By James M. Doyle
The world of criminal justice and the media that monitor it act as if whenever there is no one to hang, there is nothing to learn. We think “accountability” is the same thing as punishment.
But medicine, aviation and other high-risk fields recognize the need for a “forward-looking accountability” that aims to understand and lower the risks of repetition.
By Danielle Sered
The grand jury decisions regarding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have awakened an essential national conversation about long-standing inequities in our legal sysem and the role of law enforcement in communities of color in particular.
By Jonathan Blanks
“Testilying” is the colloquial term for the police practice of lying on official documentation or in court under oath (i.e., perjury). Typically, testilying is used to justify searches in drug cases that would otherwise be deemed illegal.
By Joseph Galanek
By Caleb Mason
With all the charges by commentators that St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch “sandbagged” the grand jury presentation on the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., it is easy to overlook the pretty astounding fact that we, the public, were given the transcripts and evidence in the first place. We should hope that district attorneys across the country will follow McCulloch’s lead in two important procedural respects:
- make full-evidence presentations to grand juries in controversial police shootings, even when the DA would personally choose not to charge; and
- promptly release to the public the full grand jury proceedings in the event of a vote not to charge.
By Barry Krisberg
From 2010-2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported nearly 1,700 “justifiable homicides” by police, but this number is based on voluntary reporting. Most experts conclude that it misses many cases of citizen deaths due to police actions. These officer-involved deaths or serious injuries have disproportionately involved men of color. Indictments, prosecutions and convictions in the cases have been exceedingly rare.
By Steven Epstein
At this time of year, when holiday parties are the norm, it is expected that police forces will once again turn up their efforts at stopping DWI by increasing the number of DWI patrols and sobriety checkpoints. An understanding of the serious consequences of a DWI may be just what the doctor ordered to prevent being arrested for drunk driving.
A conviction for any DWI offense will stay on your record for life. Although the charges may be reduced for first- time offenders who don’t have any aggravating factors, even the reduced charge of driving while ability impaired (“DWAI”) is an offense that never gets sealed and stays on your driving and arrest record for life under New York law.
By Graham Kates
America is a place where nearly 7 million lives are under the supervision of the criminal justice system, while nearly 78 million lives have had direct experience with it, and with the millions who spend their lives working as part of that system.
But their voices are getting lost. The very people who should be setting the agenda for a much-needed conversation about police-community relations, criminal justice policy and police tactics are the ones who seem to have the least influence in the debate.
By David J. Krajicek
I arrived in New York from Nebraska in 1984 and would soon be working as a Daily News crime reporter. The front-page story that fall was the police shooting of Eleanor Bumpurs, 66, an obese, ailing and emotionally disturbed black woman who was facing eviction from her $100-a-month flat in the Sedgwick Houses in the Bronx. She had been in arrears just four months.
It was a case study in the perils of aggressive police tactics. Officers popped the lock when the paranoid Bumpurs refused to open her door. She was waiting inside with a butcher knife. A team of cops failed to subdue her with plastic shields and other nonlethal alternatives. Feeling at risk, Officer Steven Smith fired two fatal shotgun blasts.
By Irvin Waller
St. Louis has such high losses of life from homicide that, on a per capita basis, it is one of four U.S. cities in the list of the 50 most violent cities in the world. But contemporary research suggests these tragic statistics are not inevitable. They are preventable.