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Asylum Depends on a Spin of Judicial Wheel of Fortune

For Central Americans at the U.S. border, gaining asylum often depends largely on the judge. Two judges in Los Angeles granted fewer than three percent of the hundreds of asylum claims that came before them in the past five years, while another judge granted 71 percent of them. In San Francisco, the judge’s rate of granting asylum ranged from three percent to 91 percent.

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courtroom

Defendants Judge the Courts: More Courtesy, Please

When defendants in New York City were asked in a recent survey to evaluate how they were treated in court, some officials called it “coddling.” But the results suggest that court officers could take a few lessons in fostering respect for the law.

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mind

The ‘Double-Edged Sword’ of the Insanity Defense

A Vanderbilt Law School professor says evidence of mental impairment could be a useful tool in a reformed justice system that focused on rehabilitation rather than blame. But, he argues in a recent study, under the current system, neuroscience can be used by both prosecutors and defense, and has only limited value in assessing guilt.

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Double Blind: Preventing Eyewitness Error

About 70 percent of the roughly 350 inmates exonerated by DNA evidence were convicted based in part, or in whole, on eyewitness testimony. A Philadelphia conference explores why witnesses get it wrong so often—and how to fix it.