Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Notations From the Grid (Criminal Justice Edition): On The State of Justice in America

We are pleased to launch our newest edition of "Notations From the Grid" with this courtesy of the Marshall Project :



Twisting in the wind. Speculation and rumor about change at the Justice Department dogged Attorney General Jeff Sessions all day Monday. In the morning, President Trump was said to be considering former New York City mayor (and former U.S. Attorney) Rudy Giuliani to replace him. AXIOSBy the time Giuliani said he was not interested in the job and that Sessions made the right call to recuse himself from the Russia probe (CNN) the name of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was added to the mix of possible Sessions’ successors. THE WASHINGTON POST Meanwhile, in a Tweet early Monday the president called Sessions “beleaguered” and asked why the feds aren’t investigating Hillary Clinton. THE NEW YORK TIMES
Just say nyet. Meanwhile, the DOJ nominee to lead the criminal division, Brian Benczkowski, disclosed to Congress ahead of his confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he represented a large Russian bank with close ties to Vladimir Putin. THE NEW YORK TIMES Related analysis: Is there a perjury case against Sessions for his Russia testimony? LAWFARE How Trump could replace Sessions without Senate confirmation (or a pledge to recuse from the Russia probe). JUST SECURITY Why that scenario seems more likely today than yesterday. POLITICO Looking back on the day Sessions recused himself. DAILY BEAST
You have the right to remain silent. Your gun doesn’t. Police in New York are embarking on a new program in which they’ll swab for DNA every illegal gun they come across. It’s an ambitious goal-- even the FBI and the ATF don’t test every illegal weapon they seize. It’s expensive, too, and so far the NYPD is the only police force in the country to be pressing so hard to identify those who have possessed the weapons. The goal, say advocates of the program, is to “make it radioactive” for criminals “to even pick up a gun.” THE TRACE Related: Science in the name of justice. WNYC
Norwegian would. North Dakota’s prison population has risen sharply over the past five years as tough-on-crime politics have clashed with the state’s fracking boom. State corrections officials have taken this challenge as an opportunity to try a rehabilitative approach learned from Norway: more freedom, civilian clothes, even offsite jobs. A visit to Europe last year prompted an emotional concession from the state’s corrections chief. “It was definitely one of those moments where you’re rethinking everything,” says Leann Bertsch. MOTHER JONES
The plan to litigate opioid manufacturers to death. You may remember Michael Moore from his gunslinging days as attorney general of Mississippi when he led that state’s court battles against Big Tobacco. Those battles led to a $246 billion settlement. Now Moore is pushing state attorneys general to use many of the same tactics against Big Pharma, arguing that drug makers helped spark the nation’s opioid epidemic by misrepresenting the benefits and risks of prescription opioid use. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Meet the mothers being deported by the Trump administration. Federal officials claim they are focusing their roundups of undocumented immigrants on those who have committed crimes or who pose a threat to public safety. In truth, the recent roundups also have taken in “a considerable number of women who have no criminal records and who are either the primary caretakers of young children, or the primary family breadwinners, or both.” Here are the stories of four such women. By Sarah Stillman. THE NEW YORKER Related: A veteran ICE agent, disillusioned with Trump, speaks out against the wave of arrests. THE NEW YORKER


Police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, face new questions about the “fast-track” training given to the officer who shot and killed an unarmed woman earlier this month. MINNEAPOLIS STAR-TRIBUNE
The Wyoming state penitentiary is falling apart, after only 16 years, leading to concerns about the safety and security of guards and inmates alike. CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE
Police in Chicago, Illinois, identified the epicenter of the city’s ceaseless gun violence and poured resources into easing the problem. What happened? The shootings moved to a new part of the neighborhood. CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
Ohio is about to get back in the death penalty business three-and-a-half years after a botched execution there. COLUMBUS DISPATCH
A new law in Louisiana seems unlikely to end the contentious court battles, over life sentences for juvenile offenders. BATON ROUGE ADVOCATE


Race, media coverage, and criminal justice. There are real and troubling differences in the way America covers police shootings where victims are white compared with those where victims are black. VOXRelated: The NRA and its race war; host tells viewers white families will be tortured and killed if the Black Lives Matter movement succeeds. RAW STORY
The war on drugs also is a war on women, waged by police and prosecutors. Women “have been raped, choked and killed, all in the service of public safety.” THE NEW YORK TIMES
The campus battles of Heather Mac Donald. Free speech and campus protest clash over a visit by the pro-police speaker. THE ATLANTIC
The public choice theory and criminal justice. People don’t transform themselves into objective, independent, rational thinkers just because they work for the government. By Radley Balko. THE WASHINGTON POST
What would Jesus do? An ordained minister tries to get more information about Alabama’s death penalty protocols. It doesn’t go so well. AL.COM


Decision of the Day: In which a state supreme court says local police have no authority to arrest undocumented immigrants under a federal detainer order just because the feds ask them to. SUPREME COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS
Legal Fees of the Day: Florida taxpayers will pay $1.1 million in legal fees stemming from the “Docs v. Glocks” case, the challenge to a state law that sought to prohibit doctors from talking to patients about gun ownership. The law promptly was struck down. THE NEW YORK TIMES
Audio of the Day: Everything you always wanted to know about goat milk farming in prison (but were afraid to ask). NPR
Video of the Day: New Jersey eliminated its cash bail system. Here’s how the reform looks in and out of courtrooms in the Garden State. PBS TMP Context: “I am a bail bondsman tired of being demonized.” THE MARSHALL PROJECT
Interview of the Day: Attorney General Jeff Sessions has declared war on the MS-13 gang. An expert says there is a right way and a wrong way to wage that war. WNYC

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