Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act


Marijuana Misdemeanor Expungement Act

In the ongoing debate over federal marijuana law, criminal justice reforms have concentrated on felonies due to the seriousness of the charges and accompanying punishments. This felony focus overlooks the problems facing those with records for misdemeanors and other low-level violations of federal marijuana law, which often carry collateral consequences that overshadow any official punishment.

Letter of Support for the Commutation Petition of Weldon Angelos

On November 13, 2013, over 100 signatories – including former judges and prosecutors, former elected and appointed government officials, and prominent authors, scholars, artists, activists, and business leaders – sent a letter to President Obama in support of a commutation petition by then imprisoned Weldon Angelos, who was serving 55 years in prison for a first time marijuana offense.

Democratic Accountability and Policing

Maria Ponomarenko, Adjunct Professor of Law and Deputy Director of the Policing Project at New York University, discusses how often when people talk about accountability in policing, they are focused on “back-end” accountability, which kicks in after something has gone wrong. What is needed in policing is accountability on the “front end”—which means that the public gets to have a say in what the rules for policing should be in the first place.

What the Brain Saw: The Case of Trayvon Martin and the Need for Eyewitness Identification Reform

Valena Beety, Professor of Law and Deputy Director of the Academy for Justice here at Arizona State University, writes about how the shooting of Trayvon Martin caused many to question what exactly led to the death of an unarmed seventeen-year-old African-American teenager. This essay provides at least one answer: the brain in creating and preserving memories can distort one’s perception of events and people.

Race and Sentencing Disparity

Cassia Spohn, Foundation Professor of Criminology and Director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, discusses how although the overt and widespread racism that characterized the operation of the criminal justice system during the early part of the 20th century has largely been eliminated, racial disparities in sentencing and punishment persist.

Race and Adjudication

Paul Butler, Albert Brick Professor in Law at Georgetown University, elaborates on how at virtually every step of adjudication—charging, setting bail, plea-bargaining, jury selection, trial, and sentencing—law enforcement officials exercise discretion in ways that disproportionately harm people of color.

Prosecutorial Guidelines

John F. Pfaff, Professor of Law at Fordham University, discusses how reformers are increasingly aware of the central role prosecutors have played in driving up the U.S. prison population. Yet few if any reform efforts have sought to directly restrict prosecutorial power.

Police Use of Force

L. Song Richardson, Interim Dean and Professor of Law at University of California, Irvine illuminates us on how “racial anxiety” can enable racial disparities in police uses of force even in the absence of racial animus and even when people of color are acting identically to their white counterparts.

Race and the Fourth Amendment

Devon W. Carbado, the Honorable Harry Pregerson Professor of Law and Associate Vice Chancellor from UCLA, discusses how few people, including lawyers, journalists, legislators, educators, and community organizers, understand the enormously important role Fourth Amendment law plays in enabling the very thing it ought to prevent: racial profiling and police violence.

Racial Profiling

David A. Harris, Professor of Law and John E. Murray Faculty Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh, discusses how his paper describes the points at which racial profiling arises in law enforcement, the legal tools and incentives that drive it, and the harm that racial profiling does to people, and to the criminal justice system as a whole.