By Jules Hayer Associate Editor, Vol. 24 On December 21, 2018 the President signed into law the First Step Act. The First Step Act is a criminal justice reform bill that decreases mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, modifies the three strikes rule from requiring a life sentence to mandating a 25-year sentence, and […]

By Rasheed Stewart Associate Editor, Vol. 23 He sued the Philadelphia Police Department over 75 times.[1]  As a career civil rights and criminal defense attorney he routinely represented individuals subjected to the oppressive forces of racism pervading law enforcement and the criminal justice system.[2] His nationally acclaimed representation of arrested protestors involved with the “Black […]

By Hira Baig Associate Editor, Volume 23 The vast majority of countries, 140 to be exact, consider the death penalty cruel and unusual punishment.[1]  The current constitution of Germany, for example, forbids use of capital punishment.[2] Lawyer and activist Bryan Stevenson comments on this policy choice by suggesting there is a connection between Germany’s consciousness of […]

By Anonymous Associate Editor

Since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty through Gregg in 1976, racial bias has continued to pervade its administration.[1] 34.5% of defendants executed have been Black and 55.6% have been white,[2] despite the fact that only 13.3% of people in the U.S. identify as Black, while 77.1% identify as white.[3]  I consider myself an abolitionist regarding the death penalty, as I do not think that it is justified for the state to kill a citizen in any circumstance. However, given these alarming statistics and the dire situation they illuminate, I find that efforts to reform the capital process to reduce racial disparity are also worthwhile. Reformers would do well to focus on the elimination of the death qualification process, as well as Eighth Amendment and Batson challenges to the death penalty.

By Claire Nagel Associate Editor, Vol. 22 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has made racial justice and criminal justice reform central issues in her campaign. During the first presidential debate on September 26th, Secretary Clinton responded to a question about how she would bridge racial divisions in the U.S. and improve policing by stating that “implicit […]