A former prosecutor says he is making amends for courtroom actions that “harmed” individuals by working for justice reform. He calls on his former colleagues to join him by changing their focus from getting convictions to achieving fair and humane outcomes.
Many young prosecutors are avoiding the death penalty, talking rehabilitation as much as punishment, and often refusing to charge people for minor offenses. While their numbers are small, they are taking over DA offices at a crucial moment as many states abandon the strict law-and-order approaches of the past.
The case of Nafarris Patrick, who was arrested based on a stranger’s mistaken charge, illustrates how quickly a person’s life can be thrown into chaos by chance and the criminal justice system, even when video exists to clear a suspect.
After a murder conviction is overturned, how eager are prosecutors to reexamine the evidence and find the real killer? A journalist who investigated 263 vacated cases around the nation since 2006 says it happens rarely.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams abruptly resigned and agreed to plead guilty in a surprise move that ended a federal bribery trial that dragged messy details about his personal life into the open. Judge Paul Diamond immediately ordered him to jail pending sentencing, saying he was “appalled by the evidence that I have heard.”
Testimony began yesterday in the federal corruption trial of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, elected as a reformer, and now charged with accepting bribes and gifts and defrauding the government.
Contra Costa County, Ca., District Attorney Mark Peterson resigned in a plea deal cut on the same day state Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed 13 felony charges against him in connection with his admitted use of $66,000 in campaign funds for personal expenditures.
Fordham law professor John Pfaff says the country needs to re-examine the way “politics and punishment interact.” In part 2 of an extended conversation with TCR about his book, “Locked In,” Pfaff focuses on what he believes is local prosecutors’ aggressively punitive approach to people convicted of violence.