Richard Rivera served more than 38 years in prison after killing an off-duty NYPD officer during a botched armed robbery. He was released in July after being denied parole five times.
Aaron Morrison Sep 16, 2019
A Pittsburgh public radio piece lacked critical reporting about the many problems with jailing children in adult facilities.
Adam H. Johnson Sep 13, 2019
The city comptroller, state lawmakers, and advocates call on the state to end its use of fines and fees in the legal system.
Raven Rakia Sep 11, 2019
16-year-olds won’t have to reappear in adult criminal court if they’re arrested when youth court isn’t in session.
Lauren Gill Sep 03, 2019
Law enforcement’s old guard claims that policing low-level crime protects communities. That’s not just wrong; it’s dangerous.
Rachael Rollins Aug 29, 2019
In a civil rights lawsuit, an officer in Allentown claims he was subjected to racial discrimination before he was fired.
Elsewhere in the country, lawsuits and legislation seek to protect people from predatory mugshot sites.
Katie Rose Quandt Aug 27, 2019
Murder rates are at an all-time low in Brooklyn, but one would hardly know it reading the New York Times.
Adam H. Johnson Aug 16, 2019
Most coverage of police raids targeting homeless people and substance users parroted official—and fraught—talking points.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Aug 15, 2019
When it comes to criminal justice, advocates say, Attorney General Josh Shapiro seems intent on maintaining the status quo.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 02, 2019
The New Jersey General Assembly unanimously passed a bill to extend qualified immunity to police officers at private colleges and universities.
Establishment candidate Melinda Katz declared a narrow victory in the New York City borough’s district attorney primary, but progressive Tiffany Cabán pushed the race to the left on issues like marijuana and sex work.
Aaron Morrison Jul 30, 2019
Three Bronx friends recount their 2012 arrests in the NYPD’s ‘Operation Crew Cut,’ along with their experiences with the court system and incarceration, and reflect on their lives seven years later.
In 2017, the Manhattan district attorney pledged not to pursue criminal charges for subway fare evasion. Now the MTA is increasing the system’s police presence.
Bryce Covert Jul 29, 2019
A new effort to reduce arrests and summonses is criticized as continuing to criminalize homelessness.
Raven Rakia Jul 26, 2019
Lawmakers say Republicans used deceptive tactics to pass the controversial bill. The legislative record tells a different story.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 25, 2019
For far too long, the press has leaned on wrong-headed tough-on-crime officials like the former NYPD commissioner when reporting on the criminal legal system.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Jul 22, 2019
An organizer in the effort to close New York City’s Rikers Island jails is challenging Cyrus Vance Jr., whom he calls ‘the city’s leading jailer.’
Vaidya Gullapalli Jul 17, 2019
A Shippensburg man faces 15 years on the sex offense registry for offering a girl a ride.
Larry Krasner says the punishment is ‘really about poverty’ and race.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jul 15, 2019
Nineteen academics published a letter to the newspaper over its coverage of the Suffolk County DA.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jul 12, 2019
Expert reports in a 2017 federal lawsuit explore an alleged pattern of discrimination against men perceived to be gay.
A new DA in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, is treating the overdose crisis as a criminal matter rather than a community health issue.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 10, 2019
The accusations span decades and involve two separate Biddeford cops and at least seven alleged victims.
Roxanna Asgarian Jul 01, 2019
Brandi Courtesis lost her job with the Gettysburg force after saying a colleague sexually harassed her. The accused, fired for another reason, may be back in uniform soon.
Joshua Vaughn Jun 27, 2019
Krasner’s office acknowledges ‘there’s room to move forward and do more.’
Bryce Covert Jun 25, 2019
The public defender has garnered big-name endorsements and gained momentum heading into Tuesday’s primary.
Aaron Morrison Jun 20, 2019
Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler’s office, which partners with immigration enforcement, faces jail deaths and a discrimination claim from a Legal Aid attorney.
Lauren Gill Jun 18, 2019
Heavy reliance on pretrial incarceration in Berks County subjects people to poor medical care and unsanitary and unsafe conditions.
Joshua Vaughn Jun 14, 2019
Sarah Lustbader Jun 13, 2019
Though little is known about how Layleen Polanco died, advocates say her story highlights New York City’s flawed approach to criminal justice.
Raven Rakia Jun 12, 2019
Right now, only the whitest states—Maine and Vermont—allow prisoners to vote. Washington, D.C., could change that.
The sensationalist coverage of a handful of fights highlights local media’s misplaced priorities.
Adam H. Johnson Jun 07, 2019
Sarah Lustbader Jun 06, 2019
The criminalization of poverty in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, has led to a staggering increase in incarcerated people, all at a huge cost for defendants and taxpayers alike.
Queens Prosecutor’s Office Failed to Share 911 Tapes in Murder Trial And Then Lost File, Attorneys Say
Carlton Roman has been stuck in prison for nearly 30 years for a murder he has long denied. Now, with a crowded primary for Queens district attorney weeks away, he could finally get a chance to go free.
Aaron Morrison Jun 05, 2019
Many jurisdictions across the country use video instead of holding bail hearings in person, a practice that often leads to dire consequences.
Critics say that Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney Theo Stamos, who is being challenged in a June primary, has a pattern of treating children too harshly.
Kira Lerner Jun 04, 2019
Court challenges and a sweeping reform bill are offering hope to men trapped in isolation for decades.
Joshua Manson Jun 03, 2019
In Pennsylvania, mothers are harshly penalized for leaving children unattended in vehicles, even for several minutes.
Joshua Vaughn May 30, 2019
U.S. attorneys in D.C. have opposed the resentencing of all 14 people who have petitioned for early release under a local law.
Kira Lerner May 23, 2019
Despite accounting for less than 12 percent of the state’s adult population, roughly 40 percent of all bail bonds were issued in cases involving a Black defendant.
Joshua Vaughn May 22, 2019
New York Prisons Offer ‘Tough Love’ Boot Camp Programs. But Prisoners Say They’re ‘Torture’ And ‘Hell.’
Prisoners can shave time off their sentences by participating in shock incarceration programs. More than a dozen former shock prisoners say that comes at a steep cost.
Keri Blakinger May 21, 2019
Imprisoned as a teen, Amer Zada is now eligible for release but can’t find approved housing—and a proposed law could make the problem worse.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg May 17, 2019
New York City just paid Jose LaSalle of the Copwatch Patrol Unit nearly $900,000 over claims of false arrest related to the 2016 incident, but his fight for justice is far from over.
Ashoka Jegroo May 09, 2019
In a case of mistaken identity, Jada Noone was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police, spent 15 days in jail and faced a felony drug case before charges were dismissed. She’s now suing over her false arrest.
Joshua Vaughn May 07, 2019
New NYPD data show that in 2018 the department closed nearly 500 rape cases due to an alleged lack of participation from victims and had a declining clearance rate for rape, raising questions over its handling of sexual assault.
Meg O'Connor Apr 23, 2019
With Appeal contributor Jon Campbell
Adam H. Johnson Apr 11, 2019
As the borough’s district attorney race takes shape, advocates press for changes to the office’s approach to people who reoffend.
Aaron Morrison Apr 09, 2019
Richard Cannon was making gains after being released from prison. Then one arrest changed the course of his life.
Raven Rakia Apr 05, 2019
Attorneys for a man exonerated in a Baltimore murder say detectives suppressed exculpatory evidence and that the police’s homicide unit has a pattern and practice of similar conduct in decades of cases.
Amelia McDonell-Parry Apr 02, 2019
Banishing people from the subway will only marginalize them without addressing the problem.
Guy Hamilton-Smith Apr 01, 2019
Activists suspect the investigation was tainted by the close relationship between the police and prosecutors.
Aaron Morrison Mar 22, 2019
Their claims are part of a federal lawsuit; other women say they, too, were assaulted and the officer now faces a raft of criminal charges.
Joshua Vaughn Mar 19, 2019
Darcel Clark’s approach to overdose deaths continue the criminalization of drug users and put her on the wrong side of history, advocates say.
Raven Rakia Mar 15, 2019
Critics say New York’s new interrogation recording law falls short.
Curtis Stephen Mar 14, 2019
As they await statewide action to eliminate cash bail, city councilmembers are looking for ways to reduce the financial burden on families of incarcerated people.
Bryce Covert Mar 12, 2019
Opponents of the law say it unfairly targets people who need knives for work, and are battling it on multiple fronts.
Jon Campbell Mar 06, 2019
Family members are frantic after 330 prisoners are transferred to Pennsylvania.
Raven Rakia Feb 27, 2019
In April 2018, Herman Bell was paroled after spending 45 years in prison in a case involving the shooting deaths of two police officers. Now, New York police unions and the widow of one of the slain officers are challenging the decision in court.
Victoria Law Feb 26, 2019
A new coalition of people in the sex trades wants New York to become the first state to fully decriminalize their work.
Melissa Gira Grant Feb 25, 2019
Boston’s top prosecutor says big changes are in the works; advocates plan to keep pushing.
Emma Whitford Feb 06, 2019
She is suing the Division of Human Rights for saying it’s not authorized to investigate her complaint.
Emma Whitford Jan 22, 2019
Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed decriminalization legislation that advocates say would curb the discriminatory policing tactics associated with fare evasion enforcement. Today, the D.C. City Council will decide if it will override her veto.
The records raise questions about the department’s compliance with its protest monitoring rules.
George Joseph Jan 17, 2019
Under Pennsylvania’s drug delivery resulting in death statute, a man faces up to 40 years in prison for sharing heroin with a woman who overdosed.
Joshua Vaughn Jan 15, 2019
The decision also held that the city’s routine storage of DNA profiles from nonconvicted people in a permanent database violates state law.
George Joseph Jan 10, 2019
The miniseries depicting a New York prison escape fails to show what happened to the men left behind.
Reports detail suicides and care for one woman that was ‘so grossly incompetent and inadequate as to shock the conscience.’
Raina Lipsitz Jan 07, 2019
Officer Sheehan Miles of the Trenton Police Department had 43 force encounters between 2012 and 2016, according to a new database.
George Joseph Dec 19, 2018
Darius Jacob Taylor wasn’t in the state when a robbery he was allegedly involved with ended in murder. But because of the felony murder rule, he’s charged with criminal homicide and faces life imprisonment.
Joshua Vaughn Dec 13, 2018
Officers say the language used now is more subtle but still encourages numbers-driven policing.
George Joseph Dec 12, 2018
The landmark decision could help other transgender people in jails and prisons who have been denied access to hormone treatment, a violation of their constitutional rights.
Melissa Gira Grant Dec 07, 2018
New York City has reduced its jail population, but those who remain are staying longer.
Under Raise the Age, ‘there are kids similarly situated who are being treated totally differently.’
Cassi Feldman Dec 04, 2018
Advocates say the city has dragged its feet on legislation meant to ensure transparency on the police practice, and that data released so far—from 2010 to 2016, nearly 82 percent of stops involved Black people—signals that it’s time to end stop-and-frisk entirely.
Ella Fassler Dec 03, 2018
Lawsuit Claims Delaware Prisoners Are Still Being Beaten, Stripped And Tortured Months After Uprising
Meanwhile, the abysmal medical care that helped spark the riot persists.
Raven Rakia Nov 30, 2018
In 2016 and 2017, more than 80 percent of children charged as adults by the Allegheny County district attorney were Black.
Joshua Vaughn Nov 27, 2018
A new Bronx Freedom Fund report documents these extended pretrial lockups, which threaten people’s jobs and destabilize families.
George Joseph Nov 26, 2018
In 2016, the office said it dismissed such cases, but Legal Aid says that’s not what’s happening.
A petition argues that people seeking to escape the sex offender registry, including those put on it as children, deserve more than a single shot.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Nov 19, 2018
People caught vaping marijuana oil face the same charge as for low-level heroin possession.
Raven Rakia Nov 16, 2018
The city’s experiment with civil asset forfeiture was supposed to end, but the practices of its parking agency and some in state law enforcement suggest that police may be turning to other forms of property confiscation.
Ryan Briggs Nov 14, 2018
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s promise to decline to prosecute several offenses is a rejection of the punitive tradition of prosecutors and perhaps signals a new kind of reform that spurns criminal justice as a solution to public health problems.
Recent Supreme Court rulings have led to a review of life-without-parole sentences for crimes committed at age 17 and younger, but attorneys for Avis Lee say there’s no reason to stop there.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Nov 12, 2018
The rocky implementation of New York’s Raise the Age law shows that young people in detention need love, not force.
Rubén Austria Nov 01, 2018
In Allegheny County, People Arrested With Cell Phones Can Be Charged With ‘Possessing Instruments of Crime’
Advocates say these charges endanger sex workers and urge the police to stop using them.
Melissa Gira Grant Oct 31, 2018
Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins seeks a fourth term as critics blast him for a record that includes poor jail conditions, in-custody suicides, and the deaths of two young people at the hands of his deputies.
Despite looming questions about what happened, Jhenea Pratt is now facing life without parole.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 30, 2018
Dismal police accountability has made communities vulnerable to private vendors.
Decision-making by prosecutors in such cases, says one attorney, ‘compounds, entrenches, and ultimately authorizes the initial act of violence by prosecuting the victim.’
Aviva Stahl Oct 24, 2018
Lawsuit: Manhattan D.A.’s Office Tracks Cops With ‘Credibility’ Problems, But Refuses To Release Its List
The office has criticized the NYPD for shielding officers’ misconduct histories, but it won’t share its own information on police dishonesty.
The Strategic Response Group was created for counter-terrorism but it's involved in everything from Broken Windows policing to suppressing protest.
Ashoka Jegroo Oct 19, 2018
Campus police forces have become more professionalized, but critics say they operate behind a veil of secrecy and often exceed their jurisdiction.
Ryan Briggs Oct 15, 2018
What it’s like to take part in New York City’s Mass Bailout.
Sarah Lustbader Oct 10, 2018
Established to track anyone convicted of a gun-related offense, the registry has proved to be both racist and ineffective in reducing gun violence.
Larry Smith Oct 09, 2018
After Pittsburgh Decriminalizes Pot, Black People Are Still Disproportionately Charged With Possession
About 51 percent of the people charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana in Allegheny County are Black.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 03, 2018
District attorneys’ comments belie the true purpose of bail in New York and ignore the safety risks of jail itself.
John Pfaff Oct 02, 2018
‘Cold case’ playing cards were just introduced into Delaware prisons in hopes of producing tips on unsolved homicides—but critics warn that informants cultivated behind bars can be dangerously unreliable.
Lauren Gill Sep 27, 2018
Two new reports challenge the efficacy and ethics of prostitution diversion programs in New York City and nationwide.
Melissa Gira Grant Sep 21, 2018
The exceptions to the policy change could actually worsen the racial disparities in marijuana-related arrests, defense attorneys told The Appeal.
Raven Rakia Sep 17, 2018
As Thursday's election approaches, confusion reigns.
Emma Whitford Sep 12, 2018
City Council Member Rory Lancman, who was debating Assistant District Attorney James Quinn over the future of Rikers Island, blasted Quinn's comments on Browder, who spent three years incarcerated without a trial.
George Joseph Sep 10, 2018
The state’s “theft of leased property” statute allows prosecutors to seek felony charges for Pennsylvanians who miss payments on rental items.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 05, 2018
An 11-month prosecution of a ‘forcible touching’ case in Manhattan sharply diverges from the office’s treatment of Harvey Weinstein, defense attorneys say.
From policing to parole, this election could be pivotal for reform.
Emma Whitford Aug 28, 2018
Experts say New York’s Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct is an important first step, but the problem isn’t just misconduct—it’s the way prosecutors wield their discretion every day.
Before Edgar Coker was exonerated in a rape case, he underwent therapy meant to prevent sexual reoffenses. Thousands of kids involved in sexual offenses are forced into therapies like “relapse prevention” that experts say are ineffective.
Joseph Darius Jaafari Aug 27, 2018
After the Gun Trace Task Force scandal rocked the police department, plainclothes policing was spurned. But a recently resigned commissioner championed plainclothes units, a decision the department seems to be sticking with.
Larry Smith Aug 22, 2018
Instead of changing its conditions and practices, The Bureau of Prisons is simply moving a problem-plagued federal prison unit in Pennsylvania to Illinois.
Victoria Law Aug 21, 2018
Daniel Pantaleo remains with the NYPD four years after Garner's death.
Raven Rakia Aug 17, 2018
A bill introduced in the state would require all chronic pain patients to enter into an agreement with their doctor before being prescribed opioid medication for the first time.
Public health advocates are concerned that ‘Kristen's Law,’ meant to punish drug dealers, will criminalize users and fail to stem the opioid crisis.
A former Baltimore cop questions how a department with a nearly half-billion-dollar budget that is riven by rampant corruption and brutality, bloated overtime spending, and unaccounted for patrol officers can continue to justify its existence
Larry Smith Aug 15, 2018
In New York, A Harm-Reduction Organization Is Leveraging Participatory Defense To Empower Its Clients
Grassroots group VOCAL-NY is teaching people with substance use disorder how to avoid getting ensnared in the criminal justice system.
Christopher Moraff Aug 09, 2018
The City Council member now eyeing a run for Queens DA has a record of supporting reform, but some critics aren’t convinced.
Theodore Hamm Aug 07, 2018
And padding city and state coffers with millions of dollars.
Maura Ewing Aug 03, 2018
The tactics outlined encourage courtroom ‘dishonesty’ and ‘gamesmanship,’ legal experts argue.
News of the victory is spreading rapidly to other cities.
Bryce Covert Jul 26, 2018
York County resident Aaron Hinds overdosed on heroin with a friend. The friend died, and Hinds now faces a 'drug delivery resulting in death' charge and a 40-year prison sentence.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 24, 2018
A onetime gang liaison for the Baltimore Police Department writes that its database is racist and error-ridden.