Opening Statement
February 11, 2015
Edited by Andrew Cohen
Opening Statement is our pick of the day's criminal justice news. Not a subscriber? Sign up. For original reporting from The Marshall Project, visit our website.

Pick of the News

NYPD officer indicted in stairwell death of unarmed man. Grand jury says November shooting of Akai Gurley, who lay dying as rookie cop phoned union reps, should be tried as manslaughter. New York Daily News More: Defendant due in court Wednesday. NY1 Reaction: Indictment brings little comfort to residents. The New York Times

A starting point. Another bipartisan prison reform legislation introduced Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Sponsors say measure could significantly reduce federal-prison population over time. This version omits reductions to mandatory sentences. The Hill

Body cameras for police are here to stay. But now what? Who gets to decide who gets to see the video the devices capture? Our Clare Sestanovich surveys the crop of new policies that have popped up since last summer’s unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. The Marshall Project

The “Five Pillars of Reform.” Inside the Koch Brothers' crusade to fix America’s criminal-justice systems. Huffington Post

Welcome to the “Boneyard.” Conjugal visits for inmates are almost a thing of the past. Almost. The Marshall Project More: “[D]estroying your marriage should not be part of your sentence.” The Marshall Project


A grandfather visiting Alabama from India was roughed up by police outside his son’s home. No crime was committed – but the man was left temporarily paralyzed.

Amid reports of prison abuse and neglect, in one Montana County there is a mental-health professional serving 380 inmates. The Missoulian Related: In Oregon, a broad new study concludes that the mentally ill should not be sent to prison first. The Oregonian

A police officer shoots and kills another police officer in Texas and the Blue Wall goes up. Talking Points Memo

A new debate in Hawaii over whether it’s time to pay compensation and give other benefits to people who have been wrongly convicted. Honolulu Civil Beat

A federal judge in Ohio conferred with jurors before giving a child pornographer a sentence one fourth of what prosecutors had sought. The feds may appeal. The Plain Dealer


16 shots. The gulf between what the police are saying about the shooting of a Chicago teenager and what the autopsy says. Slate Related: Federal judge in Washington refuses to dismiss lawsuit brought by a man police shot 16 times. The Seattle Times

What to do about local justice systems that literally take the shoes off your feet. Marc Levin’s latest on pretrial reform. The Daily Caller

“It is not illegal to become mentally ill.” The unnecessary death of Natasha McKenna in a Virginia jail. Related: New Vera Institute report says jails have become “warehouses” for the mentally ill. The New York Times

Lie to your friends. Lie to your family. But never, ever lie to your defense attorney. Simple Justice Related: The three media lies that have helped nurture mass incarceration. attn:

The lynchings of blacks in the South weren’t just acts of racism and violence. They were religious rituals. Slate


Quote of the Day: “If you send young people into prison without taking care that they’re being treated humanely – as opposed to be being beaten to a pulp – you’re causing a cycle of violence.” - Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney, New York. MSNBC

Video of the Day: Thousands of defendants in New Orleans Municipal Court don’t even bother showing up for their hearings and trials. WDSU-TV

Statistic of the Day: Only 21 states today specifically prohibit the shackling of pregnant inmates. Prison Path

Art of the Day: The Last Suppers, 600 of them, representing the last meals of the condemned. Dayton Art Institute

Lawsuit of the Day: Why five police officers sued the Chicago Sun-Times and (so far) are winning their privacy claim against the news organization. Columbia Journalism Review

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