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CLN is a project of the Human Rights Defense Center

Welcome to Criminal Legal News!

 

Criminal Legal News (“CLN”), a project of the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center (“HRDC”), is a monthly magazine that reports on criminal justice issues and related civil litigation topics.
 
CLN focuses on individuals’ constitutional rights as they relate to interactions with the criminal justice system and the persistent expansion of the police state in America.  In addition, CLN provides case summaries of the latest state and federal appellate court decisions of importance for anyone with an interest in the most recent developments in substantive criminal law and criminal procedure.
 
Specifically, CLN’s coverage of criminal justice issues includes, but is not limited to, police brutality, prosecutorial misconduct, abuse of power, habeas corpus relief, ineffective assistance of counsel, sentencing errors, militarization of police, surveillance state, junk science, wrongful convictions, false confessions, witness misidentification, paid/incentivized informants, search and seizure, Miranda warning, and due process rights.
 
CLN is the companion publication to Prison Legal News (“PLN”), which is widely recognized as the preeminent source of information and advocacy for prisoners' rights and associated legal issues.  In 2013, PLN received the First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
 
Both CLN and PLN serve as vital resources for prisoners who otherwise don’t have access to current legal and prison-related news and information.
 
The Human Rights Defense Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit human rights organization that zealously advocates, educates, and litigates on issues pertaining to people’s constitutional rights, especially on issues affecting individuals at all stages of the criminal justice system from initial police-citizen encounter to post-incarceration release.
 
To search CLN’s articles and other content, click “Search Content” on the top menu bar.  For recent news articles that mention CLN, PLN, and HRDC, click “In the News” (which also includes press releases from across the entire HRDC organization).  For HRDC’s litigation project, which tracks our First Amendment lawsuits, public records cases, and other legal actions, click “Litigation.”
 
CLN’s monthly magazine is a subscription print and online publication.  Our core subscriber base are prisoners incarcerated nationwide and members of the legal community who are interested in the latest criminal law-related court decisions and criminal justice news.
 
We also offer website subscriptions that provide full access to all content on our website (most of our news content is free, but a subscription is required to access some of our legal content).  For subscription options and fees, please click on “Subscribe” on the menu bar.
 
CLN also distributes numerous criminal justice, legal, and self-help books through our book store. Plus we do much more—for a better understanding of everything we do, please review our Annual Reports (also available under the “About” tab). 
 
 

Click here for our GoFundMe Campaign:

Bulldozer: The Prison & Immigration Reform Vehicle

HRDC  has been working since 1990 to make things right in the United States' criminal justice system. It's a tough job. We need heavy equipment to bulldoze the Prison Industrial Complex, and our equipment comes in the form of funding to support our mission to advocate for the rights of people held in prisons, jails and other detention facilities, including immigrant detention centers. 

Recent CLN Articles

The FBI Says Its Photo Analysis Is Scientific Evidence. Scientists Disagree.

The bureau’s image unit has linked defendants to crime photographs for decades using unproven techniques and baseless statistics. Studies have begun to raise doubts about the unit’s methods.

by Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica

At the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, a team of about a half-dozen technicians analyzes pictures down to ...

Can We Fight Crime With Public Shaming?

Humiliation-based punishments are designed as deterrents, but sentences that embarrass the most vulnerable among us are cruel, and represent the worst of American policies.

by Kathi Valeii, DAME Magazine

In November, several Bangladeshi immigrants who’d been convicted of food-stamp fraud were given a rare kind of shame-based sentence by a ...

The Fallibility of Forensic Science: Crime-Solving Tool Can Lead to Wrongful Convictions—and Belated Exonerations

by Rick Anderson

It’s the ultimate crime-solving tool, enabling prosecutors to bring seemingly rock-solid charges against accused murderers and rapists while also using it to re-open and solve dust-collecting cold cases. Victims and their families consider it a godsend and television watchers marvel at its consistency in bringing happy endings ...

Eyewitness (Mis)Identification in the Criminal Justice System: Powerful, Persuasive, and Problematic

by Christopher Zoukis

“Our procedure has always been haunted by the ghost of the innocent man convicted.”

—Judge Learned Hand (1923)

“Truth isn’t truth.”

—Rudy Giuliani (2018) 

In 1984, Ronald Cotton was arrested and charged with the knifepoint rape of Burlington, North Carolina, college student Jennifer Thompson ...

Nearly All the Officers in Charge of an Indiana Police Department Have Been Disciplined — Including the Chief Who Keeps Promoting Them

Of the 34 supervisors in the Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department, 28 have been disciplined. Fifteen have been suspended. Seven have been involved in fatal shootings. Three have been convicted of criminal charges.

by Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, and Christian Sheckler, South Bend Tribune

  This article was produced in partnership with ...

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds 2014 Amendment to Megan’s Law Violates Ex Post Facto Clause

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a 2014 amendment to the Violent Predator Incapacitation Act (“VPIA”), part of Megan’s Law, which applied to defendants who had violated their community supervision for life (“CSL”), violated the Ex Post Facto Clauses of the U.S. and New ...

Warning: Integrity of judicial process at risk

by Sandy Rozek, NARSOL

Testimony from individuals at a sentencing hearing has one primary purpose: to give the court additional information on which to base a sentencing decision.

Victim impact statements focus on the harm done, while statements on behalf of the convicted are intended to paint as thorough a ...

More articles

WEEKLY AUDIO:
"Criminal Injustice"

Paul Wright, the founder and executive director of the Human Rights Defense Center and editor of Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News, is a regular guest on the "Loud & Clear" podcast's Thursday series “Criminal Injustice,” a segment about the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country. Listen to this week's episode here or visit our media library, here, for an archive of past shows.

Recent Headlines 

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Move to Strip Reformist Prosecutor Larry Krasner of Authority

Never Commit a Crime When Your Phone Is Connected to a Wi-Fi Network

‘Red Flags’ as New Documents Point to Blind Spots of NYPD ‘Predictive Policing’

When the State Kills Those Who Didn't Kill

How this database is tracking and exposing cops' bigoted Facebook posts

Only 2% of Black Chicagoans’ Allegations of Police Misconduct Were Sustained: NYU Researchers

The FBI Has Access to Over 640 Million Photos of Us Through Its Facial Recognition Database

Federal Prison Handbook

 

Prisoner Education Guide side

 

Federal Prison Handbook

 

Prisoner Education Guide side