Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute is questioning the new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Intimate...
Tennessee’s pain pill epidemic can be measured in alarming statistics about the rise and frequency of prescriptions, reports The Tennessean. Families count a different toll: loved ones dead from overdoses or in a downward spiral of addiction to such drugs as hydrocodone and oxycodone. Lawmakers and state officials are hurrying to address the problem with expanded regulations, including a proposal from Gov. Bill Haslam that would require doctors and pharmacists to consult a controlled substance database before writing or dispensing such prescriptions.
The death rate for drug overdoses has nearly tripled to 16 deaths per 100,000 people in Tennessee since 1999. The conundrum facing law enforcement is that those taking the drugs aren’t the typical abusers. The drugs aren’t being dealt on the street, and the users have prescriptions written by doctors, often in pain clinics, and distributed by pharmacists.
Almost 400 people were arrested during a series of Occupy Oakland marches and protest actions Saturday that included a group breaking into and vandalizing...
A new effort to streamline criminal prosecutions in Wisconsin takes aim at hearings once considered critical, but which some argue have morphed into costly, time-consuming tools for the defense: the preliminary examination, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A Senate bill would allow all forms of hearsay at preliminary hearings and has rekindled talk of eliminating them - something the state's Judicial Council supports.
Defense lawyers expressed concerns that the move could be the start of erosion of due process rights in the name of saving money. Preliminary hearings are not trials. They are statutory creations, not required by the state or federal constitutions. Most defendants either waive their right to the preliminary examination, or a judge finds sufficient probable cause to bind the defendant over for trial. Defense lawyers often use the hearings to get an early feeling for testimony from state witnesses, almost like taking a deposition.
After a string of violent crimes by teen and adult gang members, Memphis is gearing up to mount its largest war on gangs, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. For the first time, local, state and federal law enforcement and prosecutors are teaming to create a multijurisdictional gang task force.
"We want to roll this out as soon as possible, but we want to be successful the first time," said U.S. Attorney Ed Stanton. "Egos have been checked at the door. We all want something that is going to be meaningful, effective and efficient." Federal agents with the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, have agreed to participate. Members of Memphis Police Department's Gang Unit say they're anxious for reinforcements. "With us just having a 12-man unit, we're spread thin," said unit supervisor Lt. Anthony Carter.
Baltimore police officials say their new heads of training and internal discipline — hires from outside the department — will help restore public trust in an agency marred by corruption and a "friendly-fire" incident in which an officer was killed, reports the Baltimore Sun. The additions of a former federal drug agent and a veteran police commander from Montgomery County, Md., prove his department is serious about improving, said Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld.
"We know we have in some areas, in some communities, and with some officers, an estranged, broken relationship," Bealefeld said. "I'm relying on these two." Bealefeld said Grayling Williams, the new head of the Internal Investigation Division, which handles complaints of abuse, excessive force, and other improprieties on the 3,100-member force, will put a public face on efforts to regain credibility. The hires, made with input from a state police training commission and an advisory board of citizens who help investigate officer misconduct, came incidents last year that threatened confidence in the department.
New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was on the defensive two days after reports surfaced that a paralegal accused his son Greg, 43, of rape, reports...
The aging prison population in the U.S. is a "silver tsunami" heading our way, according to a new Human Rights Watch report. The fastest-growing population in federal and state prisons are those 55 and older, a trend that is forcing cash-strapped local governments to wrestle with the growing cost of caring for the aging inmates. Some experts are pushing states to take the controversial step of releasing certain older prisoners before their sentences are up.
The report says the number of state and federal prisoners 55 or over nearly quadrupled to 124,400 between 1995 and 2010, while the prison population as a whole grew by only 42%. Some legal experts cite the drug wars of the 1980s and 1990s, which sent away thousands of young men to decades-long prison sentences. In addition, tougher sentencing laws, including the abolition of parole in many states and the advent of three-strikes-you're-out laws in others, have fueled the growth in the overall prison population. At current rates, a third of all prisoners will be 50 or older by 2030, according to a study to be released next month by the American Civil Liberties Union.
In the last 10 years, the majority of Texas Supreme Court decisions have favored corporate interests over consumers, and the panel of judges has repeatedly overstepped its authority by overturning jury verdicts and interpreting the law to benefit the rich, according to a scathing report set to be released today by consumer advocacy group Texas Watch and reported by the Texas Tribune. “The Texas Supreme Court has marched in lock-step to consistently and overwhelmingly reward corporate defendants and the government at the expense of Texas families,” the report says.
Texas Watch says in its study, which reviewed court decisions in more than 624 cases in the past 10 years, that the trend started when Gov. Rick Perry began appointing Supreme Court justices in 2000. The report argues that data from court rulings shows that Perry’s appointees “corporatized the court.” But the court, a former justice and conservative groups disagree with the report's conclusions, arguing that a statistical analysis doesn't provide enough context. The state's highest civil court ruled in favor of defendants — mostly corporations and government entities — in about 74 percent of the 624 consumer cases brought before the panel in the last decade, according to the report. Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, said the high court’s nine justices, who are all Republicans, are too similar to one another. Many represented corporations in court before they became justices, and 85 percent of the time, they agreed with one another.
The chief justice of Georgia's Supreme Court urged lawmakers to overhaul its juvenile justice system in the same way state leaders have proposed focusing more heavily on rehabilitating rather than jailing nonviolent adult offenders, reports the Associated Press. Chief Justice Carol Hunstein made the comments Wednesday in her annual State of the Judiciary address. She said that putting nonviolent youth offenders into juvenile jails increases the likelihood they will commit crimes in the future, wastes public money and exposes them to violence and abuse.
State funding cuts have limited access to mental health and child welfare services along with group homes, Hunstein said. As a result, she said juvenile judges sometimes face the choice of sending young offenders to lock-up facilities or sending them home "to get nothing at all." She cited statistics from the Department of Juvenile Justice showing that in the past three years, nearly two-thirds of the roughly 10,000 incarcerated young people have substance abuse problems. More than one-third had mental health problems. "As with adults, we have learned that our get-tough tactics have failed to scare juvenile offenders straight," Hunstein said.
TCR at a Glance
commentary November 25, 2015
The Justice Department has played a major role since 1994 in forcing police to reform. How do we measure its achievements?
new & notable November 24, 2015
As states begin to implement criminal justice reforms, judges and prosecutors will likely start to use risk and needs assessment informat...
November 21, 2015
The authors of the Paris attacks now lead global groups whose criminal activities are the ‘life blood’ of terrorism, says a l...
November 20, 2015
Local political races and smarter policing are key to justice reform, a Washington conference is told.
November 19, 2015
Sen. Gary Peters tells criminologists meeting in Washington that the odds are improving for a "top to bottom" review of the justice system.
special report November 17, 2015
TCR concludes its investigation of the uphill efforts by lawyers and civil liberties advocates to curb ‘outrageous government condu...
special report November 16, 2015
Is It OK when the government makes up crimes to catch criminals? What if they’re not criminals?