USA - Broken Criminal Justice System
The Trayvon Martin Affair
The state is defying international courts, the UN, and the Obama administration by denying Vienna Convention rights to a Mexican prisoner. Does it matter? Reuters On Thursday, Texas is scheduled to execute its seventh prisoner this year. While anti-death penalty advocates have rallied against all the executions, this particular case has also drawn protests from former judges and diplomats, the UN, and the Obama administration -- not out of opposition to capital punishment, but concern for America's place in the international community. In Texas, a Death Penalty Showdown With International Law - Nicole Allan - International
The Looming Death of the Death Penalty - Andrew Cohen - National In recent years, capital punishment has been on a sharp decline, both in the courts and in the court of public opinion Reuters The year-end report by the folks at the Death Penalty Information Center tell more and more Americans what they already know in their hearts to be true: The death penalty experiment is failing yet again. Undermined by overzealous prosecutors, a hobby-horse for incurious politicians, too often taken unseriously by jurors and witnesses, capital punishment in America has devolved since 1976 into a costly, inaccurate, racially biased, and unseemly proposition.
The only evidence against DeLuna was the shoddy eyewitness testimony of Kevin Baker, a car salesman who came face to face with Lopez’s killer as he fled the scene. Although DeLuna partly resembled the description given by Baker, upon further investigation it seems that DeLuna and the man Baker described were not the same person. For example, Baker told police that the culprit had a full mustache and so much facial hair that he looked like “he hadn’t shaved in, you know, ten days, a couple weeks.” When police found DeLuna, he was lying half naked, shoeless and shirtless, underneath a pickup truck with little more than a day or two of stubble and no mustache. Another innocent executed?
Yes, America, We Have Executed an Innocent Man - Andrew Cohen - National Carlos DeLuna was put to death in December 1989 for a murder in Corpus Christi. But he didn't commit the crime. Today, his case reminds us of the glaring flaws of capital punishment.
A few years ago, Antonin Scalia, one of the nine justices on the US supreme court, made a bold statement. There has not been, he said, "a single case – not one – in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred … the innocent's name would be shouted from the rooftops." Scalia may have to eat his words. It is now clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit, and his name – Carlos DeLuna – is being shouted from the rooftops of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. The wrong Carlos: how Texas sent an innocent man to his death | World news
Andrew Sullivan for The New York Times Representative Patricia M. Widlitz was for the repeal bill. Mr. Malloy’s signature will leave New Hampshire and Pennsylvania as the only states in the Northeast that still have the death penalty. New Jersey repealed it in 2007. Connecticut House Votes to Repeal Death Penalty
An unlikely crusader, Diana Holt wages a heroic, long-odds battle against the death penalty. Diana Holt, photographed by Joshua Drake In our criminal-justice system, once a person has been convicted, no matter how shaky the conviction, the presumption of innocence disappears. The defendant is assumed to have had a fair trial. New evidence, even enough to sow a field of doubt, does not necessarily entitle a defendant, not even one on death row, to a new trial. The remarkable defense attorney Diana Holt learned these lessons the hard way after she took on the case of Richard Charles Johnson, in October of 1999. The Last Line of Defense - Magazine
Is Ohio Keeping Another Innocent Man on Death Row? - Andrew Cohen - National Instead of searching for the truth, the state is going to absurd lengths to defend a dubious death sentence. AP Images Last year, the execution of Troy Davis captured most of the attention, and generated most of the debate, on the topic of capital punishment in America. Davis was put to death by lethal injection in Georgia three quarters of the way through a year that saw a general decline in support for (and implementation of) the death penalty.
The execution of Steven Staley: Forcible medication on death row in Texas Steven Stanley Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Can the state force a person to take drugs in order to execute him?
When Rape Victims Lie « Sasha Said No, this isn’t a post about how women are lying hussies out to ruin the lives of good men with wrongful rape accusations. If that’s what you were expecting, you’re definitely reading the wrong blog (actually, come to think of, stick around; you may learn something). What I’m talking about is this: Living in a rape culture, women are acutely aware of the type of rapes–and the type of victims–that are taken seriously.
New FBI Rape Definition Approved U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today announced revisions to the Uniform Crime Report’s definition of rape, which the Justice Department says will lead to a more comprehensive statistical reporting of rape nationwide. Holder said the new definition is more inclusive, better reflects state criminal codes, and focuses on the various forms of sexual penetration understood to be rape. The revision had been urged by women's advocacy groups and was approved by an FBI advisory committee. FBI Director Robert Mueller approved the new official definition on Dec. 21, 2011.
The Lessons of the ‘Brooklyn Groper’ Case
Ernie Lopez is currently serving a 60-year sentence for harming six-month-old Isis Vas, who later died. (Photo courtesy of PBS FRONTLINE) Her name was Isis Charm Vas and at 6 months old she was a slight child -- fifth percentile in height and weight. When the ambulance sped her to Northwest Texas Hospital on a Saturday morning in October 2000, doctors and nurses feared that someone had done something awful to her delicate little body. A constellation of bruises stretched across her pale skin. CT scans showed blood pooling on her brain and swelling. The Hardest Cases: When Children Die, Justice Can Be Elusive
When Paul House was finally released from prison in 2008, he was a specter of the man who had been sentenced to death more than 22 years earlier. When I visit his home in Crossville, Tennessee, in March, House’s mother Joyce, who has cared for him since his release, points to a photo of House taken the day he was finally allowed to come home. In that photo and others from his last days in prison, House is all of 150 pounds, ashen and drawn, his fragile frame nearly consumed by his wheelchair. In most of the images he looks days away from death, although in one he wears the broad smile of a man finally escaping a long confinement. When House’s aunt called to congratulate him on his first day back, his mother handed him her cell phone so he could chat. He inspected the phone, gave her a frustrated look, and asked her to find him one that worked. Wrongful Convictions
Bennett Barbour exonerated of rape in Virginia: how the state is botching the DNA retesting and notification of old cases Bennett Barbour was convicted in 1978 of a rape he didn’t commit. At trial, he had an alibi supported by several witnesses. He didn’t match the victim’s description of her attacker. Barbour suffers from a severe bone disease that would have made it nearly impossible for him to be the assailant. Police found no physical evidence connecting him to the crime, beyond the eyewitness identification by his alleged victim.
The Shaky Science of Shaken Baby Syndrome On New York’s Rikers Island, the parents of baby Annie await trial for shaking their infant girl to death. Her mother and father deny harming their child in any way, but prosecutors claim the 70 day old baby died with a severely fractured skull and brain damage consistent with being shaken violently. Shaken baby syndrome presents a terrifying dilemma to the criminal justice system: a false conviction leaves a grieving parent or other innocent in prison for years while an undeserved exoneration could allow a dangerous child abuser to kill again. Unfortunately, the medical science used to determine the cause of death in infants suspected of being shaken to death is far from precise, and certainly not conducive to the simple “guilty” or “not guilty” decisions that courts require.
Inside Criminal Justice
Caged and doomed, boy leaves sad account of his life
Our ‘Broken System’ of Criminal Justice by John Paul Stevens
The New York "Miracle"
Breaking the Cycle of Poverty and Crime
Tale of Two Cities: NYPD's Racist Arrests Create Class War in New York | Drugs
U.S. Sets New Rules to Stem Prison Rape
Mass Incarceration and Criminal Justice in America
Raise the Crime Rate
[Infographic] Combating Mass Incarceration - The Facts
Louisiana is the world's prison capital
Who Puts Kids in the Slammer for Life? We do! | The Indypendent
Juvenile Life Without Parole
Kids in Detention
Racial Disparities Persist in VA Juvenile Justice System: Report
Throwaway People: Will Teens Sent to Die in Prison Get a Second Chance?
Bryan Stevenson: We need to talk about an injustice
Against Law, For Order
Suit accuses California of unfairly isolating prison inmates
Imprisoned in America
US: Number of Aging Prisoners Soaring
Our Aging Prison Population: Should Criminals Die Free? - Amy Ziettlow - Health
After closing psychiatric hospitals, Michigan incarcerates mentally ill
In Chicago, Mental Health Patients Have No Place to Go
Cook County Jail 'A Mental Health Provider,' Says Sheriff Tom Dart, Threatening Lawsuit
The Neglect of Mental Illness Exacts a Huge Toll, Human and Economic
National - Andrew Cohen - Death, Yes, but Torture at Supermax?
Torture in U.S. Prisons? Historic Senate Hearing Takes Up Solitary Confinement’s Devastating Toll
National - Andrew Cohen - Supermax: The Constitution and Mentally Ill Prisoners
National - Andrew Cohen - Supermax: The Faces of a Prison's Mentally Ill
National - Andrew Cohen - An American Gulag: Descending into Madness at Supermax
Should prison inmates have the right to masturbate?
Human Rights in Criminal Sentencing Report Press Release - University of San Francisco School of Law
What Does It Say About America That We Jail Teens for Having Sex or Being Late to School?
Do Race and Ethnicity Matter in Prosecution?: A Review of Empirical Studies | Vera Institute of Justice
The High Cost of Prisons
Purchasing Prisoners, Creating Criminals & How Occupy Could be Next
In New Jersey Halfway Houses, Escapees Stream Out as a Penal Business Thrives
Louisiana is the world's prison capital
Private Prisons Profit From Immigration Crackdown, Federal And Local Law Enforcement Partnerships
The Hidden History of ALEC and Prison Labor
Investigation, Lawsuit Expose Barbaric Conditions at For-Profit Youth Prison in Mississippi | Southern Poverty Law Center
United States Continuing to Overspend on Police, Despite Decreasing Crime Rates — Justice Policy Institute
Drones on the Home Front
Will a Militarized Police Force Facing Occupy Wall Street Lead to Another Kent State Massacre?
A Brief History of Drones
Where American criminal justice went wrong
Homeless people treated as criminals in America | Coshocton Tribune | coshoctontribune.com
The Exile Nation Project - Mary Barr (Pt. 1)
15-Year-Old Girl Faces Life in Prison for a Miscarriage? Why Conservatives Are Criminalizing Pregnant Women | Gender
Sexual assault in the military: Congress pressures Pentagon to fix the system | World news
Homeland Security's 'Pre-Crime' Screening Will Never Work - Alexander Furnas - Technology
Forty years in solitary confinement and counting
Misdemeanors can have major consequences for the people charged