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The American Prosecutor: The Next Champion of Reform?

Prosecutors can play the critical role in reforming the justice system—if they’re willing to go beyond their traditional roles as tough law enforcers. In a TCR Special Report, two former prosecutors explain in separate commentaries how that can happen.

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Prosecutors: Reform Is Up to You

This month’s failure of proposed federal legislation to overhaul sentencing suggests that Congress is not the place to look for ways to reduce our prison population. Why not focus on those who put individuals behind bars in the first place?

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MO Communication Prof Charged With Assault For Hassling Journalists

University of Missouri communication professor Melissa Click was charged with assault for her actions during the university’s campus protests last fall, reports ABC 17 News in Columbia, Mo. Interim Chancellor Hank Foley said Click will keep her job for the time being. A university task force will study the Nov. 9 incident. Foley said, “Dr. Click is frankly aggrieved by this. I doubt she would do anything like this again.” Click was seen in several videos . . . Want […]

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Senators Hear Debate On “Mens Rea” As Justice Reform Window Narrows

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony yesterday on a narrow but crucial issue that has emerged as the main political obstacle to a federal sentencing reform bill: to what degree prosecutors must prove a defendant's criminal intent to win convictions for certain federal crimes. The Washington Post says that for most crimes, federal prosecutors must establish the defendant's willful intent to break the law, or the mens rea (“guilty mind.”). Some crimes in federal statutes and regulations do not include […]

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High Court Eases Prosecutors’ Burden In Death Penalty Cases

The Supreme Court eased the burden for prosecutors seeking the death penalty yesterday, throwing out state court rulings intended to make sure jurors properly considered evidence defense lawyers introduce to argue against a defendant's execution, the Wall Street Journal reports. The issue came from Kansas, where a 2001 state supreme court ruling required trial judges to tell jurors that mitigating evidence need not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury instructions were omitted at trials for brothers Jonathan and […]