The U.S. Legal System and All Things Related Blog

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Assaults and Killings of Judges and Other Court Officials


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An openly misogynistic lawyer who is believed to have killed the son of a female federal judge in New Jersey had a list of more than a dozen other possible targets, including three other judges and two doctors, several people with knowledge of the matter said.  The list of names was found on July 20, 2020, inside a rental car on a rural road in the Catskills in New York, where the lawyer, Ron Den Hollander, had killed himself.

Nationwide Protests and Demand for Institutional Reforms


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As many people are aware, there have been protests around the country as well as around the world after the brutal and senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, May 25th, 2020.  As the saying goes, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back—after the million other straws underneath it.  The tumult and passion of the past several weeks have forced people to face the uncomfortable realities of our justice system.  These protests are like nothing the United States and the world have ever seen.  The last time anything close to what is currently transpiring happened in the United States was during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

The Staggering Costs of Wrongful Convictions


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The Numbers are Astounding

The National Registry of Exonerations—a joint project of the University of California/Irvine Newkirk Center for Science & Society, the University of Michigan Law School, and the Michigan State University College of Law—near the end of 2019 included a total of 2,515 individuals who lost a combined 21,000 years of their lives due to wrongful convictions, and these numbers are growing all the time.  The compensation paid to these people is sometimes in the millions, with the total estimated to stand at over $2 billion.

Is the COVID-19 Lockdown a Violation of Our Constitutional Rights?


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Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  But what would Franklin have given up to secure a lot of permanent safety—stopping a sometimes lethal microbe that has already killed thousands of Americans?  Like so much else in our world during these trying times, his maxim now faces a harsh test from COVID-19.

Orange County Corruption Exposed


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Two audits conducted by the Orange County sheriff’s department uncovered a pattern of filing false reports that could call into question thousands of convictions.  Deputies booked evidence days, and sometimes weeks, after it was purportedly collected according to an internal audit, which examined thousands of police reports filed between 2016 and 2018.  Thirty percent of evidence was “booked out of policy,” according to a presentation describing the first audit’s findings.  A second audit found that deputies had claimed to have collected evidence that was never booked.

States Potentially Having the Worst Judicial Systems


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In a report by the Center for Public Integrity, states were rated and ranked according to their levels of integrity.  Several factors were used in determining each state’s overall grade.  But only one factor actually affects people, although indirectly, on a daily basis—judicial accountability—and is perhaps the most important one.  Since the judicial branch of government is the only one of the three branches that directly “serves” the people on a daily basis, it is the only one wherein having corruption or dysfunction can severely and negatively impact the average person.  The map above reflects the overall integrity score.  When ranking is recalculated based upon judicial accountability, the result literally yields a completely different picture, which is as follows with numeric scores shown:

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