“Mistakes Happen- People Are Wrongfully Convicted”

Jeff Rosen brings a new approach to prosecution.  He’s the District Attorney in Santa Clara County, California.  He narrowly won election in 2010, and since then he’s made some welcomed waves- he’s bringing some crucial principles of the criminal justice reform movement into the prosecutor’s office.  Among his efforts, Rosen created a Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU) attached to his office… Read more »

The Collision of “Law & Order” and Criminal Justice Reform

There was another terrorist attack last night- just hours before midnight- this time in Istanbul, Turkey.  Some 39 people have been killed.   The Rose Parade is coming up here in Southern California this morning and barricades have been put up along the parade path to protect people from truck stampede attacks, such as we’ve seen now in Germany and France.  These… Read more »

Pre-Trial Delays Play Into The Hands Of The Prosecution

I wanted to bring your attention to a very important article that highlights but one of the myriad problems facing our criminal justice system.   Read the article here. Though I’m sure it’s a problem in other cities around the country, Chicago has a particularly disturbing “culture” wherein police routinely fail to show up for their court appearances, thereby delaying… Read more »

Clemency the Only Remaining Remedy for #FreeCA12

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Here’s a great TEDxTalk video by the Director and Co-Founder of the California Innocence Project (CIP), Justin Brooks.  In this succinct and entertaining talk you’ll get a quick history of Clemency in the legal system, you’ll learn a bit about the work that CIP does, and you’ll see that for the eight remaining wrongfully convicted of the #FreeTheCA12 (Those who have not… Read more »

To Watch Out For The Bogeyman Judicial System

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We tell our kids about the bogeyman, the bad people –who to watch out for- but we don’t teach them how to watch out for the judicial system. – Troilyn Robinson – Mother of two incarcerated sons – Unprisoned Podcast – (stories from the system) – March 2, 2016 One of the common threads in practically all exonerees personal stories is that prior to their arrests and… Read more »

Too Many People In Prison… For Too Long A Time

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Too many people in prison For too many laws For too long a time We need to rethink some of that. True words indeed, Grover Norquist. Even on Christmas- especially on Christmas!- we need to remember that our criminal justice system is broken and innocent people are suffering even at this very moment. With over 2.2 MILLION people currently incarcerated… Read more »

Wrongful Convictions Don’t Really Happen (Right?)

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Let’s face it: most of us don’t want to believe that wrongful convictions really happen.  And, if they do happen we tell ourselves that they must only happen very very rarely. This is why it is so important that we pay attention to the stories of exonerees – those who are living proof of the woeful challenges facing our criminal… Read more »

Criminal Justice Reform Requires Mercy (Not Merely Money)

When it comes to criminal justice reform- #CJReform – if we only talk about “expenses” and “costs” in terms of tax dollars, spending and saving, then we have really already missed the point and set ourselves up for failure.  Like so many other issues, the starting point must be people.  We have to start by talking about individuals, the real… Read more »

If We Only Defended The Popular, Pretty & Preferred

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Justice would be without meaning if it only defended the popular, pretty, and preferred of our society. The real test of any principle is when it must be applied to those we deem unworthy, undesirable, and unliked… Those despised among us. We cannot be hypocrites- we must extend the protections of our laws to all defendants alike. Period. “Only by… Read more »

Our Starting Point Must Always Be The Individual (Not The State)

Our country and our judicial system were founded upon the crucial notion that the rights of the individual must always be protected against the monstrous powers of the State.  This cannot be forgotten as we move towards substantive criminal justice reform. Our starting point must always be the individual, not the State.   When someone is wrongfully convicted it’s (by… Read more »