The New York Times has been criminal justice heavy in the last week. The articles are so good that I wanted to share them here all in one place.
First, there was a great piece on how tough sentences have given prosecutors unbridled discretion. In this federal system this is especially true because prosecutors possess a smorgasbord of 4,500 federal crimes to use in charging people. Many of those carry mandatory minimums so if a prosecutor wants to bury someone they can, by charging them with multiple crimes with multiple mandatory minimums.
This postdiscusses the tragedy that is Troy Davis. Ross Douthat argued that: “If capital punishment disappears in the United States, it won’t be because voters and politicians no longer want to execute the guilty. It will be because they’re afraid of executing the innocent.”
In today’s Times there is an interesting piece about a man cleared of Rape through DNA that has yet to exonerated because of the Virginia Court of Appeals. What is interesting about the case is that the prosecutor and State Attorney General both argued before the court that this prisoner should be completely exonerated. In fact, the Attorney General has been outspoken in his support for this former prisoner.
And this piecetells the story of an Alabama prisoner who is suing because the prison won’t allow him to read a Pulitzer Prize winning book on the history of slavery.