Monday, August 31, 2009

Periwinkle Moon

There was a time where I would have said that the ACLU and I only agree on a matter once in a blue moon---but now it's really only once in a light-blue, or perhaps a slightly blue moon. It is not the case that I have moved to the left or they to the right, only that the number of legitimately outrageous policy proposals or enactments about which I hear has increased notably.

Exhibit A: a Texas law that places DNA evidence from a crime scene in a person's criminal record, even if he was never convicted of the offense. From thither, it can presumably be introduced as either character evidence along with the rest of the file when permissible or used, along with the rest of the file, to enhance sentencing. You have to get up pretty early in the morning to find a government action that I would view as an actual deprivation of due process, but Texas has managed to do it. Enhancing the sentence of a criminal, or in the extreme convicting a suspect, on the basis of a past act for which no judicial finding of wrongdoing was ever made, strikes me as a fairly flagrant impairment of the criminal process.

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