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The Sorry State of Indigent Defense

By Sheldon Krantz

The legal profession is failing to respond effectively to what is an appalling access-to-justice crisis in America. With a few notable exceptions—such as Stephen Bright at the Southern Center for Human Rights, Jonathan Rapping at Gideon’s Promise, Virginia Sloan at the Constitution Project, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Laurie Robinson, the former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs—the legal profession is saying and doing little to address the sorry state of indigent defense. 

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Reforming the NYPD—Beyond Stop and Frisk

By Judy Greene

With Bill Bratton back at the helm of the New York Police Department (NYPD), many New Yorkers who remember his term of service in that post during the Giuliani administration are experiencing a bit of déjà vu. We recall his launch of CompStat, the NYPD system for ensuring command accountability at the precinct level, now replicated by police executives across the globe.  And the return of George Kelling as an NYPD management guru appears to signal a reaffirmation of Bratton’s famous “broken windows” approach to crime control in New York City.

Many New Yorkers welcome these developments, believing that Bratton’s strict enforcement of “quality of life” crimes was the driving force that won our city’s victory against the 1980’s epidemic of violent crime. However, New York University sociologist David Greenberg disagrees.  He says that while crime rates have plummeted, it’s not because of the NYPD.

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When Cops Use Force: the Limits of ‘Gerbil Voodoo’

By John Paolucci

As an internal affairs investigator and a crime scene unit supervisor, I responded to many incidents involving the use of force, some of which resulted in the murder of a police officer.  I’ve seen situations where a cop’s hesitation cost him his life, and I will venture to guess that that, rather than thinking tactically, he was thinking about how much trouble he’ll get in if he discharges his firearm. 

I know this from personal experience as well, but I was always a single guy with no kids who lived by the “It’s better to be tried by twelve than carried by six” credo.  I was prepared to use as much force as necessary and all that I had available when a situation turned violent. 

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Where Did All the Lawyers Go?

By Robin L. Barton

When I entered  the New York University (NYU) School of Law in 1989, I recall listening to classmates at orientation discuss why they’d chosen to attend law school. I was shocked at how many said their choice  was either law school or business school. Many of them had liberal arts degrees from prestigious universities. They figured what else can you do with, say, a philosophy degree?

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Can Bill Bratton Change the NYPD?

By Delores Jones-Brown

Every New York Police Department (NYPD) patrol car has the words “courtesy, professionalism and respect” (CPR) etched on its side. But for more than a decade, some New York City residents and visitors have complained that encounters with members of the city’s police have not met these high-minded standards.

Audio and video recordings have surfaced showing officers engaged in illegal searches, using foul language and being told to target racial or ethnic minority males for “stop and frisk.”  In these recordings, officers are usually neither respectful nor courteous.

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TCR at a Glance

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Have the media and policymakers overblown the latest heroin “epidemic?”

How Red Tape Snarls Prison Rape Act

special report April 10, 2014

The DOJ’s insistence on state compliance with 288 regulatory standards keeps the program’s implementation in limbo, say critics