The widely reported courtroom hug last month between the Dallas cop convicted of murdering Botham Jean, an unarmed civilian, and his brother received national attention and has been called an example of how “restorative justice” can heal harm created by tragedy. TCR asked experts in the field to weigh in.
There now are 49 conviction review units in district attorneys’ offices, most of them launched in the past five years, and they have led to more than 300 exonerations. This marks a shift from the early days of DNA testing, when prosecutors balked at reopening old convictions.
A federal district judge in an ACLU lawsuit ruled that border agents can’t search international travelers’ smartphones and other electronic devices without at least suspecting them of a crime. But she declined to hold the government to a higher probable-cause standard.
The same group that led reforms in drug sentencing behind this month’s mass prison release in Oklahoma has proposed a new constitutional amendment, to go to voters next year, easing sentencing enhancements in nonviolent crimes.
The election of Chesa Boudin has increased the ranks of prosecutors determined to remake the justice system. But the movement is running into a countervailing force by more traditional players who fear “progressives” will endanger public safety.
In his five years as Texas’ governor, Republican Greg Abbott has overseen the execution of nearly 50 prisoners while only once sparing a condemned man’s life. But Abbott has never confronted the kind of intense pressure to halt a lethal injection he is facing in the case of Rodney Reed.
The Justice Department’s interpretation of crack-cocaine sentence reduction policy has opened a rift between DOJ and White House supporters over the First Step Act’s sentencing reforms. The effect has been to keep hundreds of people in prison, defense lawyers say.
Democrats won prosecutor elections in four Northern Virginia counties Tuesday, giving a movement for criminal justice reforms a major foothold in the state for the first time. Democratic megadonor George Soros’ political action committee spent nearly $1.2 million for three candidates.