John L. Kane | LEAP | Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

About John L. Kane

Senior United States District Court Judge
Judge John L. Kane

"Our national drug policy is inconsistent with the nature of justice, abusive of the nature of authority,
and ignorant of the compelling force of forgiveness."


Judge John L. Kane
Judge John L. Kane has been a United States District Judge since 1977. Since he became a Senior United States District Court Judge in 1988 he has stopped hearing criminal matters. Judge Kane has been openly critical of two facets of the system of criminal justice practiced in Federal courts.

He is opposed to computer-driven sentencing guidelines and the "so-called War on Drugs," which says has a devastating effect on the entire judicial system, both civil and criminal. Judge Kane has said: "As a society, we've become so enamored of our myths that we've allowed them to become our reality. And we have the temerity to think we're civilized." Kane believes that foremost among these myths is the war on drugs.

Commenting on Judge Kane's presentations calling for the legalization of drugs, Diane Carman of the Denver Post pointed out in her article, Drug War Won't Bring Even Moral Victories, "U.S. Senior District Court Judge John Kane is really good at this. He's been giving versions of the same speech for nearly a decade now. He wows every audience. It's easy to see why. His argument is compelling. It's based on mountains of evidence. And it's the product of a keen legal mind. Furthermore, he delivers it with wit, candor and blistering conviction."

Judge Kane served in the Peace Corps from 1967 to 1969, first in Calcutta, India and then in Turkey. Before that, he served as Colorado's first Public Defender and founded the state's first racially integrated law office in 1963 with the late Irving P. Andrews. He has received numerous awards in his fields of academics and law. Since becoming a judge, he has consulted on behalf of the state department and the U.S. Information Agency in many foreign countries on human rights and constitutional issues. He has made trips on behalf of the government to lecture and participate in parliamentary conferences on various legal and judicial subjects.

He received a BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado (Boulder) in 1958 and his law degree from the University of Denver in 1961. He received an honorary LL.D. (Doctorate of Laws) from the University of Denver in 1997. Judge Kane has taught at graduate and undergraduate levels in both law and liberal arts at the University of Denver and University of Colorado Law School. He was also a visiting lecturer at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Denver, Colorado, USA

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