The Toledo Blade

Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles want to wrest ownership of the logo that members of a motorcycle group use on their helmets and jackets, believing that if the logo disappears, the group itself will fade into obscurity.

It is an innovative and laudable way of employing federal forfeiture laws, which allow the government to seize assets — such as money, boats, cars and houses — associated with criminal activity. Not surprisingly, the Mongols biker club is fighting the effort.

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The government believes that identification is what gives the Mongols standing and that taking the logo would be like cutting the head off of a snake. How would the group stay together? Who else would want to join? They’d practically be naked, the laughingstock of the biker community.

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Forfeiture laws are intended to deprive criminals of assets that sustain or reward illicit activity. If the Mongols are a criminal organization as the government alleges, the logo may be the group’s biggest asset, and it should be taken.

Online: https://bit.ly/2RP0EQG

The Canton Repository

Earlier this fall, when voters were considering whether to approve a constitutional amendment that would reclassify some drug offenses, with the stated goal of reducing the state’s prison population, the five judges who preside over Stark County Common Pleas Court visited the Editorial Board en masse.

In making their case for an endorsement against State Issue 1, the judges presented pages and pages of data as evidence the language in the bill held the potential for serious unintended consequences. They argued strongly in favor of retaining "judicial discretion" — the ability to make decisions in the best interest of the defendant and the community when imposing a sentence — at risk if Issue 1 passed.

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With that in mind, we celebrated the news this week that the Multi-County Juvenile Attention System is on pace to use only about half of its 141 beds on a daily basis this year — a sharp decline from its previous five-year average of about 62 percent filled each day.

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Less incarceration typically means saving taxpayer dollars — a key point pro-Issue 1 advocates made in support of the amendment voters ultimately rejected Nov. 6. In defeat, though, proponents expressed optimism they had jump-started a conversation about effective adult sentencing and the greater availability and use of alternatives to prison.

In essence, that’s what Stark County Common Pleas judges said they needed: the ability to work with offenders on an individual basis.

Online: https://bit.ly/2QmV37n

The Columbus Dispatch

Within a span of a quarter-century, ancient rivalries and simmering tensions propelled the major nations of Europe into two devastating wars that eventually embroiled so many states that they became known as the first "world wars."

At the end of the first of those conflicts — 100 years ago last month — the United States and other nations sought to create an international body through which they could mediate disputes and avoid future wars.

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Out of those ashes in 1945, the nations of the world tried again to create a series of international mechanisms to increase cooperation and reduce the chances of yet another all-consuming war. That effort has been, in the main, successful.

Which is why it is so troubling that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a speech in Brussels on Tuesday, questioned the value of international institutions, singling out for criticism the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States and the African Union, among others.

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Of course there are flaws in these institutions — big ones that occasionally lead to devastating outcomes. But surely the goal should be to strengthen these organizations and fix their problems, rather than to weaken or abandon them in favor of some ill-defined, narrow and parochial modern-day nationalism.

Online: https://bit.ly/2EdYw0Y

The Marietta Times

Time and again, officials at colleges and universities tell us we are not preparing our students to attend their institutions. That is fine with them, of course — they get to charge more for extra semesters in which students take remedial courses to get them up to where they should be. Employers willing to hire those who choose to begin their careers after high school graduation have similar complaints.

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Ohio was going to address that. Lawmakers intended to put in place tougher graduation standards, so students are prepared to take their next steps after graduation. In fact, beginning in 2018, students were to be expected to either score at least 18 out of 36 points on end-of-course exams, earn a remediation-free score on a college entrance exam or earn an industry-recognized credential or a minimum score on a workforce-readiness test.

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Lawmakers were told the schools could not help students reach those standards in time, so the start date was pushed back a year. Still not enough time, it seems. Now the standards may not be in place until the class of 2020 is ready to graduate.

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Any good parent will tell you, giving kids the easiest path possible does them a disservice in the long run.

Online: https://bit.ly/2PtbbPr