Jacob Sullum

Posted March 12, 2014

Next Sunday the people of Crimea are scheduled to vote on whether to secede from Ukraine and become part of Russia. President Obama says the referendum is illegitimate because it violates the Ukrainian constitution.

Posted March 05, 2014

Raymond Yans is president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the U.N. agency charged with monitoring the implementation of anti-drug treaties. It is therefore not surprising that Yans takes a dim view of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington, which he says poses "a grave danger to public health and well-being."

Posted February 26, 2014

Although Macon Baker completed his prison sentence in 2006, the state of Missouri kept him behind bars, repeatedly trying to commit him as a "sexually violent predator." After three juries deadlocked on the question of whether Baker suffers from a "mental abnormality" that makes him "more likely than not" to commit new sex crimes after he is released, a fourth jury on Friday unanimously agreed he does not. In effect, the state retroactively extended Baker's sentence from 10 years to 17.

Posted February 19, 2014

At the center of the case against Michael Dunn is a disappearing shotgun. The middle-aged software developer claims 17-year-old Jordan Davis threatened to kill him with it during an argument over loud music at a Jacksonville, Fla., gas station in November 2012. But police never found a gun, and no witness reported seeing one.

Posted February 12, 2014

Amy was 8 when her uncle began raping her. He took pictures. Last month the Supreme Court considered what restitution Amy is entitled to collect -- not from her uncle, but from a man, Doyle Paroline, who downloaded two of those pictures.

Posted February 05, 2014

When he was 26, Douglas Ray Dunkins Jr. received a mandatory sentence of life without parole for participating in a Fort Worth, Texas, crack cocaine operation. If that business had involved cocaine powder, the mandatory minimum would have been 20 years, and Dunkins would be free by now.

Posted January 29, 2014

President Obama says he opposes marijuana legalization but thinks Colorado and Washington should be able to try it. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who sought to run against Obama in 2012 as a Republican presidential contender, takes the same position.

Posted January 22, 2014

Last June, after news reports revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was surreptitiously collecting everyone's telephone records, President Obama called this massive dragnet a "modest encroachment" that "the American people should feel comfortable about."

Posted January 15, 2014

Does your doctor nag you about your drinking? The federal government wishes he would. Last week the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted with alarm that most Americans say they have never discussed alcohol consumption with a health professional.

Posted January 08, 2014

On Monday, less than a week after Colorado's state-licensed marijuana shops began serving recreational consumers, the anti-pot group Project SAM thanked three public figures who "have galvanized our movement."

Posted January 01, 2014

We've all been there, perhaps as recently as Tuesday night. You have a few drinks, and the next thing you know, you're smoking crack.

Posted December 25, 2013

A few weeks ago, as the New York City Council's health committee considered a ban on using electronic cigarettes in public, several fans of the battery-powered devices sat in the audience, demonstrating their operation.

Posted December 18, 2013

After her purse was snatched in 1976, Patricia McDonough began receiving threatening phone calls from a man who identified himself as her robber. Following one of the calls, she saw a car she recognized from the scene of the crime slowly pass by her house in Baltimore.

Posted December 11, 2013

This Saturday marks the first anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Yet recordings of the 911 calls placed from the school that day were released only last week, thanks to a misguided and lawless attempt to conceal this information.

Posted December 04, 2013

For many Americans, religion is something you do on weekends and holidays.

Posted November 27, 2013

Last December, less than a week after Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the New York Post described his "eerie lair of violent video games," where he "obliterated virtual victims ... until the virtual became a reality."

Posted November 20, 2013

Nine years ago, Ronald Washington swiped two Michael Jordan jerseys from a Foot Locker in Shreveport, La. Although the shirts were on sale for $45 each, they were officially priced at $60, putting their combined value above $100.

Posted November 06, 2013

After Carol Anne Bond discovered that her husband had impregnated her best friend, the Pennsylvania microbiologist took revenge by spreading toxic chemicals on her ex-friend's car door, mailbox and doorknob. The poisonous prank was mostly ineffectual, inflicting nothing worse than a minor thumb burn.

Posted October 30, 2013

Last Friday, the Justice Department acknowledged for the first time that it is using evidence derived from warrantless wiretapping to prosecute someone. That development sets the stage for a Fourth Amendment challenge to a law that gives the National Security Agency amazingly broad discretion to eavesdrop on Americans' phone calls and read their email.

Posted October 23, 2013

Sales of electronic cigarettes have risen dramatically in recent years. Whether you see that development as an opportunity or a threat depends on whether you view the matter rationally or through a fog of prejudice that makes anything resembling a cigarette look sinister, regardless of the risks it actually poses.