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Ferguson Shows Why Courts Need to Be Accountable

Ferguson Shows Why Courts Need to Be Accountable

MAPLEWOOD, Mo. — Earlier this month, officials in Ferguson left their positions at dizzying speed in the wake of a scathing U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report documenting corrupt court practices. As the city government collapsed like a house of cards, I stood in line at the municipal court in neighboring Maplewood, 15 minutes south [...]
Chicago Police Target Blacks in ‘Stop-and-Frisk,’ ACLU SaysCHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police officers initiated stop, question and frisk encounters at a much higher rate last summer than their New York City counterparts ever did, and just like with New York’s heavily criticized program, Chicago Blacks and other racial minorities were disproportionately targeted, according to a civil liberties group.  The American Civil Liberties Union [...]
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Police Body Camera Video Access Limited Under State BillsIOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — State legislators around the country are pushing to make it much harder for the public to obtain police officer body camera videos, undermining their promise as a tool people can use to hold law enforcement accountable. Lawmakers in at least 15 states have introduced bills to exempt video recordings of [...]
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Deaf Man Sues Va. Sheriff, Saying No Access to InterpreterWASHINGTON (AP) — He knew he was in jail, but he didn’t know why. Eventually, Abreham Zemedagegehu learned that he’d been accused of stealing an iPad — an iPad whose owner later found it. He spent the next six weeks in jail, unable to communicate with his jailers because he is deaf. He described a [...]
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Birmingham to Be Part of Program to Reduce Racial Bias  WASHINGTON (AP) — Six cities will participate in a federal pilot program aimed at reducing racial bias and improving ties between law enforcement and communities, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.  The cities are Fort Worth, Texas; Gary, Indiana; Stockton, California; Birmingham, Alabama; Minneapolis; and Pittsburgh. The announcement of their selection came six months [...]
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Prison Played No Role in U.S. Crime Drop, Researchers Say  Crime has declined, big-time. The violent crime rate in America is about half of what it was at its height in 1991. Property crime is down by 43 percent.  Everyone agrees that when crime goes down, it’s a good thing. But why crime has declined has been the subject of much debate. By reviewing [...]
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Efforts to Reduce Prison Population Receive $75 MillionNEW YORK (AP) — To reduce the number of people locked up in local jails around the U.S., the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced it plans to give $75 million to local jail officials working on ways to remove nonviolent offenders, people too poor to afford bail and the mentally ill from [...]
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Is the Ferguson Jail Actually a Debtors’ Prison for the Poor?ST. LOUIS (AP) — Federal lawsuits allege that jails in the St. Louis County towns of Ferguson and Jennings operate essentially as modern-day debtors’ prisons, where minor traffic offenses can lead to extended periods behind bars. Two lawsuits were filed Sunday on behalf of people who have spent time in jail for failure to pay [...]
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Texas ‘Overuses’ Solitary Confinement, Legal Groups Say  Solitary confinement exacts a high price on the mental health of Texas prisoners and costs the state’s taxpayers big bucks, according to a new report by the Texas Civil Rights Project and ACLU of Texas.  The Texas prison system uses solitary confinement, which is when prisoners are isolated from all other humans almost around [...]
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Latino Men Sue Chicago Police, Charging Racial Profiling  Imagine if Chicago residents Kevin Tapia and Felipe Hernandez get their day in court, following their lawsuit filed Tuesday against the city and police department. At some point, the key questions for the officers who frisked and arrested them - and searched their belongings – on March 25, 2014 would likely center on this: Why [...]
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