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paroleandprobation
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A New Day in the City of Brotherly Love

If you haven’t heard, the new district attorney of Philadelphia is a lifelong defense lawyer who used to sue the government for violating people’s civil rights. He even ran on a campaign against overcriminalization. It’s a pretty amazing thing. Now the city’s top prosecutor has put his money where his mouth was during the campaign. Read More

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New California Criminal Laws: Part Deux

To conclude the series, here’s the fab five we promised last week. Kids age 15 or younger must talk to a lawyer before the police interrogate them. This is Senate Bill 395. It amended the Welfare and Institutions Code to require that kids consult a lawyer before they waive their Miranda rights. They can do the Read More

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They May Be Intelligent, But Are They Wise?

Speaking of fair shakes, here is a wise word of caution about the emerging, expanding use of computer programs to evaluate people in the justice system, whether at bail hearings, sentencings, or elsewhere. The author is a former software engineer at Facebook who’s now studying law at Harvard. Her point isn’t that we shouldn’t use or consult these programs, but Read More

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New California Criminal Laws in 2017

Let’s get right to it. We already covered three of them in prior posts. One was Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana. Another was Proposition 57, which expanded parole eligibility for nonviolent felons and cut back on prosecuting kids as adults. A third was Assembly Bill 1909, which made it a felony for prosecutors to commit Brady violations in bad Read More

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The Lowdown on California’s Proposition 57

Last week it was Proposition 64; this week, it’s Prop 57. Voters approved it by a wide margin, but what does it do? Two things for now. First, it amended the California Constitution to ensure parole eligibility for people who have been convicted of a nonviolent felony, once they have served the full term for their primary offense. In layman’s terms, Read More

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If Prison Walls Could Talk

Here’s an interesting story about a just-released report on prison reform, with a kick: it’s written by the prisoners. The authors are five inmates, all first-time offenders, who have spent a combined 95 years in the Texas prison system. They write from their own experiences and those of others, but many of their observations apply across Read More

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Why Soak the Rich When We Can Punk the Poor?

Speaking of probation, it’s supposed to be that you don’t go to jail for being poor. Thirty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a court couldn’t revoke your probation and imprison you for not paying a fine or restitution unless the court found, after inquiry, that you somehow could pay the fine or restitution, or even Read More

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Out of the Mouths (or Lives) of Babes

If you’re on probation, can the court require you to surrender your passwords to your electronic devices and social-media accounts, so they can be searched at any time? California has been weighing that question lately, and one month ago, the Court of Appeal issued decisions in two separate juvenile cases—one with a girl and one with a boy—that help Read More

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Parole and Realignment in California

Want to know about parole in California? Well, it’s complicated because the law changes all the time in all kinds of ways, and it recently changed in a big way on October 1, 2011 when the Criminal Justice Realignment Act went into effect. Actually, the new law kind of changed everything. The purpose was to reduce Read More

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The Power, Politics, and Problems of Parole

Here again from the nonprofit Marshall Project is this balanced, sobering look at our nation’s parole boards, part of its months-long investigation into our modern use and disuse of parole, especially in cases of a life sentence with the possibility of parole. We may define parole in that context as the provisional release of a prisoner before the end of his maximum sentence based on Read More

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