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Jonathan Blanks
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554 followers
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Jonathan's posts

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My latest:

"The reform movement that exists—on either side of the ideological spectrum—seems to be tied directly to a specific type of person: the nonviolent drug offender. Given the draconian mandatory minimum sentences that put away many of those offenders for decades, it is comparatively easier to make an argument for bringing them home and back into society. Consequently, nonviolent drug offenders have benefitted almost exclusively from President Obama’s early-release commutations and are also the primary targeted beneficiaries of many reforms at the federal and state levels. But a majority of American prisoners are incarcerated for violent crimes. The dominant reforms and rhetoric do not recognize that, leaving most offenders unaffected by even the most wide-ranging proposals."

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New Taken Liberties newsletter out! 

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A searchable map of 2015 police misconduct data

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My latest: On #TerenceCrutcher

"Put simply, a fearful police officer is a very dangerous one. If he can articulate a plausible narrative that he believed he or his life was in danger — often involving the suspect making a “sudden” or “furtive movement,” or “reaching for his waistband” as if for a gun — any lack of actual danger or dangerous weapon is not relevant to the officer’s legal culpability. Absolved of criminal or civil responsibility by investigators, the officer may keep his job and go back on the streets."

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My latest:

"The DOJ found that between January 2010 and May 2015, the Baltimore Police made at least 300,000 pedestrian stops—a number the DOJ says is almost certainly too low because of police underreporting. Forty-four percent of these stops were made in two majority black districts of Baltimore that comprise only 11 percent of the City’s population. They found hundreds of people who were stopped more than ten times during that period, 95 percent of whom were black.

One man in his 50s was stopped over 30 times in four years and was never ticketed or arrested. That probably shouldn’t be surprising, as less than four percent of these stops ended in citations or arrest. And, recalling the recent dissents in the Supreme Court decision in Utah v. Strieff, it’s likely that many of those arrests were for outstanding warrants for unpaid parking tickets and other minor violations that had no connection to a potentially illegal activity that allegedly justified the stops in the first place."

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Newest edition of my newsletter Taken Liberties is out

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"Some of the Drug War’s most disturbing images involve police officers in SWAT gear, kicking down doors, ransacking homes and endangering the lives of everyone inside during pre-dawn raids. Officers rummaging through a car for drug contraband while the driver sits helplessly on the sidewalk as onlookers drive by may be less violent, but is just as invasive and degrading. This experience can be humiliating under any circumstance, and any perception of race as playing a role in the stop piles resentment on top of humiliation."

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I wrote about the 4th Amendment case that came down today, Utah v. Strieff

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My latest newsletter, which includes my recently published law review article on pretextual traffic stops and a related post at Rare.

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My latest in the Philly Inquirer
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