Antonio Brown isn’t the only alleged gun offender whose release on bail has Chicago’s top cop fuming, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is angry about the killing of Brown’s 7-year-old son, Amari, who was shot on the Fourth of July by a gunman aiming at his father. The boy would still be alive if a judge had kept Brown behind bars on gun charges, the superintendent says. Hundreds of other people also have been returned to the streets of Chicago this year after being charged with gun possession, says McCarthy, who sees that as a key reason for the city’s violence. “Until such time that people go to jail for possession of an illegal firearm, we’re going to be in a bad situation,” McCarthy told the Sun-Times.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he was “saddened and sickened” by the killing of Amari Brown and his father’s reported lack of cooperation with detectives. “You have too many guns on the streets. You have a criminal-justice system that lets out too many people repeatedly who use guns. You have a father who’s lost a child that should be cooperating with the police department in solving the crime of their child. And you have gang-bangers without any moral compunction — without any moral remorse or responsibility shooting into a playground or shooting into a front yard as if it’s their personal shooting gallery,” Emanuel said. “From the criminal justice system to elected leaders as it relates to gun laws . . . to raising people with values, the adults have let . . . Amari Brown down,” he said.
Sixty-six percent of states that elect prosecutors have no blacks in those offices, says a study reported by the New York Times. About 95 percent of the 2,437 elected state and local prosecutors across the U.S. in 2014 were white, and 79 percent were white men, said the study by the San-Francisco-based Women Donors Network. White men make up 31 percent of the U.S. population. While the racial makeup of police forces has been documented, the diversity of prosecutors, who many experts say exercise more influence over the legal system, has had little scrutiny. Prosecutors decide in most cases whether to bring charges. Because most criminal cases end in plea bargains, they have a direct hand in deciding how long defendants spend behind bars. “What this shows us is that, in the context of a growing crisis that we all recognize in criminal justice in this country, we have a system where incredible power and discretion is concentrated in the hands of one demographic group,” said Brenda Choresi Carter of the Women Donors Network.
“I think most people know that we’ve had a significant problem with lack of diversity in decision-making roles in the criminal justice system for a long time,” said Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, which offers legal representation for poor defendants and prisoners. “I think what these numbers dramatize is that the reality is much worse than most people imagine and that we are making almost no progress.” The data were compiled by the Center for Technology an Civic Life, a nonpartisan group. The Women Donors Network is composed of about 200 female philanthropists. Researchers looked at all elected city, county and judicial district prosecutors, as well as state attorneys general, in office as of last summer. The study found that 15 states had exclusively white elected prosecutors: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. In Kentucky and Missouri, which also has more than 100 elected prosecutors, all but one was white.
Cincinnati, facing rising violence and hosting the Major League All-Star game next week, is reeling from a downtown melee Saturday night that ended up with a man hospitalized and two police officers injured. "Saturday night was unacceptable," said Mayor John Cranley . "We are not panicking," said Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. Top political and public safety leaders took responsibility for allowing Saturday night's violence to occur. And they pledged All-Star Game visitors would be safe. Police said downtown violence has dropped 50 percent from a year ago.
Former McKinney, Tx., police Cpl. Eric Casebolt was vilified across the U.S., faced death threats and was denounced by his own chief after a well-chronicled video showed the officer yanking a bikini-clad teenage girl to the ground and pointing his gun at two unarmed boys who tried to help her. Casebolt, a former officer of the year, quit his dream job. Despite his tribulations, hundreds are vying to take his place, reports the Dallas Morning News. The McKinney Police Department has received 692 applications through nine months of the current fiscal year. That represents a near-tripling from fiscal year 2010, when the department received just 248.
Dallas, the region’s largest department, has seen applications go up and down, but still has thousands of job candidates to choose from annually. Experts don’t believe a few bad months of publicity will cause interest in police jobs to wane anytime soon. “I’d probably characterize it as steady,” said Kent Kerley, the chairman of the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Criminal Justice. The last two years have been filled with questions about police tactics: shootings of unarmed men in Ferguson, Mo., and North Charleston, S.C., and the deaths of two other suspects in New York City and Baltimore have become prominent. The danger of the job was evident last month when a man angry at police over his child custody battle shot up Dallas' police headquarters. Robert Taylor, a University of Texas at Dallas professor, said he believes the media hyperventilated over McKinney and made it appear far worse than it was. He believes such incidents will at least improve the quality of recruits.
The death of a 3-year-old boy yesterday after what appeared to be an accidental shooting at a home was the latest in a...
Legal scholar Adam Benforado of Drexel University law school says many routine procedures in the criminal justice system are bound to lead to mistakes and unfair outcomes because they rest on false assumptions about how our brains work, says NPR. In a new book, "Unfair:The New Science of Criminal Injustice," he cites research suggesting that handsome defendants get lighter sentences, that parole boards are tougher when they get tired and that some common police practices encourage false identification of suspects. Benforado says the system could be improved to account for unseen biases and cognitive failures that undermine the search for truth.
Benforado cites a phenomenon called "perspective bias" that makes him worry "about this broad movement right now to switch to videotaping everything." He suggests using videotape for certain purposes, but not for other purposes. "We might use that body camera in order to make identifications of people, but we might not do it to ...present that evidence as a clear and unambiguous representation of what happened in the key moments," he says. In the case of jury trials, Benforado says that, "The things that we think are determining the outcomes of cases - that is the facts and the law - are often not what determines whether someone is convicted or not convicted, how long a sentence is. What matters most are the particular backgrounds and identities of the jurors."
Comedian Bill Cosby, 77, admitted in a 2005 court deposition that he obtained Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with, reports the Associated Press. He also admitted giving the sedative to at least one woman. The Hollywood Reporter said the documents disclose Cosby testified he called Tom Illus, an agent at William Morris Agency and asked him to send money to one female accuser. Cosby is said to have testified that Illus, now deceased, did not ask him why. "I don't expect to see a public confession from Bill Cosby. He's not going to get on his knees," Howard Bragman of Reputation.com tells USA Today.
The damning court documents could be the best-case scenario for Cosby, says Jeetendr Sehdev, an authority on celebrity branding and professor of marketing at the University of Southern California. "It's almost an admission of guilt without him admitting guilt. It's the closest we're going to get to an admission of guilt and clarity around what happened." Does the new information seal the deal on Cosby's legacy? "His legacy was already sealed before," Bragman says. "It's just too many (women) with too much the same story and no relation to each other. It was hard to see any redemption for him." To date, some 40 women have come forward alleging sexual assault or misconduct from Cosby. Should he confess, "it also validates the victims, meaning they were telling the truth, and that's important," says communications expert Karen Friedman, author of Shut Up and Say Something. Legally speaking, it remains in Cosby's best interest to keep his mouth shut.
Since the 1980s, many cities, including San Francisco, have adopted “sanctuary” policies that prevent city...
A 20-year-old warrant over an alleged $20 marijuana deal in San Francisco turned into a ticket to freedom for Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, the man charged with murder in the shooting of a stranger who was walking on a waterfront pier, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Whether he should have gotten that ticket continued to fuel debate in the aftermath of Wednesday’s slaying of Kathryn Steinle. Lopez-Sanchez, whose age is listed as 45 by police and 52 in jail records, is a convicted felon with a long history of drug crimes who has spent about half his adult life serving time for illegally entering the country and has been deported five times to Mexico.
Lopez-Sanchez was on his way to a sixth deportation earlier this year. But something changed: He got sent to San Francisco. After serving 46 months at a lockup in San Bernardino County for felony re-entry into the country, Lopez-Sanchez was sent to San Francisco in March by the federal Bureau of Prisons rather than being transferred into U.S. immigration custody. The old marijuana warrant, officials said, took precedence over the civil immigration case. Upon his return to San Francisco, immigration officials asked that he be held for deportation after the city got through with him. But after his case was discharged by city prosecutors on March 27, the day of his arraignment, he was released by the Sheriff’s Department on April 15. The immigration hold was not honored. Less than three months later, Steinle was dead.
Rhode Island's once-overcrowded prison population has dropped by 10 percent over the last decade. At last count, Rhode Island had the third-highest probation rate in the nation: the equivalent of 1 out of every 44 adult residents, 60 percent "inactively supervised," says the Providence Journal. Today, the Council of State Governments Justice Center will begin helping Rhode Island policy-makers identify potential new strategies "to reduce corrections spending and reinvest savings in strategies that can reduce recidivism and increase public safety."
The effort began in May, when Gov. Gina Raimondo, Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell, A.T. Wall, the state's prison chief, and General Assembly leaders requested support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance. As a result, the Council of State Governments Justice Center will provide "intensive technical assistance" to collect and analyze data and work with state leaders to develop new policies. A working group will recommend policies designed to reduce corrections spending and increase public safety, for the General Assembly's consideration by early next year.