Despite early warnings, jails and prisons have seen a rapid spread of the virus -- a humanitarian disaster that puts all of our communities, and lives, at risk. The Appeal examines the scale of the crisis, numbers of infected and dead, around the nation.
Kelly Davis May 28, 2020
Both incarcerated brothers are at an increased risk of complications from COVID-19—and one has tested positive.
Chris Gelardi May 27, 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.
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 May 12, 2020
COVID-19 Is Creating a State of Emergency For Incoming Public Defenders. Diploma Privilege Is the Only Solution.
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.
Tennessee Set to Execute Intellectually Disabled Black Man In Killing of White Woman Even Though Innocence Questions Persist
Attorneys say the prosecution’s theory of the murder case was ‘concocted out of whole cloth’ and based on ‘outdated racial stereotyping.’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
The state’s law enforcement agencies failed to implement a 2018 data-sharing law. Now officials are struggling to identify high-risk people to release from county jails.
Ethan Corey Apr 22, 2020
The current coronavirus crisis underscores our urgent need to look hard at our pretrial justice system. Eliminating money bail is a necessary first step.
Colorado Supreme Court Fails To Protect State Residents As Coronavirus Grows ‘Exponentially’ In Jails
People behind bars are too often forgotten and treated as expendable. We cannot afford to forget them. Our shared survival and shared humanity demand action.
As Coronavirus Spread, Dozens Of Law Enforcement Agents Raided Virginia Housing Projects Over Alleged Small Drug Deals
Despite distancing warnings, more than 80 state and federal agents fanned out in an anti-drug operation that, The Appeal has learned, was based on a series of retail-level drug sales.
Jerry Iannelli Apr 16, 2020
His attorney says the Suffolk County DA’s office tried to send “an innocent man to his death.”
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Apr 15, 2020
For many people across the U.S. who need methadone treatment, sheltering in place during the coronavirus outbreak is impossible.
Doing so will save countless lives, and in the process, they may show us by example how to begin, finally, to dismantle mass incarceration for good.
Sharon Dolovich Apr 10, 2020
District attorneys in the state could decarcerate quickly by dropping unnecessary cases.
Will Isenberg Apr 08, 2020
To leave hundreds of people in mass congregate shelters could be a death sentence for many of our vulnerable neighbors.
Quiver Watts Apr 06, 2020
Incarcerated people, corrections officers, and their families and communities are bound together by the threat of a deadly and fast-moving disease. The sooner we recognize this, and take decisive action, the more lives we will save.
Cyrus Ahalt Apr 03, 2020
Inconsistent rules nationwide mean some people are still registering and reporting in person despite public health directives meant to control COVID-19.
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.
The ruling is a setback for the state's so-called junk science statute.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Apr 01, 2020
A Public Health Doctor And Head Of Corrections Agree: We Must Immediately Release People From Jails And Prisons
Decisive action by governors and the President now can save lives -- of incarcerated people, correctional and medical personnel, and nearby community members. Business as usual will not.
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
In a joint statement, they emphasized the need to reduce the number of people currently incarcerated in order to contain the deadly COVID-19 virus.
Jessica Pishko Mar 17, 2020
To Stop Coronavirus, Places Where People Gather are Shutting Down Across California. What About Its Jails?
Activists are calling on the governor, district attorneys, sheriffs, and judges to take action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Mar 16, 2020
With one term under her belt as Chicago's top prosecutor, Foxx says she has more work to do to right a system that has been "unfair, and totally unjust."
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.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Mar 13, 2020
Andrew Cuomo, who recently announced the state would employ prisoners to make hand sanitizer, must prepare for the particular vulnerabilities of the state’s prison population to COVID-19, advocates say.
The public defender and district attorney both directed their staffs to keep individuals who are more vulnerable to the virus out of jail.
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.
Between solidarity actions and political efforts, Jewish communities have a wide range of options to stop antisemitic violence without relying on a criminal legal system that harms communities of color.
Jonathan Ben-Menachem Mar 06, 2020
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.
She withstood challenges from two of her former assistant district attorneys who wanted to reform the office and reduce prosecutions of low-level offenses.
Ayanna Pressley’s Husband Spent 10 Years in Prison. Now He and Pressley Are Fighting for Re-Entry Reform
The U.S. representative said her husband helped her realize that when one person is incarcerated, many more are affected.
The city is ramping up a cleanup program that activists fear will worsen the criminalization of homelessness.
Eliyahu Kamisher Mar 03, 2020
In Travis County, thousands of people continue to be prosecuted for low-level drug possession charges that reform-minded district attorneys elsewhere have committed to dropping.
Kira Lerner Mar 02, 2020
As a candidate, Chesa Boudin condemned gang enhancements as racist. Now as DA he plans to significantly limit, if not eliminate, their use.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg 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.
Critics say there may be systemic problems with how the unit is run within the Los Angeles County DA’s office.
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.
Samantha Schuyler Feb 26, 2020
Eric Schmitt should follow the lead of a Pennsylvania prosecutor who acknowledged that a man deserved a new trial, even when it meant reversing a murder conviction.
Ben Miller Feb 25, 2020
The attitude behind the Harris County district attorney’s message to ‘put down your gun and pick up an employment application’ is outdated.
Jessica Pishko Feb 19, 2020
Prosecutors in Hennepin County, Minnesota, used jailhouse informants and an unreliable gang expert, and ignored evidence of innocence to send a Black teenager to prison for life.
Tennessee Man Could Be The First Person In Nearly A Century To Be Executed After Being Forced To Represent Himself At Trial
Across the country, the death penalty is in steep decline. But in September, the state’s attorney general sought execution dates for nine men, and its Supreme Court set dates for two of them.
Steven Hale Feb 18, 2020
Jones is challenging incumbent Kim Ogg in the 2020 election.
Jay Willis Feb 13, 2020
Advocates say junk science was used to convict Jimenez. DA Margaret Moore has not yet decided whether she will drop charges or retry her.
Around one-third of counties in the United States use the tools when making release decisions, but few monitor whether they work as intended.
Ethan Corey Feb 07, 2020
Jails in New Orleans and Cleveland have had significant population drops, yet conditions of confinement remain poor. Communities harmed by these jails should experiment with new accountability measures to maintain political pressure against jail administrators.
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.
Brittany Smith will most likely go to trial, where she faces up to a life sentence.
Lauren Gill Feb 04, 2020
Joe Kennedy III Says He Is Running A Progressive Senate Campaign. But He Worked For One Of The Most Regressive D.A.s In Massachusetts
In his run for president, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been forced to address his consulting past. Kennedy should do the same about his work.
A fiery debate outlined what’s at stake in the race to lead the largest prosecutor’s office in the country.
Harris County D.A.’s Office Dropped Theft Case After Defense Attorney Alleged Race-Based Jury Selection
A Texas judge approved a Batson motion, then overruled it. But a transcript shows that a Black man was struck unfairly, the attorney said.
Garza has promised to end cash bail and address racial inequities in the legal system.
Kira Lerner Jan 28, 2020
New San Francisco D.A. Inherits Chance To Hold Police Accountable In Shooting Of Man With Mental Illness
Activists hope Chesa Boudin will press charges, and push for systemic changes to address the criminalization of mental illness.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jan 22, 2020
Advocates warn that the cuts could push an already overburdened system to the breaking point.
The influx of cash shows the police union’s determination to stop the reform-minded district attorney candidate.
Eliyahu Kamisher Jan 20, 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
Top prosecutors in Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City are supporting Kim Gardner over the “entrenched interests” that they say seek to undermine reforms and police accountability.
Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez of Texas told The Appeal about her vision for a complete overhaul of her state’s legal system.
Kira Lerner Jan 09, 2020
The former deputy public defender promised that his office would immediately end cash bail and stop seeking three-strikes sentencing enhancements.
Jay Willis Jan 08, 2020
The rise of progressive prosecutors and the #MeToo movement has meant an increased focus on sexual assault. But justice cannot be measured in more prosecution or long sentences.
Melinda Katz, who was inaugurated Monday, is facing criticism over what some say is a broken campaign promise.
Aaron Morrison Jan 07, 2020
Five Cases Could Significantly Reform Pennsylvania’s Sex Offense Registry. The State’s Attorney General Is Pushing Back.
Josh Shapiro has warned that changing the state’s sex offense registry requirements threatens public safety. But experts say his fears are unfounded and the registry provides little to no public safety benefit.
As a form of punishment, incarceration does not enhance public safety when it is not balanced against its tendency to make a person’s unfortunate situation worse.
Manhattan D.A. Suggests He Nudged The Governor To Fix A Loophole In New York Rape Law. It’s A Bit More Complicated.
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
Boston Law Enforcement Has Been Fighting A Court Order To Release Data On Who Police Target On Snapchat
District Attorney Rachael Rollins ran as a reformer who would work to increase transparency, but her office and the police department have been fighting the order.
After two terms at the helm of the nation’s largest prosecutor office, Lacey has drawn pointed criticism from community advocates who say she is standing in the way of criminal justice reform.
Aaron Morrison Dec 12, 2019
After The Exoneration Of Three In Baltimore, Man Whose Wrongful Conviction Was Driven By Same Detective Seeks Justice
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.
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
The former San Francisco DA got the nod over incumbent Jackie Lacey, whose tenure advocates and activists have long criticized as lackluster.
Jessica Pishko Dec 10, 2019
More prosecutors are trying to root out wrongful convictions and restore trust in the legal system. They’re meeting opposition on all sides.
The Supreme Court Ruled That Sentences Like Hers Are Unconstitutional. Prosecutors Are Fighting To Keep Her Incarcerated.
Prosecutor Jessica Cooper of Oakland County, Michigan, has aggressively pursued life without the possibility of parole for children, critics say. She recommended the sentence for Barbara Hernández, who at 16 was a ‘slave’ to an abusive boyfriend who drew her into a plan that ended in murder.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Dec 09, 2019
The Austin-based labor and immigrant rights attorney, who has pledged to end money bail and nonviolent drug prosecutions, is looking to unseat incumbent District Attorney Margaret Moore.
Aaron Morrison Dec 06, 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
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.’
District Attorney Margaret Moore continues to face accusations that her office mishandles the prosecution of sex crimes.
Kira Lerner Dec 04, 2019
Harris’s record as a prosecutor was representative of a politics of the past. The nation has moved on.
In Missouri, Public Defenders Push to Put Poor Defendants on Wait List in Attempt to Improve Their Legal Representation
Critics say the list, which would apply to defendants in St. Louis County, Missouri, would infringe on people’s constitutional right to a speedy trial.
Lauren Gill Nov 26, 2019
Some officers have recently boasted about breaking state law and collaborating with ICE, according to messages posted in the group and obtained by The Appeal.
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.
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.
Rather than separating families, child ‘welfare’ agencies should help families get access to the care they need.
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.
On a host of issues—including police shootings, bail reform, marijuana legalization, and the death penalty—critics say Lacey, once seen as a reformer, has sought to preserve the status quo.
Jessica Pishko Nov 12, 2019
Public Defender Chesa Boudin Wins San Francisco D.A. Race In Major Victory For Progressive Prosecutor Movement
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.
Report attempts to discredit decades of research on the adolescent mind.
Kira Lerner Nov 01, 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.
Ahead of the city’s district attorney election on Tuesday, the alleged baton beating last month of Dacari Spiers has renewed debate over police accountability.
Cabán, the career public defender who lost a primary bid for district attorney in Queens County, New York, will help the political party build nationwide support in criminal justice elections.
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.
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
Advocates say that despite the election of several progressive prosecutors in the state, there’s a substantial increase in such detentions, which are stymieing gains made through policies to limit cash bail.
District Attorney Michael O’Malley’s 2016 election was viewed by some as a win for Black Lives Matter, but the number of children transferred to adult court in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, has increased more than 100 percent.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Oct 22, 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.
A federal lawsuit claims that Asheville, North Carolina's interim chief, Robert C. White, prevented a rape victim from filing a complaint against an officer when he led the Louisville, Kentucky, department.
Meg O'Connor Oct 16, 2019
The officers who killed Joshua Pawlik in 2018 are asking a state judge to block a federally appointed monitor’s decision that they violated policies on use of force.
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 state is one of eight that allow cops to arraign people on misdemeanor charges. Advocates and academics say the practice is unjust.
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.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 09, 2019
Nearly 600,000 New Yorkers Are Eligible to Have Their Records Sealed. Fewer Than 1,800 of Them Have Succeeded.
The results of record-sealing legislation enacted in 2017 shows the need for automatic expungement, advocates say.
Interim San Francisco D.A. Suzy Loftus is Running for Office as a Reformer. But Critics Say She Didn’t Do Enough to Reform the SFPD.
Loftus led the San Francisco Police Commission through a bloody and turbulent era.
The state’s narrow interpretation gives too much weight to voices that support a punitive criminal legal system, advocates say.
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
His legal team had pushed for clemency, arguing that Bucklew’s previous attorneys mishandled his capital murder case.
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.
Lauren Gill Oct 01, 2019
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.
Meaghan Ybos Sep 30, 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.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala has gotten into the surveillance game, but advocates say that raises questions about his role.
Kira Lerner Sep 20, 2019
Also today: Cooperation with ICE is at stake in Louisiana's October elections.
Daniel Nichanian Sep 19, 2019
A narrow ruling on Brady lists ensures that protecting the police will continue to prevail over due process.
Kyle C. Barry Sep 18, 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.
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.
Louisiana Prosecutors Use The ‘Habitual Offender’ Statute To Jail People For Life. Attorneys For Lifers Are Fighting Back.
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.
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
Even in states where use is decriminalized, child welfare systems continue to treat it as a sign of neglectful parenting, particularly among families of color.
Despite supporting Oregon’s new juvenile justice law, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is still fighting to keep people in prison who received life sentences as minors.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Sep 03, 2019
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is partnering with a technology nonprofit to expunge tens of thousands of minor marijuana convictions. Other jurisdictions could follow.
Kira Lerner Aug 30, 2019
The decline under DA Larry Krasner, who took office in 2018, marks a significant change in juvenile justice in Pennsylvania.
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
A 10-year-old was charged with assault for throwing a ball at a classmate. The case was dropped, but its effect is still felt.
Raven Rakia Aug 22, 2019
A federal prosecutor in Pennsylvania blamed DA Larry Krasner for a bloody standoff, but the suspect has a long relationship with the government that includes a sentence reduction because of his cooperation.
Joshua Vaughn Aug 21, 2019
Murder rates are at an all-time low in Brooklyn, but one would hardly know it reading the New York Times.
Also today: Colorado organizers prepare for the 2020 legislative session
Daniel Nichanian Aug 15, 2019
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.
Darwin BondGraham Aug 05, 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
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
Lawyers and advocates in Miami-Dade County will roll out a new plan to counter the disenfranchisement of people with felony convictions.
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.
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.’
Aaron Morrison Jul 22, 2019
The backlash is underway against a recent wave of prosecutors who champion criminal justice reform. Here are some methods of attack.
Adam H. Johnson Jul 19, 2019
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
Republican Mike Dunleavy was elected on a platform to ‘Make Alaska Safe Again’ and has rolled back recent changes.
Zachary A. Siegel Jul 11, 2019
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
Police and prosecutors framed a father of four in a 2007 murder case with local and national political implications.
Kyle C. Barry Jul 02, 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.
Krasner’s office acknowledges ‘there’s room to move forward and do more.’
Bryce Covert Jun 25, 2019
Over a three-year period, Alachua County prosecutors closed 236 sexual battery cases: 115 were dropped, 92 were offered plea deals, and seven went to trial.
Molly Minta Jun 24, 2019
James Stewart, Caddo Parish’s DA, continues to defend controversial death sentences that originated with his predecessors.
Joshua Vaughn Jun 21, 2019
The public defender has garnered big-name endorsements and gained momentum heading into Tuesday’s primary.
Aaron Morrison Jun 20, 2019
A new report charges the Los Angeles DA with seeking the death penalty in unjust and harsh ways.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Jun 19, 2019
Also today: Colorado's Democratic governor opposed banning ICE contracts
Daniel Nichanian Jun 13, 2019
Records show Kim Ogg’s office appeared to misrepresent felony prosecutor caseloads in its $21 million budget request.
Keri Blakinger Jun 10, 2019
Advocates and attorneys say Jackie Lacey’s rhetoric doesn’t match her actions.
Raven Rakia Jun 07, 2019
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
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
An autopsy blamed the sleeping situation, but forensic experts aren’t so sure. And the same Ohio county just charged another mom in a similar case.
Cassi Feldman 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
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
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
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
California’s expansive registry law forces people to pay for crimes they didn’t personally commit.
Kyle C. Barry May 13, 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 Orleans district attorney has said that violent youth are the city’s biggest crime problem.
Kira Lerner Apr 26, 2019
Tina Rodriguez was sent to prison in Texas for allegedly starving her son to death. But recent discoveries about the medical examiner who conducted the baby’s autopsy raise questions about her case.
Debbie Nathan Apr 22, 2019
In recent years, the number of people federally charged with smuggling and harboring has jumped nearly a third.
Debbie Nathan Apr 17, 2019
Advocates say laws that land people with HIV on the sex offender registry are outdated and dangerous.
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg Apr 11, 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.
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
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.
Mike Hayes Apr 03, 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
Senate Bill 1437 virtually eliminated the ‘felony-murder rule,’ but district attorneys aren’t ready to let it go.
Jessica Pishko Mar 25, 2019
Activists suspect the investigation was tainted by the close relationship between the police and prosecutors.
Aaron Morrison Mar 22, 2019
State bar organizations have the power to discipline prosecutors, but they studiously ignore bad behavior.
Washington detains more children for status offenses such as truancy and running away than any other state in the country. State lawmakers want to change that.
Charlotte West 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
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
Audia Jones pledges to tackle ‘brokenness in the system’ by unseating Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.
Roxanna Asgarian Mar 07, 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
Critics say the state's policy of keeping non-residents registered bloats the list—and harms public safety.
Steven Yoder Mar 01, 2019
Tammy Scheurich, who lost three biological children in the Hart family crash last year, tells her story for the first time.
Roxanna Asgarian Feb 26, 2019
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 Feb 11, 2019
‘How are we making sure that we’re not just building and building a system that we know is not necessarily effective?’
Roxanna Asgarian Feb 08, 2019
Boston’s top prosecutor says big changes are in the works; advocates plan to keep pushing.
Emma Whitford Feb 06, 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
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.
Maura Ewing Feb 04, 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
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
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.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam just granted clemency to Brown, who was forced to trade sex for money, but Ohio’s governor declined this week to do the same for Martin.
Melissa Gira Grant Jan 11, 2019
Our staff picks 12 stories worth reading (or rereading) before the new year.
Dec 27, 2018
A series of electoral victories signals a nationwide shift.
Daniel Nichanian Dec 24, 2018
But more than 1,100 others are still serving sentences that voters decided were too harsh.
Kira Lerner 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
Under Raise the Age, ‘there are kids similarly situated who are being treated totally differently.’
Cassi Feldman Dec 04, 2018
The departing governor has chosen to pardon immigrants whose past criminal offenses put them in danger of deportation.
Melissa Gira Grant Nov 29, 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
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
In 2016, the office said it dismissed such cases, but Legal Aid says that’s not what’s happening.
Melissa Gira Grant Nov 26, 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
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
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
Billionaire Pushes Marsy’s Law To Victory in Six States, Despite Concerns That It Threatens Defendants’ Rights
Victims’ rights campaign spent more than $70 million nationwide, with more than half of that spent in Florida.
Melissa Gira Grant Nov 07, 2018
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
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
Terrance has been jailed repeatedly over court debt for fishing to feed his family.
Despite looming questions about what happened, Jhenea Pratt is now facing life without parole.
Joshua Vaughn Oct 30, 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
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.
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
Todd Spitzer blasted Global Tel Link for recording attorney-client phone calls, but his campaign won’t call on a PAC supporting his candidacy to return the company’s lobbyist’s donation.
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
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
Protesters blasting everything from punitive prosecutors to police brutality should be remembered for their role in upsetting the Windy City's political status quo.
Kelly Hayes Oct 02, 2018
Washington case raises questions about the role of court appointed special advocates.
Roxanna Asgarian Sep 28, 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
Arrests that result in dropped charges and dismissals are supposed to be sealed. But until recently, the NYPD used these records to target turnstile jumpers.
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
A man sentenced to die in prison is inciting debate over ‘felony murder’ rules in Colorado.
As the federal government vows to pursue ‘swift and aggressive action’ against the sites, experts weigh in on what’s likely to happen next.
Maura Ewing Sep 13, 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
Legislation in California would provide a direct route to resentencing, and a new tool for activists.
Kyle C. Barry Sep 07, 2018
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.
Victoria Law Sep 05, 2018
The state’s “theft of leased property” statute allows prosecutors to seek felony charges for Pennsylvanians who miss payments on rental items.
A single training document uncovered in a prosecutor’s files could save Russell William Tucker’s life.
An 11-month prosecution of a ‘forcible touching’ case in Manhattan sharply diverges from the office’s treatment of Harvey Weinstein, defense attorneys say.
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 Aug 27, 2018
In these cases, the state is moving to punish people who say they were charged before regulations were clear.
Michael Sainato Aug 24, 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.
William C. Anderson Aug 23, 2018
The passage of Senate Bill 10 would decimate the bail industry, but many advocates say it falls short of true reform.
Max Rivlin-Nadler Aug 22, 2018
Daniel Pantaleo remains with the NYPD four years after Garner's death.
Raven Rakia Aug 17, 2018
Public health advocates are concerned that ‘Kristen's Law,’ meant to punish drug dealers, will criminalize users and fail to stem the opioid crisis.
‘Operation Streamline’ speeds up immigration prosecutions.
Max Rivlin-Nadler Aug 10, 2018
As the potential demise of Roe v. Wade looms, past and current prosecutions of pregnant women illustrate what lies ahead.
An email obtained by The Appeal shows Kim Ogg’s office is intentionally asking for unaffordable bail amounts to hold certain people in jail in Texas.
Alex Hannaford 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
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
First, look to local prosecutor elections.
The tactics outlined encourage courtroom ‘dishonesty’ and ‘gamesmanship,’ legal experts argue.
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
Joshua Vaughn Aug 01, 2018
Their attorneys say the new video-teleconferencing policy is exacerbating backlogs and prolonging detention.
Emma Whitford Jul 31, 2018
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.
Josie Duffy Rice Jul 27, 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
EXCLUSIVE: Documents Reveal Bronx DA’s Office Is Still Withholding Key Evidence In Prosecution of Bronx Teen
Pedro Hernandez’s case has inspired calls for reform, but he’s still being targeted for an alleged cell phone theft.
Legislation passed in Massachusetts and pending in California would set a minimum age for children to enter the juvenile justice system.
Jeremy Loudenback Jul 17, 2018
Prosecutors and judges across the country are starting to feel eyes on them.
Bryce Covert Jul 16, 2018
A teenage girl spent weeks in jail, and her mother is still locked up on a $150,000 bond.
Jessica Pishko Jul 13, 2018
The Hart family’s apparent murder-suicide drew headlines, but the path to the tragedy started much earlier—in Texas.
Roxanna Asgarian Jul 12, 2018
Unfortunately for millions of Americans, only one case matters: Trump's.
Josie Duffy Rice Jul 11, 2018
In overdose-wracked Franklin County, Pennsylvania, a small-time dealer is denied bail, while the number of drug induced homicide cases has skyrocketed.
Joshua Vaughn Jul 09, 2018
Defense attorneys say they’ll have only minutes to meet with their clients before the immigrants are convicted en masse.
Max Rivlin-Nadler Jul 06, 2018
Did a Louisiana police chief and a prosecutor cross a line when they issued televised threats to a man who'd just been granted relief by a federal appeals court in a child killing?
Max Rivlin-Nadler Jul 03, 2018
Lists that include out-of-state visitors are inflating the numbers and keeping fear at a boil.
When Caddo voters booted their infamous district attorney, some of his toughest prosecutors found a home in Calcasieu.
Josie Duffy Rice Jun 29, 2018
Human rights groups, sex worker rights activists, a digital archive and others say they are already facing censorship.
Melissa Gira Grant Jun 28, 2018
Advocates decry court's shift to using teleconferencing for hearings.
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
Queens DA releases final report on massage worker’s death, calling sex work ‘degrading and humiliating’
As anticipated, district attorney finds no misconduct in raid that led to Yang Song’s fatal fall.
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.
Chase Madar Jun 19, 2018
Years after two landmark Supreme Court rulings, prosecutors in Louisiana are still overwhelmingly seeking life sentences for children.
Victoria Law Jun 13, 2018
Will a $1 Million Grant To Fight Sexual Assault Change A DA’s Office Known for Jailing Rape Victims?
The DOJ just gave $1 million to the New Orleans DA for rape kit testing, but advocates question whether real change can come to an office fighting allegations that it threatens, intimidates and jails rape and domestic violence victims.
Meaghan Ybos Jun 11, 2018
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.
Max Rivlin-Nadler Jun 06, 2018
At a Pennsylvania school, an 18-year-old female student was arrested for a consensual sexual act with a 16-year-old boy.
Joshua Vaughn Jun 05, 2018
By charging shoplifters with felonies, Jeff Reisig is circumventing Prop 47, intended to reduce CA prison populations.
But their push to unseat judges is drawing backlash from a surprising source—fellow Democrats.
Max Rivlin-Nadler Jun 01, 2018
In the era of #MeToo, can we hold law enforcement officials accountable?
Josie Duffy Rice May 31, 2018
To reform the justice system, look to prosecutors.
Angela J. Davis May 29, 2018
Public defenders say the problem has disastrous effects on their clients' cases.
Carimah Townes May 23, 2018
Exclusive: Leaked Police Interview Reveals Key Evidence That a Bronx Judge Has Barred in Upcoming Murder Trial
Brian Solano spent over two years on Rikers Island before a potentially exonerating NYPD video interview was disclosed to his defense attorney. But that video is now being excluded from his June trial.
But the witness may have flipped again, leaving the future of the conviction up in the air.
For those of us who believe our “justice” system must be transformed, moments such as this one are a test of conviction.