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From the Editor

by Paul Wright

Welcome to the first issue of Criminal Legal News. You are receiving our complimentary first issue because you are a subscriber to Prison Legal News. This is the second magazine I have started since 1990 when I started PLN, and what a difference 27 years makes! Shortly after we started PLN, readers said they wanted more news about criminal law and post-conviction relief. We covered that as far as it pertained to broad issues like sentencing conditions, parole and probation, litigation, etc., but we always lacked the space to report on it in a comprehensive manner. As PLN grew, we kept our focus on detention facilities, because no one else was reporting on that, and the need was definitely there.

Over the years the Human Rights Defense Center, which publishes PLN and CLN, has grown steadily. We have expanded our book publishing program, and it is in this context that we decided to launch CLN to have complete, front-to-back coverage of the criminal justice system.

Richard Resch is the managing editor of CLN. You will hear from him on a regular basis, and I will chime in occasionally to keep readers informed of HRDC news. Richard is an attorney with extensive experience in the publishing industry and well informed on criminal justice issues.

We expect there to be some overlap between PLN and CLN coverage, but not much. CLN will be reporting on criminal law decisions from all 50 states and the federal court system. All of our coverage on legal developments affecting the fact and duration of confinement and sentences will be right here in CLN. This includes criminal convictions, sentencing, parole, probation, the death penalty, etc. CLN will also be covering civil rights litigation against the police, prosecutors, and judges who send people to prison and abuse them.

PLN will continue focusing on conditions of confinement and mass incarceration. If you want to get out of prison, sue the police for money, and find out just how brutal and corrupt the policing end of the American police state is, read CLN. If you want to improve your conditions of confinement, sue prisons and jails, and learn just how bad the American gulag really is, then keep reading PLN. Ideally, you will do both and be the most knowledgeable person you know on all things criminal justice as a result.

Richard has done a fantastic job putting together the first issue of CLN. Susan Schwartzkopf and Judy Cohen have done a great job finding advertisers willing to make the jump and advertise in a magazine they have never seen. We plan to follow a lot of the same guidelines with CLN that we have with PLN, namely to maintain a ratio of 25% advertising content to 75% editorial content, which means the more advertising we get, the more news content our readers get. Hopefully, CLN will grow quickly in size, so please tell our advertisers where you saw their ads when you patronize their services.

After this complimentary issue of CLN if you wish to receive further issues of CLN, you need to subscribe to it. We have separate databases and websites for CLN and PLN to avoid confusion and overlap. When you write to us, please specify which publication you are inquiring about. Each month, we will be bringing you cutting edge news on court rulings and news dealing with the American police state and attempts to control it through the criminal and civil justice systems.

We have lined up a fantastic array of CLN quarterly columnists so far, with Kent Russell doing his popular “Habeas Hints” column, and Tara Hoveland serving as his co-author; former BOP prisoner and PLN writer-turned-attorney Brandon Sample reporting on the latest criminal law developments; and retired Suffolk University Constitutional law professor Michael Avery providing expert commentary on police abuse and civil rights litigation. We also aim to cover and report on cutting edge developments in criminal law like the intersections between surveillance, social media, political protest, the Constitution, the police state, and much more. We will be publishing PLN and CLN on alternating two-week cycles, which means subscribers will be getting one of our insightful publications every two weeks.

As with all new projects, CLN is a work in progress. This is even more so with a news publication. To an extent, the news cycle and the events within it will dictate what we cover, but we are dedicated to providing the best practical criminal justice advocacy reporting to our readers that can actually be used to advocate for themselves and others.

In February, we will begin aggressively promoting the magazine to the criminal defense bar and other potential subscribers. Our goal is to have 2,000 paid subscribers within the first year of publishing. I am cautiously optimistic we can surpass that. Let us know what you think of CLN and which topics you would like to see covered. If you like what you are reading, please subscribe, and encourage others to subscribe. Everyone at HRDC wishes our readers a happy holiday season and best wishes for a more militant new year. 


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