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October 12, 2021

Rounding up some recent notable criminal justice commentary

With limited time and lots going on, a round-up of links allows me to highlight quickly some interesting recent criminal justice commentary:

From Balls and Strikes, by Josie Duffy Rice, "The Supreme Court Can't Deliver Justice for William Wooden: The Court’s preoccupation with the precise definition of “occasion” obscures a multitude of deeper failures of the criminal legal system." 

From Balls and Strikes, by Jordan Paul, "How Courts Robbed Juries of a Powerful Tool for Doing Justice: Jury nullification is a pre-colonial tool that allows jurors to send a message to the state that certain criminal prosecutions are unacceptable. But for centuries, courts have been working out to hollow that right."

From The Marshall Project, "When Mom Is In Prison — And When She Comes Home: 'Oh, Mother of Mine,' a short documentary and photography project by Anna Rawls, explores the generational impact of incarcerating mothers."

From National Review, by Kevin Williamson, "Criminal-Justice-System Error"

From Reason, by Ira Stoll, "The Varsity Blues Trial Is a Reminder of Our Corrupt Criminal Justice System: Plead guilty and get "punishments ranging from probation to nine months in prison." Insist on a trial and face decades in prison."

From The Oklahoman, by Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, "Oklahoma's rush to execute harms culture of life"

From Slate, by John Pfaff, "Why Our Fixation on the Murder Rate Is Killing Us"

October 12, 2021 at 08:47 AM | Permalink


The jury nullification one to me is misguided.

These days, if anything, it often will the case that ignoring the law can hurt the cause of criminal justice. I'm far from sure that net a general power to nullify, with the jury being able to be told/encouraged to consider doing so, will help in that respect.

Juries have a hard enough time to think through the facts. That made me wary in a past thread to add the responsibility to determine sentences. Determining "justice" requires a result is that much harder. And, they still can nullify, after all. A crafty advocate (on either side really) can in many cases push the jury there.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 12, 2021 4:48:57 PM

Separately, this is another case where some "originalist" take can mislead. The "pre-colonial tool" existed in a rather different time.

For instance, there was a lot less appellate examination. A person often had no lawyer. The law itself was often much less complicated, much law "common law" and not written down. And, so forth.

Also, where it exists, grand juries also provide a means to block even bringing a case to trial.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 12, 2021 4:52:35 PM

Are the Jan. 6 Plea Deals Too Lenient?
By Carissa Byrne Hessick


Posted by: Joe | Oct 13, 2021 12:06:33 PM

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