain. Thus the statutory sentencing clause “fails to give ordinary people fair notice of the conduct it punishes, [and is] so standardless that it invites arbitrary enforcement.” It therefore violates traditional due process fairness concerns that underlie the Court’s twentieth-century vagueness doctrine.