Opening Statement
November 25, 2014
Edited by Andrew Cohen

Pick of the News

No true bill. The grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, did not indict police officer Darren Wilson for the August shooting of teenager Michael Brown. Here’s a summary of the news and a compilation of the best overnight coverage of the controversial decision. The Marshall Project

Police shootings may or may not be rising, but police fatalities are definitely dropping. The number of police killed as a result of criminal acts dropped approximately 40 percent, from 49 fatalities in 2012 to 27 last year. FBI

Can crime victims sue to silence their perpetrators? A new law in Pennsylvania, aimed at barring Mumia Abu-Jamal and other inmates from speaking publicly, already faces first amendment challenges. The Marshall Project

Mental illness, crime and the courts. “I’m guessing you are not taking your medication,” says a Colorado judge to the mentally ill man standing before him. An in-depth look at one state’s state of mental health care. The Denver Post

Florida prisons chief resigns under fire. Michael Crews, who entered the job as a reformer, is out amid federal investigations and allegations of inmate abuse. The Gainesville Sun

Admissible. New York rules the “confession” of Pedro Hernandez, charged with killing 6-year-old Ethan Patz in 1979, is not barred from a looming trial. ProPublica


Texas prosecutors drop charges against police officers who falsified tickets. Why? Because the city was using an illegal quota system. Star-Telegram

Wisconsin is gearing up for a surge in DNA testing once a new state law kicks in. Associated Press

Oklahoma passed a law in 2003 to help exonerees get compensation for their wrongful convictions. So far, it’s not working so well. Tulsa World

A veteran federal prosecutor in upstate New York abruptly resigns, six months after an appeals court accused him of misconduct. Syracuse Post-Standard Related: A federal prosecutor in Virginia resigns, too, and will join a big law firm. Main Justice

A state commission in Iowa notes broad racial disparities in arrests; black youths are five times more likely than whites to be arrested. Associated Press


The grand jury says “no” and now St. Louis must make the best of it. A local editorial makes the case for systemic reform. St. Louis Post Dispatch

The Ferguson grand jury operated in good faith. But “if McCulloch wanted an indictment, I think he could have gotten one.” National Review

A federal prosecutor explains why it is difficult to indict police officers. Washington Post

Why Darren Wilson was never going to be indicted for killing Michael Brown. Slate

Hey, Rudy Giuliani, why is no one talking about American-on-American crime? The Atlantic


Crime-solving Theories of the Day: Was it abortion, immigration, or the end of lead-based paint that has caused a nationwide drop in crime? Or maybe it is something else entirely? The Marshall Project

Video of the Day: Native American women face some of the highest levels of sexual assault in the nation. Will new jurisdiction given to tribal courts by Congress this year help stem the tide? PBS

Chart of the Day: Crime is falling in America. Americans either don’t know or don’t believe it. The Mendoza Line

Scholarship of the Day: Here’s Chief Judge Patti Saris, chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, on why we are on the cusp of “generational change” when it comes to federal drug laws. Sentencing Law and Policy