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After a scandal engulfed some of L.A.’s most powerful politicians, a slate of progressive candidates is running on new approaches for tackling homelessness and mass incarceration.
Francisco Aviles Pino
Katie Jane Fernelius
Rob Bonta’s career has hinged on the idea that the law can be used to engender social justice. His elevation to California’s “top cop” position, where he will become responsible for the vast bureaucracy of the state’s criminal legal system, will be a crucible for that belief.
Art Acevedo’s recent comments reveal an official who, despite his “good cop” veneer, has played fast and loose with the facts when it comes to addressing public safety.
Mayor Randall Woodfin is increasing police funding and ignoring calls for non-law enforcement public safety alternatives.
The trial budget includes a proposal to expand a crisis response program under the fire department, but also includes a $3.7 million increase to the Phoenix Police Department’s $745 million budget.
The U.S. representative has been a chief architect of mass incarceration in the state and an instigator of racial injustice.
Jody David Armour
The Bureau of Justice Statistics has suffered from years of poor funding and political interference by the Trump administration. Fixing it could be one of the most important tasks on Biden’s criminal justice reform agenda.
A look at the organization’s past actions suggests that this lawsuit is part of a longstanding pattern of ideologically motivated advocacy and commitment to tough-on-crime policies, rather than a show of blind allegiance to the law.
The California Supreme Court Justice is motivated not by politics but by making equal justice under the law a reality for all Californians.
By appointing a reformer to replace the outgoing Xavier Becerra, Newsom has the chance to begin dismantling a sprawling, bloated system of prisons and jails that incarcerated nearly a quarter-million people as of 2018.
Because traffic stops all too often escalate into deadly incidents, calls have grown to disentangle traffic enforcement from police—and a measure to do so has already passed in Berkeley, California.
The D.C. Council is set to vote on a bill aimed at giving people who committed serious crimes before their 25th birthday an opportunity to petition a judge for resentencing.
McAuliffe is running to become Virginia governor a second time. If he wins, he would be the only active Democratic governor to have carried out executions in office.
A concerted effort to review, resentence, and release is the right thing to do for those who have been unjustly sentenced. It is also the right thing to do for our community.
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman has jumpstarted the state’s pardons process, while Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s self-styled progressivism isn’t winning over advocates.
None of the Austin City Council members who voted to cut police funding lost their elections, but a police union vice president who fearmongered about the defund movement did.
A growing body of evidence suggests that it’s possible to reduce or even eliminate the use of money bail without increasing crime.
In North Carolina, Attorney General Josh Stein’s Republican opponent painted him as soft on crime. Voters re-elected him anyway.
Voters decided to keep Adel in charge of the third-largest prosecuting agency in the country. She is recovering from emergency surgery for bleeding in her brain.
Law enforcement organizations have long treated mass incarceration as a job creation program. In 2020, the tide began turning against them.
Los Angeles County, with the country’s largest jail system and largest local prosecutor office, is considered a crown jewel in a nationwide push for criminal justice reform.
The LA County supervisors are poised to tackle a wide range of criminal justice reforms, including moving children and people struggling with mental health issues out of the criminal legal system, and redirecting millions of dollars away from law enforcement and back into communities.
Jones has vowed to support expansion of the Supreme Court, back the Green New Deal, and push for criminal justice reform.
“I have always had a focus on public service, always a desire to make sure that I’m using my skills and talents to help people and to make the community around me a little bit better,” she said.
Dawn R. Wolfe
Hollins’s ‘very personal’ decision to run was sparked in part by the Trump administration ‘catching everything on fire.’ Now she wants to advocate for subsidized child care, police reform, and more.
Houston area voters re-elected Gonzalez after he supported bail reform, cleaned up the county jail, and provided aid to incarcerated people living with opioid use disorder.
The ballot initiative would have bloated prisons and jails in the state and undone important criminal legal reforms, advocates say.
Ray Levy Uyeda
Simmons, an attorney, is fighting to give people “a first chance so they won’t need a second chance later on in life.”
Bowman has also advocated for an eviction moratorium and for rental payments to be cancelled for the duration of the pandemic.
Bush’s victory in Missouri’s First Congressional District makes her the first Black woman elected to represent Missouri in Congress.
If Democrats win control of the Senate, allowing this archaic tradition to survive will make everything of significance the party hopes to accomplish virtually impossible.
Sanchez is running for one of the state House seats that Democrats are hoping to flip.
Quezada has supported progressive policies since starting out in the state legislature in 2012. He’s now running for his final term, which could be his most important, given the state’s changing power dynamics.
Incumbent Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel is backed by police unions and has declined to charge officers in high-profile killings. Challenger Julie Gunnigle says she wants to create an independent unit to review police use-of-force cases.
In the midst of a national debate about changing the criminal legal system, Barrett is set to take a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Advocates see her addition as a potential setback to creating a more fair system.
The Board of Supervisors wields enormous power over a county government apparatus that includes the DA’s office, probation department, and sheriffs.
If she wins her bid for office in November, Bush will become the first Black woman elected to represent Missouri in Congress.
DA Jackie Lacey and challenger George Gascón outlined diverging visions for the top prosecutor’s office in the nation’s most populous county.
Proposition 17 would allow people with felony convictions to cast ballots while they are on parole.
Allister Adel paints herself as a reformer, but her record shows otherwise.
Research has shown only that police can be sufficient, not that they are necessary.
Through a series of maneuvers, state legislators narrowed the ambitious scope of Senate Bill 14.
California just made it a tiny bit easier for formerly incarcerated people to become civilian firefighters. But the law still leaves many obstacles in their path.
Experts say Black and Native children are disproportionately jailed either for status offenses or for technical violations of probation or parole—and that incarcerating them has far-reaching negative consequences.
Nelson’s attorneys had sought to have his death sentence reversed, citing critical errors by his original trial attorneys.
Administrative subpoenas—which do not require a judge’s approval—are typically used for the department’s internal investigations, but The Appeal has learned that they are being used in criminal cases.
Taewon Wilson and Candace Chavez-Wilson are part of a growing movement to end life without possibility of parole and other harsh sentences.
The law, known as SB 402, eliminates the use of signature bonds for a number of felonies, putting poor people who might not be able to afford cash bail at a disadvantage.
If the bill is signed into law later this month, about 20 percent of the state’s prison population could see their sentences reduced to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus, including some people who have served lengthy sentences for violent crimes.
Julie Gunnigle, who is running in Maricopa County, says she supports alternatives to incarceration. But a decade ago in Illinois, she prosecuted a woman for recording phone calls and helped put her in jail for 18 months.
Sixteen-year-old William Haymon has spent more than 500 days in an adult jail in rural Lexington, Mississippi. There are no state rules governing how long a person can be incarcerated without being formally charged with a crime.
Studies show that 95 percent of the nation’s prosecutors are white and that the lack of Black and brown representation in courts negatively affect outcomes for people of color.
If the justice system’s goal is to produce healthy, safe, and productive members of society, then it must begin with support from corrections staff and healthy relationships with peers.
As thousands of people are freed from local jails, a group of nonprofits and activist organizations says the city's housing authority must revamp its policies that banish the formerly incarcerated.
In a 5-4 ruling early today, the Supreme Court cleared the way for the lethal injection of Wesley Ira Purkey. Lawyers had argued that killing Purkey, who had dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease, would represent cruel and unusual punishment.
As criminal justice reformers take steps to defund police departments and limit qualified immunity, it’s important to consider the role of universal and special duties in policing.
Attorney General Bill Barr has scheduled executions for four people on federal death row in July and August. That’s more federal executions in one month than in the entire modern history of the federal death penalty.
In a moment of crisis, the state Senate and House are slated to be in recess until January.
‘As long as there’s a jail, there’s going to be police trying to put our poor folks in it,’ one activist said.
Mark Zuckerberg could engage in criminal legal reform by bringing Facebook's policies in line with CZI's mission and allow people to request that their mugshot be taken down.
Sarah Esther Lageson
We did it in San Francisco. If we are smart about how we respond to COVID-19 in the criminal legal system, then we can simultaneously tackle two crises.
Cristine Soto DeBerry
Several states and the District of Columbia have postponed their bar exams because of the pandemic, creating a deadly delay for poor people in need of public defenders.
Emily M. Croucher
The city’s DA’s office and its public defender association urged judges to adopt video meetings to speed the release of incarcerated people. But emails obtained by The Appeal show that judges took a much more limited approach to decarceration.
Experts are urging large-scale releases. But the Department of Justice often operates contrary to expertise.
As the novel coronavirus spread in the state, a Solano County judge denied numerous motions to continue a troubled double kidnapping and rape case marred by allegations that a Vallejo police detective withheld exculpatory evidence.
Josie Duffy Rice and guest co-host Darnell Moore talk with Sherrilyn Ifill about policing, civil rights, the criminal justice system, and more.
In Boston, it’s worse than business as usual at the police department as the pandemic spreads. On a recent day, officers arrested people for charges the district attorney has publicly declined to prosecute.
The Trump administration’s hardline immigration policies are intersecting with a highly contagious disease at a time when cities across the country are shutting down.
One of America’s largest police forces says it’s drastically reducing the number of people it arrests during the coronavirus pandemic.
Organizers have been collecting signatures as part of a ballot initiative known as State Question 805, which calls for the end of sentencing enhancements for people convicted of nonviolent crimes.
The Metropolitan Police Department has discussed reducing arrests, but it has not formally announced any policy changes.
Josie Duffy Rice and guest co-host Darnell Moore focus on the death penalty as they talk with State Attorney Aramis Ayala of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida.
With few exceptions, news outlets in Harris County, Texas, spotlight singular instances of crime to allege that legal reform policy is a threat to the public.
I learned later than I should have what you probably already know: that it is strength not weakness to lean on somebody when you feel vulnerable and defeated and let them help you.
Dennis Sica struggled with substance use disorder and sold small amounts of heroin that prosecutors connected to overdose deaths. Because of an 1980s-era federal law, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Josie Duffy Rice and guest host Donovan X. Ramsey talk with LaTonya Tate, executive director and founder of the Alabama Justice Initiative, about probation and parole.
The Appeal and Oregon Justice Resource Center announce “Left Behind,” firsthand accounts of growing-up in prison from individuals sentenced as children.
Probation officers in the state’s 13th Judicial Circuit file thousands of violations, and they’re heard by a judge known for his harsh, punitive style.
Josie Duffy and co-host Darnell Moore discuss police accountability and explain why it’s so hard for the criminal justice system to hold police accountable.
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.
Advocates say the narrowing field of Democratic candidates did not seize an opportunity to lay out clear visions on criminal justice reform to contrast the former New York City mayor’s record on policing.
In two articles, the Times asserts a ‘spike’ in crime since the passage of bail reform in New York, an increase that the articles themselves note they can’t prove.
Adam H. Johnson
Around one-third of counties in the United States use the tools when making release decisions, but few monitor whether they work as intended.
Elmer Daniels served nearly 40 years in prison before he was exonerated in 2018. He's one of at least three people who could receive $50,000 for every year spent behind bars.
With Taylor Elizabeth Eldridge, a Type Investigations Ida B. Wells Fellow and Appeal contributor.
Sensational headlines may score short-term partisan points, but long term they contribute to a toxic culture of Willie Hortonism.
The incumbent in the race, Jones’s former boss Kim Ogg, will not support a blanket refusal to prosecute sex workers, her office says.
In Franklin County, experts say Ron O’Brien’s capital cases—which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars— amount to ‘just taxpayer money being lit on fire.’
The poor healthcare that Bobbie Jean Johnson received during her more than 40 years in prison contributed to her death, family members say.
People held in courthouse cells were shackled for up to 15 hours a day, and some were unable to eat, change menstrual pads, or use the bathroom, advocates say.
The state’s parole board has recommended that Willie Mae Harris, convicted of killing her husband in 1985, be freed five times. Now 72 and completely blind, her fate lies with Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Two bills, awaiting Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature, would help reduce the punitive impact of the child welfare system on kids and their families, including formerly incarcerated parents.
With Civil Rights Corps founder Alec Karakatsanis
The mayors of New York, Chicago, and San Francisco wrap themselves in the language of progressivism, but when it comes to the criminal legal system they’re Trumpian.
Interim San Francisco D.A. Suzy Loftus claims to be a "progressive," but her long record as a prosecutor reveals an all-too-familiar path chosen by establishment-types who have little interest in disrupting the status quo.
Criminal case files from Oakland’s seminal Riders scandal were among documents shredded by the Alameda County Superior Court in 2015.
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.
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor says his plan—which includes cutting the incarcerated population by half—will "rebalance" a system that is "unfair and racist in many ways."
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.
After more than two decades, Terrance Lewis was exonerated and released from prison earlier this year. He is now an advocate for other innocent people caught up in the criminal legal system.
As the presidential election approaches, reformers should focus on the Prison Litigation Reform Act, which restricts the ability of incarcerated people to protest their conditions of confinement.
In March, Coley McCraney was arrested and charged with capital murder in the 1999 killings of two teenage girls. But his attorneys say he’s innocent, and are now seeking information related to alleged police involvement in the homicides.
Miller's victim impact statement was centered in a recent '60 Minutes' segment on the Brock Turner case. But such statements do not heal victims, and Miller's unfavorable comparison of Turner's sentence to drug offenders only reinforces carceral logic.
Rather than encouraging more faith in the police, true reform requires dismantling the system that empowers them.
Alex S. Vitale
This month, nine people received commutations from life sentences, and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is calling for changes to the commutations process to give more people second chances.
Rodney Reed, set to be executed on Nov. 20, is innocent of a rape and murder, his lawyers say, and untested evidence will prove it. But prosecutors have pushed back, arguing the evidence is contaminated.
The Washington State Patrol has added thousands of old sealed juvenile records to a database it shares with law enforcement agencies across the country—erasing for many their chance of a clean slate.
Derek Harris awaits arguments in the state Supreme Court about the sentencing, which one judge called ‘unconscionable.’
Informants are highly motivated to lie. But jurors don’t always have the information or skills to discern the truth.
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that his execution, which experts have said will be bloody and gruesome, does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment. But problems with his case started long before that, his attorneys say.
Young people convicted as adults face a ‘life sentence’ of registry restrictions, attorneys say.
A narrow ruling on Brady lists ensures that protecting the police will continue to prevail over due process.
Kyle C. Barry
Court records and interviews with former prosecutors show that internal assessments of police dishonesty are rarely memorialized, potentially violating the rights of people charged in criminal cases and sometimes keeping the records of bad cops clean.
Candidates offered reforms for people accused of low-level, nonviolent offenses, but more than half of U.S. prisoners have committed a violent crime.
A Pittsburgh public radio piece lacked critical reporting about the many problems with jailing children in adult facilities.
Henri Lyles is challenging his life sentence under a statute that penalizes people for prior convictions. A favorable decision by the state Supreme Court would mean that he and a dozen people sentenced to life could one day be freed.
The parole board failed to comply with a new law about notifying victims, the board’s director said.
Kim Ogg ran as a reform-minded district attorney candidate, but her office has sought two death warrants for Dexter Johnson, whose lawyer says cannot name everyday objects and has an IQ of 70.
In a rare move, a federal court vacated Anastazia Schmid’s murder conviction, saying she’d received ineffective assistance of counsel and had been mentally unfit to stand trial. But Schmid, who’d spent 18 years in prison, remained locked up for three months more.
Police are accused of lying to obtain the warrants to conduct military-style raids on the homes of poor people and people of color.
Jose ‘Lil Joe’ Chapa says one way to make Beauregard Parish ‘great again’ is to stop construction of a new jail and divert resources to services that keep people out of lockup altogether.
Advocates and homeless people are suing Sacramento County over its treatment of homeless—and the city responded by filing a lawsuit against seven men for being a ‘public nuisance.‘
16-year-olds won’t have to reappear in adult criminal court if they’re arrested when youth court isn’t in session.
Kansas City news outlets called scores of people ‘violent criminals’ based solely on the word of police and the federal government.
The decline under DA Larry Krasner, who took office in 2018, marks a significant change in juvenile justice in Pennsylvania.
Our response to crime should focus on healing and accountability, not punishment and retribution.
In a civil rights lawsuit, an officer in Allentown claims he was subjected to racial discrimination before he was fired.
How high or low bond is isn’t a measure of how severe the state considers a crime.
At 16, Larry Rosser was imprisoned for killing a woman who sexually and physically abused him. He served 22 years in the California prison system before being released in 2017, after parole commissioners became convinced he was a rehabilitated victim.
A statewide pattern of discrimination in jury selection has gone largely uncorrected, while lives remain in the balance, advocates say.
The 2020 presidential candidates recently unveiled national criminal justice agendas that reimagine public safety and punishment.
A lawsuit is challenging Mohave County’s practice of charging certain people for mandatory GPS monitoring before trial.
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.
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.
Police and prosecutors claimed facial recognition technology wasn’t at the center of a shoplifting case, but defense attorneys say it was the sole basis for probable cause to arrest.
Media coverage obsessively focuses on homicides, which are at historical lows. Meanwhile, suicides and overdoses skyrocket, quietly driving record declines in American life expectancy.
Murder rates are at an all-time low in Brooklyn, but one would hardly know it reading the New York Times.
In Valencia County, a sheriff’s deputy who once faced allegations of excessive force in Albuquerque is accused of assaulting an elderly man.
Most coverage of police raids targeting homeless people and substance users parroted official—and fraught—talking points.
Children as young as 4 years old are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result, the complaints say.
Attorney General William Barr pushed back against reforms by progressive prosecutors—but perhaps his greatest vitriol was reserved for the Boston DA’s attempt to rein in police.
A new internal audit shows that officers disproportionately strike, tussle with, and draw guns on Black people but then fail to disclose the incidents in their reports.
Black Lives Matter and other advocates have pushed county officials to abandon the $2.2 billion project with McCarthy Builders.
A federal lawsuit claims that Palo Alto, California, police falsely detained, arrested, and beat a gay Latinx man—then boasted about their brutality.
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.
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.
Last year, lawmakers repealed the felony murder rule, which allowed prosecutors to charge defendants with murders they didn‘t commit. Prosecutors are trying to overturn the new law, but AG Xavier Becerra believes that the reform should stand.
When it comes to criminal justice, advocates say, Attorney General Josh Shapiro seems intent on maintaining the status quo.
In 2016, Madison Jensen died from opiate withdrawal at the Duchesne County jail. New court filings allege that jail staff, including its nurse, ignored her rapidly deteriorating health.
Dozens of reports about an indigent man in Bradenton, Florida, showed the cruel excesses of local news’s homelessness coverage.
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.
The Crescent City is in the final stages of a multimillion-dollar federal police reform process. Here‘s why it and other programs like it fail to achieve real reform.
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 California, Texas and Florida, advocates sent letters to district attorneys, demanding that they refuse to work with officers with histories of misconduct.
Offices across the state conduct operations under the guise of saving victims of human trafficking. But the vast majority of people detained, including sex workers, are charged with prostitution.
Police in Ozark said they solved the 1999 murders of two teenage girls using a genealogy database. But Coley McCraney‘s attorneys say that the case against their client is far from certain.
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.
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.’
The backlash is underway against a recent wave of prosecutors who champion criminal justice reform. Here are some methods of attack.
The carceral system fails to heal victims and perpetuates trauma by caging human beings. It‘s time to try something else.
A California Superior Court ruling gives officers accused of misconduct access to investigator notes and files while cases are in progress.
Sensational and false news reports about the drug are pushing lawmakers to enact harmful policies.
Zachary A. Siegel,
Four transgender women say clinicians and staff deny them gender-affirming care and see their identity as in conflict with sex offender treatment.
Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard
Outlets ran over 200 articles covering the vandalism. The outsize attention will likely damage young lives.
Republican Mike Dunleavy was elected on a platform to ‘Make Alaska Safe Again’ and has rolled back recent changes.
Zachary A. Siegel
ABC News claims anti-police violence is on the rise but offers no data.
Police and prosecutors framed a father of four in a 2007 murder case with local and national political implications.
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.
Reality shows like ‘The First 48,’ ‘Live PD,’ and ‘Cops’ are interfering in legal cases, exploiting people of color, and threatening lives.
The police union’s newly elected vice president led the investigation into the shooting that cleared Officer William Gourley of any wrongdoing.
A nearly 30-year-old New York Times Magazine profile of the infamous prosecutor may reveal as much about Linda Fairstein as Ava DuVernay‘s acclaimed new Netflix series.
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.
The popularity of Axon’s tech soared after the police killing of Michael Brown in 2014, but it may be doing more harm than good in protecting people from excessive force.
Records show Kim Ogg’s office appeared to misrepresent felony prosecutor caseloads in its $21 million budget request.
The sensationalist coverage of a handful of fights highlights local media’s misplaced priorities.
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.
Court challenges and a sweeping reform bill are offering hope to men trapped in isolation for decades.
City officials say its vast network of cameras are simply a tool when responding to 911 calls and complaints of criminal activity. But several cases suggest the system serves an additional purpose.
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.
With Caroline Isaacs of the American Friends Service Committee
Chicago hands out millions in settlements and legal fees for police misconduct. Its newly inaugurated mayor should take a dollar from the department’s budget for every dollar the city spends settling with its victims.
Newly released records show that task force members faced allegations of theft and questionable overtime, all under the watch of a commander later fired for lying as the misconduct was investigated.
U.S. attorneys in D.C. have opposed the resentencing of all 14 people who have petitioned for early release under a local law.
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.
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.
Trooper testimony inconsistent with video and misconduct among state and local law enforcement in New Hampshire and Massachusetts have caused at least 15 drug cases to unravel.
A former Baltimore officer says the Hopkins plan should be viewed skeptically because campus police have a history of deadly force and its officials come from troubled Baltimore Police units.
Instead of building ‘humane jails’ to replace Rikers Island, let’s push the NYPD to cut down on arrests.
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.
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.
The fatal shooting by Oakland police of an unconscious man as he woke is putting pressure on the California department to rethink its deployment of force.
Rashad McNulty entered a guilty plea in a series of federal gang indictments in New York that have been criticized as racist and overly punitive. But before McNulty was even sentenced, he died in jail. Now, his family is seeking justice.
Antonio May, a 32 year-old father of three, died in the Fulton County Jail in September after deputies pepper-sprayed and shot him with a Taser.
After a drug bust involving Houston narcotics officer Gerald Goines turned deadly, questions are being raised about how he operated during his time on the force.
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.
Police union lawsuits delayed many local governments from complying with a new transparency law. In the meantime, some cities have destroyed files.
At Virginia’s Hampton Roads Regional Jail, reform has been slow even after high-profile tragedies including the death of mentally disabled man incarcerated who allegedly stole $5 worth of snacks.
Former prosecutor and Fox News host Jeanine Pirro inspires Trump’s rhetoric of dehumanization and incarceration.
In 2018, Brittany Smith killed a man who she said brutally raped her. Smith was charged with murder and she now faces life in prison as well as challenges getting adequate treatment at a state psychiatric hospital.
In September, Marcus Smith experienced a mental health crisis and begged Greensboro, North Carolina police for help. Instead, they tied him with restraints. Moments later, his body went lifeless.
William C. Anderson
In 2000, Lamar Burks was convicted of murder and given a 70-year sentence. But the federal indictment of a DEA agent and witnesses who say Burks is innocent have raised new questions about his case.
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.
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.
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.
In the deep blue home of Beto O’Rourke, attorneys and advocates are questioning the county’s multi-million-dollar contract to detain migrants and refugees.
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.
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.
The Bureau of Prisons’ South Central regional director utilized incarcerated people from a Texas prison to work on a landscaping project at his church.
Audia Jones pledges to tackle ‘brokenness in the system’ by unseating Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
A judge excluded a confession that exonerated defendants in one trial related to a Delaware prison uprising, but a pair of defendants were nonetheless acquitted, promising further problems for prosecutors.
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.
Jason Van Dyke’s sentence for the 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald is approximately half the average sentence for a person convicted of second-degree murder in Cook County, Illinois.
Claims including sexual assault of a woman with mental illness to lying in reports haunt the Miami Gardens police; payouts in federal lawsuits have cost the city's taxpayers at least $3.5 million.
Senate Bill 1421 requires law enforcement agencies to make public investigative records of officer-involved shootings and uses of force resulting in great bodily harm. But law enforcement unions argue that the law threatens the privacy of their members.
Josie and Clint talk to Cook County's head prosecutor.
Josie Duffy Rice,
William J. Richards was cleared in the death of his wife. But he says he was the victim of medical neglect while he was behind bars, which led to a cancer diagnosis becoming terminal. Now he's suing.
Josie and Clint discuss the power and pitfalls of crime reporting with Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post.
Colorado-based attorney and bail activist Elisabeth Epps was just released after serving a short jail stint related to a 2015 encounter with Aurora Police. The experience gave her a new understanding of the experiences of the people she has bailed out.
A former Baltimore Police officer says it’s time for the department to stop wasteful, harmful marijuana arrests, especially after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s announcement that her office would not prosecute cases of possession.
In 1996, Michele Benjamin was sentenced to life without parole for killing a man who she said solicited her for sex and menaced her with a weapon in New Orleans. A Supreme Court decision led her to be re-sentenced to life with a chance at parole in 2016. Today, a parole hearing brings the possibility of freedom.
Josie Duffy Rice
A Florida woman with substance use disorder allegedly brokered a drug sale that ended in a fatal overdose; she faces 15 years in prison.
California amended its felony murder law, which holds accomplices responsible for murder. But reform won’t reach a man sentenced to death in a deadly robbery—even though he was never accused of firing a shot.
In October 2018, Marshall Miles was taken into custody by Sacramento County sheriff‘s deputies outside a convenience store. About 14 hours later, he was dead.
As Kamala Harris begins her presidential run, her move to block gender affirming surgery for an incarcerated transgender woman deserves scrutiny, especially as new cases highlighting the struggle for the rights of imprisoned trans women emerge.
Los Angeles County’s jail system incarcerates tens of thousands of people at a multi-billion dollar cost. The communities most impacted by mass incarceration have had enough.
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.
Prosecutors denounce bail reform efforts when people miss court dates, but ‘failure to appear’ rates obscure the fact that many who miss court aren’t on the run.
Prisoners in the state’s Regional Medical Units allege that they are being denied access to essential programs and services like law libraries.
Trump didn’t start it, but we can end it.
The Boyd County Detention Center has been consumed in chaos, even as the DOJ investigates it. Now, the community is pinning hopes for reform on a new jailer.
A series of electoral victories signals a nationwide shift.
Two women died at the Duchesne County Jail in the span of about one week in 2016. Now their families are suing in federal court.
But more than 1,100 others are still serving sentences that voters decided were too harsh.
Advocates say victims are being pressured to sign ‘withdrawal’ forms to quickly close investigations and protect the department from legal liability.
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.
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.
Attorneys for a Honduran woman are suing over the widespread jailhouse practice of honoring ICE requests to hold incarcerated immigrants for pickup.
A notoriously unreliable roadside drug test administered by Monroe County sheriff's deputies led to Dasha Fincher being charged with methamphetamine trafficking.
In 2016 and 2017, more than 80 percent of children charged as adults by the Allegheny County district attorney were Black.
Even though it’s unlikely that they commit sexual assault at higher rates than other ethnic or racial groups, nearly one of every 100 Black men is on a sex offender registry, a rate double that of white men.
With Appeal senior staff reporter, and co-host of the Justice in America podcast, Josie Duffy Rice.
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.
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.
Advocates say that Sheriff Donnie Harrison is unfit for a fifth term because of such abusive practices as well as his office's cooperation with ICE.
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.
In Santa Clara County, incarcerated people, and a former undersheriff challenging six-term sheriff Laurie Smith, have turned conditions of confinement into a potent electoral issue.
Decision-making by prosecutors in such cases, says one attorney, ‘compounds, entrenches, and ultimately authorizes the initial act of violence by prosecuting the victim.’
Campus police forces have become more professionalized, but critics say they operate behind a veil of secrecy and often exceed their jurisdiction.
A Texas jail suicide involving a woman who couldn’t make bail in a shoplifting case highlights of the plight of pretrial detainees with mental illness.
With Appeal contributor Katie Rose Quandt.
Protesters blasting everything from punitive prosecutors to police brutality should be remembered for their role in upsetting the Windy City's political status quo.
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.
A lawsuit brought by a Compton resident detailing an alleged beating by deputies is just one of nearly three dozen federal civil rights lawsuits alleging brutality and racial bias at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
‘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.
Since 2015, police in Adams County have taken dozens of reports of rape, yet charges were filed in just two cases.
This fall, however, an initiative goes to voters that would change the law on deadly force by the police, which has led to no officer there being convicted of wrongfully killing someone in the line of duty in more than 30 years.
Prisons carry enormous, perhaps impossible to measure social costs—but when assessing the system fiscally, reformers should focus on staffing salaries instead of the number of incarcerated people.
With activist and scholar Danny Murillo.
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.
Legislation in California would provide a direct route to resentencing, and a new tool for activists.
Attorney General Jeff Landry has taken a number of extreme positions on policing and sentencing in response to reform.
Jacqueline Smalls was sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing a boyfriend whose ‘hands were his weapons.’ She now joins the ranks of criminalized survivors seeking clemency from Governor Cuomo.
The state’s “theft of leased property” statute allows prosecutors to seek felony charges for Pennsylvanians who miss payments on rental items.
After Tuesday’s primary victories for reform candidates, defining a progressive agenda for prosecutors is more pressing than ever. Rashad Robinson joins Josie and Clint.
Prosecutors can subject those convicted of sexual offenses—and sometimes, those with no conviction at all—to an indefinite period of civil punishment at the end of their criminal sentence.
Now in its second week, a strike staged by prisoners over poor conditions, low wages, and other issues is resulting in consequences, including harsh conduct reports and placements in solitary confinement.
The ‘plea fee’ stems from a state law passed in the 1980s and can cost nearly $200, depending on the county.
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
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.
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.
Instead of changing its conditions and practices, The Bureau of Prisons is simply moving a problem-plagued federal prison unit in Pennsylvania to Illinois.
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
Several candidates are vying to become Milwaukee Sheriff in the wake of Sheriff David Clarke's resignation last fall. But will they truly spurn his legacy of jail deaths and cooperation with ICE?
His opponent in Tuesday’s primary helped establish new police accountability and court reforms in Ferguson after the police shooting of Michael Brown.
In one Pennsylvania county, more than three times as many people on the registry were charged in 2016 with failing to follow registry requirements than were charged with a new sexual offense
A podcast from The Appeal, featuring Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith III.
A community group met with the Bastrop County sheriff in an effort to build trust between the sheriff’s office and the immigrant community. Then, the sheriff ran a sting that led to more than one dozen arrestees being handed over to ICE.
Prosecutors on the "J20" case faced grave allegations of misconduct after withholding exculpatory evidence contained in videos from defense attorneys. But this is far from the first time that this office has found itself in hot water.
Catina Curley suffered physical abuse at the hands of her husband for more than a decade. When she turned a revolver on him, she was charged with murder and sentenced to life. Now, thanks to a court ruling, she has a chance at freedom.
Groups like the Loop and DanceSafe test drugs like Ecstasy and warn users of high dosages and adulterants, but federal legislation from the early 2000s has live music promoters wary of their brand of harm reduction.
Introducing a new podcast from The Appeal, featuring Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith III.
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.
A onetime gang liaison for the Baltimore Police Department writes that its database is racist and error-ridden.
In jurisdictions across the country, people incarcerated before they've ever been convicted of a crime are charged a daily fee just for sitting in jail—and several courts have ruled that the practice is legal.
Legislation passed in Massachusetts and pending in California would set a minimum age for children to enter the juvenile justice system.
With William C. Anderson, journalist and co-author of As Black As Resistance.
In overdose-wracked Franklin County, Pennsylvania, a small-time dealer is denied bail, while the number of drug induced homicide cases has skyrocketed.
A former Baltimore Police officer says that a plan to flood the streets with local and federal law enforcement is likely to yield more of the same ineffective 'broken windows'-style arrests.
A Pennsylvania hate crime statute is being used by law enforcement to punish angry arrestees.
New York's Democratic governor has granted only a trickle of commutations, fewer than many of his Democratic and Republican predecessors.
The solution to problems like unsolved homicides, especially in communities of color, cannot be reinvestment in institutions that wage violence against them.
As voters begin to realize that prosecutors in the world's most incarcerated nation may not be the best people to run the government, the era of the prosecutor politician could be on its way out.
With journalists Raven Rakia and Ashoka Jegroo.
Kim Kardashian's successful campaign to free a 63-year-old grandmother serving a life sentence in a drug case is a reminder that we need to go big on clemency. A 52-year-old grandfather named Euka Wadlington, also doing life in a drug case, would be a great place to start.
Years after two landmark Supreme Court rulings, prosecutors in Louisiana are still overwhelmingly seeking life sentences for children.
The judge who sentenced Brock Turner brought much-needed compassion to the bench, says public defender Sajid Khan.
Walliris Velez thought the worst was behind her after she was slashed in a subway car, but then came an arrest and an attempted murder charge by the Bronx DA.
Across the state, most incumbents successfully fended off progressive challengers during the June 5 primary.
With Josie Duffy Rice, senior staff reporter at The Appeal.
Melissa Gira Grant
But the witness may have flipped again, leaving the future of the conviction up in the air.
Her former partner assaulted her in her home. When the police arrived, she was arrested and he walked free.
Melissa Gira Grant,
For those of us who believe our “justice” system must be transformed, moments such as this one are a test of conviction.
A little-known New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision policy has limited access to books in at least nine prisons for years.
In Justice Today
In Justice Today invited leading thinkers in criminal justice reform to answer the question, “2018 is the year….” This is what they said.
Philadelphia implemented the “focused deterrence” model of gang policing, which includes the promise of critical social services. The reality is much different.
Faith Johnson’s recent indictment of a Mesquite police officer for shooting an innocent man follows years of work by community activists.
Anquan Boldin, DeAndre Levy, Tobias Harris, Anthony Tolliver, Stan Van Gundy
Public defenders in Charlotte say restrictions on communication hinder their ability to help jailed clients.
Why Execution Numbers Continue To Fall Off A Cliff
Andrew Guthrie Ferguson
“We have the power to replace these people.”
Alameda County Superior Court reversed license suspensions for 54,000 people who were punished for their inability to pay fines.
Under District Attorney Steve Wolfson, prosecutors in Las Vegas have led the nation in new death sentences, repeatedly engaged in racist jury selection, and maintained a secret bank account to pay witnesses for their testimony in criminal cases.
State law makes it easier to throw Brown away than consider traumas youth face and offer them hope of rehabilitation.
Demetria D. Frank
Fifteen men had their tainted convictions vacated by State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office, but this isn’t the norm when it comes to prosecutors.
“Kiss your boyfriend goodbye.”
The five states that have done away with commercial bond outlets still struggle with inequity when it comes to cash bail.
So far, the report card on the “Mexican Biker” prosecutor is mixed.
A new app seeks to liberate people from more than “liberal malaise.”
In Justice Roundup is my weekly debrief rounding up the justice news you need to know.
Glenn E. Martin
Community members are cautiously optimistic, but wary of the program’s emergence during election season.
The majority of people who face misdemeanor charges remain behind bars just because they are poor
Will the state with the second highest incarceration rate get its act together?
The City Controller’s report calls on the DA’s office to “dismantle the current cash bail system”
A law that results in disproportionate arrests and prosecutions of black and Latino New Yorkers will stand.
Alameda and Santa Clara County jail detainees round out the first week of a hunger strike for better conditions.
Criminal charges are absent from 85 percent of all forfeiture cases in the city.
A movement to oust Cyrus Vance gains steam.
A local solution to a national problem.
Memphis critic says Juvenile Court Judge’s resistance to reforms has ‘emasculated’ Department of Justice
Wendi C. Thomas
Roy L. Austin
Vincent M. Southerland
The decision was unanimous.
Activists in New York City are engaging in profound acts of resistance against over-policing in the subways. Politicians are listening, but are they really hearing them?
District attorneys want to keep an outdated system alive.
Michelle S. Phelps
Edgar De Leon
“You look like a cold-blooded monster.”