More than 20 women accused Harry Morel, a longtime district attorney in Louisiana, of sexual misconduct. But Morel pleaded guilty to just a single obstruction of justice count while Mike Zummer, the FBI agent who investigated him, was fired. Now, Zummer is speaking about what he says is a grave injustice—at the hands of the Justice Department.
Jerry Iannelli Dec 15, 2020
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.
Candidates promising to remake Southern California’s legal system, won major races for DA, county supervisor, and City Council, among others while overcoming significant spending by pro-law enforcement groups.
Jerry Iannelli Nov 06, 2020
The Adolescent Redemption Project, a new group organized by Michigan prisoners sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, is advocating for progressive prosecutors.
Marcia Brown Oct 22, 2020
While a debate over defunding the police rages in Austin, a new lawsuit reminds its residents that assault cases in the city are routinely ignored.
Jerry Iannelli Oct 02, 2020
Its decades-long commitment to upholding convictions—even those marred by police or prosecutorial misconduct—has left Missourians languishing in prison for years.
Emily Hoerner Sep 11, 2020
A review of five years of cases that arose from traffic stops in the south-central region of the state shows that police used underhand tactics to justify holding and searching drivers illegally.
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.
Meg O'Connor Aug 03, 2020
Precautions meant to minimize the spread of COVID-19—like remote hearings by video conferencing—have drastically changed the way people experience the judicial process, leaving some at a distinct disadvantage.
Elizabeth Brico Jul 31, 2020
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.
Lauren Gill Jul 30, 2020
Though domestic violence is often cited as a reason to maintain the carceral status quo, advocates say there are more humane—and effective—alternatives.
Jessica Pishko Jul 28, 2020
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.
Dawn R. Wolfe Jul 24, 2020
In the 1990s, Davis was a policing superstar, hailed as the best crime solver the Crescent City had ever seen. But a dispute over a paid detail at a festival turned into a major federal case against her, brought by a prosecutor involved whose conduct in other cases was called ‘grotesque.’
Ethan Brown Jul 01, 2020
During a Boston radio show where Rachael Rollins accused defenders of harming Black and Brown communities, the DA demonstrated that she misunderstands the role that prosecutors play in the criminal legal system: caging those very people.
Attorneys say the prosecution’s theory of the murder case was ‘concocted out of whole cloth’ and based on ‘outdated racial stereotyping.’
Steven Hale Apr 29, 2020
District attorneys in the state could decarcerate quickly by dropping unnecessary cases.
Will Isenberg Apr 08, 2020
Jason Brown, who has worked in several parish DA's offices, was accused of using illegal tactics to win at least one case before arriving in Calcasieu Parish, where he was terminated over alleged dishonesty in a continuance motion. Now, The Appeal has learned that he had segregation-era signs in an art studio he owned.
Jon Campbell Mar 26, 2020
Josie Duffy Rice and guest co-host Darnell Moore talk with Sherrilyn Ifill about policing, civil rights, the criminal justice system, and more.
Mar 25, 2020
Late Wednesday, the chief physician at the Rikers jail complex said on Twitter that judges and prosecutors must not leave New York City's jailed population ‘in harm’s way.’
Lauren Gill Mar 19, 2020
In California, a Vallejo detective and a Solano County prosecutor concealed exculpatory evidence from a man facing murder charges. They went on to face accusations of misconduct in other high-profile cases.
Critics say there may be systemic problems with how the unit is run within the Los Angeles County DA’s office.
Jessica Pishko Feb 27, 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
Reform advocates say the risk assessments are racially biased and are not effective at their key tasks: predicting the likelihood someone will return to court.
Dawn R. Wolfe Feb 12, 2020
The debate around bail reform focused predominantly on New York City's Rikers Island, but the bigger impact may be upstate, where almost two-thirds of the state’s jail capacity is located.
Ted Alcorn Feb 04, 2020
In his run for president, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been forced to address his consulting past. Kennedy should do the same about his work.
Will Isenberg Jan 31, 2020
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.
Lauren Gill Jan 23, 2020
Cyrus Vance says he sent Governor Cuomo a letter about the issue in April 2018; Cuomo's office says it never got it. In the intervening months, critics say Vance's messaging on the issue discouraged survivors of rape from coming forward.
Meg O'Connor Dec 23, 2019
Convicted in 1982 in a murder case in which exculpatory evidence was not shared with his attorneys, Wendell Griffin now calls on State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby to clear his name.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Dec 12, 2019
The incumbent in the race, Jones’s former boss Kim Ogg, will not support a blanket refusal to prosecute sex workers, her office says.
Kira Lerner Dec 11, 2019
Alternative approaches to rehabilitation and healing still face resistance, even though the criminal legal system’s reliance on punishment has done little to move the needle on addressing sexual violence.
Tyler Kingkade Dec 10, 2019
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
Harris’s record as a prosecutor was representative of a politics of the past. The nation has moved on.
Lara Bazelon Dec 04, 2019
During the tenure of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal, deputies assaulted and harassed men inside the parish jail. Several deputies were convicted in federal court, and now cases brought by the office are under renewed scrutiny.
Joshua Vaughn Nov 25, 2019
In 2018, the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment that requires unanimous jury verdicts in felony cases for crimes committed on or after Jan. 1, 2019. Now, the Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of the nonunanimity rule—with prosecutors arguing that the U.S. Constitution does not require unanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases.
Joshua Vaughn Nov 15, 2019
Under the proposal, localities would be incentivized to significantly decrease prison populations.
Kira Lerner Nov 14, 2019
Son of incarcerated parents, backed by Black Lives Matter co-founders, Boudin will be the next DA of San Francisco.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Nov 09, 2019
Chesa Boudin is just 240 votes behind Suzy Loftus, even after local law enforcement spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to defeat him.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Nov 06, 2019
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.
Patrisse Cullors Nov 01, 2019
With Appeal contributors Julia Rock and Harry August
Adam H. Johnson Oct 31, 2019
The attorneys said they did nothing wrong by finding a victim in a rape case who had disappeared, but a judge accused them of making her unavailable.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 29, 2019
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood and District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer intend to openly defy a 1975 state Supreme Court precedent that says law enforcement cannot intentionally discriminate against a person or group of people.
Kate Chatfield Oct 03, 2019
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.
Lauren Gill Sep 26, 2019
Derek Harris awaits arguments in the state Supreme Court about the sentencing, which one judge called ‘unconscionable.’
Aaron Morrison Sep 24, 2019
Informants are highly motivated to lie. But jurors don’t always have the information or skills to discern the truth.
Alexandra Natapoff Sep 23, 2019
In 2017, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala prosecuted more than 1,700 low-level drug possession cases. More than $2 million in court-imposed debt was levied on people who were charged in these cases.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 18, 2019
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.
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.
Aaron Morrison Sep 12, 2019
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.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Sep 10, 2019
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.
Victoria Law Sep 06, 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
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
The 2020 presidential candidates recently unveiled national criminal justice agendas that reimagine public safety and punishment.
Aaron Morrison Aug 23, 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
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
In California, Texas and Florida, advocates sent letters to district attorneys, demanding that they refuse to work with officers with histories of misconduct.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jul 29, 2019
Lawmakers say Republicans used deceptive tactics to pass the controversial bill. The legislative record tells a different story.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 25, 2019
The backlash is underway against a recent wave of prosecutors who champion criminal justice reform. Here are some methods of attack.
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 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
Records show Kim Ogg’s office appeared to misrepresent felony prosecutor caseloads in its $21 million budget request.
Keri Blakinger Jun 10, 2019
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
The ACLU of Arizona is suing Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s office over its alleged lack of transparency.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg May 22, 2019
‘The bill forces attorneys to choose between violating our ethical mandates or going to jail for following them.’
Kira Lerner May 10, 2019
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.
Lauren Gill Apr 10, 2019
In a wide-ranging interview, Boudin, a progressive reform candidate, told The Appeal he wants to redefine ‘public safety’ to encompass the rights of both victims and defendants.
Melissa Gira Grant Jan 15, 2019
A series of electoral victories signals a nationwide shift.
Daniel Nichanian Dec 24, 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.
John Pfaff Nov 14, 2018
A new report details Alabama’s “War on Marijuana” ahead of a key DA election.
George Joseph Oct 18, 2018
Since 2015, police in Adams County have taken dozens of reports of rape, yet charges were filed in just two cases.
Joshua Vaughn Sep 25, 2018
Despite a 2015 Supreme Court ruling limiting the mandatory minimum law, few people are seeing relief.
Levi Pulkkinen Sep 11, 2018
Legislation in California would provide a direct route to resentencing, and a new tool for activists.
Kyle C. Barry Sep 07, 2018
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.
The ‘plea fee’ stems from a state law passed in the 1980s and can cost nearly $200, depending on the county.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 29, 2018
Josie and Clint talk with the artist about criminal justice reform and his #FREEAMERICA campaign.
With journalist Jessica Pishko.
Adam H. Johnson Aug 09, 2018
A podcast from The Appeal, featuring Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith.
His opponent in Tuesday’s primary helped establish new police accountability and court reforms in Ferguson after the police shooting of Michael Brown.
Amanda Sakuma Aug 06, 2018
Unfortunately for millions of Americans, only one case matters: Trump's.
Josie Duffy Rice Jul 11, 2018
When Caddo voters booted their infamous district attorney, some of his toughest prosecutors found a home in Calcasieu.
Josie Duffy Rice Jun 29, 2018
In the Berkshire County DA race, the establishment is resorting to extreme measures to ensure it maintains power and avoids change.
Eoin Higgins Jun 26, 2018
Years after two landmark Supreme Court rulings, prosecutors in Louisiana are still overwhelmingly seeking life sentences for children.
Victoria Law Jun 13, 2018
With Josie Duffy Rice, senior staff reporter at The Appeal.
Faith Johnson’s recent indictment of a Mesquite police officer for shooting an innocent man follows years of work by community activists.
Rebecca McCray Dec 21, 2017
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.
Rebecca McCray Nov 29, 2017
The pardon vote removes any “residual stain” on his record.
Larry Hannan Nov 22, 2017
The five states that have done away with commercial bond outlets still struggle with inequity when it comes to cash bail.
Her case says a lot about prosecutorial discretion.
Carimah Townes Sep 28, 2017
John Valerio shows that violent offenders can change.
Carimah Townes Sep 25, 2017