When Prosecutors Believe the Unbelievable

A man is finally freed, but that doesn’t mean the system worked.

The Most Glaring Flaws in Obama’s Iran Deal

July 14, 2015 James Phillips, The Daily Signal

The Obama administration’s nuclear agreement with Iran has major flaws that could dangerously undermine the long-term national security interests of the United States and its allies.

Although the administration entered the negotiations pledging to cut off all pathways to a nuclear weapon, the agreement amounts to little more than a diplomatic speed bump that will delay, but not permanently halt, Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapons capability.

The agreement in effect legitimizes Iran as a nuclear threshold state.

Chicago Soaks the Cloud

July 7, 2015, wsj.com     Chicago is grasping for any and all revenue to ease its fiscal woes, and its latest move is to tax Internet cloud services. Starting Sept. 1, such content-streaming companies as Netflix and Spotify will have to pay a 9% tax on their services, a cost that will surely be passed along to their Chicago customers.

The city’s Department of Financing has ruled that these “electronically delivered amusements” are covered by the city’s existing amusement tax and personal property lease tax. The city estimates the new tax will generate a mere $12 million a year, which is barely a dent in its projected 2016 budget deficit of $430 million in operating expenses and $550 million in increased payments to the police and fire pension funds.

Republicans, Race and Economic Opportunity for All

by Rick Perry, July 8, 2015, wsj.com

Too often we Republicans—myself included—have emphasized the 10th Amendment but not the 14th.

From remarks by Rick Perry, a Republican presidential candidate and former Texas governor, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., July 2.

We are a country with Hispanic CEOs, with Asian billionaires, and a black president. So why is it that today so many black families feel left behind? Why is it that a quarter of African-Americans live below the poverty line? Even after the impact of federal programs like food stamps and housing subsidies, the supplemental poverty rate for African-Americans is nearly double the rate for other Americans.

Democrats have long had the opportunity to govern African-American communities. It is time for black families to hold them accountable for the results. I am here to tell you that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who are truly offering black Americans the hope of a better life for themselves and their children.

Should Va. reinstate parole? NO, keep truth in sentencing

By Rob Bell, June 30, 2015, Richmond Times

Governor McAuliffe has announced a commission to study the reinstatement of parole. Such a step would undo the most important public safety reform of the past 20 years, and would be an enormous step backward for Virginia.

First, a bit of history. Prior to 1994, prison sentences were not truly set by the judge and jury. Long after the verdict, an inmate could apply to the parole board, which would hold a hearing and could then reduce the sentence. Many inmates were released early, having served only one-quarter or even one-fifth of their original sentences.

Such a system is fundamentally deceitful, opaque and unfair to crime victims. At a criminal trial, evidence of the crime is presented. The victim or surviving family members have a right to describe the impact the crime had on them. The defendant gets his chance to present mitigating evidence. Then, after deliberation, the jury recommends the sentence, which is then reviewed by the judge. (In a bench trial, the judge performs these roles.)

In my work as a prosecutor, I observed how seriously juries worked to reach their unanimous sentence. This deliberation often took as long or longer than determining guilt. Victims care enormously about how long the defendant will be detained. At the conclusion, the sentence is announced to the public, closing the trial.