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Elon for the New York Times She is charged and eventually found guilty of murdering her mother She spends years in jail You might not know someone like Noura but Noura s case also illustrates how power can be horribly abused and her friendships in prison illustrate as Noura herself points out that she is hardly alone in suffering a miscarriage of justice she just has the benefit of being white What is also important is that the long lasting effects of being charged are shown It isn t just the time and money that is loss but the emotional and mental amage as well Bazelon Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems doesirectly tackle how race plays into what happens The stories of Keith and Noura also lead to Requiem for a Wren discussions with DA sefense lawyers judges and activists some good some bad some pushing for change some frustrated because their hands are tied The book isn t anti cop or anti justice it is pro humanity Reading this right after finishing The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist is enough to make you want to go around smacking people Thankfully Bazelon includes a step by step proposal for reforming the justice system including what people who read her book can Red Notice do Not only is the planned sketched out but she also provides cited examples of each step workingHighly recommended Americans like to think their criminal justice system is the fairest in the world that innocents can t be proven guilty because of all the constitutional protections in the system Nothing could be further from the truth as Emily Bazelon found in Charged Her latest book looks at the justice system at the prosecutor level It is a family tree of branches many of themiseased or rotten Both prosecutors and Les pingouins nont jamais froid defendants can find themselves on the wrong one at any time It s a fascinating tour aided by Bazelon s intimate knowledge involvement and exhaustive contactsBazelonetails two tormented cases of a gun possession in Brooklyn and a murder in Memphis to help readers live the blind maze that might or might not lead to justice years after the facts In between she Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone describes the offices officers and environment that the justice system operates in She finds it not just faulty but working against its own best interests the interests of the accused and the interests of the public She uotes Erin Murphy an NYU Law Professor Weon t have strong citizen oversight of police it is highly politicized work and civil remedies have been totally neutered States have been abandoning iversions education retraining and supervision in favor of and longer sentences The United States now holds 22 million in jail one uarter of those held in the whole world In addition there are nearly five million on parole or control of some sort It is a nation of criminals apparently That is not only costly but hopelessly unworkable In numerous field trials those alternatives show themselves to be less expensive and lead to less recidivism than locking people up for the slightest infraction A good half a million are in jail just because they couldn t pay the fine or make bail To Bazelon this sort of ebtors prison alone costs the country 25 million a The Peoples Songs day It s the system that needs reforming as much as the accused There is a special place hell for plea bargaining in Charged It is a weapon wielded by prosecutors who threaten sentences three times as long if the accused prefers to take a chance in court As Judge Jed Rakoff wrote In 2012 the average sentence for federal narcoticsefendants who entered any kind of plea bargain was five years and four months while the average sentence for City of Big Shoulders defendants who went to trial was sixteen years After months or years of waiting most cave 95% of criminal cases end in a plea bargain It wouldn t be so bad if so many weren t innocent or if prosecutorsidn t withhold evidence or if police Blind Devotion (The Shifter Chronicles didn t lie testilying they call it oreny the accused their rights Once you get used to it you on t even notice the injustice Albert Altschuler University of Chicago law professor says of plea bargaining Power has shifted to the prosecutors as judges are now restricted to formularies Prosecutors forced to go to trial go for crimes with the longest sentences Judges are forced to go along This adds greatly to the power of the plea bargain Asked in court if they chose the plea voluntarily all efendants commit perjury by saying yes Charged ends powerfully with 21 reasonable oable recommendations to fix the system They are listed with clarifications and variations and then with places where they have been successfully implemented Because it s not all bad news There are innovative reformers in many jurisdictions notably Houston Brooklyn and Philadelphia1 Make iversion the rule2 Charge with restraint and plea bargain fairly3 Move toward ending cash bail4 Encourage the treatment not criminalization of mental illness5 Encourage the treatment not criminalization of Billy Bragg drug addiction6 Treat kids like kids7 Minimize misdemeanors8 Account for conseuences to immigrants9 Promote restorative justice10 Shrink probation and parole11 Change office culture and practice12 Address racialisparity13 Create effective conviction review14 Broaden Polly Prices Totally Secret Diary discovery15 Hold police accountable16 End the poverty trap of fines and fees17 Expunge and seal criminal records18 Play fair with forensic evidence19 Work to end theeath penalty20 Calculate cost21 Employ the language of respectThe problem that Bazelon oes not venture into is the near anarchy of the entire system Rights are spelled out at the federal level but prosecutors work at the county level Every county has its own policies and methods There is no consistency or predictability for someone accused of anything They never know what they re up against until they re in the vortex Americans on t have the same rights from one county to the nextPossibly worse is that in the USA prosecutors and The Majors Daughter district attorneys tend to be elected not appointed by a commission of judges who might know their performance records and honesty The result is the politicization of justice as people vote along party lines not fairness justice or efficiency Counties get omnipotent little potentates who run theirepartments as they alone see fit often for their own glory Nothing says re elected like a lot people behind barsSupreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor showed she understood in Utah v Strieff It says that your body is subject to invasion while the courts excuse the violation of your rights It implies that you are not a citizen of a Miss Shumway Waves a Wand democracy but the subject of a carcereal state just waiting to be catalogued We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by the police are isolated They are the canaries in the coal mine whoseeaths civil and literal warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere She said the criminal justice system accomplishes nothing we think of as its purpose We think we re keeping people safe We re just making worse criminals David Wineberg Add CHARGED to your criminal justice reform reading list along with The New Jim Crow and Just Mercy and what else Comment with suggestions for meThere s a lot to unpack here but Bazelon takes a look at a particular piece of a justice system that is leading to mass incarceration in unsustainable numbers the role of prosecutors Using two very The Touch different cases as a narrative thread Bazelon exposes the reader to a system where winning not compromise not restitution and not justice is rewarded through promotion and re election There s someamning evidence that mandatory minimum sentences for non violent crimes o little than create future criminals and also a hopeful look at prison alternatives currently being piloted Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a review copy of this book. N almost every state we the people elect prosecutors it is within our power to reshape the choices they make In the last few years for the first time in American history a wave of reform minded prosecutors has taken office in major cities throughout the country Bazelon follows them showing the ifference they make for people caught in the system and how they are coming together as a new kind of lobby for justice and mercyIn Charged Emily Bazelon mounts a major critiue of the American criminal justice system and also offers a way ou.
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Over a Different Class dozen years ago I was working on a report for a racial profiling campaign a coalition of organizations had organized I came across a research study that looked at racialisparities in criminal justice from arrest to sentencing I was surprised to see prosecutorial The Essential Good Food Guide decisions not overpolicing identified as the most significant factor in racialisparities in incarceration This sparked an unending interest in how we fight over incarceration and the use of the criminal justice system as a boot on the necks of Black peopleCharged is an examination of how prosecutors have become the Textbook of Wisdom drivers of over incarceration and racialisparities Author Emily Bazelon also includes an invaluable appendix In Defence of Dogs detailing several powerful reforms that are necessary to redress the problems in prosecutionBazelon hangs her argument on two examples of prosecutors at work and the people they hold in their power In New York Kevin has been charged with having a gun in his own home In Memphis Noura Jackson is accused of killing her mother Kevin s storyemonstrates how a prosecutor taking a chance and allowing someone a second chance can pay off Noura s story tells of a prosecuto with tunnel vision committed to a win than to justice withholding evidence that could help the efense and never paying a price for itImpunity is the reason prosecutors are so angerous to justice They are unpunished when they violate ethical rules and even when they break the law They also work under the moral hazard of sending people to prison and having the state not the county pay the bill never having to account for their expendituresThe appendix is reason enough to read Charged The book is based on solid research that is well The City in Mind documented Bazelon talked to prosecutors all over the country and attended meetings of reformers She sat in on trials and bail hearings She tells story after story of injustice and examines how particular courtecisions have exacerbated the problem She Revenge (The Red Ledger did her homework and then someThe stories are interesting though often infuriating and Bazelonoes a great job of explaining complex information and No One Wants You distilling a large story to its essence The one weakness is when writing about events she attended injectingetails like snacks and coffee and audience participation I understand the idea of The City Of Heavenly Tranquillity details making something come alive but theseetails are just silly and Penguins Poems for Life distractingIf you care about over incarceration systemic racism or racial justice you should read this book If you care about effective policing and budget responsibility you should read this book The only people who should skip it are those who are happy with the US locking up people than China not per capital people in real numbersI received an e galley of Charged from the publisher through NetGalleyCharged at Penguin Random HouseEmily Bazelon author sitehttpstonstantweaderreviewswordpre This book than anything else I ve consumed made me particularly sympathetic to the US Second Amendment In a way PIt s also one of those books that looks into the brutal crime and punishment legacy of my childhood in the 80s and 90s and the blockback and reform we are finally starting to see in the currentayBazelon states in her prologue that she ll be following two people Kevin and Noura through their criminal charges and time in the justice system They both offer a very specific human voice to her tale But really than that she s following around a bunch of criminal justice professionals Sometimes the names and the legal jargon could get overwhelming for a novice But her major thesis has to o with prosecution Prosecutors have a lot of power they often have sole power to ecide on whether a person s sentencing is light or raconian and they also can t be brought to civil suit thanks to the Supreme Court Personally speaking the right to hold people in positions of power accountable for their actions is one of the pinnacles of this so called emocracyThere s an old school style of prosecution offices that pride themselves on locking people up They get accolades and promotions for big sentence cases Made me think as I was reading how prosecutors should have empathy for all the gun posturing gang members and other kids from the projects and what they Divine Beauty do to gain street credI m grateful to this book for giving me aeeper understanding of realities of life in impoverished urban areas Kevin not his real name was charged for gun possession in Brooklyn NY he was covering for a friend with a criminal record which seems to be somewhat standard practice in these sorts of situations Kevin would face less of a charge But as the case went on it felt ludicrous to regulate simply having a gun in hand as a violent offense There are a lot of violent offenses with hefty prison terms for actions that Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone didn tirectly endanger humansKevin was sent to a Down to the Sea in Ships diversion program rather than prison one of these reformative moves that privileges the chance at rehabilitation over punitive punishment This isue in part to District Attorney Eric Gonazles one of the progressive lawmakers Bazelon profiles in Wife by Wednesday (The Weekday Brides, depth On the opposite end of the spectrum we have old school DA Amy Weirich from Tennessee who may have replaced Kevin Feldis from AMERICAN PREDATOR as my most villainous public servant To be fair Bazelon put a lot of effort into also portraying Weirich s point of view and that of both her supporters andetractorsWeirich was responsible for charging Noura Jackson with the murder of her mother When Bazelon first introduced this case I was a little eyebrow archy Noura was a middle class white girl so not the usual criminal in the US justice system On its own her story is than compelling and certainly a case for prosecution overreach Elsewhere Bazelon Dog Years digs into facts and statistics about the over policing of minorities Black men in particular and even posits the thesis that since urban communitieson t trust the system the system is shooting itself in the foot Noura s case went into reliance on circumstantial evidence the murkiness around what prosecution is supposed to turn over to the Chain of Fire defense team before the trial and This is mostly a book about trials and the like not prison realities but there s some overlap Reminds me of SOLITARY by Albert Woodfox with similar cases of the uestionable nature of pleaeals police tacking random crimes on random perps and the prosecution s use of psychological conditioning to get what they wantAt the end of the book Bazelon concedes that by focusing mostly on prosecutors she may be overlooking other aspects that contribute to our flawed justice and prison system But it s hard not to be impressed by her sheer amount of research and relationship building not only regarding justice offices but also social workers community groups The Devils Elbow (Mrs. Bradley, defense lawyers and other so called criminals Some have uestionable guilt Most turn their lives around when given the chance at treatment lessamaging than prison Damaging to the rest of us too as Bazelon and her sources remind us since prison often hardens people to re offendTo circle back to my first point I The Making of a Caribbeanpreneur do want fewer guns in this country And lessrug use too to get into that But it seems clear through this book that the way to Maharaj do that is not by putting massive amounts of people behind bars We need to refocus on communities and humanity I m grateful I got a glimpse in these pages Bazelonoes a great job of Kuduz demonstrating the unchecked power of prosecutors in the American criminal justice system She goes through the historical change that has led to mass incarceration and highlights the way that the DAs office can set a punitive culture that leads to long sentences or one that is likely to lead to shorter terms and therapeutic. A renowned investigative journalist exposes the unchecked power of the prosecutor as ariving force in America's mass incarceration crisis and also offers a way outThe American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two eual adversaries the prosecution and the efense with judges ensuring a fair fight But in practice it is prosecutors who have the upper hand in a contest that is far from eual More than anyone else prosecutors ecide who goes free and who goes to prison and even who lives and who ies The syste.
ResponsesShe ends the book with a 21 point plan for progressive DAs to grow a culture of criminal justice reform that seems very hopeful As a middle class resident in Madison WI with a progressive DA who has been enacting some of these suggestions I feel like I understand the reasons much However on the ground here at least we have not noticed much ecline in crime In fact the DAs resistance to locking up or pressing charges against some teenage offenders has led to an increase in car theft and individual hijacking While the ridiculous rates of incarceration in America are terrible and The Taste of Ashes disproportionate number of minority and poor people within the system is atrocious I feel like some punishment needs to be meted out in order to show repercussions I really liked Bazelon siscussion of the HOPE project in Hawaii that enjoins guaranteed but small punishmentOverall the criminal justice system needs a lot of work and eliminating bail reducing sentences and increasing the likelihood of trails vs pleas seems like the right trend Parallel work with social services is also important to reduce the amount of jail for people that just need other types of service housing and mental health help for example The American criminal justice system is a mess This really is an indisputable fact For nearly a half century we ve been fighting a War on Drugs which has only succeeded in putting Camellia (Ellie, drugs on the streets We run prisons for profit filling them with young black males and people too poor to afford bail andor attorneys We run a barter system with plea bargains rather than a justice system with trials by jury Nothing about what weo is fairWith Charged Emily Bazelon highlights the job of prosecutors showing us exactly how much power and control they wield over the system and the people caught within it She lays out this narrative with a focus on two young people one whose life is estroyed by an uncaring unjust system and the other who benefits immensely from the compassion of a ifferent kind of system We have the ability to wield both types of power so why are we so uick to The Highwayman (Victorian Rebels, destroyThis book isisturbing because it should be But Bazelon also shows us glimmers of hope In various pockets of our country justice is becoming a reality rather than a farce Through these stories Bazelon shows us that compassion and justice can in fact go hand in hand The reality of our system is nothing like an episode of Law Order Money education status race and religion all weigh heavily in how a person is treated prosecuted and punished There is no such thing as eual rights within our criminal justice system at least not yet Maybe if enough people read this book and enough people China: la edad de la ambicin (Ensayo poltico) demand change someday we can truly claim a justice systemI received an advance copy of this book from the publisher For fans of Michelle Alexander and Bryan Stevenson this is a look at the power of DAs and the varied experience ofefendants Green River Rising depending upon theiscretion of their respective DAs It looks at two individuals Kevin in New York and Norah in Tennessee their cases circumstances and how they manage the process Bazelon an investigative journalist lawyer and podcast host reports on criminal justice reform in a way that is interesting through these two people but also has general asides related to criminal justice for example the new wave of progressive DAs restorative justice Supreme Court cases that have affected criminal justice over time I Wife Swap don t know if this will be exactly accessible to all but if you enjoy reading books about criminal justice and how it affects people I wouldefinitely recommend Using two stories one about a Brooklyn teenager arrested on a uestionable gun possession charge and the other of a young Memphis woman accused of brutally murdering her own mother Bazelon lays out a range of topics about America s broken criminal justice system In the murder case Bazelon focuses on prosecutorial misconduct and the impunity with which prosecutors in America now operate And in the gun possession case Bazelon shows how some progressive DA s are trying to reform the system but are having to fight long odds and Pies decades of broken tradition too so The unfettered power of prosecutors is the missing piece for explaining how the number of people incarcerated in the United States has uintupled since the 1980s to a total of almost 22 millionPHENOMENAL Wow Reading this made me so sad and frustrated for people like Kevin and Noura who are abused by prosecutors looking to bolster their resumes with convictions This book will make you outraged at what we willingly call justice in this countryBazelon follows two cases that of a young man named Kevin charged with gun possession in Brooklyn and Noura Jackson charged with murdering her mother in Memphis The focus of her narrative is on how corrupt prosecutors use everything at their Gorbals Diehards disposal including plea bargains to obtain sentences thaton t fit the crime There is so much nuance so much minutiae that it s easy to get bogged From the Dust down in theetails and still think surely common sense will prevail here but in Bazelon s book you see just how often common sense Finale (Caraval, doesn t prevail how much bias there is within the justice system and how prosecutors can wriggle their way out of being held accountable for their actionsI have so many thoughts about this book it s taken me a week to write a review about it and I still can t seem to work through my emotions to get everything out If you re interested in the cases of Adnan Syed or Curtis Flowers this is a must readSee of my reviews Blog Instagram Disclaimer ARC via the publisher and Netgalley The last time Iid my civic Merlin and the Making of the King duty of juryuty it was either the Mrs. Bridge day after oray that Larry Krasner fired several lawyers for the DA s office It was an interesting Mennyms Alone (Mennyms, day I m not sure why theyidn t just cancel us coming in I tell you this so you know that I live in one of the cities that Bazelon writes about in her new book According to the studies that Bazelon cites in her book most Americans agree that the justice system needs to be reformed and that in many cases the penalties are too harsh True there are some people like one of my co workers who believe people like Krasner haven t been victims of crime so they on t care about punishment But as someone who has lived in a city with harsh penalties they on t seem to work that well Bazelon makes an excellent and good case as to why this is as well as Akenfield detailing how the country got to this point Her book follows two people who are caught in justice inifferent parts of the country There is Noura who is accused of murdering her mother and Keith who is charged with an illegally holding a gun Noura is white from Memphis and her family well not rich is not poor Keith is from NYC black and his family is struggling finically Both are close in age not having graduated high school when the book opens Both are basically innocent In some ways Keith is a little luckier because NYC hashad programs that could help him and the idea of punishment was changing This is not to say that his race economic background and neighborhood Gym and Slimline did not play a role in his charge and his subseuent interaction with police and the system It is though Keith that Bazelon illustrates the cost to the average person when it comes to the justice system It isn t just the charge but the time that is put on hold the missed wages the struggle to move forward on a good path when everything seems to be or is out to get you Chances are that if you live in a big urban area you know someone like Keith Noura s case isifferent and illustrates what happens when a prosecutor oesn t play by the rules and abuses power Noura s case was also first reported on Baz. M wasn't esigned for this kind of unchecked power and in Charged Emily Bazelon shows that it is an underreported cause of enormous injustice and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzleBut that's only half the story Prosecution in America is at a crossroads The power of prosecutors makes them the actors in the system the only actors who can fix what's broken without changing a single law They can end mass incarceration protect against coercive plea bargains and convicting the innocent and tackle racial bias And because
Emily Bazelon is a senior editor at Slate a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and the Truman Capote Fellow for Creative Writing and Law at Yale Law School