Law and Order

Law and Order
3:33 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Alabama Chief Justice: Federal Courts Don't Hold Sway On Marriage

Robert Bate of Birmingham holds signs endorsing same-sex marriage outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Ala., Monday. On Tuesday, the chief justice of the state's Supreme Court said federal courts are overstepping their jurisdiction in deciding cases about the issue.
Tamika Moore AL.com/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 6:10 pm

Days after a federal judge in Alabama ruled in favor of a same-sex couple who want their marriage recognized, the chief justice of the state's Supreme Court has sent a letter telling the governor that federal courts don't have jurisdiction over what constitutes a marriage in Alabama.

Chief Justice Roy Moore said that Friday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade "has raised serious, legitimate concerns about the propriety of federal court jurisdiction over the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment."

Read more
Law and Order
2:48 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Child Abuse And Neglect Laws Aren't Being Enforced, Report Finds

Will Crocker Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 10:27 am

Laws intended to protect children from abuse and neglect are not being properly enforced, and the federal government is to blame. That's according to a study by the Children's Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, which says children are suffering as a result.

The numbers are grim. Almost 680,000 children in the United States were the victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. More than 1,500 of them died.

Read more
Law and Order
4:34 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

French Quarter Sees Violent Crime Surge; Residents Demand Changes

New Orleans police officer Patrick Schneider patrols Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter on Saturday.
Jason Saul WWNO

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 10:25 am

New Orleans' most visited neighborhood rarely sees the type of violent crime that plagues other parts of the city. Recently, several high-profile robberies have rattled the region and led to criticism of the police department and the mayor, both of whom are rethinking safety measures.

Over the next few weeks, more and more visitors will roam the city's famous French Quarter, drinks in hand, for Mardi Gras. In less than 2 square miles, the French Quarter combines hotels, restaurants, street performers, and all-night bars with historic homes and tight-knit neighbors.

Read more
Law and Order
6:26 am
Fri January 9, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court Looks at Louisiana Same-Sex Marriage Case

HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow speaking with reporters outside of the Supreme Court.
Credit HRC

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to take up Robicheaux v. George -- the case challenging Louisiana’s ban on the marriage of same-sex couples. It may be the case that decides the issue once and for all for the entire nation.


Read more
Law and Order
2:58 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Traffic Stops Persuade People To Avoid Drinking And Driving

Police officers check drivers at a sobriety checkpoint in Escondido, Calif.
Lenny Ignelzi AP

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 9:55 am

It's a big concern during the holiday season — drunken drivers on the roads and highways. Every year, 10,000 people are killed in crashes in the United States involving a driver under the influence. Now researchers say there are steps communities can take to decrease the number of drivers who are drunk.

Read more
Law and Order
5:35 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

After 17 Years Behind Bars, Coming Home To A Different Life

Stephanie George (right) with her daughter, Kendra, and son Courtney. They were 5 and 8 when she went to prison on a drug charge. Last December, President Obama commuted her sentence.
Marisa Peñaloza NPR

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:45 pm

When she went to prison on drug charges, Stephanie George was 26 years old, a mother to three young kids.

Over 17 years behind bars, her grandparents died. Her father died. But the worst came just months before her release.

"I lost my baby son," George says, referring to Will, shot dead on a Pensacola, Fla., street.

"I feel bad because I'm not coming home to all of them, you know," sobs George, now 44. "He was 4 when I left, but I miss him."

Read more
Law and Order
3:39 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Judge Regrets Harsh Human Toll Of Mandatory Minimum Sentences

The shocking death of basketball player Len Bias from a cocaine overdose in 1986 led Congress to pass tough mandatory sentences for drug crimes.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:08 pm

It seems long ago now, but in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, murders and robberies exploded as cocaine and other illegal drugs ravaged American cities.

Then came June 19, 1986, when the overdose of a college athlete sent the nation into shock just days after the NBA draft. Basketball star Len Bias could have been anybody's brother or son.

Congress swiftly responded by passing tough mandatory sentences for drug crimes. Those sentences, still in place, pack federal prisons to this day. More than half of the 219,000 federal prisoners are serving time for drug offenses.

Read more
Law and Order
5:15 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Why Police Departments Have A Hard Time Recruiting Blacks

Police wearing riot gear walk toward a man with his hands raised Aug. 11 in Ferguson, Mo. Renewed calls for police departments to hire more minorities have followed the shooting there of a black man by a white police officer.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 2:16 pm

Since the Ferguson, Mo., shooting, there have been renewed calls for police departments to hire more minority officers, but it turns out it's not that simple.

Police in the U.S. are more diverse than they were a generation ago. In the 1980s, 1 in 6 officers belonged to an ethnic or racial minority. Now it's about 1 in 4. The challenge these days is finding enough recruits to keep that trend going.

Read more
Law and Order
4:15 pm
Sun November 23, 2014

Racial Disparities In Arrests Are Prevalent, But Cause Isn't Clear

Protesters and law enforcement officers face off during a protest outside the Ferguson Police Department in October. Ferguson police statistics show the department arrest blacks at a higher rate than other racial groups — but that disparity is true for police departments across the country.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 11:00 am

Ferguson, Mo., continues to watch and wait as a grand jury decides whether to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Brown's death was the spark for mass protests in Ferguson, but many of the city's black population say the problems go deeper, and that blacks are unfairly singled out by police.

Ferguson police statistics show the department does arrest blacks at a higher rate than other racial groups. But that disparity is true for police departments across the country.

Read more
Law and Order
3:11 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Last 'Angola 3' Inmate's Conviction Should Be Thrown Out, Court Says

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 5:33 pm

A federal appeals court has ruled that a man who has spent about 40 years in solitary confinement in a Louisiana prison should have his conviction overturned.

Albert Woodfox, the only member of the so-called Angola 3 still incarcerated, was convicted of the 1972 murder of a young prison guard named Brent Miller. Woodfox was found guilty along with fellow inmate Herman Wallace.

Read more

Pages