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January 2006



Plan Colombia By The Numbers

Adam Isaacson’s got the data:

Total U.S. aid to Colombia over the seven years between 2000 and 2006: $4.72 billion Square miles of Colombia sprayed with “Round-Up Ultra” herbicide, 2000-2005: 2,550 Land area of Delaware, square miles: 1,954 Square miles planted in Colombia with coca, the plant used to make cocaine, in 2000, the year […]

Plummeting Arrest Clearance Rates — a victim of the drug war?

This could be huge. Former NY state criminal justice official Scott Christianson takes a different look at crime statistics in today’s Christian Science Monitor. Christianson first notes that violent crime has been falling, particularly in the past 10 years, and in some cases has reached its lowest point in 40 years. And yet…

But discussions […]

4th Amendment Glimmer of Hope #2

SCOTUSblog previews today’s Supreme Court arguments in United States v. Grubbs. While this is a pornography case, it has a lot of potential connection to the drug war. The case involves Anticipatory Search Warrants. These are warrants that are issued in advance to be triggered by a certain event, such as after the package pornography […]

4th Amendment Glimmer of Hope #1

Scott over at Flex Your Rights Blog writes about a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that’s a slap at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled last week that police may not automatically search vehicles following an arrest of the driver. This finding contradicts the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in New York v. Belton, which holds that police may search any vehicle following the lawful arrest of its driver. The Belton rule is supposed to prevent suspects from destroying evidence or reaching for weapons, but in practice it’s just another excuse to search people […]

Fortunately, I’m not the only one who lies awake at night cursing the Supreme Court’s decision in New York v. Belton. In a unanimous ruling, the NJ Supreme Court concluded that Belton‰s logic “simply does not pass muster.” The article also notes that MA, NV, OR, NM, WY, and PA have similarly rejected the Supreme Court’s outrageous effort to strip arrestees of their 4th Amendment protections.

Fascinating issue. The article referenced points out how New Jersey (and the other states) can ignore U.S. Supreme Court precedent:

“The United States Supreme Court interpretations of the Federal Constitution establish not the ceiling but only the floor of minimal constitutional protection,” the justices wrote.
The ruling, in essence, gives people in New Jersey greater protection against unreasonable searches and seizures under the state constitution than the U.S. Supreme Court has provided under its interpretation of the Fourth Amendment.

Scott hopes the New Jersey decision will embolden other states to follow suit.