Author: Fair Punishment Project

FPP Files Amicus Briefs on Behalf of Three Juvenile Defendants (Updated 7/19/17)

The Fair Punishment Project has filed an Amicus Brief in People of the State of Michigan v. Skinner on behalf of Tia Marie-Mitchell Skinner, who is challenging the life without parole sentence she received for an offense committed when she was a juvenile. The U.S. Supreme Court, in Montgomery v. Louisiana, said that life without parole sentences for juveniles violate the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “for all but the rare juvenile offender whose crime reflects irreparable corruption.” While Miller v. Alabama initially created the rule banning life without parole sentences imposed without consideration of a juvenile’s individual...

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New Report on Rates of Prosecutorial Misconduct

  Introduction Prosecutors wield extraordinary power in the criminal legal system. How they exercise their power can be the difference between fairness and inequality, justice and corruption, and a community with faith in its justice system or one that feels betrayed by it. Recently, newspapers across the country have featured elected prosecutors who have failed to use this authority ethically, and in many cases, have even engaged in illegal behavior in order to win convictions. In New Orleans, elected District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro issued fake subpoenas, repeatedly hid evidence showing that his office had made deals with informant witnesses,...

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Introducing In Justice Today, a Journalism Partnership with Medium

Who are the most powerful people in your community?  Many people may think it is the mayor, a major tech executive, the owner of the local sports team, or maybe even the superintendent of schools. Rarely do people think about the locally elected prosecutor, but in fact, they wield enormous power. That’s why we are introducing a new series on Medium that examines the role of the prosecutor from every angle. (Check it out here.) Prosecutors have the authority to charge anyone with a crime (as well as the ability to decide not to bring charges). They can seek...

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Nonviolent Life Without Parole Statutes and Background

NONVIOLENT LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE (NVLWOP)[1] In recent years, criminal justice reform efforts throughout the nation have been gathering momentum. Citizens and lawmakers across the political spectrum are increasingly rejecting lengthy, punitive terms of incarceration for nonviolent offenses.[2] In many jurisdictions, legislators are repealing laws imposing mandatory minimum sentences, revising guidelines imposing draconian penalties for narcotics possession and distribution, and modifying habitual offender laws to exclude nonviolent drug and property offenses. The shift reflects the recognition that lifetime prison terms, once considered an appropriate and effective response to a wide range of offenses, are wasteful and cruel. In many jurisdictions,...

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New Report Highlights How Local Criminal Justice Policies Undercut the Promise of “Sanctuary” Cities

Local criminal justice policies, such as vagrancy laws and cash bail requirements, endanger vulnerable immigrant populations and undercut the promise of “sanctuary” cities, according to a report released today by Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project, the Immigrant Defense Project, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. The report urges city and county leaders who want to protect immigrants to act swiftly to end harmful criminal justice practices that criminalize poverty and send undocumented residents into the deportation pipeline. The report states, “Broken windows [policing] and other policies that harshly penalize low-level offenses have laid the groundwork for President Trump...

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