“True liberty can exist only when justice is equally administered to all.” –Lord Mansfield
Will this end our pernicious three-strikes sentencing laws? Maybe so. It’s quite a surprise, if it really means what it looks like. We are now so jaded, so accustomed to our whole system being in thrall to corporate power, that a decision of this kind makes us … faintly hopeful, but deeply suspicious. Where’s the catch, we wonder. How will the for-profit prison bastards get around this, or contrive to make even more money from it? And how will it make things even worse for regular people?
We’ll see soon enough, as the changes this ruling should force on the justice system would clearly affect many thousands of our fellow citizens. I don’t expect it, but … it would be a real heartbreak if this put private prisons out of business completely!
Daily Kos * Sun Jun 28, 2015 at 11:48 AM PDT
This got overlooked amongst all the rainbows and flags, but on Friday the Supreme Court also ruled on the draconian Three Strikes Law.
The Supreme Court on Friday struck down part of a federal law intended to keep people convicted of repeated violent crimes in prison longer. The justices ruled that a catch-all phrase in the Armed Career Criminal Act defining what crimes make a defendant eligible for a longer prison term is too vague.
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And even Scalia was right on this one.
Six justices agreed that the phrase is unconstitutional. Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia said using “so shapeless a provision to condemn someone to prison for 15 years to life” violates the Constitution’s guarantee of due process.
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The Prison Industrial Complex must be weeping.
From Occupy Democrats
Now, prosecutors across the country will have to figure out who qualifies to have their sentences reduced, a move that is probably making private prison CEOs weep in despair. The private prison industry has been a long-time supporter of harsh mandatory minimum sentences because that means higher profits for them. The two biggest private prison corporations–GEO and Corrections Corporation of America— make about $3 billion annually off of incarcerated Americans; in turn they spend millions of dollars on lobbying efforts.
The lawmakers in many states are contractually required to fill up the beds in private prisons; so it’s not too hard to figure out why the ACCA is such a popular sentence enhancer. Private prisons have even been known to sue state governments if they aren’t filed to capacity- making taxpayers foot the bill for low crime rates. It’s an absolute travesty and a key piece in the conservative war against minorities and the poor, perpetuating the cycle of poverty and destroying communities around the country. Today’s ruling means Congress will have to clarify the law and you can bet that private prison lobbyists are about to throw even more money at lawmakers, but hopefully it sounds a death knell for mass incarceration in our nation.
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What’s next from the Supreme’s, corporations are animals but not humans? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/06/28/1397483/-Speaking-of-the-SCOTUS-3-Strikes-Law-Struck-Down-Private-Prisons-Haz-a-Sad?