Archive for November 2014

The Patina of Process

If a lay person is feeling confident about the American judicial process, he believes it is the “best in the world” and rigorous. Courts convict people all the time with no rigor at all. They sentence people to death with no rigor. @ThisIsJoshSmith @r343l — Ta-Nehisi Coates (@tanehisicoates) November 22, 2014 .@tanehisicoates There is no…

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Thanksgiving Criminal Charges

While Thanksgiving is a time to be spent with family and reflect on things we’re most thankful for, unfortunately, it’s also a time where we see an uptick in certain types of criminal charges. Often when large numbers of family members and friends get together, people enjoy a few drinks and sometimes, an innocent conversation…

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The Ferguson Problem

Let’s talk about Ferguson. No, not about the deep social problems that create fear and distrust among African Americans about the law enforcement agencies that are supposed to keep their streets safe. And, no, not about a pattern of racism and discrimination that means that 1 in 3 African American males are in contact with…

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Fixing the Called and Failed Problem: A Modest Proposal

WRAL’s Amanda Lamb has a report on the cost and hassle created by missed court dates: when defendants fail to come to court, the judge orders that they be Called & Failed by the Deputy, and an Order for Arrest is issued requiring law enforcement to track down and arrest the defendant. According to the…

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Five Reforms to Make a More Efficient Criminal Justice System

North Carolina’s larger counties are overwhelmed with the high volume of cases, and an inefficient system that doesn’t process cases as efficiently as it could. The result is overcrowded court rooms, expanding dockets, and long delays for defendants and victims seeking justice. A once-efficient system has fall prey to attempts by the legislature to remove…

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Legal Weed

Scott Greenfield on havoc that weed’s criminalization has caused the American people, filling our jails with mostly young African-American men, creating an underclass of people with criminal records: “The worst nastiness we can do is destroy lives. And we know the criminalization of marijuana has done that.”

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Government Prosecutes a Man for Telling the Truth about the Lie Detector

In what must be the most asinine criminal prosecution of the past month, a federal grand jury issued an indictment earlier this week charging an Oklahoma man with five counts of obstructing justice and defrauding the government by teaching customers how to beat the polygraph. Doug Williams, owner of Polygraph.com, offers online tutorials and in-person,…

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Embezzlement: America’s Retail Workers Out-Stealing Shoplifters

Shoplifting is typically prosecuted as a misdemeanor in North Carolina, except when the suspect removes an anti-theft security device from the product. In those cases, the person may be prosecuted with a felony charge, although, assuming the amount of theft is relatively low, a deferred prosecution or deferral program is sometimes available. In many other…

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Gagging Student Reporters: A New Low in Florida

One of my first lessons in the power of large institutions to pressure individuals was as a student journalist at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1991, I was the “crime beat reporter” for The Daily Pennsylvanian, the independent student newspaper which was funded entirely through advertisements and received no University funding. We were entirely student…

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Judicial Transparency in North Carolina

The News & Observer ran this opinion piece by Catharine Arrowood, president of the North Carolina Bar Association, regarding House Bill 562, a last minute bill passed earlier this year that: Placed all proceedings before the Judicial Standards Commission under a blanket of secrecy. The North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission was created in 1973 to…

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