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.
A new law that takes effect July 1 mandates reporting and consolidation of data from multiple agencies, including prisons, law enforcement agencies and courts. Lawmakers call it the gold standard in justice data reporting. The information will be available to the public on a government website.
A program that trains ordinary citizens in New York to act as watchdogs over the city’s courts has attracted flak from some who argue their criticisms are not well-informed. But the “Court Watchers” respond they are already having a positive impact.
Since the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, non-Native Americans can be brought to tribal courts in domestic violence cases. But attorneys still face a minefield of jurisdictional issues, according to a study in the Winter 2018 issue of Criminal Justice.
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.
African-American male offenders receive sentences averaging 19.1 percent longer than white males—a gap that has largely remained unchanged since the U.S. Sentencing Commission began studying the issue in 2010.
Officials in the Illinois county must make $200 million in budget cuts. Commissioners have proposed making up a quarter of the total through hundreds of layoffs, including more than 200 each from the sheriff’s department and county court system.
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.
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.