criminal justice

11 Stories

How American Justice Went Wrong

Lack of jury trials at heart of the problem: Harvard law prof

(Newser) - The American criminal justice system is collapsing, right? So says Harvard law professor William J. Stuntz in a new book excerpted in Salon . His evidence: a soaring prison population, high murder rates, and whites who avoid prison while blacks serve time. The problem: too much power in the hands of... More »

Crime Doesn't Rise During Full Moon

Legendary link is just that—a legend: criminal justice experts

(Newser) - Crime rises with the temperature and climbs during weekends—but not during the time of the full moon, illuminating new research reveals. Crime statistics for San Antonio helped criminologists shed some light on the deeply entrenched belief in what the researchers called "the lunar-crime relationship," reports USA Today ... More »

Innocent Man Free After 35 Years

DNA evidence clears him of rape charges

(Newser) - James Bain left prison today after serving 35 years for a crime he didn’t commit. The 54-year-old Florida man, cleared by DNA evidence of the 1974 rape of a 9-year-old boy, appeared relieved as he left the courthouse after a judge signed the order vacating his conviction. A bit... More »

China Says It Will Slash Executions

With 72% of the world's capital punishment, they've got a ways to go

(Newser) - China holds more executions yearly than any other country—but this week, state media announced China will be more forgiving, the New York Times reports. Only “an extremely small number” should be executed, said the vice president of the Supreme People’s Court. In 2008, Amnesty International claims, China... More »

Greek Convicts Stage Daring Prison Break—Again

Fugitives use helicopter to escape Athens facility, as they did in 2006

(Newser) - Two Greek criminals escaped the most secure prison in Athens for the second time, the BBC reports. Vassilis Paleokostas and Alket Rizai fled the Korydallos prison after accomplices picked them up using a helicopter they landed on the building’s roof. The escape is similar to their 2006 breakout, when... More »

Bush 'Murder' Book a Bestseller, Despite Blackout

Neglected by mainstream media, tome sells 130K copies

(Newser) - When he served as a prosecutor in Los Angeles, Vincent Bugliosi racked up a perfect record in 21 murder trials, including the Charles Manson case in 1971. As a writer, he's scored three No. 1 bestsellers; his last, about the Kennedy assassination, is being made into an HBO miniseries. But... More »

Cold Case 101: College Sleuths Try Their Hands

Holloway, Levy cases among high-profile whodunits for students

(Newser) - A college club is using cold cases to instruct criminal-justice students in techniques of investigation—and perhaps uncover that crucial piece of evidence missed by police, CNN reports. The Cold Case Investigative Research Institute, counting students at three Southern schools, uses high-profile cases like Natalee Holloway and Chandra Levy, to... More »

Sharpton: Bell Verdict 'Abortion of Justice'

Feds will look into civil-rights charges against NYPD officers

(Newser) - Rev. Al Sharpton blasted today's acquittal of three NYPD officers who killed an unarmed man in a 50-slug fusillade in 2006, CNN reports. "Justice didn't miscarry," Sharpton said. "This was an abortion of justice. Justice was aborted." Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged citizens to respect the “... More »

DNA Used to Nab Criminal Kin

But questions arise over genetic privacy of innocent relatives

(Newser) - Law-enforcement agencies are using DNA of family members—often without their consent—to identify and convict criminals, the Washington Post reports. Privacy advocates object that it turns family members into unwitting informants, and subjects innocent relatives to “lifelong genetic surveillance” because someone in their family committed a crime. But... More »

Lover Airs NIU Shooter's Letter

'Don't forget me,' killer told girlfriend in final love letter

(Newser) - The girlfriend of the gunman who murdered five students at Northern Illinois University Thursday talked to him every day last week, including the night before the shooting spree, and detected nothing amiss. "He wasn't erratic. He wasn't delusional. He was Steve; he was normal," Jessica Baty, 28, told... More »

Police Piece Together Shooter's Trail

Kazmierczak spent two days in motel room before shooting

(Newser) - Before his shooting rampage at NIU, Steven Kazmierczak spent two days in a motel, taking cold medicine and drinking Red Bull, the Chicago Tribune reports. He left behind no note, only a sealed duffel bag filled with gun ammo. Kazmierczak, who had stopped taking medication for anxiety, also sent his... More »

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