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Afternoon Briefs: Arrests for low-level crimes plummet; inmate complains about commissary-money restitution

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Arrests for low-level crimes plummet in some cities and states

In some cities and states, arrests are plummeting for minor crimes such as disorderly conduct, loitering, prostitution and driving violations. Areas with lower arrest rates for such crimes include New York, California and rural Virginia, along with the cities of New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, San Antonio and Seattle. Arrest rates in many of the areas are also falling for African Americans. Some see the decline as evidence that police departments are focusing on hot spots of crime rather than quality-of-life enforcement. Some of the cities have also faced civil rights litigation for alleged discriminatory policing practices. (The Wall Street Journal)

Convicted stock schemer complains his commissary funds are being used for restitution

A federal judge was unmoved when a former New York stock broker convicted in a pump-and-dump scheme complained that authorities should not be able to take money from his prison commissary account to repay victims. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Meyer said it is neither unlawful nor unfair to require Brian Ferraioli to pay restitution of $150 per month from the $250 per month in funds deposited in his commissary account by his wife and mother. (The Hartford Courant)

6th Circuit refuses to stop opioid trial

On Thursday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati cleared the way for a trial against companies accused of contributing to the opioid crisis in Ohio’s Summit and Cuyahoga counties. The 6th Circuit refused to halt the Oct. 21 trial and refused to order the recusal of U.S. District Judge Dan Polster of Cleveland. Defendants had claimed that Polster’s zeal for settlement created the appearance of bias. The 6th Circuit said Polster “equally placed blame on all parties, readily acknowledged that settlement efforts might not work, and acknowledged that both sides had compelling arguments.” (The Associated Press,, opinions here and here)

Jurors find no liability in baby powder trial

On Wednesday, jurors in Los Angeles found that Johnson & Johnson was not liable for mesothelioma contracted by Carolyn Weirick, who alleged that her disease was caused by the company’s talcum powder. “The jury got it right—Johnson’s baby powder does not contain asbestos and was not the cause of the plaintiff’s disease,” a Johnson & Johnson spokesperson told “This is the seventh jury that has found in favor of Johnson & Johnson, and importantly, all of the verdicts against the company that have been through the appeals process have been overturned.” (, Law360)

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