Law and Order

Public Safety
3:12 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

ID Check Repeal Prompts Spike In Murders, Study Finds

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 6:58 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Public Safety
10:50 am
Sat February 8, 2014

Is The Death Penalty Dying A Slow Death?

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 3:17 pm

This week, the state of Louisiana delayed the execution of Christopher Sepulvado, who was convicted of killing his 6-year-old stepson more than two decades ago.

Sepulvado’s lawyers argued that the two drugs that Louisiana officials wanted to use to put Sepulvado to death would violate his eighth amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.

There’s a shortage of drugs used for capital punishment, and it’s leading some states to consider bringing back the electric chair or the firing squad.

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Public Safety
6:17 am
Thu February 6, 2014

No Jail For Teen With 'Affluenza' Who Killed 4 In Crash

The Texas teen who was legally intoxicated last June when he caused a crash that killed four people and seriously wounded two others, was in a Fort Worth court Wednesday. Note: NPR avoids identifying minors who are prosecuted as juveniles or are victims of crimes. Other news outlets have reported his name, however.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:00 am

A Texas judge has rejected a request from prosecutors that she send a teenager to jail for driving drunk and causing a crash last year that killed four people and seriously wounded two others.

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Public Safety
2:46 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA

David Ranta speaks with reporters after being freed by a judge in March 2013. Ranta spent more than two decades in prison before a reinvestigation of his case cast serious doubt on evidence used to convict him in the shooting of a Brooklyn rabbi.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 7:12 am

2013 was a record-breaking year for exonerations in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations.

At least 87 people were set free for crimes they did not commit last year, the highest number since researchers began keeping track more than 20 years ago. Some of those people spent decades in prison before release.

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Public Safety
3:50 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Mentally Ill Are Often Locked Up In Jails That Can't Help

Mentally ill inmates who are able to shower, eat, sit quietly and otherwise care for themselves live in the jail's Division 2. A psychologist is stationed right outside the room, and officers are specially trained to deal with psychotic episodes.
Laura Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 8:55 am

Cook County, Ill., Sheriff Tom Dart walks the halls of his jail every day. With 10,000 inmates, this place is a small city — except a third of the people here are mentally ill.

Dart has created some of the most innovative programs in the country to handle mentally ill inmates, hiring doctors and psychologists, and training staff. But if you ask anyone here, even this jail is barely managing.

"I can't conceive of anything more ridiculously stupid by government than to do what we're doing right now," Dart says.

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Public Safety
10:41 am
Thu January 9, 2014

How Long Is Too Long? Congress Revisits Mandatory Sentences

Inmates walk around a recreation yard at the Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy, Calif., in January 2012.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:14 pm

Mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug dealers were once viewed as powerful levers in the nation's war against drugs, a way to target traffickers, and punish kingpins and masterminds.

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Public Safety
6:23 am
Sat December 14, 2013

A Common Story: Bullet's Trajectory Interrupts Child's Path

Ka'nard Allen, twice a victim of gun violence, started at a new this fall in New Orleans. Administrators say he's just like any other fifth-grader, despite all the adversity he's faced in his life.
Keith O'Brien for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:31 pm

Murders are down in New Orleans this year, bucking a national trend. Still, gun violence remains a problem — and children can't escape it. They're left with scars both physical and emotional.

What happens after the bullets stop flying? How does a child get up after being gunned down?

One boy's story shows the tragedy of gun violence and a community's efforts to heal its victims.

Caught In The Crossfire

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Public Safety
4:26 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Nosy Driver In The Next SUV? It May Be A Cop Watching You Text

An unmarked New York State Police SUV pulls over a motorist for distracted driving. Troopers are using a fleet of the tall vehicles to crack down on texting while driving.
Jim Fitzgerald AP

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 6:35 pm

Forty-one states and the District of Columbia have laws that make it illegal to text while driving. Six others forbid new drivers from texting behind the wheel.

But that doesn't stop drivers from doing it — and enforcing those laws can be difficult.

On a highway north of New York City, state Trooper Clayton Howell is in an unmarked SUV. He's looking for drivers who are texting or using hand-held phones, which is banned in New York, along with 11 other states.

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Public Safety
11:03 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Report: Threat Of Mandatory Minimums Used To Coerce Guilty Pleas

In August, Attorney General Eric Holder told federal prosecutors to no longer hit low-level drug offenders with charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences. But it's not yet clear how broadly that directive is being interpreted.
Stephen Lam Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 8:44 am

A new report says the Justice Department regularly coerces defendants in federal drug cases to plead guilty by threatening them with steep prison sentences or stacking charges to increase their time behind bars.

And for the first time, the study by Human Rights Watch finds that defendants who take their fate to a judge or jury face prison sentences on average 11 years longer than those who plead guilty.

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Public Safety
8:44 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Nigerian Rebels Reportedly Contact Pirates Who Seized U.S. Crew

A 2008 photo of the offshore supply ship C-Retriever.
Christian Serrano Courtesy of ShipSpotting.com

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 10:43 am

Rebels in Nigeria are reportedly in contact with pirates holding two U.S. crewmen seized earlier this week from the offshore supply vessel C-Retriever, The Associated Press reports.

According to the AP, an email reportedly from the rebel group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta says the men were captured off the coast of the Nigerian town of Brass, but there were no details of demands or a ransom.

Officials have said the captain and an engineer from the U.S.-flagged vessel were seized during an attack in the Gulf of Guinea on Wednesday.

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