justice

Yusuf Syed

Adnan Syed, who was convicted for murder in 2000, and whose case was the subject of the podcast Serial, was granted a post-conviction hearing in a court order released Monday.

On WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, attorney Rabia Chaudry spoke about the development, which came sooner than Syed's legal team expected.

Lawmakers working on fixes to the justice system say that unrest in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore is pushing them to act.

"The whole idea of a young man dying in police custody, the confrontations with police, the looting and burning of innocent minority owned businesses," Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn said on the Senate floor this month. "The question arises, what can we do?"

Updated at 11:41 a.m. ET

Loretta Lynch is the new U.S. attorney general.

Lynch was sworn in today by Vice President Joe Biden, who said the daughter of a Baptist minister who preached during the sit-ins in Greensboro, N.C., will now be "leading the march to a more perfect union."

Lynch, 55, is the nation's 83rd attorney general and the first black woman to hold the position. She said during a ceremony at the Justice Department that she would work to "imbue our criminal justice system with both strength and fairness" to protect the rights of all.

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In her latest book, Burning Down the House, journalist and author Nell Bernstein explores the dark side of America’s juvenile justice system. Through the eye-opening stories of incarcerated youths, she argues that it’s time to shut down the nation’s juvenile prisons once and for all.

A federal civil rights investigation of the Ferguson, Mo., police force has concluded that the department violated the Constitution with discriminatory policing practices against African Americans, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the report.

The investigation, the source says, concluded that blacks were disproportionately targeted by the police and the justice system, which has led to a lack of trust in police and courts and to few partnerships for public safety.

Derek Gavey
Creative Commons

We incarcerate more people in this country than any other country in the world, a shift that started over 30 years ago with punitive sentencing policies that disproportionately targeted non-violent, mostly black, drug offenders caught in President Reagan's war on drugs.

Now, decades later, we're dealing with the fallout. The costs of incarceration are high. Sure, the economic cost is astronomical, about $52 billion dollars in 2011, but the human cost is staggering. 

A new report on the growth of court fines and fees that are charged to often-impoverished offenders is focusing on another group that pays: their families.

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You probably think of yourself as a voter. Maybe, in one way or another, you think of yourself as a public servant. But do you think of yourself as a juror?

More than one in seven Americans will be called for jury duty this year. More than one in three of us will actually serve on a jury in our lifetimes.

The fact is that almost every one of us is, almost all of the time, a potential juror. We’re all just one dreaded summons in the mailbox away from deciding matters of life or liberty or property for another person.

John Cruden served with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, taking his law school aptitude test in Saigon and eventually becoming a government lawyer.

Earlier this month, he started a new job running the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department. For Cruden, 68, the new role means coming home to a place where he worked as a career lawyer for about 20 years.

Cruden has been around long enough to have supervised the Exxon Valdeez spill case, a record-setter. That is, until the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

This post was updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

Attorney General Eric Holder says "far more must be done to create enduring trust" between police and communities they serve, even as his Justice Department continues to investigate possible discriminatory police actions in Ferguson, Mo.

For most of New York, Rikers Island is out of sight and out of mind. It's in the middle of the East River between Queens and the Bronx. There's only one unmarked bridge that leads on and off. But a recent report on violence by correction officers, or COs, was no surprise to those who've spent time there.

Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who was attacked by Taliban militants for promoting education for girls, will share the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian campaigner against exploitation of children.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee says on Nobelprize.org:

This post was last updated at 4:44 p.m. ET.

Eric Holder Jr., the nation's first black U.S. attorney general, will resign his post after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and 5 1/2 years of fights with Republicans in Congress.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Office of the Child Advocate is criticizing the Connecticut Department of Children and Families for its "public shaming" of Jane Doe after a recent incident at the state locked unit for troubled girls. Child advocate Sarah Eagan is also concerned about how often DCF staff is restraining youth at the state's locked facilities for girls and boys.

State of Connecticut

The attorneys for a transgender teen in the custody of Connecticut's Department of Children and Families want a judge to oversee her care. This comes after DCF moved her to an all-boys facility after she allegedly assaulted a youth and staff member over the weekend.

Connecticut Dept. of Correction

A 16-year-old transgender girl who was placed at York women's prison in April will be moved next week.

Chion Wolf

President Obama announced a five-year, $200 million initiative to help young black men succeed. It's called "My Brother's Keeper," and aims to work with non-profits and foundations to search for solutions to the  problems of young black men. Leaders cite school and job readiness, discipline, and parenting as a few of the problems they'll tackle, but it's  mostly the bone-crushing poverty and low expectations that hold them back. 

This well-intended initiative put forth to help young black men succeed will  help a few beat the odds at the expense of the masses. The success feels good but may not change much.

Connecticut Dept. of Correction

A 16-year-old transgender girl who's been held at Connecticut's women's prison for almost two months could be moved to a Massachusetts facility in the next couple of weeks. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Advocates for a 16-year-old transgender girl at York women’s prison are working with the Department of Children and Families to find a foster family for Jane Doe. Her story continues to attract national attention. 

More than 4,000 children are in the custody of Connecticut's Department of Children and Families. But it's one girl, known as Jane Doe, who has galvanized advocates for juvenile justice reform and LGBT youth.

Chion Wolf

A 16-year-old transgender girl who has been detained at the state women's prison for more than a month has been moved to another location at the prison.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy is calling for quick action to remove a 16-year-old transgender teen out of Connecticut's women's prison.

Brian Turner / Creative Commons

It's been one month since a 16-year-old transgender teen was sent to York Correctional Institution after DCF told a court she was too violent to remain in its custody.

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Attorneys for the transgender juvenile at a Connecticut women's prison say the Department of Correction will not transfer the teen to Manson Correctional Institution, a male facility.

Aaron Romano, who is representing the juvenile in federal court, is working with the DOC on a plan that he hopes will be more rehabilitative, despite the fact the 16-year-old is in a correctional adult facility.

Mark Wragg/iStock / Thinkstock

The U.S. is in the middle of a heroin epidemic. It’s something that has become increasingly problematic in northeastern states like Connecticut. This hour, a panel of local reporters and health experts from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts share their stories. 

We also hear about a controversial decision by the state Department of Children and Families to transfer a transgender teenager to one of Connecticut’s adult prisons, even though, as we’ve discussed on the show, the state now has a “locked” facility for girls like her. WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil joins us with more on that story.

Chris Reed/iStock / Thinkstock

Attorneys for a transgender teen recently placed at Connecticut's women's prison said the Department of Correction is expected to announce on Friday whether she will remain there, or be sent to a male facility. 

Meanwhile, an attorney for the 16-year-old was in federal court Thursday morning.

Connecticut Dept. of Correction

For the first time in state prison history, a transgender juvenile is being detained at an adult prison.

The juvenile was sent to York Correctional Institution in Niantic on Tuesday after a judge transferred custody of the teen from the state Department of Children and Families.

Virtually any time a major event ripples across Washington, the Justice Department is positioned near the center of it.

From the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner that carried three Americans on board to the fate of voting rights for millions of people, the attorney general has an enormous portfolio. And the stress to match it.

But after an elevated heart rate sent him to the hospital last month, Eric Holder says he's on the mend.

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A few weeks ago, we held a conversation about the Connecticut Department of Children and Families’ proposal to open a second locked facility for juvenile justice involved girls. It’s a project that has been at the center of intense debate across the state, as many wonder if it’s the best treatment option for at-risk youths.

Courtesy of CVLC

A legal services non-profit that assists veterans has received a sizable grant to study outcomes for those getting help through the federal VA.

New Haven-based Connecticut Veterans Legal Center and its project partners in New York City received a two-year $700,000 grant from the Bristol-Meyers Squibb Foundation. 

Margaret Middleton, CVLC's Executive Director, said the non-profit entered into a first-of-its-kind medical-legal partnership with the VA Connecticut health care system four and a half years ago. 

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