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Charged: The New Movement to Transform…
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Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass… (edição 2020)

por Emily Bazelon (Autor)

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"A renowned investigative journalist exposes the unchecked power of the prosecutor as a driving force in America's mass incarceration crisis, and also offers a way out. The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. But in fact, it is prosecutors who have the upper hand, in a contest that is far from equal. More than anyone else, prosecutors decide who goes free and who goes to prison, and even who lives and who dies. The system wasn't designed for this kind of unchecked power, and in Charged, Emily Bazelon shows that it is an underreported cause of enormous injustice--and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle. But that's only half the story. Prosecution in America is at a crossroads. The power of prosecutors makes them the actors in the system--the only actors--who can fix what's broken without changing a single law. They can end mass incarceration, protect against coercive plea bargains and convicting the innocent, and tackle racial bias. And because in almost every state we, the people, elect prosecutors, it is within our power to reshape the choices they make. In the last few years, for the first time in American history, a wave of reform-minded prosecutors has taken office in major cities throughout the country. Bazelon follows them, showing the difference they make for people caught in the system and how they are coming together as a new kind of lobby for justice and mercy. In Charged, Emily Bazelon mounts a major critique of the American criminal justice system--and charts the movement for change"--"The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. But in fact, it is prosecutors who have the upper hand, in a contest that is far from equal. More than anyone else, prosecutors decide who goes free and who goes to prison, and even who lives and who dies. The system wasn't designed for this kind of unchecked power, and in Charged, Emily Bazelon shows that it is an underreported cause of enormous injustice--and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle. But that's only half the story. Prosecution in America is at a crossroads. The power of prosecutors makes them the actors in the system--the only actors--who can fix what's broken without changing a single law. They can end mass incarceration, protect against coercive plea bargains and convicting the innocent, and tackle racial bias. And because in almost every state we, the people, elect prosecutors, it is within our power to reshape the choices they make. In the last few years, for the first time in American history, a wave of reform-minded prosecutors has taken office in major cities throughout the country. Bazelon follows them, showing the difference they make for people caught in the system and how they are coming together as a new kind of lobby for justice and mercy. In Charged, Emily Bazelon mounts a major critique of the American criminal justice system--and charts the movement for change"--… (mais)
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Título:Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration
Autores:Emily Bazelon (Autor)
Informação:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2020), Edition: Illustrated, 448 pages
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Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration por Emily Bazelon

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"Charged", by Emily Bazelon, looks at the immense impact that Prosecutors can and do exert in the criminal judicial system. There's widespread support among prosecutors for a "tough on crime" stance, and being known as the "law & order" candidate in elections is the popular position that politicians, judges and prosecutors take when running for office. The result is that American jails are filled to capacity, and the number of incarcerated individuals is out of proportion to the rest of the World. And if Americans are no more prone to committing crimes than citizens of other Countries, Emily Bazelon examines whether or not we're doing something wrong in our approach to crime and punishment.

Our judicial system proudly focuses on punishment for crimes, while many other countries tend to focus on rehabilitation. In her book, Bazelon notes that there's been a recent national criminal justice reform movement which is looking at reducing prison sentences and reversing the high incarceration rates, and focusing more on rehabilitation whenever possible. Long standing practices make this reform movement a tough sell, but Emily Bazelon presents statistics and studies which point out there may be a rational for rethinking the current tough-on-crime approach taken across our Country. While discussing these statistics and studies, she also also examines two different cases in which lawyers have used different approaches to how crimes should be prosecuted. She looks at one case handled by Memphis District Attorney Amy Wyrick, and another by Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez. In the first case, the compulsion to bring people to justice and to win all cases led to the conviction of a convenient suspect, but also a charge of prosecutorial misconduct. In the second case, the DA chose not to push for the most punitive punishment possible, and instead allowed a young man to enter an alternative program, which had a net positive outcome for the individual.

The rational for rethinking the tough-on-crime approach is motivated in part on the financial costs and also in part on the human costs. It takes $15,000 to $70,000 per year to keep someone in prison, and that's a huge financial burden for many municipalities, especially considering that many are imprisoned only for very minor convictions or because they can't make bail. There's also an impact on society, since prisons have been shown to have become a revolving door. Often, when prisoners have served their term and are released, their criminal record makes it difficult to find a job or obtain public housing. Their record follows them and limits their options. With few options, they often turn to crime again, and end up back in jail.

There are arguments to be made for both approaches, to be sure. But the number of convictions that are being overturned based on DNA analysis, especially in death penalty cases, shows that there are a good number of innocent men or women wrongly imprisoned. This is especially unfortunate in the cases Bazelon describes when a Prosecutor overcharges a crime, whether to show toughness or to force a plea deal, or is so motivated to "win" that ethics slip in the process.

Bazelon discusses how forward looking prosecutors are starting to make judgments on the level of crime committed and on the individual, and trying to determine if drug rehab, mental illness counselling, or other attempts to rehabilitate the individual rather than imprison them would make more sense. She discusses studies which show a less punitive alternative often allows the offender to reclaim his or her place as a productive member of society. But many prosecutors and judges are reluctant to allow a defendant to enter alternate programs for fear that the individual may subsequently commit a more serious crime, and they'll be blamed for a poor decision and fail in their bid for re-election. It's easier for most to simply pursue a prison sentence, avoid any second guessing, regardless of the impact on the defendant.

After reading this book, readers may not change their attitudes toward punishment vs. rehabilitation, but should at least recognize when applied rationally, there are situations when jail should not be the only outcome in a criminal matter. Also, for those who may be interested in other books dealing with innocent people being wrongly convicted due to prosecutorial misconduct, John Grisham's covers the subject nicely in several of his novels, including The Innocent Man", "The Confession; and in his most recent book "The Guardians". Better examples from non-fictional accounts include Radley Balko's book "The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist"; Bryan Stevenson's excellent book "Just Mercy"; Raymond Bonner's book "Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong"; Burned", by Edward Humes, or Michelle Alexander's "The New Jim Crow". ( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
If you want to understand criminal justice in the US, and the need for reform, you need to understand the role of prosecutors and the way the system is rigged. In the early 1970s, the northeast, midwest, and western US had incarceration rates comparable to the Nordics. After that, they skyrocketed.

Emily Bazelon explores the roots of our rigged system--and what might be done to change it--partly through the lens of two cases. Kevin (not his real name), was arrested for a gun possession charge in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Noura Jackson was arrested for the murder of her mother, Jennifer, in 2005. The Kings County and Shelby County DAs take very different approaches.

Prosecutors have enormous power within the system--deciding who to charge, with what offenses, what bail to seek, and how to handle plea agreements. All of these can and are used to increase conviction rates and hence incarceration, and prosecutors leverage them effectively--piling on charges to given them maximum power, keeping people jailed for lack of cash bail, and using prison time to punish people for choosing a trial instead of a plea. Since poor people, especially poor people of color, both experience prejudice at the hands of the system and have few resources to fight it, they're disproportionately impacted by its whims and failures. The political powers involved in our system--electing judges and DAs, giving wide latitude towards people who then need to show they're "tough on crime"--damage the quality of justice on offer. New Jersey's new system of using a scoring tool for bail and removing most cash bail has been successful.

In his book Locked In (which Bazelon references), Fordham professor John Pfaff makes a convincing case that in order to end mass incarceration and its social consequences, we cannot just look at nonviolent crime: we need to consider violent crimes, too. In Kings County (Brooklyn), the new, reform minded DA is doing just that. What crimes need to be considered "violent"? One focus is on guns: gun control, in New York, involves both civil and criminal penalties, pushed heavily by former mayor Michael Bloomberg. Criminal penalties fall predominantly on black people: 87% of people prosecuted in the gun courts were African American, even though Brooklyn is only 1/3 black. Who should be given a second chance and put through a diversion program?

In Shelby County, the approach has been the opposite. Here, DA Amy Weirich commits a Brady violation (withholding evidence) in Noura Jackson's murder trial, and the portrait of her and her office is deeply unflattering. Other figures in the Tennessee justice system also come in for a harsh reckoning.

This is a vivid, narrative focused read, but with a great deal of legal detail packed in. Readers of The New Jim Crow will recognize a lot of the paths Bazelon takes. Our criminal justice system has been focused on the severity of the punishment and the number of people punished, not the effectiveness of punishments or the long term social consequences. The work being done with criminal justice reform today may show us a new path forward for dealing with crime. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
I put CHARGED on my Goodreads shelf for winners of Pulitzers and National Book Awards, not because Ms. Bazelon has won a National Book Award yet, but because I hope that she does. I would not be surprised if she does.

Ms. Bazelon is a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, a fellow at Yale Law School (of which she is an alumna) and a co-host of my favorite podcast, the SLATE Political Gabfest.

In CHARGED, she shines a light on the power of prosecutors in our current criminal justice system, a power that has metastasized in recent decades because of mandatory minimum sentences and plea bargaining.

To help convey her message, Ms. Bazelon tells the powerful stories of two young people:

(1) Noura Jackson, a woman who lost 10 years of her life to the unscrupulous, win-at-all-costs attitude of Amy Weirich, District Attorney of Shelby County, Tennessee. Shelby County, recall Amy Weirich!!

(2) Kevin — a young man living in Brooklyn, New York who seems to have gotten his life back on track because the system steered him to the diversion program. This program allowed him to avoid prison by going back to school, getting a job and behaving like a useful member of society. The message of this part of the book is: the criminal justice system must avoid creating MORE violent criminals.

Ms. Bazelon also writes about a new breed of progressive prosecutors elected to reform the criminal justice system, such as Philadelphia D.A. Larry Krasner and Brooklyn D.A. Eric Gonzalez. It is an exciting development. If I were in law school now, I would like to think that I would pursue this path myself (to work for the Brooklyn DA’s office, not to get elected!!)
( )
  Robert_Musil | Dec 15, 2019 |
Over a dozen years ago I was working on a report for a racial profiling campaign a coalition of organizations had organized. I came across a research study that looked at racial disparities in criminal justice from arrest to sentencing. I was surprised to see prosecutorial decisions, not overpolicing, identified as the most significant factor in racial disparities in incarceration. This sparked an unending interest in how we fight over-incarceration and the use of the criminal justice system as a boot on the necks of Black people.

Charged is an examination of how prosecutors have become the drivers of over-incarceration and racial disparities. Author Emily Bazelon also includes an invaluable appendix detailing several powerful reforms that are necessary to redress the problems in prosecution.

Bazelon hangs her argument on two examples of prosecutors at work and the people they hold in their power. In New York, Kevin has been charged with having a gun in his own home. In Memphis, Noura Jackson is accused of killing her mother. Kevin’s story demonstrates how a prosecutor taking a chance and allowing someone a second chance can pay off. Noura’s story tells of a prosecuto with tunnel vision, more committed to a win than to justice, withholding evidence that could help the defense and never paying a price for it.

Impunity is the reason prosecutors are so dangerous to justice. They are unpunished when they violate ethical rules and even when they break the law. They also work under the moral hazard of sending people to prison and having the state, not the county, pay the bill, never having to account for their expenditures.

The appendix is reason enough to read Charged. The book is based on solid research that is well-documented. Bazelon talked to prosecutors all over the country and attended meetings of reformers. She sat in on trials and bail hearings. She tells story after story of injustice and examines how particular court decisions have exacerbated the problem. She did her homework and then some.

The stories are interesting, though often infuriating, and Bazelon does a great job of explaining complex information and distilling a large story to its essence. The one weakness is when writing about events she attended, injecting details like snacks and coffee and audience participation. I understand the idea of details making something come alive, but these details are just silly and distracting.

If you care about over-incarceration, systemic racism, or racial justice, you should read this book. If you care about effective policing and budget responsibility, you should read this book. The only people who should skip it are those who are happy with the US locking up more people than China, not per capital, more people in real numbers.

I received an e-galley of Charged from the publisher through NetGalley.

Charged at Penguin Random House
Emily Bazelon author site

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2019/05/15/9780399590016/ ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | May 15, 2019 |
The American criminal justice system is a mess. This really is an indisputable fact. For nearly a half century we've been fighting a War on Drugs, which has only succeeded in putting more drugs on the streets. We run prisons for profit, filling them with young black males and people too poor to afford bail and/or attorneys. We run a barter system with plea bargains, rather than a justice system with trials by jury. Nothing about what we do is fair.

With 'Charged', Emily Bazelon highlights the job of prosecutors, showing us exactly how much power and control they wield over the system and the people caught within it. She lays out this narrative with a focus on two young people; one whose life is destroyed by an uncaring, unjust system, and the other who benefits immensely from the compassion of a different kind of system. We have the ability to wield both types of power, so why are we so quick to destroy?

This book is disturbing, because it should be. But Bazelon also shows us glimmers of hope. In various pockets of our country, justice is becoming a reality rather than a farce. Through these stories, Bazelon shows us that compassion and justice can, in fact, go hand-in-hand.

The reality of our system is nothing like an episode of Law & Order. Money, education, status, race, and religion all weigh heavily in how a person is treated, prosecuted, and punished. There is no such thing as equal rights within our criminal justice system, at least not yet. Maybe if enough people read this book, and enough people demand change, someday we can truly claim a "justice" system.

*I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.* ( )
  Darcia | Mar 23, 2019 |
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"A renowned investigative journalist exposes the unchecked power of the prosecutor as a driving force in America's mass incarceration crisis, and also offers a way out. The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. But in fact, it is prosecutors who have the upper hand, in a contest that is far from equal. More than anyone else, prosecutors decide who goes free and who goes to prison, and even who lives and who dies. The system wasn't designed for this kind of unchecked power, and in Charged, Emily Bazelon shows that it is an underreported cause of enormous injustice--and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle. But that's only half the story. Prosecution in America is at a crossroads. The power of prosecutors makes them the actors in the system--the only actors--who can fix what's broken without changing a single law. They can end mass incarceration, protect against coercive plea bargains and convicting the innocent, and tackle racial bias. And because in almost every state we, the people, elect prosecutors, it is within our power to reshape the choices they make. In the last few years, for the first time in American history, a wave of reform-minded prosecutors has taken office in major cities throughout the country. Bazelon follows them, showing the difference they make for people caught in the system and how they are coming together as a new kind of lobby for justice and mercy. In Charged, Emily Bazelon mounts a major critique of the American criminal justice system--and charts the movement for change"--"The American criminal justice system is supposed to be a contest between two equal adversaries, the prosecution and the defense, with judges ensuring a fair fight. But in fact, it is prosecutors who have the upper hand, in a contest that is far from equal. More than anyone else, prosecutors decide who goes free and who goes to prison, and even who lives and who dies. The system wasn't designed for this kind of unchecked power, and in Charged, Emily Bazelon shows that it is an underreported cause of enormous injustice--and the missing piece in the mass incarceration puzzle. But that's only half the story. Prosecution in America is at a crossroads. The power of prosecutors makes them the actors in the system--the only actors--who can fix what's broken without changing a single law. They can end mass incarceration, protect against coercive plea bargains and convicting the innocent, and tackle racial bias. And because in almost every state we, the people, elect prosecutors, it is within our power to reshape the choices they make. In the last few years, for the first time in American history, a wave of reform-minded prosecutors has taken office in major cities throughout the country. Bazelon follows them, showing the difference they make for people caught in the system and how they are coming together as a new kind of lobby for justice and mercy. In Charged, Emily Bazelon mounts a major critique of the American criminal justice system--and charts the movement for change"--

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