Criminal Justice

Invoking visions of “American carnage,” President Trump has called for a law and order agenda that would undermine efforts to achieve justice, security, and equality in the criminal system.

Versus Trump: Versus Whitaker, In-Depth

12/6/18  //  Uncategorized

On this week's episode of Versus Trump, the gang is re-united, and they discuss the Supreme Court motion contending that Matthew Whitaker was not legally appointed as Acting Attorney General. Listen now!

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

Louisiana’s Ongoing Ethical Crisis: Why SCOTUS Should Weigh In On The Case Of Rogers Lacaze

8/22/18  //  Commentary

In the coming weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether to grant Lacaze v. Louisiana, a case raising profound questions for the constitutional standards governing judicial recusal where a judge has --but does not even disclose--concrete connections to the case being tried before him.

Take Care

Versus Trump: Versus Plastic Guns

8/9/18  //  Commentary

On this week's episode of Versus Trump, Jason, Charlie, and Easha—in her last episode for several months—discuss the fast-moving lawsuit by states against the Trump Administration and Cody Wilson seeking to block distribution of plans for 3D-printed guns. As usual, you can listen online below, and subscribe via this page with any podcast player or here in iTunes.

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Prison and Jail Conditions Worsen Under the Trump Administration—Unless You Are Paul Manafort

7/18/18  //  Commentary

In the U.S. there are many “very unfair” situations involving prisons. But Trump’s policies are making prisons worse.

Helen Marie Berg

Michigan Law

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Reinvigorating 'Defensive Crouch Liberal Constitutionalism' Part 1: Originalism and Searches

7/11/18  //  Uncategorized

I want to begin exploring ways in which liberals might try to defend what we value in the coming era of Supreme Court extreme conservatism

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

Beckles v. US As Anti-Canon

6/18/18  //  Quick Reactions

Today's federal sentencing opinions create even more tension between the Court's sentencing jurisprudence and Beckles v. United States.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Updates | The Week of January 15, 2018

1/14/18  //  Daily Update

The White House conducts a "listening session" with criminal justice reform advocates focused on prisoner re-entry. The Justice Department is heightening efforts to increase the use of capital punishment.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Updates | The Week of December 18, 2017

12/24/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Sessions rescinded 25 Justice Department guidance documents on how to interpret an array of federal laws.

Update | The Week of November 27, 2017

12/4/17  //  Daily Update

The Attorney General announced stepped-efforts to address the opioid crisis.

Jeffrey Stein

Columbia Law School

Updates | The Week of November 20, 2017

11/26/17  //  Daily Update

The Trump administration has been vocal about "law and order" goals, but will leave most of the work to local law enforcement, as evidenced by a $100 million grant to local departments. The tough on crime stance is clear in DOJ's position in some upcoming Supreme Court casts.

Updates | The Week of October 30, 2017

11/5/17  //  Daily Update

Oral argument in Ayestas v. Davis indicates that the Supreme Court is likely to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s imposition of a “substantial need” requirement for indigent federal habeas petitioners to be eligible to receive funding for investigative or expert services.

Updates | The Week of October 23, 2017

10/31/17  //  Daily Update

The DOJ will end the standard gag orders that prohibit technology companies from telling customers when the government has requested their data.

Constitutional Hurdles for Concealed Carry Reciprocity

3/16/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

President Trump favors federal legislation requiring states to recognize concealed carry licenses issued by other states. But that policy rests on shaky constitutional foundations.

Joseph Blocher

Duke Law School

Collins v. Virginia And Remedial Shell Games

5/31/18  //  Quick Reactions

The Supreme Court has been engaged in something of a shell game with respect to remedies in cases related to policing.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

What President Trump Hasn’t Learned from the Rodney King Riots

5/2/17  //  Commentary

100 days in and 25 years after the unrest in Los Angeles, the Trump Administration is failing communities entitled to fair and just policing.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

What Happened on United Is Terrible, But What’s Going to Happen Everywhere Is Worse

4/11/17  //  Quick Reactions

The video of the United flight reveals more than just what happened. It also shows why DOJ oversight is so important.

Nikolas Bowie

Harvard Law School

Versus Trump: The House Versus The FBI

2/8/18  //  Commentary

On the latest episode of Versus Trump, Charlie and Easha talk all things Russia investigation (or tangentially Russia investigation)—the Nunes #meh-mo, the fallout therefrom, and whether Trump will be interviewed by the Special Counsel.

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

A Different Take On The New Cert Petition In Williams v. Louisiana

3/20/18  //  Quick Reactions

There's another reason the Court should take a close look at the cert petition in Williams v. Louisiana.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Announcing Our New Podcast: "Versus Trump"

4/20/17  //  Latest Developments

Take Care is pleased to announce the release of "Versus Trump," a new, affiliated podcast about the ways that the Trump Administration is breaking the law—and what people are doing about it.

Take Care

Criminal Justice Reform and Disability – The Overlooked Opportunity

4/12/17  //  Commentary

Criminal justice agencies have become part of our communities' mental health services systems. They need to abide by the disability rights laws that govern mental health services

Eve Hill

Brown Goldstein & Levy

Versus Trump: The First Shoe (with guest David Sklansky)

11/2/17  //  Uncategorized

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, Jason, Charlie, and special guest David Sklansky discuss the first shoe to drop from the Mueller investigation: the indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and the guilty plea of George Papadopoulos. Listen now!

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Versus Trump: Voting Wars and Justice Scalia, with Rick Hasen

3/29/18  //  In-Depth Analysis

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Jason talks to Rick Hasen, a leading election law scholar and purveyor of the Election Law Blog, about what's going on at the voting booth, possible campaign finance law violations by both Trump and Clinton in the 2016 cycle, and Justice Scalia, who is the subject of Rick's new book, The Justice of Contradictions: Antonin Scalia and the Politics of Disruption. Listen now!

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

Versus Trump: The Great Marijuana Debate

5/3/18  //  Commentary

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Easha, Charlie, and Jason continue their investigation of the relationship between federal and state law by debating the Trump Administration's reversal of Obama-era guidance about marijuana enforcement. Listen now!

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Trump's Dangerous Call to Open Criminal Investigations into Democrats

10/30/17  //  Quick Reactions

As a nation, we now find ourselves in uncharted territory.

Eli Savit

University of Michigan Law School

Sorry, Sessions: You Probably Can't Put Drug "Kingpins" to Death

3/23/18  //  Quick Reactions

Federal prosecutors who seek the death penalty in cases where no death results are inviting a constitutional challenge they’re likely to lose.

Ducking Day at the SCOTUS

6/5/18  //  Commentary

There are times when strategic ducking makes sense practically if not strictly legally

Michael C. Dorf

Cornell Law School

The Mandatory Guidelines Predicament

1/29/18  //  In-Depth Analysis

Prisoners sentenced under the mandatory Sentencing Guidelines are not faring well in the courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court won't have a ton of opportunities to correct those decisions, if it thinks they are wrong.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Samantha Jaffe

Michigan Law

The Trump Administration May Already Have What It Needs for a Serviceable (and Unconstitutional) “Muslim Registry”

4/19/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The Trump Administration may already have the tools it would need to predict with high accuracy the religious identity of a significant percentage of U.S. citizens and visiting Muslims. And software engineers, not lawyers, may be our first line of alarm and defense.

Embracing Federalism

3/16/17  //  Commentary

It is time for progressives to embrace federalism and to use Supreme Court precedents protecting states’ rights to fight against Trump administration policies

Erwin Chemerinsky

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Versus Trump: Waking Dream(host)

8/31/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, we talk about web-hosting company Dreamhost's refusal to cooperate fully with the Trump Administration's broad request for information about the visitors to DisruptJ20.org, a website allegedly used by those involved in an Inauguration Day riot. Listen now!

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Williams v. Louisiana And The Asymmetric Pursuit of Criminal Justice

5/23/18  //  Quick Reactions

Prosecutors recently agreed to the release of a man wrongfully convicted as a child. But not without a cost.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Attorney General Jeff Sessions & The Uncertain Legal Status Of The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines

7/27/17  //  Commentary

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ charging memo undermines one of the premises of the Supreme Court’s recent cases

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Versus Trump: Russia Check-In

3/1/18  //  Commentary

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Easha, Jason, and Charlie check back in with the most politically charged of all Versus Trump suits: the Russia investigation. Listen now!

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

DOJ Begins to Turn Its Back on Policing Reform

4/4/17  //  Quick Reactions

AG Sessions’s eleventh-hour effort to avoid a consent decree in Baltimore is indefensible and unmistakably political. The court should not allow it.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

State-Level Capital Punishment Under President Trump

4/28/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

While President Trump has little direct control over how states administer the death penalty, his administration might seek to facilitate the acquisition of legal injection drugs and limit federal habeas review in capital cases. But these policies would raise major legal questions.

AG Sessions Just Might Give Up On Consent Decrees

4/26/17  //  Commentary

Will Attorney General Sessions really get the federal government out of the police oversight business? Signs are increasingly pointing to yes.

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

Information Wars Part II: Undermining Our Understanding of Police Practices

4/14/17  //  Commentary

As part of the Trump administration's war on information, the administration has started to roll back federal investigations into police violence and criminal justice.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Ten Questions for a New FBI Director

6/6/17  //  Commentary

By Allison Murphy: Given President Trump’s documented and acknowledged efforts to interfere with the independence of the FBI, the Senate should presume that could continue under a new FBI Director. It is therefore incumbent upon Senators to ensure that any Trump nominee for FBI Director commits to certain baseline aspects of independence and impartiality before any new nominee is confirmed. Here are 10 questions that require answers.

Take Care

Versus Trump: Borderline Searches + Response To First Mondays

11/16/17  //  Commentary

On this week’s episode of Versus Trump, Jason and Charlie discuss a new lawsuit that forces courts to answer the question of whether the federal government needs a warrant to search people's electronic devices at the U.S. border, and they also respond to a discussion on the Supreme Court podcast First Mondays regarding the government's recent filing in the Hargan v. Garza abortion case. Listen now!

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

The Voting Rights Agenda Must Include Felon Reenfranchisement

7/10/17  //  Commentary

As disenfranchisement and voter suppression efforts are on the rise, one partial response is reenfranchisement.

Nancy Leong

Sturm College of Law

DOJ Goes Big So Prisoners Can't Go Home

10/26/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

DOJ now argues that people who are in prison based on mistaken understandings of criminal statutes must stay there. The Supreme Court should consider granting certiorari to correct its mistake (and the Eleventh and Tenth Circuits’).

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Information Wars Part I: The Challenge To The Census

4/13/17  //  Commentary

The Trump administration has enacted several policies to conceal, subvert, or manipulate information. It has retracted a proposal to add LGBTQ identification to the U.S. census and eliminated LGBTQ identification from HHS surveys. These policies and others attempt to deny the existence of a problem by disappearing the (inconvenient) facts.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Trump's Mistaken Signing Statement on Marijuana Enforcement

5/16/17  //  Commentary

Trump suggested in a recent signing statement that he could disregard an appropriations restriction on federal marijuana enforcement. But Trump is mistaken.

Zachary Price

U.C. Hastings College of the Law

Why Jeff Sessions’s Reversal on Private Prisons Is Dangerous

3/23/17  //  Commentary

The Attorney General’s embrace of private prisons is a victory for the industry, but it threatens the safety of correctional officers and prisoners.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Trump's Politicization of Law Enforcement is Authoritarian in Nature

3/9/18  //  In-Depth Analysis

Trump’s actions to quash the independence of federal law enforcement mirror the approach of autocratic leaders around the globe.

The Road to United States v. Trump is Paved with Prosecutorial Discretion

5/21/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Should former FBI Director Robert Mueller decide to bring criminal charges against President Trump for obstruction of justice, he would be acting well within the law, the norms of the profession, and the reasonable bounds of the discretion with which he has been entrusted.

Andrew Crespo

Harvard Law School

Versus Trump: Can The Government Execute Drug Dealers?

3/22/18  //  Commentary

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Easha and Charlie take a quick gander at Donald Trump's proposal to seek the death penalty for drug dealers. Listen now!

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

The Federal Death Penalty Under Trump

4/27/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

President Trump and Attorney General Sessions hold exceptionally pro-death penalty views. Here's how they might seek to increase use of capital punishment at the federal level, and why any such effort likely would fail.

The Other Guidelines Predicament

5/18/18  //  Commentary

Courts are beginning to address how the Sentencing Guidelines might be affected by Sessions v. Dimaya.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Making A Murderer Makes Its Way To The Supreme Court

5/29/18  //  Commentary

A currently pending cert petition provides the Court a welcome opportunity to clarify how the voluntariness standard applies to juvenile confessions and juvenile interrogations.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Policing is Always Political, So Politicians Should Control It

5/24/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

Recent Harvard Law graduate, and soon to be civil rights lawyer, Shakeer Rahman offers some second thoughts about celebrating federal law enforcement’s independence.

Take Care

Holding Up (Possible) Remedies

10/31/17  //  In-Depth Analysis

The stakes are high for defendants awaiting the Supreme Court's decision in Sessions v. Dimaya.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Versus Trump: Movin' Right Along

4/12/18  //  In-Depth Analysis

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Jason and Charlie revisit two lawsuits in which the Plaintiffs have recently successfully fought off motions to dismiss and been allowed to proceed. And in a new installment of "Sanctions Corner with Uncle Charlie," Charlie answers questions about the FBI raid on the office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. Listen now!

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Legal Innocence and Federal Habeas

5/22/18  //  Commentary

A recent article shows why federal courts can and should revisit the convictions and sentences of many federal prisoners affected by Sessions v. Dimaya.

Leah Litman

U.C. Irvine School of Law

Reinvigorating Civil Rights in the Era of Trump

4/13/17  //  Commentary

Given the nativist overtones of his campaign and his administration’s signature policies — from the Muslim ban to an immigration crackdown that equates being a foreign-born minority with criminality — Trump has exploded the fiction that we live in a post-racial society.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Versus Trump: Are There Lawsuits About Gun Regulation?

2/22/18  //  Commentary

On a new episode of Versus Trump, Easha, Jason, and Charlie discuss what's going on in courts related to gun regulation. They focus on one set of Versus Trump lawsuits in this area: suits by the Gabby Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence requesting any Trump Administration records that would show the influence of the gun lobby on the Administration. Listen now!

Easha Anand

San Francisco

Charlie Gerstein

Civil Rights Corps

Jason Harrow

Equal Citizens

Senators to DOJ: Mandatory Minimums Policy Is Misguided

6/8/17  //  Commentary

A new letter from a bipartisan group of senators shows that Attorney General Sessions’s approach to charging is out of the mainstream, contrary to our justice system’s values, and unsupported by existing crime research.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Trump’s Approach to Crime & Punishment

3/16/17  //  Commentary

The president has continued existing policies, but also signaled a misplaced (and dangerous) reliance on immigration enforcement and incarceration to protect the public.

Chiraag Bains

Harvard Law School

Jeff Sessions’s Deceitful Arguments for Stiffer Drug Sentences

6/19/17  //  Commentary

The AG's argument for harsher sentencing recommendations in federal drug cases is weak and shows little regard for the truth.

David Sklansky

Stanford Law School

Updates | The Week of May 8, 2017

5/14/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Jeff Sessions advocated returning to harsh punishments for low-level drug offenders.

Updates | The Week of May 1, 2017

5/7/17  //  Daily Update

Capital punishment and tension between communities and law enforcement may escalate under President Trumps' Department of Justice.

Take Care

Updates | The Week of August 14, 2017

8/20/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Sessions may be back in the President's good graces.

Updates | The Week of September 18, 2017

9/24/17  //  Daily Update

Changes the Justice Department proposed to community policing initiatives drew widespread criticism. Commentators argue DOJ must better review police departments' actions.

Updates | The Week of June 12, 2017

6/18/17  //  Daily Update

Criminal justice reform advocates turn focus to Jared Kushner and to local efforts.

Updates | The Week of April 3, 2017

4/9/17  //  Daily Update

This week, the Department of Justice ordered a nationwide review of consent decrees implemented to curb civil rights abuses. State governors are poised to fight back against Attorney General Jeff Sessions's federal marijuana policy. And a decline in incarceration rates is threatened by the Trump Presidency.

Updates | The Week of April 17, 2017

4/23/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Sessions has started to make significant changes at the Department of Justice by doubling down on mass incarceration and weakening police accountability. Such efforts face significant criticism.

Updates | The Week of March 20, 2017

3/26/17  //  Daily Update

Private prisons have newfound influence in the White House and have benefitted from the Trump Administration's Justice Department policy reversal.

Updates | The Week of April 24, 2017

4/30/17  //  Daily Update

The Administration may remove oversight of local law enforcement agencies, and use the federal death penalty more often.

Updates | The Week of September 25, 2017

10/1/17  //  Daily Update

The U.S. Sentencing Commission released a report on alternatives to incarceration in the federal criminal justice system.

Updates | The Week of May 29, 2017

6/4/17  //  Daily Update

The proposed budget for the Department of Justice signals the administration’s intent to forego enforcement of civil rights laws. Meanwhile, proposed congressional legislation to provide greater protections for police officers may further criminalize communities of color, advocates worry.

Helen Klein Murillo

Harvard Law School '17

Updates | The Week of August 21, 2017

8/24/17  //  Daily Update

While the Trump administration has revived policies associated with the "War on Drugs," it has not yet taken meaningful steps to respond to the opioid crisis.

Updates | The Week of July 10, 2017

7/16/17  //  Daily Update

A DOJ report criticized the use of solitary confinement for mentally ill inmates. Attorney General Jess Sessions spoke again about his drug enforcement policies.

Updates | The Week of July 17, 2017

7/23/17  //  Daily Update

AG Sessions announced plans to expand civil asset forfeiture and encourage prosecutors to seek harsher criminal penalties. Sessions was heavily criticized both by Democrats and President Trump this week.

Updates | The Week of October 2, 2017

10/8/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Jeff Sessions released more details on his plan to reduce violent crime.

Updates | The Week of October 16

10/21/17  //  Daily Update

Attorney General Sessions testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Former Attorney General Eric Holder criticized the Trump Administration’s criminal justice policies as “not smart on crime"; law enforcement leaders are pressuring the Trump Administration to join the “bipartisan movement for criminal justice reform."

Updates | The Week of April 10, 2017

4/16/17  //  Daily Update

This week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ushered in the "Trump Era," heralding increased enforcement of immigration offenses. The Department of Homeland Security has resurrected programs deputizing state and local police to enforce immigration laws. And Nikolas Bowie, writing for Take Care, argues that the internal review of Civil Rights Division consent decrees threatens its value as an unbiased source.

Updates | The Week of August 7, 2017

8/13/17  //  Daily Update

Drug courts are not the perfect solution some make them out to be.

Updates | The Week of June 19, 2017

6/25/17  //  Daily Update

The DOJ ramps up the War on Drugs but has no plans to conduct federal investigations of officer-involved shootings.

Updates | The Week of July 31, 2017

8/6/17  //  Daily Update

President Trump appeared to endorse police brutality in a speech to community college students and law enforcement officers.

Updates | The Week of June 5, 2017

6/11/17  //  Daily Update

Questions asked about the Justice Department's mandatory minimums policy and the continued United States Attorney vacancies.