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Criminal (In)justice

Problems with police, prosecutors and courts have people asking: is our criminal justice system broken? University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris interviews the people who know the system best, and hears their best ideas for fixing it. Criminal (In)justice is an independent production created in partnership with 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR News Station.
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Now displaying: January, 2018
Jan 29, 2018

Creative billing practices create trouble for an Atlanta attorney.

Jan 26, 2018

For years, the Philadelphia District Attorney's office was notorious for heavy-handed and sometimes racially discriminatory prosecution. As of this month, it's led by a former criminal defense attorney and activist elected with a mandate for reform. What can we expect from D.A. Larry Krasner, and what pitfalls may await him?

Jan 23, 2018

Why has the US prison population has grown for decades, surpassing two million? We’ve put more people in jail, but new research shows it’s not just how many people go to prison. What counts, for prison growth, is how long they stay. Ryan King, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, has created a ground-breaking study of how the exponential growth in prisons has really been driven by the growth in long sentences. Even as some states have reformed incarceration around low level offenses, long sentences remain stubbornly in place, and receive almost no attention.

Jan 20, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case involving a Louisiana defense attorney who defied his client's wishes when he preemptively conceded the defendant's guilt, asking that he be spared the death penalty because of his mental illness. 

Is it ever okay for an lawyer to overrule his own client? What if it might be their only chance to save the client's life?

Jan 18, 2018

A bonus edition of "Lawyers Behaving Badly": why forging court records is not a great idea, especially when you're an aspiring lawyer.

Jan 16, 2018

Eight convictions have already been thrown out amid allegations about coerced confessions and other misconduct by former Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara, and dozens more cases are now in question. But the Guevara case is far from an isolated incident.

Jan 14, 2018

In this "Lawyers Behaving Badly" bonus segment: a Florida defense attorney produces porn videos in a jail interview room, featuring arrested sex workers he falsely claims to represent.

Jan 13, 2018

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded an Obama-era policy directing federal prosecutors to de-prioritize enforcement of marijuana prohibition in states that have legalized the drug. Will the new directive slow the growing acceptance of legal weed among voters, states, and mainstream politicians? (Spoiler: It will not.)

Jan 9, 2018

In the criminal justice system, things can go terribly wrong: convictions of the innocent, or killings of unarmed suspects.  We use the courts and investigations try to see who’s to blame.  But we do little to learn ways to stop it from happening again.  Using procedures from the worlds of medicine and aviation as a guide, attorney James Doyle has become the leading advocate for using Sentinel event analysis as way to understand and fix systemic problems in criminal justice.   

Jan 6, 2018

To hear Attorney General Jeff Sessions talk, you'd think violent crime in the U.S. was spiraling out of control. But the data paint a very different picture.

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Season 5 of Criminal Injustice starts Jan. 9, 2018!

Jan 2, 2018

Criminal Injustice returns with a new season on Jan. 9, 2018. Until then, we're reposting some of our favorite past episodes. This episode originally appeared Oct. 10, 2017. 

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The death penalty – once a constant in U.S. criminal justice – has actually declined for more than a decade. In the last few years, it’s fallen dramatically, with death sentences handed down and executions way off. Why? And what does it mean for the rest of the criminal justice system?

Brandon Garrett is a law professor and author of End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice.

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