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Drug Charges Archives

Seeking lasting criminal justice reform at the federal level

Now in his final year in office, President Obama has increased his focus on criminal justice reform. Specifically, he continues to issue pardons and commutations to large groups of non-violent drug offenders serving lengthy sentences in federal prison.

Congress may repeal law denying college aid to drug offenders

We have previously written that a criminal conviction can have consequences that last far beyond whatever sentence is imposed. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults. A conviction, even for minor offenses, can jeopardize job opportunities, college admissions and scholarship opportunities.

Repairing the damage caused by America's war on drugs

The "war on drugs" is a concept that dates back decades. It has been waged by numerous presidents with help from countless legislators. Its economic costs total billions of dollars per year, and its human costs are incalculable. Largely because of the war on drugs, the United States has 25 percent of the world's prisoners yet only 5 percent of the world's population.

Medical marijuana states show no real increase in teen pot use

We live in a country where the legality of marijuana is rarely clear and is frequently changing. Although the drug remains illegal under federal law, marijuana and derivative drugs are legal for medical purposes in 23 states and the District of Columbia. As most readers know, Wisconsin is not on that list.

More communities seeking humane alternatives to the war on drugs

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about a new approach to combating drug use that focuses on harm reduction rather than arrests, convictions and incarcerations. A pilot program has so far been successful in one major city in the Northwest (based on reduced recidivism rates), and there's reason to believe that a similar program could work here in Wisconsin.

LEAD program offers successful alternative to drug prosecutions

Is the drug problem in America a criminal justice issue or a public health crisis? The answer to that question depends on who you ask. But more importantly, the answer to that question has huge implications for how Wisconsin and the federal government should be responding to drug abuse and drug offenses.

President Obama's federal drug reform efforts showing progress

The problems with state and federal drug laws and sentencing guidelines are well-documented. In the majority of states, including Wisconsin, African Americans are many times more likely to be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for non-violent drug crimes than whites are. Yet statistics show that the rate of drug use among African Americans is comparable to the rate among whites.

Could Milwaukee be changing its response to marijuana possession?

While the war on drugs has always been controversial, perhaps the most highly criticized aspect has been the strict enforcement of marijuana laws. Many studies suggest that marijuana is safer in some ways than alcohol and tobacco cigarettes, both of which are legal for adults. And even as this drug has been legalized in many states for medical use, an astonishing number of Americans continue to face arrest and prosecution each year for simple possession.

SCOTUS ruling: Cop gets law wrong but defendant pays the price

Last week, we wrote about challenging the lawfulness of a traffic stop, which is one option for defending against DUI charges. An officer must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime or violation has occurred if he wants to pull over a driver. This is often based on erratic driving that could indicate alcohol impairment or an observed problem with the vehicle that violates Wisconsin safety laws.

You can't talk about criminal justice without talking about race

No one really wants to discuss race these days, particularly here in the Midwest. America likes to think of itself as a post-racial society, but there is plenty of data to demonstrate that this isn't true. This is one reason why the events in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer have resonated so strongly around the country, including here in Wisconsin.

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