justice system

16 Stories

Ferguson Judge: We're Tossing Out Arrest Warrants

Judge Donald McCullin announces sweeping changes in Missouri city

(Newser) - Ferguson's new municipal judge ordered massive changes today in the city's much-criticized municipal court, a move he said is aimed at restoring confidence in the system and easing the burden on needy defendants. Changes announced by Judge Donald McCullin include withdrawing many old arrest warrants; CNN reports that... More »

Poor People Going to Jail Over Inability to Pay Fines

NPR: As courts impose more and more fees, poor defendants can't keep up

(Newser) - Accused criminals in Washington state might be surprised to learn that they'll need to shell out $125 in court fees to pay for their own jury, and double that amount if the jury requires 12 people instead of six. It's just one example of many dug up by... More »

Farrakhan: Give African Americans Our Own Courts

Controversial minister says US courts are biased against black people

(Newser) - Controversial minister Louis Farrakhan offered up a controversial idea yesterday at the Nation of Islam's annual convention in Detroit: The black community should have its own court system, because the existing system is biased against African Americans. "We want equal justice under the law," Farrakhan said,... More »

Frenchwoman Freed From Mexico Prison After Outcry

Florence Cassez had been sentenced for kidnapping

(Newser) - A Frenchwoman whose 60-year Mexican prison sentence caused international controversy was released from jail yesterday. Florence Cassez was sentenced in 2005 for her role in a kidnapping gang after television showed her arrest as three victims were freed. But the segment was staged by police: In fact, she'd been... More »

Would-Be Juror: Don't Pick Me, I'm A Racist Homophobe

Man admits serving would "be a serious injustice to the legal system"

(Newser) - Today's award for honesty goes to a would-be juror in Southampton, UK, by way of The Daily Echo . The man, whose name was withheld, wrote a letter to the Crown Court saying that he shouldn't be selected to serve on a dangerous driving case because he, in his... More »

China Denies Lawyer for Chen's Nephew

Chen Kegui charged with 'homicide' though no one was killed

(Newser) - The Chinese government has denied Chen Kegui his choice of lawyers, saying he must use a pair of government-appointed attorneys in his "intentional homicide" trial. Chen was slapped with that charge because he brandished a knife on April 27 when authorities burst into his home after his uncle's... More »

Special Interests Control Our Judges

Campaign cash compromises their integrity: Adam Cohen

(Newser) - It’s not just legislative and executive elections that are unfairly influenced by big money. America needs to wake up to the power of special interests in judicial elections, writes Adam Cohen in Time . A new study sees “big business, corporate lobbyists, and trial lawyers” spending cash to get... More »

New on Mexican TV: Videotaped Confessions

Critics say made-for-TV interviews often coerced

(Newser) - Watched any Mexican TV lately? You may have seen the common ritual of law enforcement officers parading a "perp" before the news media—but now you can also watch his full videotaped confession. Or what authorities claim is his confession. "This is for the authorities, who want to... More »

Maybe Bagram Will Be the New Gitmo

Administration ponders how best to handle detainees

(Newser) - President Obama's security team is for the first time writing guidelines on how to handle captured terror suspects—specifically on whether any will be allowed to be detained indefinitely without trial, the Los Angeles Times reports. Draft guidelines predict that will be necessary for a small number of detainees, with... More »

Italian Courts Face Growing Knox Backlash

Glacial pace, leaked evidence, 'anti-Americanism' draws fire

(Newser) - Amanda Knox has served just a few days as a murder convict, but she'll have another year under her belt before an appeal gets under way, and questions about the fairness of her trial continue to pour in, reports the Independent . The open flow of information between cops and journos,... More »

Burnt-Out Defenders Refuse New Cases

(Newser) - Public defenders are as overworked as hell, and they’re not going to take it anymore, the New York Times reports. Arguing that their hectic schedules result in scant attention for clients, government-appointed lawyers around the country are refusing new cases and suing to limit their workload. “The quality... More »

Supreme Court: It's a Dialog, Not an Isolated Oracle

Reporter looks back at 30 years and 2,691 decisions

(Newser) - Rather than boldly paving new roads, the Supreme Court functions largely as a bellwether of public opinion, cementing change “rather than propelling it,” writes Linda Greenhouse, looking back on some 30 years of reporting on the court for the New York Times. The justices don’t constitute a... More »

Mexico Overhauls Justice System

Calderon signs sweeping reforms

(Newser) - Sweeping reforms of Mexico's criminal justice system were signed into law by President Felipe Calderon yesterday. US-style public trials and presumption of innocence will replace Mexico's slow, closed-door system that proceeds almost exclusively through briefs, reports the Washington Post. The reforms also give investigators power to hold suspects 80 days... More »

Reagan's Influence on US Court System Lingers

Appeals courts, where the real action is, continue to weaken federal authority

(Newser) - Ronald Reagan’s influence on American courts remains unprecedented, and his transformation of the nomination process is only part of the story. With sheer numbers and ideological consistency, Reagan created a legacy that will influence American justice well into the 21st century, and perhaps beyond, USA Today reports. More »

World Frowns on American For-Profit Bail System

Critics find private system unfair, corrupt; it's also effective

(Newser) - For the rest of the world, America’s bail bonds industry is a horrifying concept. Bail bondsmen are a private, commercial wing of the US justice system, putting up defendants’ bail in exchange for a non-refundable fee, the New York Times explains. To critics, the system is unfair and corrupt,... More »

Lithwick: Nutty Legal Logic Used to Fire Attorneys

(Newser) - The same legal argument marshaled to justify mistreating prisoners is behind the Bush administration’s contention that the President can fire U.S. attorneys for any reason or no reason, according to Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick. It’s the theory that a greater power—like killing people in war—embodies... More »

16 Stories