Watchdog Blog

Archive for the 'Criminal justice system' Category

Herb Strentz: Time to Cut Back on Violence, Not Just Analyze It

In the wake of the killings at the Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Bob Schieffer on the CBS evening news wondered what the killer’s motive possibly could be. And in today’s Des Moines Register, a headline over a front-page column said we had to stop this cycle of “retribution.” Motive? Retribution? Is the press that clueless? [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: A Criminal Justice Problem in 1958, and in 2012 Also

The New York Times reminded its readers recently of the enormous part played by guilty pleas in the criminal justice system – 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases are decided by pleas rather than trials. The Times called the statistics “stunning.” The Times and its readers might be even more [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: Put Zimmerman in NRA Custody

Every person awaiting trial is presumed innocent. Courts usually require that they post bail to assure their appearance at trial. If the accused is penniless, as Zimmerman is reported to be, the presumption of innocence doesn’t prevent him and the many others in the same boat from being jailed to await trial. Jails in this [...]

Barry Sussman: ‘A textbook example of dogged reporting’

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is running an extraordinary three-part series on city police violating the laws they were sworn to uphold, ranging from minor offenses to sexual assault, and often getting off with a slap on the wrist or, sometimes, no punishment. The series started Oct. 23; a second article was to appear Oct. 26 [...]

Gilbert Cranberg: I Remember It Perfectly, Officer

In downtown Des Moines several years ago I witnessed a woman fatally injured by a car as she crossed the street. I was an ideal witness. I had an unobstructed view of the accident, which had happened directly in front of me. But I learned later that, when police questioned me, the only accurate things [...]