Crime and Law

photograph of empty church pews

Freedom of Religion Is Not Absolute

By what right can government officials prohibit worshipers from the physical and public practice of their faith?
photogaph of barbed wire around prison building

Re-Thinking Mass Incarceration: COVID-19 in Jails and Prisons

Prisons are a hotbed for spreading infectious disease, and we've changed policies to accommodate this fact. But these changes should also make us reconsider how they function in normal circumstances.
View from street of a large concrete building with thousands of windows. The building is the Los Angeles County Criminal Courts building.

The Case of Gabriel Fernandez: Social Work and Public Responsibility

The decision by prosecutors to lay blame at the social workers door paints an unrealistic and overly simplistic picture.
photograph of Rodney Reed from prison

Justice and Rodney Reed: Evidence, Sentencing, and Appeal

The case of Rodney Reed raises a number of troubling issues from the public's impact on procedural fairness to retrial's claim to justice.
Yellow and white corridor with metallic doors of cell rooms in old prison

Cruel and Unusual Reasoning? Some Recent SCOTUS Decisions on the Eighth...

Lee Boyd Malvo's appeal asks the Supreme Court to explain the bounds of what cruel and unusual punishment - what it does, and does not, mean.
photograph of defibrillator practice on a CPR dummy

Is Death Forever?: The Case of Benjamin Schreiber

Schreiber's case highlights the ambiguity surrounding terms like "death" and "life without parole."
photograph of entrance to a castle

The Castle Doctrine and the Murder of Botham Jean

The Amber Guyger case treads familiar ground regarding the legitimacy of "Stand Your Ground" laws invoking proportionality, necessity, and self-defense. How do events like this challenge traditional justifications?
close-up photograph of 'Help Wanted' sign in storefront window

Does the Fair Chance Act Live Up to Its Name?

A criminal record is an enormous obstacle to obtaining employment or housing. The strategy we choose for addressing this problem says a lot about our attitude toward the prospects of rehabilitation.
photograph of Felicity Huffman and William H Macy

Felicity Huffman Sentencing: Justice and Fairness in Punishment

Are fines an appropriate punishment when the wealthy attempt to purchase social, political, and economic advantage at others' expense?
image of police tape with police lights in background

Faulty Forensics: Justice, Knowledge, and Bias

Our forensic methods aren't as objective as we assume, and the role prejudice is allowed to play undermines the legitimacy of our criminal justice system.