The Dark Side of Gavin Newsom’s Moratorium on the Death Penalty

Politically and Morally, Death Row Forced Californians to Examine Their Justice System

The death penalty in California is dead! Long live the death penalty!

That lede isn’t a joke. It isn’t even a contradiction. In California, the death penalty has long existed simultaneously as a grave moral problem and a necessary tool.

So, if Governor Gavin Newsom’s new moratorium on the death penalty becomes a permanent ban, we Californians should celebrate the end of a policy that magnified our society’s worst disparities, put us at odds with so many other countries, and created the risk of putting an innocent person to death.

But we—and I …

The 1919 Murder Case That Gave Americans the Right to Remain Silent

Decades Before the Supreme Court's Miranda Decision, a Washington Triple Slaying Paved the Way to Protect Criminal Suspects

If you’ve ever watched an American television crime drama, you probably can recite a suspect’s rights along with the arresting officers. Those requirements—that prisoners must be informed that they may …

Americans Mostly Kill the Ones We Know

For All the Media Obsession With Mass Shootings, Homicides in the U.S. Are Most Often About Familiarity and Contempt

Turn on your television in the coming months, and you will see and hear just how much Americans fear strangers and guns.

Yet when it comes to violent crime, especially …

Did Protestant Christianity Create the Dismal American Prison System?

Puritans’ Focus On “Right Living” Helped Justify Our Harsh Treatment of Prisoners

While in Ireland teaching a criminal justice course this past semester, I had the opportunity to take a tour of an Irish prison.

The Irish prison service states one of …

Not Everybody Is an Expert on Policing

Too Many Uninformed Voices Are Drowning Out a Clear Solution on Police Reform

Nowadays, everybody—agenda-driven politicians, entertainment moguls, and many citizens on the streets—is considered an expert on what needs to be done to improve policing. We listen as people offer the media …

Why Do Americans Put Pets, Not Their Owners, on Trial?

The Bizarre History Behind Our Current Canine Legal System Is Full of Rats, Pigs, and Moles

When a Japanese Akita named Taro bit the lip of a 10-year-old New Jersey girl in 1991, police seized the dog and a judge ordered him destroyed. Taro’s owners appealed …