Opening Statement
November 21, 2014
Edited by Andrew Cohen

Pick of the News

Life and Death in America. A federal appeals court overturns the conviction of Albert Woodfox, lone surviving member of the “Angola 3,” held in solitary confinement in Louisiana for 42 years. Times-Picayune Related: A federal judge overturns the death sentence of Wyoming’s only death-row inmate. Associated Press More: Two witnesses recant in a Texas death penalty case. Houston Chronicle

Rape in America. A rape at the University of Virginia raises questions of law, justice, and morality. Rolling Stone Original reporting from The Marshall Project: How the police persistently underreport sexual assault. TMP And, prompted by the Bill Cosby story, seven things you might not know about rape. TMP

Will it be this weekend? A state of emergency has been declared in Missouri. Prosecutors have briefed school officials and media outlets about their plans. Now all we need is the Ferguson grand jury to render its decision about Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson. The Intercept

“I didn’t know that this many failed policies had gone unchanged.” It’s time for a “culture change” at Rikers Island, according to the mayor of New York City, who says he wants to continue to implement reforms to the notorious prison. The New York Times

Gilbert King on Thurgood Marshall and the case the jurist didn’t expect to lose. The Pulitzer-winning author on one of the late justice’s most memorable cases. The Marshall Project


Officials in Sunrise, Florida, just got caught failing to record payments to informants. Why? Because they didn’t want the transactions susceptible to open-records requests. Sun Sentinel

In Michigan, where budget constraints are particularly severe, sentencing reform gains momentum despite the state attorney general’s concerns. The Detroit News

Crime fighting robots go on patrol in California. KPIX 5 And in Orange County, Facebook vigilantes join the campaign to shame patrons of prostitutes. Los Angeles Times

Minnesota has created specialty courts for handling drunk-driving charges and the initial reports are good — reduced recidivism and lowered costs. Star Tribune

A wrongful conviction is avoided in Wisconsin — long before the trial. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Sex trafficking is a problem, but this proposed federal law, which would undercut civil liberties, isn’t a good solution, argues the libertarian journal. Reason

“Let’s not allow the pendulum to swing back.” Can state-level criminal-justice reforms be sustained after federal and foundation funding runs out? The Crime Report

“Today we aren’t suffering from being too lax on crime,” we are suffering from an “overcriminalization epidemic.” What else does the Koch Institute think? The Washington Free Beacon

Will Loretta Lynch take up Eric Holder’s cause at the Justice Department? Should she even try? Two justice-reform advocates say she should. The Hill

Is this the right man to be leading the prosecution of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect? His high-profile assignment revives questions about his citation for prosecutorial misconduct in a Virginia death-penalty case. The Open File


Profile of the Day: California Attorney General Kamala Harris, prosecutor and progressive, says public officials have a duty to acknowledge racial disparities in criminal justice. BuzzFeed

Stage Show of the Day: Did you get a chance to catch “Lyrics from Lockdown” last night? Columbia Spectator

Book Review of the Day: Why is corporate fraud the least prosecuted crime? Boston Review

Scholarship of the Day: Are court-appointed lawyers truly “agents” for their indigent clients? And, if not, what does that mean for the future of the constitutional right to counsel? Boston lawyer and author Robert Toone asks. American Criminal Law Review

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