Jarvious Cotton is a Murderer

"Today, Jarvious Cotton cannot vote because he, like so many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole."  (Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow (2010) at p. 1.)  Can you tell what part of this sentence, from the very first page of The New Jim Crow, made me... Continue Reading →

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Too Much Hart

Three years into my job as a prosecutor, I still feel shockingly ignorant about the big picture of criminal law.  I don't mean the nuts and bolts of doing trials, I've figured that out, and I don't mean criminal procedure and evidence, I'm doing fine there.  What are they saying about the purposes of criminal... Continue Reading →

232 Burglaries

If you google "individual offense rates", you're going to get a lot of basketball statistics.  But the phrase is used in Thinking About Crime, a book I've been reading in order to educate myself on criminology.  It's funny that no formal information about criminology is given to prosecutors in my offense.  More time is spent on... Continue Reading →

Surrounded by the Worst

"Most big city officers see the citizenry as at best uncooperative and at worst hostile."  That's a line from Thinking About Crime, which I heard about on a podcast and decided to read.  It's written by James Q. Wilson, who also wrote my government textbook in high school (and probably yours).  The author is most famous... Continue Reading →

Inside Baseball

I'm still reading Ghettoside by Jill Leovy, with a special eye to how the prosecutors handled the case.  Lead prosecutor Phil Sterling initially came to Leovy's attention when he advocated for the Tennelle case to be handled by LAPD's Robbery Homicide Division in a way that some considered to be arrogant.  But by the time he starts... Continue Reading →

Ghettoside

Jill Leovy's Ghettoside starts out with some pretty grim statistics.  Black men are only six percent of the nation's population but nearly 40% of those murdered.  They make up 12% of Los Angeles County's population but account for nearly half its homicide victims.  A total of 186,807 people died from homicides in the United States between... Continue Reading →

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