Author Archive | C.J. Ciaramella


How a Drug-Free School Zone Sent a Tennessee College Student to Prison For 17 Years

Jim Weber/ZUMA Press/NewscomIn 2008, Calvin Bryant was a 20-year-old student at Tennessee State University. He had been a talented fullback in high school and dreamed of going pro. Now he’s serving 17 years in Tennessee state prison—15 of them mandatory—for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. His sentence is substantially longer that it normally would have […]

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The U.S. Government Wants to Seize ‘Pharma Bro’ Martin Shkreli’s Wu-Tang Clan Album

Lawyers for the U.S. government are asking a judge to order the forfeiture of millions of dollars’ worth of noted “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli’s assets, including an unreleased, one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album. Shkreli, who is facing up to 20 years in prison after being convicted of securities fraud in August, gained infamy in 2015 for […]

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Critical Data Is Missing From The FBI’s Annual Crime Report And Researchers Want it Back

Criminal justice researchers are alarmed at missing data from the FBI’s latest annual crime report and say it will hamper efforts to study drug arrests and violent crime, two of the Trump administration’s biggest priorities. Erin Scott/Polaris/NewscomThe new outlet FiveThirtyEight first reported in October that the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for 2016—the first […]

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D.C. Metro Hit With First Amendment Suit For Refusing to Run Catholic Christmas Ad

This ad is too controversial for the D.C. subwayThe District of Columbia’s transit system won’t let the local archdiocese buy space for a Christmas-themed advertisement. Now the archdiocese is suing the agency for violating its First Amendment rights. In a federal civil rights lawsuit filed today against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority—commonly called Metro—the […]

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How Congress Keeps Its Sexual Harassment Hush Money Secret

BuzzFeed reported Tuesday night that the office of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) paid $27,000 to settle a previously undisclosed sexual harassment complaint against the lawmaker. The story is notable not just for the allegations against a powerful member of Congress, but for shedding light on the highly opaque process through which the House of Representatives […]

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ACLU Poll: Majority of Americans, Including Trump Voters, Say Prison Population Should Be Reduced

A majority of Americans, including Trump voters, say there are problems with the criminal justice system and that the prison population should be reduced, according to a poll by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released Thursday. In a telephone survey of 1,003 U.S. residents conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group for the ACLU, 55 […]

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Senators Push To Defund Jeff Sessions’ Civil Asset Forfeiture Expansion

The House passed amendments this fall blocking Jeff Sessions’ asset forfeiture directive. Now senators want to make it stick. C.J. Ciaramella|Nov. 8, 2017 5:09 pm Sen. Mike Lee is one of the lawmakers pushing to defund Jeff Sessions’ asset forfeiture expansion // Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/NewscomA bipartisan group of senators wants to defund Attorney General […]

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Ed Gillespie’s Scaremongering On Felon Voting Rights Is a Sloppy Return to Crime Hysteria

Anyone within range of a Virginia media market has been inundated with ads lately for the state’s gubernatorial election, pitting Republican Ed Gillespie against the Democrat, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam. As the race draws to a close, Gillespie unleashed a series of Trumpian attack ads against Northam. One of those ads hits Northam for his […]

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Sessions Continues to Push ‘Gateway Drug’ Myth About Marijuana

Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto/Sipa/NewscomU.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions continued his increasingly lonely crusade against marijuana today, warning that the U.S. has strayed too far from the “just say no” mantra of the 1980s, to our mortal peril. In remarks this morning at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Sessions lamented the country’s increasing nonchalance about pot. “I do think […]

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