Criminal Justice

Taking the sixth

by Michelle Chen on June 2 2009, 6:28PM

Prosecutors can thank the Supreme Court for making their job a bit easier, in a ruling that expands police authority to interrogate a suspect who does not have legal representation present. In Montejo v. State of Louisiana, Jesse Montejo…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Downsizing prisons

by Michelle Chen on June 1 2009, 2:04PM

For poor and distressed neighborhoods, the recession is the latest in a cascade of troubles. Yet state budget woes are also eating away at an institution that has historically contributed to the problems endemic in many communities of color….

Topics: Criminal Justice

The gang aptitude test

by Michelle Chen on May 25 2009, 4:50PM

Pop quiz: Do any of the following describe you? I try to be nice to other people because I care about their feelings. I get very angry and “lose my temper” (yell or get mad). I do as I…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Justice for Troy Davis

by Yvonne Yen Liu on May 19 2009, 12:14PM

Troy Davis was convicted of killing a police officer in Savannah, Georgia nearly two decades ago. He sits on death row waiting for execution tonight, even though evidence points to his innocence. Seven out of the nine witnesses have recanted…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Case closed

by Michelle Chen on May 18 2009, 3:37PM

When prosecutors are hell bent on scoring a conviction, some will go to any length to make their case. In an article profiling two men with convictions who believe DNA evidence will exonerate them, the New York Times reports…

Topics: Criminal Justice

“Arbitrary in Its Application?” Not Exactly.

by Guest Columnist on May 12 2009, 10:51AM

by Andrew Grant-Thomas This past Saturday I moderated a panel called “Perspectives on Ohio’s Death Penalty” at the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University. Here’re some takeaways. Don’t kill a white person, don’t kill a woman, and…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Family-friendly corrections

by Michelle Chen on May 11 2009, 10:22PM

Many imprisoned women spent this past Sunday alone, cut off from their communities, maybe wondering anxiously about children left in the care of relatives or a stranger’s foster home. But some passed a more conventional version of Mother’s Day…

Topics: Criminal Justice

the news You Haven’t Heard from New Haven

by Guest Columnist on May 11 2009, 10:28AM

by Andrew Grant-Thomas Most Racewire readers know about Ricci v. DeStefano, a case filed by white firefighters in New Haven, CT, my home town, after the City invalidated the results of a test that would have promoted 15 whites, one…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Putting the kids away

by Michelle Chen on May 7 2009, 10:32PM

Compared to children in other countries with similar resources, America’s youth tend to be a mediocre bunch in rankings of education, infant survival and overall well-being. But the United States has earned one major distinction in how it treats…

Topics: Criminal Justice


by Julianne Hing on May 6 2009, 12:00PM

News to make you doubt your sanity or at least start a petition.

Topics: Criminal Justice


by Julianne Hing on May 6 2009, 12:00PM

The good (and sometimes great) things people of color and their allies made happen.

Topics: Criminal Justice

“It wasn’t their priority”

by Michelle Chen on May 4 2009, 6:15PM

We may never know their true motivations, but according to a jury in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, whatever drove a group of teens to beat a Mexican immigrant to death last year, “ethnic intimidation” apparently had nothing to do with…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Immigration

Crack, powder and kicking butt in drug policy

by Michelle Chen on April 29 2009, 5:31PM

After years of frustration under Reagan-era drug laws, a Senate subcommittee hearing today parsed the fine line between crack and powder. The notorious 100-to-1 gap between sentencing policies for powder and crack cocaine is a linchpin of the mandatory-sentencing…

Topics: Criminal Justice, Politics

Take Action to End Racial Disparities in Drug Sentencing

by Terry Keleher on April 23 2009, 1:36PM

cartoon: Khalil Bendib Today is National Call-In Day in a month-long “Crack the Disparity” campaign to eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder campaign. The Sentencing Project is mobilizing thousands of people across the country to phone their…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Priced out of justice

by Michelle Chen on April 15 2009, 4:50PM

If you’re accused of a crime, you have a right to a competent lawyer. That’s what the Constitution says, anyway. The Sixth Amendment plays out differently when you’re standing before a judge and your court-appointed counsel is dozing off…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Is the drug war leveling out?

by Michelle Chen on April 15 2009, 2:44PM

The latest trend lines suggest the war on drugs is becoming perversely more equal. Between 1999 and 2005, the number of white drug offenders in state prisons rose about 43 percent, while the number of Black offenders declined by…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Seeing through “broken windows”

by Michelle Chen on April 14 2009, 4:50AM

The “broken windows” theory has loomed large in urban law enforcement policies for years. Officials have framed public safety in urban neighborhoods as a matter of stamping out “disorder,” contending that the decline of a community starts with small…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Colorblind No More

by Daisy Hernandez on April 8 2009, 12:00PM

A growing number of states assess the racial impact of drug laws.

Topics: Criminal Justice

Latinos, Blacks and the Criminal Justice System: Low Confidence, High Exposure

by Jorge Rivas on April 8 2009, 9:01AM

The Pew Research Center has released a survey that sampled confidence levels of Blacks, Latinos and whites have on the Criminal Justice System. Six-in-ten (61%) Hispanics say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence that the…

Topics: Criminal Justice

Witholding Judgment After a Weekend of Shootings

by Julianne Hing on April 6 2009, 2:04PM

After hearing about the Binghamton shooting on Friday, I knew I did not want to turn on the TV all weekend. I didn’t want to sink into a blood-soaked stupor of non-stop updates about the story. And once I…

Topics: Criminal Justice