A Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania says school shooters should face automatic, mandatory execution. But the U.S. Supreme Court says only a judge can impose a death sentence.
In U.S. courts using bail for pretrial release, those with enough money to get out before trial, but those without cash stay in. But support for reform has been building, and New Jersey did away with cash bail almost entirely in 2017. What happens instead of bail, and how is it working so far? Our guest Roseanne Scotti is with the Drug Policy Alliance, and she’s been part of the reform effort.
New Jersey Bail Reform in the press:
Almost anywhere you find police corruption and abuse, you'll find otherwise decent cops who knew about their colleagues' misconduct and did nothing. How can police earn communities' trust when they continue to protect the worst actors within their own ranks?
Bill Cosby faces a second sexual assault trial after a hung jury scuttled the first one. But doesn't the Constitution protect people from being tried twice for the same crime?
Republican state lawmakers in Pennsylvania are threatening to impeach state Supreme Court justices over redrawn congressional districts. What could possibly go wrong?
A tale of ethical shenanigans by two married lawyers: when she's disbarred after a fraud conviction, he looks the other way while she continues practicing without a license.
In the U.S., judges set bail – an amount of money defendants must deposit with the court -- to make sure people appear in court. Defendants must pay the bail amount to get released to wait for trial. Those with enough money to get out before trial, but those without cash stay in jail – regardless of the risk they pose. Could a data-based system do a better job of assessing these risks, and keep the poor out of jail before trial?
Matt Alsdorf is founder and president of Pretrial Advisors, and former Vice President for Criminal Justice at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. Matt headed up the foundation’s effort to apply a data-based solution to the problem of pretrial incarceration – the Public Safety Assessment tool.
Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Pennsylvania. But increasingly, jurisdiction-level policy decisions are pushing cities toward decriminalization. This week, Philadelphia's newly-elected reformist D.A. announced his office is dropping all simple-possession marijuana cases. What's his reasoning, and how will the move affect policing?
More U.S. cities are considering opening "safe injection sites" where addicts can inject intravenous drugs under medical supervision. The goal is harm reduction, and there's strong evidence the practice saves lives. But is it legal?
Fired for allegedly stealing from her firm, a Pennsylvania lawyer is now accused of breaking into the office to rob her former co-workers.
President Trump's lawyers are anxious about the prospect of an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Can they avoid it? Should they try?
More and more states are legalizing marijuana, but California is taking it a step further by retroactively vacating old convictions.
Private hold over 100,000 people in the U.S. Some say they provide needed flexibility as corrections populations change and budgets shrink. But what really happens when punishment is about profit?
Lauren-Brooke Eisen is Senior Counsel at the Brennan Center’s Justice Program and author of Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration.
A small-town judge plants recording devices all over a New Mexico county courthouse to spy on employees and colleagues.
In some states, people convicted of felonies lose certain rights -- notably, the right to vote. What's the legal justification for a practice that indefinitely suspends the civil rights of convicts, even after they've served their sentences?
Creative billing practices create trouble for an Atlanta attorney.
For years, the Philadelphia District Attorney's office was notorious for heavy-handed and sometimes racially discriminatory prosecution. As of this month, it's led by a former criminal defense attorney and activist elected with a mandate for reform. What can we expect from D.A. Larry Krasner, and what pitfalls may await him?
Why has the US prison population has grown for decades, surpassing two million? We’ve put more people in jail, but new research shows it’s not just how many people go to prison. What counts, for prison growth, is how long they stay. Ryan King, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, has created a ground-breaking study of how the exponential growth in prisons has really been driven by the growth in long sentences. Even as some states have reformed incarceration around low level offenses, long sentences remain stubbornly in place, and receive almost no attention.
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case involving a Louisiana defense attorney who defied his client's wishes when he preemptively conceded the defendant's guilt, asking that he be spared the death penalty because of his mental illness.
Is it ever okay for an lawyer to overrule his own client? What if it might be their only chance to save the client's life?
A bonus edition of "Lawyers Behaving Badly": why forging court records is not a great idea, especially when you're an aspiring lawyer.
Eight convictions have already been thrown out amid allegations about coerced confessions and other misconduct by former Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara, and dozens more cases are now in question. But the Guevara case is far from an isolated incident.
In this "Lawyers Behaving Badly" bonus segment: a Florida defense attorney produces porn videos in a jail interview room, featuring arrested sex workers he falsely claims to represent.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era policy directing federal prosecutors to de-prioritize enforcement of marijuana prohibition in states that have legalized the drug. Will the new directive slow the growing acceptance of legal weed among voters, states, and mainstream politicians? (Spoiler: It will not.)
In the criminal justice system, things can go terribly wrong: convictions of the innocent, or killings of unarmed suspects. We use the courts and investigations try to see who’s to blame. But we do little to learn ways to stop it from happening again. Using procedures from the worlds of medicine and aviation as a guide, attorney James Doyle has become the leading advocate for using Sentinel event analysis as way to understand and fix systemic problems in criminal justice.