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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). 

  Recent CLN Articles

There’s No Rational Way to Justify America’s Drug Laws

People assume a medical committee sat down to consider which recreational drugs were the safest and least addictive, and this wise group decided alcohol and tobacco should be legal, while marijuana and everything else shouldn’t. That’s not what happened.

by Maia Szalavitz,

In 2013, CNN’s medical correspondent ...

Secondary DNA Transfer: The Rarely Discussed Phenomenon That Can Place the Innocent (and the Dead) at a Crime Scene They’ve Never Been To

by Christopher Zoukis

In 1930, the French scientist Edmond Locard published a journal article in which he laid the groundwork for what would become the field of forensic science. Locard said a criminal actor will always leave traces of his or her presence at a crime scene and will always ...

Courts Have Made Social Media a Landmine for Defendants. Could It Change Soon?

by Steve Horn

Social media, broadly defined as encompassing popular websites, and smartphone applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, has been pointed to by many as a potentially revolutionary avenue through which citizens from around the world can communicate with one another to effect change and participate in ...

#Policetoo: 35 States Allow ‘Consensual’ Sex Between Police and Detainees

by Christopher Zoukis

On September 15, 2017, 18-year-old Anna Chambers was taken into custody by two NYPD detectives on suspicion of smoking marijuana. According to Chambers, the detectives handcuffed her, led her into the back of an unmarked van with tinted windows, and raped her repeatedly. About an hour later ...

Durham, North Carolina, Opts Out of Military-Style Training for Police

by Christopher Zoukis

The Durham, North Carolina City Council faced an unusual debate at a recent meeting. Activist groups urged the council to prohibit city police officers from participating in police training exchanges with Israel. According to the groups, such training promotes the militarization of police forces. Council members agreed ...

More articles

"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 


Prosecutors Need a Watchdog

California Bill Would Deem Children Under 12 Too Young for Court

Buffalo Lawsuit Challenges 'Racial Profiling' in Traffic Stops

Texas Murder Suspect Violated Probation but Wasn't Sought

Key Evidence in Bay Area Cold Murder Cases Sat on Shelf for Years

Family Calls for Help with Suicidal Child, Cops Show Up and Kill Him

Petty Charges, Princely Profits

There’s No Rational Way to Justify America’s Drug Laws


Prisoners Self Help Litigation Manual


Prisoner Education Guide side


Federal Prison Handbook


Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual