Right to an Attorney? Not Always in Some States

By Sarah Breitenbach

Published on pewtrusts.org on April 11, 2016

Excerpt:

“Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has called insufficient criminal defense for indigent people a national crisis, and the Justice Department has investigated constitutional violations in representation.

There is a lack of funding for public defense in every state, according to Colette Tvedt of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; and people charged with low-level misdemeanors, often poor minorities, suffer the most.”

Read More: Right to an Attorney? Not Always in Some States

Justice Department: States Should Not Jail Poor People Over Fine Nonpayment

By the Associated Press

Published on nbcnews.com on March 14, 2016

Excerpt:

“WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is discouraging state court systems from jailing defendants who fail to pay fines or fees, warning against practices that it says run afoul of the Constitution and erode community trust.

A letter being sent Monday by the federal government to state court administrators makes clear that judges should consider alternatives to jail for poor defendants who don’t pay their fines.”

Read More:  Justice Department: States Should Not Jail Poor People Over Fine Nonpayment

Spokane parents get alternative to jail, but victims feel slighted

By Kip Hill

Published in The Spokesman Review on March 13, 2016

Excerpt:

“Bryan Morales learned of the birth of his daughter, Alyseia, clutching her black-and-white photo in his prison cell.

‘It was a wake-up call,’ said Morales, 36, sitting at the Liberty Lake home where he was arrested nearly three years ago on charges of theft and forgery. Morales’ girlfriend, Sara Borgman, had checked herself into a drug clinic in Seattle a few days prior to Morales learning he was a father. When Morales was arrested, Borgman was pregnant, and Alyseia was born addicted to opiates.”

Read More:  Spokane parents get alternative to jail, but victims feel slighted

Spokane’s community court an experiment that’s paying off

By Rachel Alexander

Published in The Spokesman Review on March 7, 2016

Excerpt:

“The phrase “organized chaos” is tossed out more than once by lawyers trying to describe Spokane’s community court.

Aside from the name, there’s little to suggest the weekly session at the downtown library is a court, at least in the traditional sense of the word. People flow freely around the courtroom, which is furnished in plastic chairs with a few folding tables set up in front and in the hallway outside.”

Read More:  Spokane’s community court an experiment that’s paying off

Massachusetts Chief’s Tack in Drug War: Steer Addicts to Rehab, Not Jail

By Katharine Q. Seelye

Published in The New York Times on January 24, 2016

Excerpt:

“Critics said that he did not have the authority to take the law into his own hands and forgo arrests. But other police departments, fed up with arresting addicts and getting nowhere, saw the Gloucester approach as a promising way to address the epidemic of heroin and prescription pain pills, which together killed 47,055 people in 2014 nationwide — more than died in car accidents, homicides or suicides.

“Since the program began, 391 addicts have turned themselves in at the city’s brick police station. About 40 percent are from the Gloucester area; the rest come from all over the country. All have been placed in treatment.

“Just as surprisingly, 56 police departments in 17 states have started programs modeled on or inspired by Gloucester’s, with 110 more preparing to do so.”

Read more:  Massachusetts Chief’s Tack in Drug War: Steer Addicts to Rehab, Not Jail

WSU Spokane professor picked to provide new criminal risk assessment tool

By Kip Hill

Published in the Spokesman Review on January 21, 2016

Excerpt:

“Spokane is partnering with a professor from Washington State University to design a survey that’s expected to do a better job of putting dangerous criminals in jail and pairing lower-risk offenders with the resources they need.

“Spokane County commissioners signed a $70,000 contract with Zach Hamilton earlier this month to design a new risk assessment tool for Spokane’s criminal justice system. The county and city will each pay $35,000 toward laying the groundwork for the new survey.”

Read more: WSU Spokane professor picked to provide new criminal risk assessment tool

 

 

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