Plea bargains, corporate welfare, twinkie taxes and fracking are all topics of recently published works by Independence Institute writers.
In the Colorado Springs Gazette, frequent Independence Institute guest author Ari Armstrong examines the consequences to the right of a jury trial from having over 97 percent of Colorado’s criminal convictions be from plea bargains. Writes Ari:
Colorado criminal statistics for the years 2006 through 2011 show that Colorado prosecutors rely on plea bargains to reach convictions an overwhelming 97.6 percent of the time, according to documents obtained by the Independence Institute through a Colorado Open Records Act request.
According to those documents, only 4,241 felony convictions resulted from a jury trial, or 2.4 percent of the total of 175,015 felony convictions. A total of 6,101 felony cases went to trial, so the conviction rate at trial was 70 percent.
Read the whole thing here.
In the Denver Post, senior fellow Fred Holden and research director Dave Kopel explain that Gaylord style corporate welfare violates the Colorado Constitution. Fred and Dave ask:
By what authority can the state government take tax money out of your pocket and give it away to a private corporation? The answer is that corporate welfare schemes, such as so-called “public-private partnerships,” flagrantly violate the Colorado Constitution.
Check it out here.
Also in the Denver Post, Health Care Policy Center Director Linda Gorman makes the case that giving government more power to tax and control “bad” food (think twinkie tax) is offensive to liberty. As Linda notes:
Obesity can impose costs on others, and the obvious solution is to allow people who provide services to charge the obese more when they are more costly to serve.
Full piece is here.
In the current Denver Business Journal, research associate Donovan Schafer reminds us to keep the relative risk of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) chemicals, Benzyne in particular, in perspective, finding that:
While Benzyne and other air pollutants shouldn’t be ignored when discussing oil and gas development. it’s important for the public to recognize the estimates and limits set by the EPA represent very small-though perhaps not insignificant-risks, and that these risks are comparable to those associated with automobile emissions, urban living and industrial activities in general.
The piece is behind the DBJ’s subscription wall, but can be read on the Independence Institute energy blog here.