Overcriminalization

The overcriminalization in the charges against Michael O’Donnell

The overcriminalization in the charges against Michael O’Donnell

The indictment against Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell smells of overcriminalization. Former Wichita City Council Member, former Kansas Senator, and present Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell has been charged with a series of serious crimes -- serious, at least, in the potential penalties he faces. First, I know Michael O'Donnell, and although I have been critical of some of his votes in the Kansas Senate and many while a member of the Sedgwick County Commission, I still consider him a friend, and I hope he considers me the same. I have worked on some of his campaigns, sometimes as a…
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WichitaLiberty.TV: Keen Umbehr on criminal justice reform

WichitaLiberty.TV: Keen Umbehr on criminal justice reform

In this episode of WichitaLiberty.TV: Keen Umbehr is a criminal defense attorney. He talks about reforms needed in the criminal justice system. View below, or click here to view on YouTube. Episode 143, broadcast March 19, 2017. Show notes Keen Umbehr on Facebook Midwest Innocence Project Kansas civil asset forfeiture Criminal Justice and Policing Reform -- Charles Koch Institute
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In Wichita, your house numbers may become illegal

In Wichita, your house numbers may become illegal

Thousands of Wichita homeowners may soon be lawbreakers if the city council follows its staff's recommendation. An update is at the end of this article. This week the Wichita City Council may make your house number illegal, even though those numbers may -- literally -- be set in stone. This will be the case if the council takes the action recommended by its Department of Public Works and Utilities. Current city code requires address numbers three inches high. The proposed ordinance requires numbers four inches tall. The penalty for noncompliance is $500 per day, with each day being "a separate…
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Wichita to impose burdensome occupational requirements

Wichita to impose burdensome occupational requirements

The proposed massage therapist regulations in Wichita are likely to be ineffective, but will limit economic opportunity and harm consumers. The Wichita City Council is concerned about human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution. That's good. But the response the council is considering -- which is licensing massage therapists -- is not needed. We have strict laws already on the books that make human trafficking a serious criminal offense, which it is. The proposed Wichita regulations will simply make it more difficult for honest people to become massage therapists. Criminals will operate illegally. They are criminals, after all. Or, they…
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Massage business regulations likely to be ineffective, but will be onerous

Massage business regulations likely to be ineffective, but will be onerous

The Wichita City Council is likely to create a new regulatory regime for massage businesses in response to a problem that is already addressed by strict laws. During a presentation to the Wichita City Council on February 23, 2016, police officials reported on a number of investigations and arrests. In 2015, there were 22 arrests for human trafficking and other violations. The presentation did not include what comprised "other violations," nor did it contain any information about the disposition of these cases. If the city is concerned about prostitution and child trafficking, the latter being a serious crime, we already…
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