Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, a notorious online marketplace for the sale of heroin, cocaine, LSD and other...
Every 10 days on average, South Carolina law enforcement officers point their guns at someone and pull the triggers, 235 shootings since 2009. Eighty-nine people died, and 96 were wounded, says the Charleston Post and Courier. Each shooting triggered an investigation into whether officers were justified in using deadly force. With just a few notable exceptions, these officers were cleared of any wrongdoing. Many cases were open and shut, but a Post and Courier investigation uncovered case after case where agents with the State Law Enforcement Division failed to answer key questions about what happened, failed to document the troubled backgrounds of the officers who drew their guns, and failed to pinpoint missteps and tactical mistakes that could be used to prevent future bloodshed.
Never-before released dashboard videos reveal a disturbing pattern of officers shooting at and into vehicles. Officers told the state they fired because they were afraid of being injured or killed by these cars and trucks. The videos show that some officers were out of harm’s way when they opened fire. Case files show little or no documentation that the officers’ accounts were challenged over these inconsistencies. The thoroughness of these investigations can mean the difference between justice delivered and justice denied. A shoddy examination can hamper prosecutions and make it impossible to convict the criminally culpable; it can lead to rogue officers remaining on the streets with badges and guns; it can undermine public trust in law enforcement. The newspaper’s findings come after the Walter Scott shooting in North Charleston and controversial cases in Ferguson, Mo., New York, Baltimore and Cleveland. Not since the Rodney King beating in 1991 have police departments been scrutinized so closely for their use of force.
Alabama officials reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice over the treatment of female inmates, avoiding federal intervention in the state's prisons, reports the Alabama Media Group. Here are highlights of what Alabama promised at Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women over nine months: Separate dorm and work assignments for likely victims and likely abusers; help for inmates who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and "gender-nonconforming;" no more staff ogling of inmates in the showers; special training for prison employees; better screening and monitoring of employees.
Also, faster investigations into sexual abuse claims, no more polygraph tests for inmates who raise allegations of sexual abuse, and a federal monitor will make sure everything in the agreement actually takes place at Tutwiler. Alabama is footing the bill for the monitor, who will have complete access to the prison. "Prisoners are entitled to be safe from sexual predation by staff, and to live in an environment free from sexual assault, sexual harassment and the constant fear of these abuses," said the acting head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta.
Florida inmates with mental illnesses who were once confined around the clock to a cell block filled with feces, rotten...
Virginia officials discussed this week whether a simple logistical swap with incoming and outgoing state prisoners could...
The agreement entered into by the Cleveland Police Department in which the department has promised to enact widespread...
Licensed Texas handgun owners will be able to carry their weapons openly under a measure nearing agreement in the legislature, the Texas Tribune reports. The last snag was removal of a controversial provision that law enforcement officials have said would allow criminals to carry firearms without repercussions. The provision would have limited the power of law enforcement officials to ask those visibly carrying guns to present their permits. That proposal had support from some Democrats who say it would help prevent racial profiling, as well as conservatives who say it is necessary to protect Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Critics, including the state's police chiefs, said it amounted to a backdoor effort to repeal licensing requirements for handgun-toting Texans altogether. Gov. Greg Abbott has said he would sign any open carry bill that reaches his desk.
Thirty-one states allow tougher sentences in criminal cases involving gang members, says the New York Times. In one...
Whatever it may be called, including smack, horse, brown sugar, or Mexican mud, heroin is claiming lives and wrecking American Indian families across Minnesota, says the St. Paul Pioneer Press. across the state and nation. Clyde Bellecourt, 79, is a community spiritual elder and co-founder of the influential American Indian Movement. He mentioned one recent victim, a 34-year-old mother of three. The oldest, 12, found her dead when he returned from school. Bellecourt presided over the burial, as he has done on numerous occasions. Aida Strom is the American Indian patient advocate at Hennepin County Medical Center. She has fielded a flood of calls from neonatal physicians and gynecologists about an alarming number of infants born with heroin or opiate dependency issues. Along with meth, heroin is sadly "the perfect drug for a disenfranchised community with historical rape and trauma issues," said Strom.
Walter Lamar, a former FBI agent who runs a Washington, D.C.-based law enforcement and training concern that focuses on Indian communities and reservations, predicted more than two years ago in an Indian Country Today article that heroin would become a major problem. He hated to be proved right. He said Mexican drug cartels and other dope pushers targeted reservations because of less competition, a steady supply of customers and lack of tribal law enforcement resources to deal with interdiction. "It started out with prescription painkiller abuse because opiates are an easy gateway to heroin," said Lamar, who also served as deputy director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Office of Law Enforcement.
Texas is one of about 40 states that put children on sex offender registries; half make those registries public. NPR...
TCR at a Glance
special report May 29, 2015
Intervention programs claim to stop domestic abuse, but the data is far from conclusive.
May 28, 2015
The MacArthur Foundation selects 20 jurisdictions to spur a $75 million nationwide experiment in jail reform.
special report May 26, 2015
A New York State Commission today proposes a major overhaul of the state’s approach to sentencing.
q & a May 25, 2015
A unique encyclopedia documents the painful and often tragic history of African Americans and the law since the colonial era.
new & notable May 22, 2015
A study in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds rampant instances of both incapacitated and forcible rape on campus
May 21, 2015
Despite the state’s achievements in juvenile justice reform, a study reveals racial bias when kids run afoul of the law.
new & notable May 20, 2015
The federal Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received more than 260,000 reports of online fraud in 2014