Billy Binion Profile picture
Associate editor @reason. Yes, this is my real name.
Potato Of Reason Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
May 5 5 tweets 2 min read
Last fall, I covered the case of an Oklahoma woman who received 4 years in prison for having a miscarriage as a teen. Prosecutors blamed it on her behavior, despite that she miscarried at 17 weeks, within the state’s legal abortion timeframe. reason.com/2021/10/14/wom… In other words, had Brittney Poolaw shown up to an abortion clinic the same day she miscarried, she would’ve suffered no legal consequences.

But because she was sick and went to the hospital, she’ll spend years in a cage for losing her baby.
Apr 15 7 tweets 2 min read
These are a fraction of the comments I’ve received after sharing poll numbers on defunding the police—a policy position that the vast majority of people, regardless of race, do not support. A few thoughts. /1 This is a prime example of how Twitter creates distorted realities. Opposing "defunding the police" is the mainstream view among black, brown & white people.

Meanwhile on Twitter, *listing the polling* means I am a white supremacist who deserves to be brutalized by cops. OK. /2
Apr 12 7 tweets 3 min read
Thread: For 20 years, prosecutor Ralph Petty secretly worked for the judges who decided his cases. At night, he'd write rulings in favor of...himself.

He even sent someone to death row. And now, someone is finally trying to hold him to account. My latest: reason.com/2022/04/12/ral… Petty violated hundreds of people's rights. You should hear about some of them.

Clinton Young spent almost 2 decades on death row for a murder he says he didn't commit—after Petty made a mockery of due process.

Two. Decades. /2
reason.com/2022/04/12/ral…
Apr 5 6 tweets 3 min read
Thread: Cops can frame people, file bogus charges, conjure evidence—and they'd *still* be immune from facing accountability. Until yesterday.

The Supreme Court ruled you can sue cops who frame you on false charges. This is important. My latest: reason.com/2022/04/05/sup… It's *very* hard to hold state actors accountable when they violate your rights. In most of the country, malicious prosecution claims were dead on arrival.

So a cop could lock you up, fabricate evidence, lie to their superiors—and you had no recourse. /2 reason.com/2022/04/05/sup…
Mar 4 5 tweets 2 min read
Here's a saga: Cops seized over $300k from a man after they found him with weed & pills.

The prosecutor then charged the man's *entire family* with drug trafficking & immediately said he'd drop those charges—if the defendant gave them his cash. My latest: reason.com/2022/03/04/pro… Cops use civil forfeiture to seize funds from people—often without criminal charges. They keep the proceeds.

But it's not just a profit motive. Prosecutors also use it to coerce plea bargains. Hard to defend yourself if you can't afford to eat. reason.com/2022/03/04/pro…
Feb 18 5 tweets 2 min read
The FBI seized nearly $1 million from Carl & Amy Nelson—and never charged them with a crime.

To survive, they sold their house & car, liquidated retirement, and moved their family of 6 into Amy's sister's basement.

This story is a nightmare. My latest: reason.com/2022/02/18/fbi… Civil forfeiture is common. Police at the local, state, and federal level can take your life savings, your home, your personal possessions—without ever securing a criminal indictment.

Which is what happened to Carl & Amy two years ago. reason.com/2022/02/18/fbi…
Feb 17 4 tweets 3 min read
A woman rejected a plea deal after illegally registering to vote. So she got 6 years in prison.

The DA's office openly admits that Pamela Moses would be a free woman today—if she hadn't insisted on her constitutional right to trial. My latest: reason.com/2022/02/17/pam… Several White Republicans got 0 jail time after illegally voting for Trump. But the DA says this isn't proof of a racist system. If Moses had taken a deal, she also would've gotten 0 time.

That's not the stellar argument the DA thinks it is. @CBHessick: reason.com/2022/02/17/pam…
Feb 9 6 tweets 3 min read
Thread: It's nearly impossible to sue federal cops when they infringe on your rights: attempted murder, false imprisonment, you name it. They're likely immune.

The Supreme Court will hear an important case on March 2 that will likely make it even harder.
reason.com/2022/01/28/bor… In 2014, Border Patrol agent Erik Egbert assaulted the owner of a bed & breakfast after Egbert followed a man—who was in the U.S. legally—onto the property.

The owner filed a complaint with Border Patrol—so, naturally, Egbert sent the IRS after him. /2
reason.com/2022/01/28/bor…
Dec 6, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
A few thoughts. Been pretty stunned by the number of conservatives & libertarians telling me I’ve disqualified myself from my job & that I should lose it.

Free speech & open debate are supposed to be pillars of those ideologies. That includes hearing things you disagree with. /1 That also means that it’s OK—good, actually—to criticize & reflect on decisions made by *everyone,* including those who share some of your same principles.

There are things @RepThomasMassie does that I agree with. This wasn’t one of them. That’s fine. /2
Nov 24, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
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…
Nov 22, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
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…
Oct 29, 2021 4 tweets 2 min read
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.
Oct 28, 2021 7 tweets 3 min read
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?
reason.com/2021/10/28/cop…
Oct 27, 2021 13 tweets 6 min read
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.
nationalreview.com/2021/10/in-def… 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
Oct 26, 2021 6 tweets 3 min read
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…
Oct 18, 2021 9 tweets 4 min read
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. 🧵
reason.com/2021/10/18/sup… 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.
reason.com/2021/10/18/sup…
Oct 13, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
A warden allegedly raped his cousin-in-law multiple times on prison grounds. A corrupt prosecutor worked to cover it up.

And the victim can't do anything about it. Here's a story on the type of gov't abuse that so often goes unnoticed.

My latest @reason: reason.com/2021/10/13/lou… Priscilla Lefebure says she was raped multiple times by Barrett Boeker, an assistant warden at Louisiana State Penitentiary. Boeker was arrested after a medical exam corroborated an assault.

But he was mysteriously never indicted. reason.com/2021/10/13/lou…
Oct 12, 2021 7 tweets 5 min read
Matthew Shepard's death was tragic. It's also very unlikely that his murder had anything to do with the fact that he was part of the LGBTQ community.

Telling the correct version of history is vital, even when it might be inconvenient for your cause. A thread. Shepard died a gruesome death: tied to a fence & set on fire. A narrative quickly formed that he had been targeted because he was gay.

But later reporting would suggest that at least 1 of his murderers also slept with men, & that they actually had beef with Shepard over drugs. ImageImage
Oct 11, 2021 5 tweets 2 min read
An agent of the state killed an innocent man while responding to a prank call in Wichita. Andrew Finch opened his door & in 10 seconds he'd been shot dead by a sniper. No one rendered medical aid for 30 minutes.

The city can't be sued.

My latest @reason: reason.com/2021/10/07/and… The Wichita police sergeant who organized the response violated department policy & failed to issue any warnings prior to the fatal shot.

He got qualified immunity.
reason.com/2021/10/07/and…
Sep 8, 2021 5 tweets 3 min read
Karen Garner was 73 years old when police threw her to the ground, broke her arm, and dislocated her shoulder while arresting her for stealing $13.88 from Wal-Mart.

The city will pay her $3 million. Let's talk about accountability.

My latest @reason: reason.com/2021/09/08/pol… First things first: Let us acknowledge how absolutely absurd it is that a 73-year-old—who has dementia—needed to be violently arrested & assaulted because she stole $13.88 worth of merchandise.

It's not about safety.
reason.com/2021/09/08/pol…
Aug 9, 2021 9 tweets 7 min read
I wrote about that viral video of a cop supposedly overdosing by touching fentanyl—a medically impossible feat—& the perils of media regurgitating state claims without scrutiny.

Recycling a police press release is not journalism.

My latest @reason: reason.com/2021/08/09/san… Media outlets—local, national, & international—jumped all over this video, released by @SDSheriff.

A sampling of headlines from @CNN, @Newsweek, @sacbee_news, & @Independent