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The Centurion

A series of pertinent – and impertinent—comments on military justice.

A thoughtful Washington Post article by Raha Jorjani, an immigration defense lawyer, looks at African-Americans defendants in a unique way.  He argues that America protects refugees better than its own black citizens!   For Jorjani, black Americans often suffer racial violence so severe that they could qualify as “refugees” — just like immigrants fleeing oppression from their native countries.

Mr. Jorjani points out that —

·         African Americans make up 13% of the US population but account for 31% of people killed by police.

·         Black teenagers are 21 times more likely than white teens to be shot and killed by the police.

·         In the United States, there at least 1.6 million black men in prison, on probation, or on parole.  That, he claims, is    double the number of those enslaved in 1850.

·         Black men received prison sentences averaging 20% longer than whites.

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That last statistic may appear a bit iffy.  But it seems confirmed by the American Bar Association in its Journal, posted online in February 2013.  The data is said to come from a report by the US Sentencing Commission, submitted to Congress and the public. 

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The July 2015 issue of The Champion, NACDL magazine, contains an interesting article on the vehicle inventory exception to the Fourth Amendment.  Beware, the author warns; inventory searches often are  pretexts to allow the prosecution and police to sidestep the Fourth Amendment.

The threshold question, of course, is the true motive for the inventory search – and its reasonableness.

The author suggests that an aggressive defense begins with contrasting the state’s interest in impounding vs. the Fourth Amendment right of individuals to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.    Beware, he warns, of  reasoning that tacitly accepts legislation or bureaucratic fiat without rigorous genuine analysis.  The article usefully cites several leading cases.

Golden Memories

We understand the president has nominated an openly-gay man to be the new Secretary of the. Army.  How times have changed.  We entered the Air Force back in 1962.  There was an Air Force regulation — if memory serves  — that homosexuals were barred from the military…but far beyond that, if you had a gay friend, YOU could be discharged!


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