Should Bulger Trial Judge Recuse Himself? Silverglate on WBUR

There are two tests for whether a judge should recuse him or herself from a trial. First, does the judge have a bias? And second, might a reasonable person question the judge's impartiality? Reasonable questions certainly exist as to whether Whitey Bulger trial judge Richard Stearns can be impartial, including the accusation that the U.S. Attorney's Office "judge shopped" to put the case in front of Judge Stearns instead of Judge Wolf. David Boeri interviews me (and others) for his WBUR report on this controversy. 
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'Three Felonies a Day' Garners a Shout-out from George F. Will

There has been much outrage about the federal government's crusade against Nancy Black, the marine biologist and whale watch guide currently facing charges of abusing whales (by allegedly feeding them) and tampering with evidence. George F. Will's July 27 column in the Washington Post is a veritable indictment of the conduct of Department of Justice and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration overreach. The column makes for interesting reading, and also contains a shout-out to my book Three Felonies A Day. Will is right to connect Nancy Black's misfortunes at the hands of federal agents with the greater picture of overcriminalization. The vast, unchecked expansion of the federal criminal code in recent decades, which has criminalized many of the basic activities of civil society, means that not even a whale watch guide is safe if a whale is too friendly for federal agents' comfort.
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To the CEO of Gibson Guitar: It's Not Just a War Against Capitalism

On July 19, there appeared in the Wall Street Journal an interesting Op-Ed by Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson Guitar, claiming that a raid on his company’s facilities by federal agents is representative of a greater “war against capitalism.” Yet as my co-author Zachary Bloom and I argue in our latest piece for my Forbes.com blog, “Injustice Department,” Juszkiewicz’s Op-Ed suffers for being too narrow and self-focused. In reality, the raid on Gibson’s facilities is less representative of a war on capitalism than of a war on all of civil society, being waged by an out-of-control U.S. Department of Justice wielding vague laws passed by a Congress that clearly does not understand the consequences of its legislative actions, and regulations enacted by administrative agencies drunk with their own powers.

The article after the jump...


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NightSide with Dan Rea

Last Wednesday, July 18, I appeared on CBS Boston's NightSide with Dan Rea, to discuss the plight of former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Sal DiMasi. DiMasi was convicted in 2009 of committing "honest services fraud," a vague and dangerous law, and is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence. As I discussed in a column in the Boston Phoenix earlier this month, DiMasi's treatment at the hands of the Federal Bureau of Prisons has been unconscionable. And, in light of his recent delayed cancer diagnosis, DiMasi's treatment amounts to a type of torture, with the sole purpose of softening him up to give testimony more favorable to the government before a grand jury sitting in Worcester.

My NightSide interview is a wide-ranging discussion of the DiMasi debacle, and can be found on the CBS Boston website.
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Our AWOL Security State

Many on the left have cynically (or at least opportunistically) used James Holmes’s Aurora, Colorado rampage as an occasion to demand gun control. A more sensible and less constitutionally dubious response to this tragedy would be to enact universal reporting requirements that would allow for the aggregating of red flag-raising data, such as records of lawful but suspicious weapons sales in gun stores and unusually large online ammunition purchases. In my most recent “This Just In” piece for the Boston Phoenix, I point out that the Feds are good at inventing "terrorist" plots starring a cast of innocuous misfits, egged on by agents who don’t have enough real work to do and by informants working off some beef with the feds. Yet the feds appear less skilled at gathering accessible information that would help them uncover real crimes. We live, alas, in a national security state that is better at invading liberty than in actually providing protection.

The article after the jump...

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