Why Rising Police Budgets Aren’t Making Cities Safer

originally published on Next City here Minneapolis, the city where Philando Castile was killed by a police officer while being profiled and stopped in his car for the 49th time, spends 36 percent of its general fund budget on policing. New York City spends nearly $5 billion on a police force that still prioritizes discriminatory…

Trump’s Criminal Justice Plan is Really More For-Profit Incarceration

Originally published on April 19, 2017 by Ebony Magazine, co-authored with Jennifer Epps-Addison. Original link here. *** Donald Trump’s recent moves on criminalization, like his immigration orders, are designed to oppress communities of color by encouraging excessive law enforcement and enticing corporate profiteers who seek to fill beds and cells.   Trump intends to not just expand mass incarceration but…

Dispatch From Tunisia: The (Early) Right To A Lawyer

                  Mural on public street in Kairouan, Tunisia The scene is sadly familiar. A hot, sweltering courtroom packed with anxious and sometimes crying family members. Court officers yelling to tell the audience to turn off their phones, sit down, and stay silent. Clerks and prosecutors shuffling through…

How the Sanders Campaign Is Letting Progressives Down

Bernie Sanders is likely going to lose the nomination to Hillary Clinton. And it is not because of money, campaign finance or access to ballots or debates — all prohibitive obstacles that have haunted past progressive candidates. It is also not because Sanders was too far to the political left. His unapologetic populist message and…

Why Ferguson Teaches Public Defenders That They Too Need to Start Listening

Lawyers, particularly public defenders, must listen and orient to the communities they are obligated to serve On November 24, 2014, I and two other attorneys from The Bronx Defenders traveled to Ferguson, MO to assist local and national civil and human rights organizations with legal observing and support in advance of the highly anticipated grand…

The War on Drugs: A Shake-down, Not a Fair Shake for the Middle Class

In the wake of President Obama’s re-election and the fervor around “fiscal cliff” negotiations, issues related to middle class empowerment and fairness are rightfully at the center of our national policy agenda. Decisions related to tax burden allocations and spending priorities are being made that have the potential to affect the middle class for a…

Letter to NYT Editor: ‘The Jury’s Duty When the Law Is Unfair’

To the Editor: What is hidden behind the heated philosophical debate that jury nullification generates are the real people and communities affected by prosecutorial and police policies. Paul Butler properly notes the disgraceful number of marijuana possession prosecutions in New York City. But what we need to be equally aware of is that drug prosecutions…