Politics & Law

Jonathan Simon Prop. 47: A simple step toward reducing mass incarceration

California Proposition 47, on the ballot for voter consideration this November, would change the legal classification of many “nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes” from felonies to misdemeanors (read the details on ballotpedia.org here.

This simple change has important consequences. A crime classified as a felony may be punished with a … More >

Dan Farber The Ebola panic

The National Lampoon once put out a mock edition of a newspaper from the fictional city of Dacron, Ohio. There was a screaming headline reading: TWO DACRON WOMEN MISSING. A much smaller subheading read: Japan destroyed by tidal wave.

We are now seeing something similar in the U.S. reaction to Ebola. … More >

Rasheed Shabazz The Black Record: Why we don’t know how often police kill

In Killing Them Softly, comedian Dave Chappelle explained how fearful he was to call the police when someone broke into his house. Now why would someone in a free country like America be afraid to call the police to their own home if they were the victim?

Although a modest home, the house was too nice, Chappelle … More >

Stephen Sugarman Berkeley’s proposed soda tax would cut sugar intake, and that’s a good thing

The bottom line is that the proposed one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in Berkeley would reduce sugar consumption, and that would be good for the health of the population.

Were the measure to pass, it seems pretty clear that the tax would be passed on to consumers in the form … More >

Suzanne Scoggins Governments and Umbrellas in Hong Kong [Part 1]

The recent protests in Hong Kong have created a public relations landmine for government officials. Though the name of the protests keeps shifting – Occupy Central, the Umbrella Movement, the Umbrella Revolution – the events on the ground have left leaders scrambling to contain the protesters and prevent a further escalation of events.

Falling … More >

Jennifer Skeem Scientific risk assessment in sentencing may beat the alternative

This blog post is coauthored by Christopher Slobogin, who holds Vanderbilt Law School’s Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law and is one of the 10 most cited criminal law/procedure professors in the nation, according to the Leiter Report.

Recently in the New York Times, Professor Sonja Starr defended Attorney General Eric Holder’s … More >

Robert Birgeneau 1964 to the present — a personal perspective

During the historic Free Speech Movement period at Berkeley, beginning in the autumn of 1964, I was a graduate student in physics at Yale University. There was no doubt that Berkeley students were playing a leadership role for us all across the country.

At Yale, the focus was primarily on civil … More >

Mahmood Monshipouri U.S. strategy on ISIL: What’s the endgame?

In a speech to the world from the White House on Sept. 10, 2014, President Obama authorized renewed airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to defeat and dismantle the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), as well as the deployment of 475 additional military advisers to Iraq, bringing the number … More >

Jonathan Simon Carceral geographies: Mapping the escape routes from mass incarceration

Today and tomorrow (Sept. 18-19, 2014) at UC Berkeley we will be launching a new undergraduate course thread titled “Carceral Geographies.” Our launch will begin with a keynote address by the great Ruth “Ruthie” Wilson Gimore, scholar/activist extraordinaire who has given us the definitive study of California’s descent into mass incarceration, … More >

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