Prosecutors In This Virginia County Are Letting People Go To Jail for Low-Level Offenses In The Middle of a Pandemic
Public defenders in Fairfax County say their clients are being sent into harm’s way.
Kira Lerner Apr 02, 2020
With COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the state, there’s heightened concern that the conditions inside Lowell Correctional Institution, coupled with the prison’s sizable elderly and pregnant population, could foster a deadly outbreak.
Alexandra DeLuca Apr 01, 2020
Alabama Officials Executed Nathaniel Woods Despite Claims of Innocence. Then, Against His Religious Beliefs, They Autopsied His Body
‘It was almost like they were going to do whatever they could to demean him and take away his dignity,’ Woods’s spiritual adviser said.
Beth Shelburne Mar 25, 2020
As COVID-19 Spreads In South Florida, Miami-Dade Police Department Instructs Officers To Issue Citations For All Misdemeanor Offenses
One of America’s largest police forces says it’s drastically reducing the number of people it arrests during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jerry Iannelli Mar 20, 2020
Advocates worry the widespread confusion may have a chilling effect on eligible voters.
Kira Lerner Mar 16, 2020
A federal lawsuit alleges lack of due process in a rural Tennessee county, and reform advocates say its jail is hardly an outlier.
Jessica Pishko Mar 12, 2020
A survey of roughly 1,000 people found that 1 in 5 had been turned down for a diversion program because they couldn’t afford the costs of drug tests and monitoring devices.
Lauren Gill Feb 28, 2020
67% of people arrested under state laws that criminalize HIV exposure and transmission are sex workers. But new legislation meant to modernize these laws would retain harsh penalties against them.
Josh Norman was one of the 17 people to die in Mississippi prisons so far this year. His death raises important questions about the state’s failures.
Justin Brooks Feb 25, 2020
Nathaniel Woods, who was convicted in connection with the deaths of three Birmingham police officers in 2004, is ‘100 percent innocent,’ the man who shot the officers told The Appeal.
Lauren Gill Feb 24, 2020
The court found that a law that critics described as a poll tax violates the Constitution.
Kira Lerner Feb 19, 2020
A Department of Corrections official knew the extrajudicial practice was going on but little has been done to correct it.
Victoria Law Feb 18, 2020
A North Carolina Professor Gave Up His Free Speech Rights To Resolve a Case Involving a Controversial Sheriff
Rann Bar-On pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault of Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson to remain a legal U.S. resident. For the next two years, he isn’t allowed to protest in the county.
Aaron Morrison Feb 11, 2020
A lawsuit alleges Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office created bogus "subpoenas" to secure reluctant witnesses' cooperation—and even used them to jail crime victims.
Jay Willis Feb 05, 2020
Brittany Smith will most likely go to trial, where she faces up to a life sentence.
Lauren Gill Feb 04, 2020
Three Supreme Court justices and others said competent counsel could have saved his life.
Kyle C. Barry Jan 30, 2020
People freed from jail on their own recognizance miss more court appearances because of disproportionate conditions placed on their release, a new study suggests.
Joshua Vaughn Jan 29, 2020
Woman ‘Brutally’ Beaten in Mississippi Prison Died Because Officials Failed To Give Her Medical Care, Lawsuit Alleges
The father of Nicole Rathmann says his daughter was “not made safe by employees” while incarcerated at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. She was one of 16 prisoners to die in state custody in August 2018.
Lauren Gill Jan 24, 2020
The state Supreme Court erred this month when it failed to invalidate Willie Nash’s sentence as cruel and unusual punishment, his attorneys argue.
Aaron Morrison Jan 23, 2020
Arkansas Executed Ledell Lee. Posthumous Testing Will Most Likely Prove He Was Innocent, Lawsuit Says
Lee’s family wants officials in Jacksonville, Arkansas, to turn over evidence that was used to convict and sentence him to death. The family says that evidence could posthumously exonerate him.
Advocates warn that the cuts could push an already overburdened system to the breaking point.
Jay Willis Jan 22, 2020
The bill would disproportionately affect the 140,000 people whose voting rights were recently restored.
Kira Lerner Jan 21, 2020
‘He Had Already Hurt Me.’ Alabama Woman Argues For ‘Stand Your Ground’ Immunity In Killing of Alleged Rapist
Brittany Smith, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a man she says brutally raped her, argued in court this week that she acted in self-defense and should be immune from prosecution.
Lauren Gill Jan 17, 2020
It’s the first time since 2014 that someone on Georgia’s death row has been granted clemency.
Braden Goyette Jan 16, 2020
One man, Paul Houser, is serving 60 years on a drug conviction for purchasing cold medicine and batteries. He’s one of 2,600 people incarcerated as a result of the state’s three strikes laws.
Lauren Gill Dec 20, 2019
Staff at the troubled Orleans Justice Center are also accused of violating Edward Patterson’s constitutional rights by failing to treat his drug addiction.
Prison deaths in Mississippi have climbed nearly 40 percent in recent years, from 62 in fiscal year 2014 to a high of 85 in fiscal year 2018.
Lauren Gill Dec 09, 2019
Harris County D.A. Kim Ogg Didn’t Deliver On Her Promise Of Reform. Now Another One Of Her Former Prosecutors Is Running Against Her.
Carvana Cloud, until recently the chief of the Special Victims Bureau, is entering the race to unseat her former boss.
Roxanna Asgarian Dec 05, 2019
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and MacArthur Justice Center are filing a class action lawsuit against Doug Evans on behalf of every potential Black juror in the district.
Kira Lerner Nov 18, 2019
Vaidya Gullapalli Nov 15, 2019
Sense of ‘hopelessness’ rises among Alabama prisoners as new rules, leadership changes, limit opportunities for parole
After a two-month moratorium, the state parole board reconvened last week, granting parole to 10 out of 87 people.
More than three years after heavy rains and flooding devastated the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, officials have reached an agreement to build a new facility.
Lauren Gill Oct 29, 2019
Tech Company Gave Two New Orleans-Area Sheriff’s Offices Access to Track Cell Phones Without Warrants
Neither agency had written policies on how to capture or store the location data without violating privacy rights.
Emily Lane Oct 23, 2019
North Carolina Judge Rules That Prosecuting 16-year-old As An Adult Violates His Constitutional Rights
Two years ago, the state passed ‘raise the age’ legislation that goes into effect in December. A judge’s decision regarding a teen charged in 2015 raises the possibility of relief for other young people charged since the law’s passage.
Roxanna Asgarian Oct 22, 2019
Virginia Sheriff Seeking Re-election Took Campaign Donations From Healthcare Provider For Jail He Oversees
Sheriff Mike Chapman, who runs the Loudoun County jail, has received close to $15,000 in contributions from the provider since taking office in 2012.
Aaron Morrison Oct 17, 2019
An EEOC complaint documents allegations against Owens, former managing attorney in the Jackson office of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Kira Lerner Oct 11, 2019
The Charlotte Observer built a narrative on gun crime that relies almost exclusively on police and prosecutors, ignores the violence of incarceration, and offers zero non-carceral solutions.
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux faces two Democratic challengers in the Oct. 12 election.
Teresa Mathew Oct 09, 2019
Increasing the city’s jail capacity will lead to higher incarceration rates, advocates say.
Lauren Gill Oct 07, 2019
Mississippi Sheriff’s Department Accused Of Racial Profiling Agrees To Reforms That Settle Black Residents’ Lawsuit
The Madison County Sheriff’s Department was sued in 2017 for allegedly subjecting Black motorists and pedestrians to unconstitutional stops and searches.
Aaron Morrison Oct 03, 2019
WJLA’s Kevin Lewis selectively reports on immigrants arrested for sex crimes to paint a misleading picture of violence in Montgomery County.
Adam H. Johnson Oct 01, 2019
Young people convicted as adults face a ‘life sentence’ of registry restrictions, attorneys say.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Sep 19, 2019
The parole board failed to comply with a new law about notifying victims, the board’s director said.
Lauren Gill Sep 12, 2019
Vaidya Gullapalli Sep 04, 2019
Barred from other shelters, registrants were left with few options as the hurricane approached.
A statewide pattern of discrimination in jury selection has gone largely uncorrected, while lives remain in the balance, advocates say.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Aug 26, 2019
In 1998, prosecutors failed to tell the defense that a key witness in Toforest Johnson’s capital murder trial would receive thousands of dollars in reward money for her testimony, Johnson’s attorneys say. Now a Birmingham judge must decide whether their argument has merit.
Lauren Gill Aug 22, 2019
The Bureau of Justice Statistics relies in part on states to self-report prison capacity numbers, which can result in a misleading snapshot of overcrowding in the U.S.
Corin Faife Aug 21, 2019
Richard Kinder thought he would die in an Alabama prison until the Supreme Court ruled mandatory juvenile life without parole unconstitutional. But last year, despite a judge concluding there was “uncontradicted evidence” that Kinder had worked to rehabilitate himself, the state parole board refused him release.
Lauren Gill Aug 07, 2019
Gloria Williams was in her 20s when she was sent to prison for her part in a robbery that turned deadly. After serving nearly five decades, including one decade in solitary confinement, Williams now has a chance at freedom.
Victoria Law Aug 06, 2019
Dozens of reports about an indigent man in Bradenton, Florida, showed the cruel excesses of local news’s homelessness coverage.
Adam H. Johnson Jul 31, 2019
Lawyers and advocates in Miami-Dade County will roll out a new plan to counter the disenfranchisement of people with felony convictions.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri of Pinellas County, Florida, is one of the state’s most controversial lawmen.
Jessica Pishko Jul 23, 2019
The office of Paul Howard supported early release for a woman convicted of armed robbery. But a judge and advocates questioned the move since thousands of others don’t get that consideration.
Aaron Morrison Jul 09, 2019
Louis Ackal has said he isn’t seeking re-election. But advocates fear that may not be enough to bring change.
Jessica Pishko Jul 08, 2019
The legislation also makes it illegal for many ex-offenders to be alone with their own children.
Steven Yoder Jun 28, 2019
In rhetoric reminiscent of the ‘superpredator‘ scare of the 1990s, the New Orleans District Attorney warned of ‘a brazen population of delinquent teens.‘ But advocates and crime analysts alike say the data doesn't support his fearmongering claims about kids and crime.
Mike Hayes Jun 27, 2019
James Stewart, Caddo Parish’s DA, continues to defend controversial death sentences that originated with his predecessors.
Thanks to the diligence of one assistant state attorney, 119 cases were thrown out and the officer is under state investigation.
Katie Rose Quandt Jun 17, 2019
A lawsuit filed by Kentrell Hurst’s children is the latest against New Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman over jail conditions.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jun 12, 2019
As the Hampton Roads Regional Jail proposes spending $7 million for 113 new guards, advocates renew calls for officials to improve conditions—and an Appeal analysis suggests that the jail could save millions by incarcerating fewer people with mental illness.
Since 2017, LaToni Daniel has been incarcerated pretrial in a capital murder case. During that time, Daniel became pregnant, and she just delivered a baby boy. But as she brings in new life, she also faces the death penalty.
Lauren Gill May 31, 2019
A new court order allows the family’s lawsuit to proceed, and may lead to holding jail staff accountable.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg May 28, 2019
DA Leon Cannizzarro used jailhouse informant Ronnie Morgan to convict a man in the killing of five teenagers, but the case was overturned. Now, Morgan is petitioning for a prison transfer, reviving the murder case.
Lauren Gill May 24, 2019
The DeKalb County Jail, now at the center of protests, has a long history of problems and a legacy of housing people for unpaid fines.
Raven Rakia May 21, 2019
A civil rights lawsuit claims officers pepper sprayed him, stripped him naked, and then surrounded him and beat him to death.
Kira Lerner May 17, 2019
A number of people spent multiple days at the Atlanta City Detention Center for low-level offenses, including for driving while using a cell phone and for walking in the roadway.
Aaron Morrison May 16, 2019
‘The bill forces attorneys to choose between violating our ethical mandates or going to jail for following them.’
Kira Lerner May 10, 2019
The bail bonds industry was caught overcharging 50,000 families $6 million over 14 years, according to SPLC.
Bryce Covert May 08, 2019
A new lawsuit, filed against the Virginia Department of Corrections, says prisoners are kept in isolation for frivolous reasons and prevented from rejoining the general population.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg May 06, 2019
Florida is poised to pass a law that imposes a ‘poll tax’ on thousands of formerly incarcerated people.
Kira Lerner May 01, 2019
Sierra Castle alleges she faced discrimination and harassment after being placed in a men’s holding cell in the Cobb County, Georgia, jail.
Raven Rakia Apr 30, 2019
The Orleans district attorney has said that violent youth are the city’s biggest crime problem.
Kira Lerner Apr 26, 2019
A wave of hunger strikes hit Alabama prisons as DOJ released a report calling the facilities “unconstitutional.”
Raven Rakia Apr 25, 2019
Women with mental illness are left in isolation and filth, and often placed in solitary confinement, according to a suit against the Fulton County sheriff.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Apr 19, 2019
Activists say the sheriff is trying to add jail beds under the guise of mental health treatment.
Raven Rakia Apr 15, 2019
Wrongly Accused of Rape, Randall Mills Has Been Proven Innocent. But That Doesn’t Mean He’s Exonerated.
Vindication and compensation remain elusive for Tennessee’s wrongly convicted, in part because of the state’s parole board.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Mar 29, 2019
Patrick Murphy didn’t even learn about the murder until later that day. A controversial law allows him to be executed anyway.
Katie Rose Quandt Mar 28, 2019
Attorneys and advocates call for change in Madison County after the deaths of three Black people at its jail and because of what they allege is a system of roadblocks targeting Black residents.
Aaron Morrison Mar 27, 2019
A scandal of falsified drug arrests is spreading at a Florida sheriff’s office that has also spent more than $1.33 million settling excessive force lawsuits and is at the center of the increasingly troubled Robert Kraft case.
Meg O'Connor Mar 26, 2019
Lawmakers are redefining certain crimes in order to carve out broad exceptions to who can regain the right to vote.
Kira Lerner Mar 20, 2019
In 2017, over 2,000 homeless people were arrested on charges including drinking in public and panhandling. That same year, roughly 1,400 people were arrested in Miami-Dade County for rape, murder, and robbery.
Meg O'Connor Mar 18, 2019
Attorneys representing the arrestees in Cartersville, Georgia, say they were mistreated in jail, lost jobs, and endured public humiliation.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Mar 11, 2019
A 22-year-old woman overdosed and died in jail. A 24-year-old faces first-degree murder charges. Did the system fail them both?
Tana Ganeva Mar 08, 2019
Critics say the state's policy of keeping non-residents registered bloats the list—and harms public safety.
Steven Yoder Mar 01, 2019
Since Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s 2017 election, at least five people have died at the hands of the law enforcement in Mississippi’s capital city.
Ko Bragg Feb 20, 2019
A Florida woman with substance use disorder allegedly brokered a drug sale that ended in a fatal overdose; she faces 15 years in prison.
Zachary A. Siegel Feb 05, 2019
The Department of Justice is leaving Shelby County, but discrimination against Black children in court continues, a federal monitor says.
Raven Rakia Feb 01, 2019
One commissioner wants the state Department of Corrections to show proof that his county isn’t just using prisoners as ‘slaves.’
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jan 28, 2019
With Appeal contributors Clarissa Sosin and Daryl Khan.
Adam H. Johnson Jan 17, 2019
A ban on dancers under 21 raises questions on the growing role of the state's Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control in policing clubs.
Melissa Gira Grant Dec 21, 2018
The officers were part of the department's Street Crimes Unit, known among residents for its aggressive patrols.
With Appeal senior reporter Debbie Nathan.
Adam H. Johnson Dec 13, 2018
SB 4 encourages officers to ask for the status of anyone they detain.
Debbie Nathan Dec 10, 2018
Muslim prisoners, meanwhile, say they were starved during Ramadan and deprived of religious texts.
Kira Lerner Dec 06, 2018
Advocates noted that bail gives prosecutors leverage to get guilty pleas from people who can’t afford to buy their way out of jail.
Raven Rakia Nov 28, 2018
The program was supposed to target ‘leading’ violent offenders. Today it’s sweeping up low-level, and disproportionately Black, defendants.
George Joseph Nov 21, 2018
Baton Rouge residents say little has changed after Alton Sterling.
Then he ordered another officer to arrest the man.
George Joseph Nov 13, 2018
In Travis County, detectives refused training that would have helped them interview victims of trauma.
Kira Lerner Nov 09, 2018
In response, a new ‘Freedom Cities’ movement is rising to defend immigrants’ rights.
As in Louisiana, Oregon’s practice is rooted in its own rich history of white supremacy.
George Joseph Nov 06, 2018
Republican misdemeanor judges in Houston have clung to an unconstitutional bail system. But their intransigence could cost them their seats.
Maura Ewing Nov 04, 2018
With Mercedes Montagnes of the Promise of Justice Initiative.
Adam H. Johnson Nov 01, 2018
After the state cut funds for capital defense, there’s a growing wait list of people in jail without a lawyer.
Emma Whitford Oct 29, 2018
In Alabama, Black People Are 4 Times More Likely Than White People To Be Arrested For Marijuana Possession
A new report details Alabama’s “War on Marijuana” ahead of a key DA election.
George Joseph Oct 18, 2018
A judge’s decision could end the practice of jailing people for soliciting money along streets and highways, but DA Spencer Merriweather has been slow to embrace the change.
Steven Yoder Oct 16, 2018
Trial begins in class action suit alleging medical neglect by Louisiana State Penitentiary.
Jessica Pishko Oct 12, 2018
The governor is making sheriffs sign an oath promising they won't misuse funds meant to feed jail prisoners. But some sheriffs are already pushing back.
Lauren Gill Oct 10, 2018
An Alabama Prosecutor Locked Up 4 Black Teens For A Murder They Didn’t Commit. Now He’s Trying 2 More.
Two teenagers are facing life without parole sentences for capital murder, though it’s not clear they pulled the trigger.
George Joseph Oct 04, 2018
Dozens of former detainees at the Gwinnett County jail in Georgia claim they were subjected to brutality at the hands of its Rapid Response Team.
Kira Lerner Oct 01, 2018
Louisiana is keeping people behind bars long after their sentences have expired, attorneys say.
Victoria Law Sep 26, 2018
Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson prosecuted Crystal Mason for casting an illegal ballot. But Wilson escaped charges for a possible election violation of her own.
Steven Yoder Sep 18, 2018
How the politics of storm preparation reveal whose lives matter, and who gets left behind.
Kate Aronoff Sep 14, 2018
Jeffery Parker was shot to death by a police officer in his Huntsville home. A grand jury handed up an indictment for murder, but the mayor and City Council appear to be throwing their support behind the officer.
Lauren Gill Sep 10, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Landry has taken a number of extreme positions on policing and sentencing in response to reform.
Kira Lerner Sep 06, 2018
A single training document uncovered in a prosecutor’s files could save Russell William Tucker’s life.
Jacob Biba Sep 04, 2018
Off-duty law enforcement officers are using state resources to work side jobs for the pipeline company.
Karen Savage Aug 28, 2018
Jacqueline Dixon shot her husband to death in Alabama, "Stand Your Ground" state, after she said he charged at her. He had a history of domestic violence.