Sunday, May 20, 2018

Aging prisoners grow as costs soar

The High Costs of Low Risk: The Crisis of America’s Aging Prison Population, the Osborne Association recommends immediate steps to stem the rapid growth of Americans aging – and dying –  behind bars and reduce the roadblocks older people face returning to society.
Even as crime is at national lows and 36 states have reduced imprisonment rates, the number of older adults in prison, many of whom require specialized medical care for age-related illnesses, has only continued to grow. By 2030, people over 50 will make up one-third of the US prison population, putting an unsustainable pressure on the justice system as a whole.
This crisis is exacerbated by the fact that prisons were never designed to be geriatric wards for individuals with a whole host of age-related issues. Incarcerated individuals experience a mental and physical decline at a much faster rate than people outside of prison: for example, research shows 40% of incarcerated older people are diagnosed with cognitive impairment. For some, dementia becomes so pronounced that they cannot even remember why they are incarcerated in the first place.
The unique challenges of incarcerating older people come at a high cost in both taxpayer dollars and human suffering. New York taxpayers spend between $100,000 and $240,000 annually to keep an aging person behind bars even though, after decades of incarceration, older people pose little to no risk to public safety. Only 1% of people 65 and older released from prison in New York are convicted of new crimes within three years, giving them the lowest recidivism rate of any age cohort.
To read more CLICK HERE

Saturday, May 19, 2018

GateHouse: Has the Supreme Court thwarted the dark side of sports betting?

Matthew T. Mangino
GateHouse Media
May 18, 2018
Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley sponsored the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) when it was passed into law in 1992. Bradley knew a little something about sports. He was a basketball star at Princeton University, an Olympic gold medalist and won two NBA championships with the New York Knicks.
This week the U.S. Supreme Court struck down PASPA opening the door, nationwide, to betting on sporting events. PAPSA worked like this — it didn’t regulate gambling because that would have opened sports betting to places other than Las Vegas. The law didn’t outlaw gambling that would have closed down Las Vegas. What Congress did was say that state legislatures that hadn’t already legalized gambling could not enact sports betting legislation in the future.
The Supreme Court ruled that barring state legislatures from legalizing sports betting amounted to an unconstitutional commandeering of the state legislatures. Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make.”
In an interview with Bradley said, “I regret the ruling. I think the court ignored the impact that the ruling will have on sports in America, and values you learn from sports. I mean, they’ve turned every basketball player, football player and baseball player into a roulette chip.”
With the exception of Las Vegas sports betting has always been conducted in the shadows — and professional athletes have at times crossed to the dark side. From Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose in baseball, to Heisman Trophy winner Paul Horning and All-Pro Alex Karras in football, professional athletes and college athletes have paid the price for gambling.
Experts suggest that illegal betting in the United States is a $150 billion business. To put that figure in perspective, in 2017 Major League Baseball saw gross revenues surpass the $10 billion mark for the first time.
According to research by UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, legal sports betting in Nevada totaled nearly $5 billion last year, led by football — both college and professional — which accounted for $1.76 billion.
Will legal gambling lead to corruption? Professional sports are highly regulated and closely scrutinized. Technology is so sophisticated that betting action is monitored in real time to identify potential spikes in irregular betting patterns.
Professional athletes who are making millions of dollars are not likely to jeopardize that wealth for a chunk of money on the side. However, college athletes are more vulnerable. The college athlete will not share in the revenue of increased viewership or possible “integrity fees,” that may be paid to the NCAA by each state authorizing sports betting.
“College sports is the one realm where corrupters can influence athletes, because they’re not paid market rate,” Ryan Rodenberg, a sports law professor at Florida State University, told The Washington Post.
There was the Tulane University and Boston College basketball point shaving sandals of the 1970s and 1980s and University of Toledo football player Quinton Broussard who pleaded guilty to fumbling on purpose in a 2005 bowl game in exchange for $500.
Ironically, the entities who stand to benefit the most from legalized sports betting are the very entities that sued New Jersey to prevent sports wagering which resulted in the Supreme Court decision — the NFL, MLB, NBA and the NHL.
The American Gaming Association conducted research for the NFL in 2016 and found that adults who bet on NFL games watched 19 more games during the 2015 season than adults who did not bet.
With potentially millions of more fans betting on games it is estimated that the number of NFL regular season viewers would jump from 40 million to 57 million. Advertising costs will soar and the NFL will cash in.
Matthew T. Mangino is of counsel with Luxenberg, Garbett, Kelly & George P.C. His book The Executioner’s Toll, 2010 was released by McFarland Publishing. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewTMangino.
To visit the column CLICK HERE

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tillerson talks integrity at VMI commencement

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made some interesting comments in a commencement speech at Virginia Military Institute, reported the Huffington Post. Tillerson gave his most public remarks since President Donald Trump ousted him from the White House in March.
“As I reflect upon the state of American democracy,” he told the Class of 2018, “I observe a growing crisis in ethics and integrity.”
Tillerson’s emphasis on integrity echoed his parting words to colleagues at the State Department in March. Then he went even further:
“If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom.”
Is he talking to President Trump and his administration?  You bet.
Tillerson’s time in Trump administration was marked by tension. He reportedly called the president a “moron” eight months before he was fired and replaced by then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
To read more CLICK HERE

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Detecting those who drive while impaired by marijuana

With more and more states legalizing marijuana there is concern over detecting those who drive while impaired by marijuana.  New research by New York University Marron Institute of Urban Management and BOTEC Analysis, LLC "Driving While Stoned: Issues and Policy Options" examines flaws in the current system of detection.
The paper's abstract provides: 
THC is the intoxicant most commonly detected in US drivers, with approximately 13% of drivers testing positive for marijuana use, compared to the 8% that show a measurable amount of alcohol (NHTSA, 2015). (The two figures are not strictly comparable because cannabis remains detectable for much longer than alcohol, and also for long after the driver is no longer impaired; therefore, the difference in rates does not show that stoned driving is more common than drunk driving.) Cannabis intoxication has been shown to impair reaction time and visual-spatial judgment.
Many states, including those where cannabis sales are now permitted by state law, have laws against cannabis-impaired driving based on the drunk-driving model, defining criminally intoxicated driving as driving with more than a threshold amount of intoxicant in one’s bloodstream—a per se standard—as opposed to actual impairment. That approach neglects crucial differences between alcohol and cannabis in their detectability, their pharmacokinetics, and their impact on highway safety.
Cannabis intoxication is more difficult to reliably detect chemically than alcohol intoxication. A breath alcohol test is (1) cheap and reliable; (2) sufficiently simple and non-invasive to administer at the roadside; and (3) a good proxy for alcohol in the brain, which in turn is (4) a good proxy for subjective intoxication and for measurable driving impairment. In addition, (5) the dose-effect curve linking blood alcohol to fatality risk is well-established and steep.
None of those things is true for cannabis. A breath test remains to be developed. Oral-fluid testing can demonstrate recent use but not the level of impairment. A blood test requires a trained phlebotomist and therefore a trip to a medical facility, and blood THC levels drop very sharply over time-periods measured in minutes. Blood THC is not a good proxy either for recency of use or for impairment, and the dose-effect curve for fatality risk remains a matter of sharp controversy. The maximum risk for cannabis intoxication alone, unmixed with alcohol or other drugs, appears to be more comparable to risks such as talking on a hands-free cellphone (legal in all states) than to driving with a BAC above 0.08, let alone the rapidly-rising risks at higher BACs. Moreover, the lipid-solubility of THC means that a frequent cannabis user will always have measurable THC in his or her blood, even when that person has not used recently and is neither subjectively intoxicated nor objectively impaired. That suggests criminalizing only combination use, while treating driving under the influence of cannabis (however this is to be proven) as a traffic offense, like speeding.
For access to the research CLICK HERE

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

SCOTUS provides Fourth Amendment protection to rental car users

The Fourth Amendment protects us from (among other things) a warrantless search of a place – such as our homes – that we can reasonably expect to remain private. Today the Supreme Court ruled that a driver who has permission to use a rental car is generally entitled to the same protections under the Fourth Amendment as the driver who rented the car, wrote Amy Howe on SCOTUSBlog.
Here is what I wrote about the case in January for GateHouse Media.
The court’s decision came in the case of Terrence Byrd, a New Jersey man who was driving a car rented by Latasha Reed, his fiancĂ©e (or former girlfriend, depending on whose account you are reading), when he was pulled over by a state trooper in Pennsylvania. The trooper gave him a warning for driving in the left lane and then searched the car, believing that he didn’t need Byrd’s consent because Byrd was not listed as an authorized driver on the rental agreement. The troopers found body armor and 49 bricks of heroin in the trunk, leading to federal charges against Byrd.
After the trial court rejected Byrd’s argument that the heroin and body armor could not be introduced as evidence because the search of the trunk violated his Fourth Amendment rights, Byrd pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit upheld his conviction, on the ground that the driver of a rental car who is not listed on the rental agreement does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the car and cannot challenge a search, but today the Supreme Court reversed.
In a unanimous decision by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the justices rejected the federal government’s argument that a driver who is not listed on the rental agreement can never have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the car, because the rental company has not given him permission to use it. That rule, the justices concluded, “rests on too restrictive a view of the Fourth Amendment’s protections.” Under the Supreme Court’s cases, the justices explained, whether someone has an expectation of privacy in a car shouldn’t hinge on whether the person who gave them permission to drive it owns the car or rented it.
To read more CLICK HERE

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mangino talks SCOTUS decision on gambling with WFMJ-TV21

Watch my interviews on WFMJ-TV21 6 pm news and my extended interview with Derek Steyer regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision on gambling and its potential impact on Ohio and Pennsylvania.
To watch my interviews CLICK HERE

Number of incarcerated women increased by more than 700% since 1980

Over the past quarter century, there has been a profound change in the involvement of women within the criminal justice system, according to The Sentencing Project. This is the result of more expansive law enforcement efforts, stiffer drug sentencing laws, and post-conviction barriers to reentry that uniquely affect women. 
The female prison population stands nearly eight times higher than in 1980. More than 60 percent of women in state prisons have a child under the age of 18.
Between 1980 and 2016, the number of incarcerated women increased by more than 700 percent, rising from a total of 26,378 in 1980 to 213,722 in 2016.
To read more CLICK HERE