The Marshall Project
Opening Statement
July 21, 2022
Edited by Andrew Cohen
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Pick of the News

TMPCan a police department reform without addressing its past sins? For decades, policing in Yonkers, New York — just a few miles outside of New York City — was marked by brutality, racial discrimination and other misconduct. Things were so bad that the Justice Department under President George W. Bush stepped in to investigate. In Episode 2 of our podcast series with NPR's Embedded, we explore whether a police department can achieve meaningful reform without addressing past incidents of abuse and misbehavior. The Marshall Project

How the Aurora theater shooting changed Colorado’s gun laws. The attack a decade ago left 12 dead and 70 wounded or injured. Since then, state lawmakers have enacted several gun reform measures to keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. They’ve expanded background checks, adopted “red flag” restraining laws and safe storage requirements, and passed other measures to reduce gun violence. Colorado Sun Remembering the shooting victims and others affected by the massacre. 9News Some survivors still struggle, re-triggered by so many other mass shootings. Colorado Sun

Long sentences by the numbers. “The length of time served by people sentenced to 10 years or more has grown. Between 2005 and 2019, the average amount of time served by this group increased from 9.7 years to 15.5 years,” concludes a comprehensive new report. Council on Criminal Justice As prosecutors and judges “stack” sentences, prisoners serve longer terms, but some experts say this anticipated new report highlights how little is still known about the prevalence of long sentences. The Crime Report TMP Context: The growing racial disparities in lengths in sentencing. The Marshall Project

They haven’t stopped the “Stop the Steal” movement. Local Republican officials are still trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election, nearly two years after Joe Biden won the presidency. Aided by sympathetic judges nominated by former President Donald Trump, these officials have also moved forward with policies that threaten the integrity of the 2024 election. The movement is in place now to undermine democratic principles, whether or not Trump ends up running for president again. The New York Times Related: Evidence that Trump’s refusal to admit defeat had tragic consequences. The Washington Post


A federal grand jury in San Antonio, Texas, has indicted four men in connection with the deadly human smuggling scheme that ended with 53 people dead inside a tractor-trailer on the side of the road last month. USA Today

Another fatal police shooting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, raises questions about police tactics and the use of deadly force. Two police snipers killed 20-year-old Andrew Tekle Sundberg last weekend after a six-hour standoff. The Associated Press

Another “systemic failure” in local jail. The beating of a transgender woman in the San Diego County, California, jail by three other prisoners was because, among other things, staff failed to understand the potential “ramifications of placing a transgender female in a cell with three cisgender men,” a review board concluded this week. San Diego Union-Tribune

Five people in Denver, Colorado, were injured over the weekend when police officers shot at a suspect on a crowded street as bars were letting out. Three cops are on administrative leave while investigators piece together what happened. Colorado Sun Police officials didn’t tell the victims that officers were the ones who had shot them. Colorado Sun

Two Illinois men who spent 35 years in prison for a deadly arson fire that they say they didn’t start are one step closer to being exonerated in another case marked by police misconduct. Arthur Almendarez and John Galvan were released from prison last week. Today, a judge will hold a hearing to determine whether their cases should be dropped for good. NBC Chicago


The conservative case that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. Right-wing lawyers and scholars laboriously analyze the invalid arguments behind the “Stop the Steal” campaign.

“The Texas way of guns is an American failure. And I say that as a Texas gun owner.” But good luck at this point getting those 20 million assault rifles and other weapons of war in the U.S. out of circulation. The Washington Post

It’s never too late to do the right thing. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg wisely dropped murder charges against a bodega owner who stabbed a customer who was threatening him. Bragg was rightly criticized for his initial charging choice. Reason

There are “good” bail reform stories, too, but journalists do a poor job of finding and sharing them. To be fair, the beneficiaries of bail reform often don’t want to highlight their success for fear of retribution. The Appeal

Is it that hard to distinguish murderabilia from memorabilia? Despite dozens of state laws that limit sales, there continues to be a market for items linked to serial killers and other high-profile criminals. Slate TMP Context: How much for Ted Bundy’s toenails? The Marshall Project


What exactly do you need your methotrexate for? CVS told pharmacists in “high-risk states” to withhold certain medications for women after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down abortion rights in June. The New Republic

No clues for years. No great leads. Then a breakthrough. A cold case murder from 1975 may have been solved by DNA testing of a coffee cup thrown in the trash at Philadelphia’s airport. The Washington Post

Boston police unions sue the city over tear gas rules. Union officials say they are angry about new restrictions on the use of tear gas and other crowd-control tactics. CNN

Is it time to reconsider whether small police agencies make sense? The tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, highlights the limits of police departments with only a few officers and little support staff. The Washington Post

“He was quite a leader.” Ron Still, the former police chief in Portland, Oregon, led his department when basketball trading cards had crime-prevention tips on them. He died last week, at 90, after retiring decades ago. The Oregonian

Opening Statement curates timely articles on criminal justice and immigration; these links are not endorsements of specific articles or points of view.

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