98 entries

Category: Law & Justice

The Label of “Violent” Leaves Majority of Inmates Without a Road to Rehabilitation

As President Obama is moving on unprecedented prison reform, the national conversation has left out those with the most to gain – inmates with “violent” offenses, who make up the majority of prison inmates, but who will continue to see the least benefits. This possibility of ending mass incarceration has started and stopped with the limited focus on “non-violent” offenders.  Tim Casarez is currently serving a 22 year prison sentence for crimes committed at 18 years old. While serving his sentence he has been a model prisoner - focused on changing his life for the better. However, he says this is not the norm under the CDCR, where the majority of inmates with a history like his will return to society worse than when they walked into prison.

Traffic Tickets Stopped My Life for Six Years

Daniel Zapien was 20 years old when he first lost his drivers license. After two tickets, it took him more than six years and $5,000 dollars to be able to hold this card once again. He was in what California Governor Brown calls a "hellhole of desperation." A new bill, Senate Bill 405, was recently proposed for stories like his.

Opportunity Court: A New Take on Juvenile Justice Reform

As mass incarceration continues to be at the forefront of discussion in this country, leading advocates are looking for new ways to go about juvenile justice. Santa Clara County, through Judge Lucero, has been seeking alternative ways to approach the process of juvenile court as well through an innovative program called Opportunity Court. Follow youth journalist Kymeira Stewart as she went to the one year anniversary of Opportunity Court.

First Time Saved Story of 2015! Mom, Attorney, and Community Beats a Life Sentence Through Social Biography Mitigation

Cherisse Bergeron, the mother of a 16 year old who was facing a 6 year commitment in juvenile prison for his first offense, she took to the community to help build a case to free her son. With proof of a community in his social biography packet, the judge in the case made him turn around and face his community in the courtroom.

Photo Essay: From Oakland To Ferguson, People Hit The Streets For Mike Brown

Last night a grand jury in St. Louis came back with a verdict of not indicting Officer Darren Wilson who shot and murdered unarmed Mike Brown. Familiar feelings for Oakland arised, in the similar case of Oscar Grant who was also a young unarmed black man shot by a police officer.

Remembering Antonio Guzman Lopez: Family of SJ State Police Shooting Death Holds Birthday Celebration

On November 15, 2014, Antonio Guzman Lopez's family gathered to celebrate what would have been his 39th birthday. In February of this year, Antonio was shot and killed by San Jose State Police officers Mike Santos and Frits Van Der Hoek. Antonio left behind his partner Laurie, and his children -- 5 year old Josiah and daughter Angelique. Almost 7 months later, the Santa Clara County District Attorney has yet to complete their investigation as to whether the shooting was justified. In the meantime, his family -- through the leadership of Laurie Valdez -- launched the Justice for Josiah campaign to seek accountability for their loved one's death. A humble man who loved his children above everything, Antonio was remembered last Saturday among family, community, and supporters who pledged to support Antonio's family through the long road ahead.

Shifting From Prisons To Schools: Redemption In California

Raj Jayadev writes how passing Proposition 47 may mean the redemption of California.

Artesia On Our Minds -- An Immigration Attorney's Diary of a Detention Camp

This past week I went with a 10-attorney contingent from the Bay Area to provide pro-bono legal services for a week in an immigration detention center in Artesia, New Mexico that holds between 400-500 ​women and children who were detained in the border refugee crisis this summer. Our primary purpose was to represent women and children in bond and asylum cases in this remote facility. We are all still unpacking the experience.

Bringing Social Biography Videos to Alabama to Reduce Charges and Sentences

We recently had the opportunity to travel to a historic touchstone of the civil rights movement — Montgomery, Alabama — to work with and train six public defender offices in producing social biography videos to reduce charges and sentences.

Building with Gideon’s Promise in North Carolina

We were honored to give a training session at Wake Forest University Law School to the next generation public defenders from across the South on how they can make social biography videos. The attorneys were a cohort of Gideon’s Promise, the amazing training program for Southern public defenders that is also focus of the HBO film Gideon’s Army.
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