I saw a lot of people comparing Rittenhouse to Andrew Coffee IV after both were acquitted of murder charges using self-defense.

The cases couldn't be more different. Coffee's is far more egregious. Let's talk about why that matters.

My latest @reason: reason.com/2021/11/22/man…
Andrew Coffee IV was charged with murdering his girlfriend. Except the state acknowledges he didn't kill his girlfriend. The state killed his girlfriend.

Cops shot her 10 times after breaking into Coffee's home for a drug raid targeting Coffee's dad. reason.com/2021/11/22/man…
Coffee thought the cops were intruders, so he shot at them in self-defense. They fired back, killed his partner, & tried to blame it on him.

The jury believed Coffee acted in self-defense. But he still faces *30 years* on a firearm charge. 30 years.
A whole lot of people reacted to the Rittenhouse verdict with calls for harsher laws & punishments around guns.

Here's why that is an absolutely horrific idea: It will backfire on defendants like Coffee, who already face a discriminatory justice system.
I fully agree that our criminal justice system disproportionately harms people along class & racial lines. It's undeniable.

But the solution is not to seek justice by punishing everyone *more*. It will backfire. And that's the wrong kind of equality. reason.com/2021/11/22/man…

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More from @billybinion

24 Nov
As we wait for the Ahmaud Arbery verdict, here's your reminder that charges were almost never brought against his alleged murderers—thanks to prosecutorial misconduct.

Such abuses are routine. You just usually never hear about them. My latest: reason.com/2021/11/24/ahm…
Jackie Johnson, the first prosecutor on the case, was indicted on criminal charges for allegedly trying to help Travis & Gregory McMichael evade accountability.

That's remarkable. Criminal charges against a prosecutor are beyond rare. reason.com/2021/11/24/ahm…
The Kyle Rittenhouse trial was a wake-up call to many conservatives who didn't yet realize that prosecutorial misconduct could be so egregious and out in the open.

But dirty prosecutors are not constrained to Kenosha County, Wisconsin. They're everywhere:
Read 5 tweets
29 Oct
A mentally ill prisoner with brain damage killed himself after spending months in solitary confinement over nonviolent infractions, like having a tattoo. He was 19.

Qualified immunity for the guard who violated policy by putting him in solitary without asking mental health staff
It is not "clearly established" that putting severely mentally ill inmates in solitary confinement constitutes deliberate indifference, even when the guard disregards policy to do so.

And the court declined to establish any law for the next time this happens. Because of course.
He was kept in his cell for 24 hours a day, with the exception of every other day when he was let out for one hour to shower.

One hour.
Read 4 tweets
28 Oct
There is so much to unpack here. Cops arrested a homeless veteran with PTSD for *panhandling*. And they tased his service dog, which got hit by a car & died.

Let's talk about overcriminalization & the unconstitutional war on charity.

My latest @reason: reason.com/2021/10/28/cop…
First things first: Let it sink in that *several* police officers thought it a wise use of resources to confront & lock up someone for the crime of begging for money.

Feel any safer yet?
The man is named Joshua Rohrer, & police arrived after a Karen called 911 and reported him for "using his dog to get money."

He got that dog for his PTSD, which he developed after serving a tour overseas in the Army.
Read 7 tweets
27 Oct
Conservatives—& anyone who cares about limited government—should be first in line to reform qualified immunity. But there are so many misconceptions about how it works.

This @TomCottonAR op-ed on the subject is replete with misinformation. A thread.
Misconception #1: Qualified immunity is "essential to effective policing."

QI allows gov't officials to violate your rights with little fear of liability in civil court. To say it's essential is to say that cops need to be able to violate your rights to do their jobs. /2
Misconception #2: Qualified immunity protects good cops & punishes bad ones.

I've covered more cases than I can count of bad cops getting QI: ones who shot kids, set people on fire, committed theft, & beat people up. I outlined a bunch for @Newsweek. /3 newsweek.com/its-time-get-r…
Read 13 tweets
26 Oct
This is the stuff of nightmares. Raquel Esquivel spent 11 years in prison on a drug charge. She was released amid COVID & got pregnant.

Now, she's been separated from her baby & sent back to prison—because of a clerical error.

My latest @reason: reason.com/2021/10/26/raq…
Esquivel should be the poster child for prison reform. She got 15 years for a drug offense. She had an exemplary record on home confinement.

...And she was taken back to prison because the halfway house forgot to log one of her check-in calls. Absurd. reason.com/2021/10/26/raq…
Thousands of prisoners were put on home confinement during COVID. Esquivel's story speaks to the success of that program.

It also speaks to the utter incompetence of our prison bureaucracy. The state forgot to log a phone call. She pays with her freedom.
Read 6 tweets
18 Oct
Decades ago, the Supreme Court legislated qualified immunity into existence. And today, they dealt a major blow to anyone who was hoping for reform.

I wrote about why that matters. 🧵
Qualified immunity allows state actors to violate your rights if the *exact* way in which they do so has not been ruled unconstitutional in a prior court ruling.

It's shielded cops who shot kids, stole huge sums of $$, & destroyed property. List goes on.
The idea behind qualified immunity is that no reasonable cop can be expected to know when they cross a constitutional line, unless there's an identical precedent outlining that misbehavior.

How on earth can we expect cops to know stealing is wrong??? reason.com/2021/10/18/sup…
Read 9 tweets

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