Criminal Sentencing


An adult Gerald Gault and his attorney Amelia Lewis.

An adult Gerald Gault and his attorney Amelia Lewis.

The 50th anniversary of the landmark decision In Re Gault will be the focus of a May 15 event in Phoenix, sponsored by ALWAYS—Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services. The evening next Monday will include a reception and dramatic performance by Rising Youth Theatre.

Gault is the U.S. Supreme Court decision based on an Arizona case that ensured the right to a lawyer for children accused of crimes in juvenile court. More specifically, it held that “juveniles accused of crimes in a delinquency proceeding must be afforded many of the same due process rights as adults, such as the right to timely notification of the charges, the right to confront witnesses, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to counsel.”

ALWAYS logo Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services

That evening, ALWAYS also will “honor the leadership behind the Youth Collaborative in Maricopa County with the 2017 Youth and Justice Award.”

  • When: Monday, May 15, 2017
  • Time: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Where: University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix Campus

Rising Youth Theatre logoAddress (see map below):

Virginia Piper Auditorium, 600 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix, AZ 85004

Free tickets are available here.

In Arizona Attorney Magazine, we covered the Gault anniversary in our May issue. Start reading here.

Here is an article by Judge Peter Cahill and Sarah Edwards.

Here is an article by Judge Jay Blitzman.

Gault order by Justice Lorna Lockwood for habeas hearing

Gault order by Justice Lorna Lockwood for habeas hearing (click to enlarge)

And here is more information about ALWAYS:

Arizona Legal Women and Youth Services is a nonprofit law office committed to opening the doors of justice for youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness, human trafficking, abuse, or the foster care system. We are attorneys, advocates, and volunteers working together to eliminate legal barriers to success and stability for vulnerable young people in Arizona. We believe every person deserves full access to the justice system, and we work every day to make this a reality for vulnerable youth in Arizona. We provide no-cost legal services to support the safety, stability, and self-sufficiency of our clients. ALWAYS services include full representation, consultations and brief advice, training, and system reform advocacy.

Map to the event:

Corporatization of the Criminal Justice System ASU Law School

This Friday, speakers at ASU Law School will offer a seminar titled “Corporatization of the Criminal Justice System.”

According to organizers, the event will include a variety of speakers including scholars, attorneys, and advocates “working on the pressing issue of the role of private prisons in mass incarceration and immigration detention.”

The keynote speaker will be Ben Jealous, former CEO and President of the NAACP.

The event opens at 1:30 p.m. and ends with an 8:45 p.m. reception.

The complete agenda with panel titles is here.

Other organizations involved include Abolish Private Prisons, Changing Hands Bookstore, Osborn Maledon, the American Constitution Society, and the Carolina Academic Press.

Organizers plan to address numerous topics, including the relationship between private prisons and:

  • the length and severity of sentences and availability of parole
  • mass incarceration’s impact on communities of color

Speakers at the event will examine prisons, parole, immigration detention, bail, and probation.

The complete conference website is here.

The website for the speaker information is here.

One commentator says private employers can take action now to reduce the downstream effects on people who were formerly incarcerated. ban the box

One commentator says private employers can take action now to reduce the downstream effects on people who were formerly incarcerated.

This decade may mark one of the most significant shifts in popular thinking about criminal justice issues. Those shifts implicate every stage of the process, from policing, to charging and sentencing, to release terms, and to those many invisible penalties often visited on formerly incarcerated people.

There is no monolithic view of these topics. But there does appear to be growing consensus that a mass-incarceration and lifetime-penalty approach has not served society well.

Another example of that came in Saturday’s Arizona Republic, where attorney Mark Holden penned an op-ed recommending that private companies voluntarily adopt ban-the-box in their hiring practices.

Don’t know what ban-the-box is? Here’s Mark:

Mark Holden, GC and SVP of Koch Industries

Mark Holden, GC and SVP of Koch Industries

“Right now, most employers require job-seekers to check a box on an application if they have any criminal record. Too often, this can function as an automatic ‘application denied’ for individuals with a blemish in their past.”

“Nationwide, some 650,000 incarcerated individuals rejoin society every year, and they desperately need jobs to help them transition back into society and to provide for themselves and their families. But the criminal record box often shuts them out of the job market before they can get a foot in the door.”

You can read his entire piece here.

(In an awkward headline difference: The print version is titled simply “Ban the Box: Have You Ever Been Convicted of a Crime?” Meantime, the online version has the pretty inflammatory headline “Arizona businesses should hire felons (or at least stop immediately asking them about their records)” Um, not quite, Arizona Republic. But nice try.)

What makes this especially interesting is Mark’s day job—he is the general counsel and senior vice president for Koch Industries. Yes, that Koch Industries, of the famed and very conservative Koch Brothers.

Felony convictions have a significant and long-lasting effect on the economy.

Felony convictions have a significant and long-lasting effect on the economy.

Understand, as Holden makes clear, Ban the Box does not mean employers entirely omit the felony question from the hiring process. But instead of being asked the moment an applicant begins the process, the question is delayed until later in the process—by which time an employer may have found that the person’s skills and personality are a great match for the firm.

This stance is another indicator that the chasm between viewpoints may be shrinking a bit between civil libertarians and those concerned about the massive costs society incurs when incarceration effects continue long after a person is released from prison.

If you have a view into the downstream effects of incarceration, I’d like to talk to you for a possible story. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Downtown Phoenix neighborhood "The Deuce," around Third St and Jefferson, early 1960s.

Downtown Phoenix neighborhood “The Deuce,” around Third St and Jefferson, early 1960s.

What happened to Miranda?

That intriguing question is how attorney Paul Ulrich opens his article on the landmark case that appears in the June Arizona Attorney Magazine.

Most everyone in the United States has at least a rudimentary knowledge of the Miranda warning, if not of the case itself. But 50 years on, how deep and long-lasting are the rights associated with Miranda v. Arizona? For in those five decades, multiple court rulings have chipped away at the bedrock of the case.

Is Miranda still a powerful case? Or merely an important piece of legal history?

Read Paul’s article, and let me know what you think.

One of the pleasures of covering the landmark case was in sharing some photos of downtown Phoenix, from about the same time period as Miranda’s arrest and trial.

As Paul mentions in his article, the once-shady—and vibrant—neighborhood of downtown was called “The Deuce.” Longtime residents are often pleased to share stories of the activities that marked the streets and alleys.

To learn more about that neighborhood, and more, read Jon Talton’s blog, Rogue Columnist. It is worth bookmarking.

And if you want a more concrete memory of the case, head over to the ABA website, where you buy a T-shirt emblazoned with the Miranda warning. You never know when that may come in handy

Court fees are just part of the downstream penalties assessed on formerly incarcerated people. (Infographic by Ella Baker Center for Human Rights)

Court fees are just part of the downstream penalties assessed on formerly incarcerated people. (Infographic by Ella Baker Center for Human Rights)

“Families and communities are our nation’s unrecognized re-entry program.”

When it comes to our nation’s prison incarceration numbers, a truer and more startling statement may never have been uttered. And those words highlight one of the stark realities that confront communities who welcome home family and other loved ones who have ended their term of incarceration. For in a nation committed to a criminal justice strategy marked by long terms of imprisonment, “time inside” is only one part of the long-term penalty assessed on inmates and their families.

The quote above was spoken by Zachary Norris, an attorney and Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, based in Oakland, California. I spoke with him in early May, mainly in regard to a report whose creation was led by the Ella Baker Center titled “Who Pays: The True Cost of Incarceration on Families.”

Zachary Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Oakland, Calif.

Zachary Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Oakland, Calif.

My interview with Zach Norris, and with many others, was spurred and supported by a fellowship I received from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. More detail about the Fellowship is here and here. And you should read more about the Quattrone Center here. Material from my research supported by those organizations will appear here and in an upcoming issue of Arizona Attorney Magazine.

A few years ago, I was able to cover a related topic thanks to a John Jay/Guggenheim Fellowship: the possibility for sentencing reform in Arizona and nationwide. A previous article that resulted from my coverage is here. This year, I’m following the story from the sentencing and prison setting—where such sentencing changes did not materialize in Arizona—out into the community, which must address the downstream consequences of prison sentences and multiple other penalties assessed on the formerly incarcerated person—and their families.

In the coming days, I’ll report more on what Zach Norris told me, and what some of those punishing realities facing communities and families are.

In the meantime, if you or someone you know has been affected by the returnee challenges, either personally, or in your expert experience as an attorney or otherwise, I’d like to hear from you. Write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Infographic by Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Infographic by Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

 

Professor Sarah Deer (photo: MacArthur Foundation)

Professor Sarah Deer (photo: MacArthur Foundation)

Professor Sarah Deer (a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation in Oklahoma) will speak and be recognized on Monday, May 2, at ASU’s Labriola Center, in Hayden Library, Tempe.

Deer is the recipient of the eighth annual Labriola Center American Indian Book Award for her 2015 book The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America. The event will be held at 2:00 p.m., when she will participate in an interview with Dr. David Martinez, American Indian Studies Faculty.

Professor Deer is a legal scholar who in part is well known for her significant scholarship regarding violence against Native American women. She is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow and authored Amnesty International’s “Maze of Injustice” Report (2007).

You can read a helpful review of her work here.

As Deer told the Indian Country Today Media Network:

“The advantage the tribes have at this point in our nation’s history is that many tribes do not yet have comprehensive anti-rape strategies in law, which is understandable given the legal system and the challenges that tribal nations face in addressing these types of crimes.”

“So there’s a perfect opportunity to say, ‘What would a good anti-rape strategy look like from the ground up if we don’t have the baggage and the trappings of American rape law, which is deeply problematic? What can we do outside of that construct?’ If tribes are really able to deal with rape without falling into the same mistakes that the American system has made, then they might indeed come up with models that could work for rape victims throughout the world,” says Deer.

American Indian book award Sarah Deer sexual violence in Native America

Ernesto Miranda

Ernesto Miranda

Next week, we have two opportunities to her smart folks talk about a landmark Supreme Court case that arose in Arizona. The case, of course, is Miranda v. Arizona, whose 50 anniversary is this year:

“In 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Ernesto Miranda on kidnapping and rape charges because he was not informed of his rights during his arrest, making his written and signed confession null and void. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Miranda was retried by the state of Arizona and his confession was not used as evidence. Miranda was convicted and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison.”

The first event, on Monday, May 2, includes speakers and historic artifacts, and is hosted by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

  • The Arizona Capitol Museum is celebrating Law Day 2016 with “Miranda: More than Words,” May 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Historic Supreme Courtroom, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix. Admission is free.
  • The lineup of speakers includes the arresting officer in the case, and organizers have partnered with the Phoenix Police Museum for an exhibit on the case.
  • A day-long speaker series in the State Library of Arizona Marguerite B. Cooley Reading Room, one floor above the Historic Supreme Courtroom will include speakers Arizona Court of Appeals Judge Maurice Portley; attorney Bob McWhirter; and retired Capt. Carroll Cooley, Phoenix Police Department arresting officer in the Miranda case.
  • For more information, go here or contact the State Library of Arizona at 602-926-3870.

Miranda Arizona Law-Day-2016_Flyer_opt

The second event, on Wednesday, May 4, features a panel discussion, hosted by the Maricopa County Bar Association:

 

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