Media Coverage

Podcast: Chasing Justice

Chesa Boudin , Podcast: Chasing Justice

Every day, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the United States who are in jail simply because they are too poor to buy their freedom.  In this episode, DA Boudin and Rachel discuss one of the most important issues in the criminal justice reform movement: cash bail.  For this discussion, they are joined by Alec Karakatsanis, the founder of Civil Rights Corps and the author of the book Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System.  Alec, one of the leading bail reform lawyers in the country who successfully sued Harris County, Texas over its bail system, explains the history and practice of bail in the United States, as well as its impact on the legal system overall.  Alec, DA Boudin and Rachel also explore the dangers of risk assessment tools as alternatives to bail, as well as pending bail reform litigation.  DA Boudin also describes his groundbreaking policy to stop seeking cash bail in all San Francisco cases. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in criminal justice reform.

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Everything Must Go

Frank News , Frank Interviews

We seek to use litigation to change the brutality that is inflicted on people, predominantly people of color, by the criminal punishment bureaucracy. We have led a lot of the fights around the country challenging the cash bail system. We have also done work around prosecutorial misconduct, on the militarization of police and some work around the indigent defense system. 

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Podcast: Money Cirlce

Maggie Germano, Money Circle

This week, Maggie sits down with Civil Rights Corps attorney, Katherine Hubbard, to talk about why cash bail is unjust and why we should fight to eliminate i

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'Treated like an animal' | Man details COVID-19, conditions at Prince George's County jail ahead of hearing on lawsuit

Saliqa Khan and Lorenzo Hall, WUSA

Justice reform advocates, including Color Of Change, Life After Release, and the NAACP, held a virtual press conference Monday morning to address the continuing crisis around the COVID-19 pandemic at Prince George's County Detention Center.

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Prince George's Co. activists claim the detention center not properly dealing with COVID

Brad Bell, WJLA

A federal judge ordered the county to respond with a detailed plan. Now, the activists say the department of corrections isn’t doing what it promised.

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Prince George's jail has improved testing, conditions to protect inmates from covid-19, judge finds

Anne E. Marimow, The Washington Post

Prince George’s County jail officials have made “sufficient progress” and provided a “reasonable” plan for improving conditions to protect inmates from contracting the deadly novel coronavirus, a federal judge overseeing the facility said Monday.

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Ex-Inmates on Prince George’s County Jail COVID-19 Lawsuit: ‘It’s Like We’re Not Humans’

Hannah Gaskill, Maryland Matters

The Civil Rights Corps filed a federal class-action lawsuit against McDonough, alleging unsanitary facilities and non-compliance with CDC-recommended guidelines. 

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The last days of a covid-19 prisoner

Radley Balko , The Washington Post

When the coronavirus pandemic began to sweep the country, a judge ordered him released from jail and placed in home confinement, given his multiple underlying conditions of congenital heart failure, kidney failure and hypertension. But for reasons that also aren’t clear, that never happened.

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Judge tells Oakland County sheriff to provide masks to jail inmates, may order releases

Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press

A federal judge in Detroit ordered Oakland County to provide soap, cleaning supplies, masks, a COVID-19 testing plan and a list of medically vulnerable inmates in a lawsuit related to the global pandemic filed by five jail inmates. 

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Covid-19 cases concerning prisoners' rights hit the Supreme Court

Ariane de Vogue , CNN

The Supreme Court and courts across the country will see an increasing number of pandemic-related disputes in the coming weeks concerning prison conditions and whether prisons are violating the constitutional rights of inmates by failing to adequately protect them against the coronavirus.

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Oakland County Jail Ordered To Identify Prisoners Who Should Be Released To Protect Them From COVID-19

Dawn R. Wolfe, The Appeal

A federal district judge has ordered the Oakland County, Michigan, jail to provide a list of “medically-vulnerable” prisoners who can be either freed or released to home confinement to protect them from the risk of contracting COVID-19.

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Judge isn’t ordering jail to free inmates in virus hot spot

Michael Kunzelman, AP News

On April 21, Civil Rights Corps attorneys filed a federal class action that claims the jail failed to stop an “uncontrolled” coronavirus outbreak or properly care for infected prisoners. The lawsuit says prisoners who tested positive for COVID-19 were isolated in cells with walls covered in feces, mucus and blood.

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Prince George’s jail must plan to test more inmates for covid-19, federal judge orders

Dan Morse and Spencer S. Hsu , The Washington Post

"A federal judge on Monday ordered the Prince George’s County jail to identify all inmates who are medically vulnerable to covid-19 after a court-ordered inspection of the facility found that a limited number of tests have been conducted for the novel coronavirus." 

"The lawsuit filed in Maryland by Civil Rights Corps in April urged the release of inmates, asserting the county has allowed unsanitary conditions in the jail and has not followed recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop the spread of the coronavirus"

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Lawsuit: Tennessee Driver's License Law Punishes Poor

Stacey Barchenger, The Tennessean

"Nashvillian James Thomas can't drive to see his doctor or get to his volunteer work each week because he owes $290 for a trespassing conviction, a crime the formerly homeless man faced for sheltering under a bridge.

"Thomas and more than 146,000 Tennesseans have had their driver's licenses revoked since 2012 because of a state law that says court fines that go unpaid for a year result in automatic revocation, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Nashville on Wednesday."

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Why Won't the County Settle the Lawsuit Over the Bail System?

Lisa Falkenberg, Houston Chronicle

"Why are Harris County officials wasting millions in taxpayer money on high-dollar lawyers to defend a bail system that has now been declared unconstitutional by a federal judge?

"The county's handling of a class action lawsuit, which is intended to stop criminal court at law judges from jailing people simply because they're poor, continues to intrigue and outrage. But an exchange late Tuesday with two top county offices left me more baffled than ever."

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Criminal Injustice

Michael Zuckerman , Harvard Magazine

TODAY KARAKATSANIS is in the trenches, but he is also “one of the most important figures litigating issues related to the criminalization of poverty,” according to Smith, who notes that Karakatsanis’s cases “have deeply impacted” his own scholarship at Berkeley. “Indeed,” Smith adds, “one could make the strong case…that he is the most important figure working on those issues in the United States.”

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His Clients Weren't Complaining. But The Judge Said This Lawyer Worked Too Hard.

Richard A. Oppel, Jr. , The New York Times

Mr. Willey’s lawyer, Charlie Gerstein of Civil Rights Corps, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., said the lawsuit would be the first in a series of cases and was filed partly to illustrate a “phenomenon that pervades the entire legal system.”

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Podcast: Justice in America

Clint Smith III & Josie Duffy Rice, The Appeal

Civil Rights Corps founder Alec Karakatsanis discusses the U.S. money bail system in episode one of Clint Smith III & Josie Duffy Rice's new podcast "Justice in America". "Justice in America" is produced by The Appeal

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New Orleans judges enter 'uncharted territory,' and budget peril, after federal court decisions

Matt Sledge, The Advocate

Federal judges delivered a one-two gut punch to the New Orleans criminal court system this month, declaring that judges have an inherent conflict of interest both when they set bail amounts and when they impose court fees that pad their budgets.

The twin rulings against Magistrate Judge Harry Cantrell and the 12 Criminal District Court trial judges portend major changes at the courthouse — and problems for its coffers.

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Being Poor Can Mean Losing a Driver’s License. Not Anymore in Tennessee.

Richard A. Oppel, Jr. , The New York Times

The ruling in Tennessee could mean the reinstatement of driver’s licenses for more than 100,000 Tennessee residents. A similar lawsuit is also pending before the same judge over unpaid traffic fines that have cost about a quarter-million Tennesseans their licenses. The precise number of residents who would get their licenses back is unclear because some also lost driving privileges for other reasons and would still be subject to revocation.

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