Law and Order

Law and Order
9:44 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Study Reveals Worse Outcomes For Black And Latino Defendants

Cyrus Vance Jr., the district attorney for Manhattan, wanted to see if there were disparities in how the cases were disposed of.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 12:26 pm

There are a lot of steps that come between an arrest and a conviction, and between conviction and sentencing. And throughout that winding process, a prosecutor's decisions carry enormous weight.

Does the prosecutor accept the case? Does she have the defendant jailed before trial? Is a plea bargain offered to the defendant, and if so, what are the terms?

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Law and Order
2:28 am
Mon July 14, 2014

How Banning One Question Could Help Ex-Offenders Land A Job

Sherman Justice says he struggled when he got out of prison after serving time for robbery and drug trafficking.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 6:40 pm

Washington, D.C., is expected to join four states and several cities soon in prohibiting companies from asking job applicants — up front — if they have a criminal record.

It's part of a growing movement called Ban the Box, a reference to that box on a job application form that asks, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?"

Advocates for the laws say having to check the box prevents many ex-offenders from getting a fair shot at a job.

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Law and Order
7:03 am
Sat July 12, 2014

What We Talk About When We Talk About Violence In Chicago

Firefighters in Chicago hose down the scene of a shooting last fall where several people, including a toddler, were shot.
Paul Beaty ASSOCIATED PRESS

Originally published on Sat July 12, 2014 10:28 am

We have a default template for the way we process mass shootings. We scour through every available scrap of the perpetrators' interior lives – Facebook postings, YouTube videos, interviews with former roommates — to try to find out what drove them to kill. The sites of the massacres become a kind of shorthand: Columbine, Sandy Hook, Fort Hood. We conduct protracted, unsatisfying conversations about gun rights, and about mental illness, and about how we have to make sure that they never happen again.

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Law and Order
3:11 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Corruption Convictions Spell 10 Year Sentence For Former NOLA Mayor

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 9:39 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A federal judge has sentenced former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to 10 years in prison for corruption conviction. The sentence was lighter than what prosecutors were seeking for the former two-term Democrat. NPR's Debbie Elliott covered Nagin's trial earlier this year, and she joins us now to talk about today's sentencing. Debbie, first remind us of what Ray Nagin was convicted of back in February.

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Law and Order
2:58 am
Wed July 9, 2014

States Push For Prison Sentence Overhaul; Prosecutors Push Back

The Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in downtown Lafayette, La. By most counts, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, but sentencing reformers have loosened some of the state's mandatory minimum sentences and made parole slightly easier to get.
Denny Culbert for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 7:01 am

Some red states like Louisiana and Texas have emerged as leaders in a new movement: to divert offenders from prisons and into drug treatment, work release and other incarceration alternatives.

By most counts, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country. In recent years, sentencing reformers in the capital, Baton Rouge, have loosened some mandatory minimum sentences and have made parole slightly easier for offenders to get.

But as reformers in Louisiana push for change, they're also running into stiffening resistance — especially from local prosecutors.

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Law and Order
2:33 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Gay Teacher Files Sex Discrimination Claim Against Georgia School

Flint Dollar practices organ at First Presbyterian Church in Milledgeville, Ga. He's working there part time while he pursues a legal complaint against a private Catholic school that declined to renew his position after administrators learned he plans to marry his male partner.
Adam Ragusea Georgia Public Broadcasting

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 12:45 pm

For the past four years, Flint Dollar has been teaching music at Mount de Sales Academy, a Catholic school in Macon, Ga. He is, by all accounts, beloved by his students.

But Dollar won't be leading the band or teaching the chorus in the fall. His contract was not renewed after administrators found out he plans to marry a man.

Under federal anti-discrimination laws, employers are not prohibited from hiring or firing people on the basis of sexual orientation. Dollar is working to change that.

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Law and Order
3:38 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

High Court Allows Some Companies To Opt Out Of Contraceptives Mandate

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:07 pm

For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a for-profit corporation can refuse to comply with a general government mandate because doing so would violate the corporation's asserted religious beliefs.

By a 5-4 vote, the court struck an important part of President Obama's health care law — the requirement that all insurance plans cover birth control — because it conflicted with a corporation owners' religious beliefs.

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Law and Order
3:44 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

High Court Ruling Sends Abortion Clinics Scrambling To Adjust

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 6:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Let's go now to Massachusetts where staffs at abortion clinics are scrambling to adjust their plans after that ruling. From Boston, NPR's Tovia Smith reports.

TOVIA SMITH, BYLINE: The rules of the game have changed, as one abortion-rights activist put it, and protesters agree on that point. Ray Neery, who's been demonstrating outside Boston-area clinics for years, says he can do a better job now inside the 35 foot buffer zone than he could from the outside.

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Law and Order
7:01 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Is A Threat On Facebook Real? Supreme Court Will Weigh In

The Supreme Court will look at a case in its upcoming session dealing with what constitutes a "true threat" on Facebook.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat June 21, 2014 9:48 am

This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of a man on Facebook who threatened to kill his wife.

In 2010, Pennsylvania resident Anthony Elonis got dumped, lost his job and expressed his frustrations via the Internet.

"He took to Facebook as a form of, what he says, a form of therapy," says criminologist Rob D'Ovidio of Drexel University, who is following the case.

Is It A 'True Threat'?

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Law and Order
11:49 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Kids In Juvenile Detention Face Risk Of Violent Death As Adults

Girls who were arrested and detained were at particular risk for premature death in adulthood.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:24 am

Delinquent children are much more likely than their nondelinquent peers to die violently later in life, a study finds. And girls who ended up in juvenile detention were especially vulnerable, dying at nearly five times the rate of the general population.

"This was astonishing," says Linda Teplin, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University's medical school and the lead author of the study.

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