March 2010
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Day 08/03/2010

NYT: Brooklyn Judges Struggle Not to Send Juveniles to Prison

The juvenile incarceration system is wrecked, and there are no easy solutions. An excerpt from this morning’s New York Times:

Standing to address Judge Daniel Turbow in Family Court in Brooklyn, a city prosecutor confidently listed the reasons why the 16-year-old boy in the courtroom should be sent upstate to a juvenile prison.

He was a member of the Bloods, the prosecutor said, and he later joined another gang. He was arrested once for grand larceny and twice for assault. He went to school drunk and spat on the dean of students.

“He admits to going out to Bergen Beach to rob people,” the prosecutor continued, as the courtroom fell silent. “He stated that this is the way that he gets his money.”

Judge Turbow, looking anguished, was still reluctant to issue the harshest penalty: sending the teenager to a juvenile prison run by the state.

In the Shadow of Power

Democracy Now: Photographer Kike Arnal & Ralph Nader on “In the Shadow of Power: Poverty in Washington, DC”

Washington, DC is the most powerful capital city in the world. But it’s also a city that is deeply divided between a wealthy and extremely influential minority and an impoverished and largely disenfranchised African American majority. The seat of global power is also home to a population that remains largely invisible to the politicians, journalists, lawyers, lobbyists and contractors around Capitol Hill. This other Washington, DC maintains the dubious distinction of having the highest rate of child poverty, the highest mortality rate from HIV/AIDS, and the lowest life expectancy in the country. Kike Arnal discusses his new book of photography, In the Shadow of Power.

Are You or Have You Ever Been a Lawyer?

There was an editorial in this morning’s New York Times that reminded me of a lecture I wanted to attend the other day put on by Professors Frank Deale and Steve Zeidman on Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, Docket No.: 08-1065 (argued Wednesday, November 4, 2009), a case now before the Supreme Court on prosecutorial misconduct. The title of the editorial piqued my interest: “Are You or Have You Ever Been a Lawyer?” Liz Cheney and now Sen. Chuck Grassley and others are trying to make an issue of current Justice Dep’t employees who represented detainees at Guantanamo prior to being appointed to DOJ.