criminal justice system

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'Unconscionable': NYC Teen Held 1,300 Days in Murder Case

'NYT' looks at New York's 'spotty record' when it comes to speedy trials

(Newser) - Timi Oyebola was shot to death on a Brooklyn basketball court in September 2018. Aaron Nathaniel Jr., just 14, was arrested for his murder 12 days later, reports NBC New York . The next real development wouldn't happen for years, a fact that Emily Palmer zeroes in on in a...

One of My 'Best Students' Was Sentenced to Die
One of My 'Best Students'
Was Sentenced to Die

One of My 'Best Students' Was Sentenced to Die

'Understanding our own humanity is a lifelong project,' Jennifer Lackey writes

(Newser) - "The death penalty is purportedly reserved for the 'worst of the worst' or those with 'irretrievably depraved characters.' But this is based on a myth." That's according to Jennifer Lackey, founder and director of the Northwestern Prison Education Program. It was through the program...

Obama: 'Defund the Police' Slogan Is Ineffective

'You lost a big audience the minute you say it'

(Newser) - "Defund the police" is a "snappy" slogan—but not an effective one for campaigners seeking to reach a wider audience, Barack Obama says. The former president told Snapchat political show Good Luck America Wednesday that the slogan is polarizing and won't help advocates get the reforms they...

Trump Launches Feud With a Celebrity Couple

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen seem to be enjoying it

(Newser) - A new presidential feud opened up overnight, with President Trump going after celebrity couple John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. The pair seemed more than happy to return fire. It revolves around a town hall on the criminal justice system that aired on MSNBC on Sunday night, along with an accompanying...

Kim Kardashian Helped Free 17 Inmates Serving Life

All were jailed on drug charges

(Newser) - Turns out Kim Kardashian is doing more for convicted criminals than anyone knew. The reality TV star, who's advocating for criminal justice reform, has quietly helped free inmates serving life-without-parole sentences on everyday drug charges—17 of them in all, TMZ reports. Seems Kardashian is funding the 90 Days...

Senate Passes Sweeping Criminal Justice Overhaul

Trump says he looks forward to signing it

(Newser) - The Senate passed a sweeping criminal justice bill Tuesday that addresses concerns that the nation's war on drugs had led to the imprisonment of too many Americans for non-violent crimes without adequately preparing them for their return to society. Senate passage of the bill by a vote of 87-12...

McConnell Agreed to a Vote Senators Wanted for 3 Years

After pressure from Trump, McConnell will bring criminal justice bill to the floor

(Newser) - Under pressure from President Trump and many of his Republican colleagues, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he will bring legislation to the floor as soon as this week to overhaul the nation's sentencing laws. McConnell's decision comes after more than three years of overtures from...

Trump Supports Sweeping Criminal Justice Reform Bill

'Did I hear the word bipartisan?'

(Newser) - "Did I hear the word bipartisan?" President Trump asked Wednesday as he announced his support for a major reform of prison and sentencing laws. The First Step Act, which the AP calls the "first major rewrite of the nation's criminal justice sentencing laws in a generation,"...

Judge Affirms 5-Year Sentence for Casting Illegal Vote

'Prison is a lot closer for her today,' Crystal Mason’s lawyer says

(Newser) - Civil rights advocates see this as a tale of two voters. Crystal Mason, who is black, was sentenced to five years in prison for casting a ballot in Tarrant County, Texas, in 2016 while being a felon under supervision. Terri Lynn Rote, who is white, was sentenced to two years’...

Transcript's Missing Comma Costs Suspect in Court

Warren Demesme seemed to ask for a 'lawyer, dawg,' but court reads it as 'lawyer dog'

(Newser) - A Louisiana man being questioned by police in the sexual assault of two juveniles at one point said the following, per a police transcript: "I know that I didn't do it so why don't you just give me a lawyer dog cause this is not what's...

Man Jailed on Murder Charge in 2007. He's Still There

Few Americans have waited for a court date longer than Kharon Davis

(Newser) - Kharon Davis has already served half the minimum sentence for murder, but he's never been found guilty. The New York Times reports Davis has been in an Alabama jail awaiting trial since 2007. He was 22 at the time. It's one of the longest waits for a trial...

After 20 Years in Prison, He Calls State's Bluff. And Wins

Case illustrates reluctance of prosecutors to agree to a formal exoneration

(Newser) - A ProPublica investigation begins with a familiar-sounding tale: A man imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit gets his conviction tossed through DNA analysis. But then comes the twist: State prosecutors in Baltimore still had the option to retry James Owens for the rape and murder of a woman...

We Should Cap Prison Sentences at 20 Years
We Should Cap Prison Sentences at 20 Years

We Should Cap Prison Sentences at 20 Years

Or at least assess all inmates at that point, argues writer

(Newser) - With talk of reforming the criminal justice system gaining steam, a writer at Democracy makes the case for a controversial idea: maximum sentences of 20 years for nearly all prisoners. Lots of attention has been paid to the long mandatory sentences doled out to nonviolent drug offenders, but Marc Mauer...

3 Things Obama Will Do for Released Prisoners

The president announces plans to curb recidivism

(Newser) - President Obama visited New Jersey today to promote his new efforts to help prisoners re-integrate into society, the Star-Ledger reports. Visiting a facility that helps former inmates and joining a roundtable on the topic at Rutgers University, the president made his case. "There are people across the board—folks...

Sanders Moves to Ban Private Prisons

The senator introduced the 'Justice Is Not for Sale Act' today

(Newser) - Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders introduced legislation to Congress today that would ban private prisons and jails in the United States, USA Today reports. Sanders—who has called the size of the US prison population an "international disgrace"—says the goal of for-profit prisons and jails is to...

9.5 in 10 American Prosecutors Are White

60% of states have zero black prosecutors

(Newser) - White men make up just 31% of the US population , but they enjoy a much higher percentage among elected prosecutors' ranks: 79%, while whites in general comprise a staggering 95% of all elected prosecutors nationwide, reports the New York Times . An analysis by the Women Donors Network parsed the database...

Clinton: End 'Era of Mass Incarceration'

It's seen as a repudiation of her husband's massive crime bill of 1994

(Newser) - The Baltimore riots and their underlying issues have officially become part of the 2016 race. Hillary Clinton today delivered a major speech in New York in which the takeaway sentiment is her call to end the "era of mass incarceration." As the Los Angeles Times reports, Clinton says...

Even if Guilty, Adnan Syed of 'Serial' Got a Bad Deal

Op-ed: His case illustrates problem with our informal plea-bargaining system

(Newser) - Is Adnan guilty? Fans of the podcast Serial are familiar with the question, revolving around whether Adnan Syed is a murderer or an innocent man serving a life sentence for no reason. If he's innocent, his sentence, of course, "is a tragedy," writes JaneAnne Murray in the...

Teen Faces Life Sentence Over Pot Brownies

Jacob Lavoro's use of hash oil is a big part of the problem

(Newser) - A Texas teen is facing five years to life in prison for allegedly making and selling pot brownies due to the particulars of the state's drug laws—and his recipe. Jacob Lavoro’s fateful mistake was allegedly adding hash oil to his batch. While possession of up to two...

Half of Black Men Arrested by Age 23
 Half of Black Men 
 Arrested by Age 23 
study says

Half of Black Men Arrested by Age 23

And roughly 40% of all men have been cuffed by that age: study

(Newser) - If you're a man and you've made your way to age 23 without getting arrested, consider it a win. A new study finds that 38% of white men, 44% of Hispanic men, and 49% of black men have been arrested by that age for non-traffic-related crimes, the AP...

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