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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Old white guys get off - young black guys go to prison

File this under: old white guys get off - young black guys go to prison.

As reported by The NY Times, The Justice Department moved on Wednesday morning to drop all charges against former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who narrowly lost his seat last year shortly after being convicted on seven felony counts of ethics violations. In a stunning development, Justice Department lawyers told a federal court that they had discovered a new instance of prosecutorial misconduct in the case and asked that the convictions be voided. Attorney General Eric F. Holder Jr. said that in the interests of justice there would be no new trial in the case.

Mr. Stevens, who is 85, had been the longest serving Republican in the history of the Senate. He had been charged with lying on Senate disclosure forms by concealing an estimated $250,000 worth of goods and services he received, mostly to renovate a chalet he owned in Alaska. Prosecutors said he received the bulk of the goods and services from Bill Allen, a longtime friend who had made a fortune by providing services to Alaska’s booming oil industry. More HERE

AAPP: As reported by Yahoo News, It's great to see that Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., wants a "top-to-bottom review" by Congress of the nation's criminal-justice system with an eye toward reducing the growing prison population.

With the support of the White House and some Senate Republicans, Webb is proposing a blue-ribbon commission spend 1½ years looking at law-and-order issues.

Webb's office says the panel should take a sweeping look at the way the nation controls crime, metes out punishment and returns felons to society.

A background document says of the commission: "Its task will be to propose concrete, wide-ranging reforms to responsibly reduce the overall incarceration rate; improve federal and local responses to international and domestic gang violence; restructure our approach to drug policy; improve the treatment of mental illness; improve prison administration, and establish a system for reintegrating ex-offenders."

Webb has been speaking out on the prison issue for over a year, warning of the economic and social consequences of housing a growing population of criminals.

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, holding nearly 2.4 million people behind bars. An additional 5 million are on probation or parole.

According to Webb's office, President Barack Obama supports the investigation; so, too, does Sen. Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican, former Judiciary Committee chairman and ex-federal prosecutor, who is facing a tough re-election campaign. More HERE

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