Vigilantes and law enforcement groups have long worked together to create and protect the racial order in the United States.
Conversations around police reforms sometimes highlight specific illegitimate acts by police officers. But law enforcement ignoring the law en masse raises deeper questions about the legitimacy of an institution with a long history of racism and brutality.
·3 min read
Racism in drug sentencing has been debated for years. Huge disparities in mandatory minimum sentences meant possession of crack cocaine, associated with Black urban communities, was punished much more harshly than possession of the same amounts of powder cocaine, favorite of celebrities and suburbanites. These sentencing requirements contributed to the mass incarceration of Black Americans, often low-level drug offenders. Though on Monday the Supreme Court had the chance to right this wrong, it instead ruled that low-level drug offenders do not always require new sentencing under the First Step Act of 2018 (New York Times).
·4 min read
In the U.S., it’s legal to be kidnapped and incarcerated without being convicted of any crime. You haven’t confessed. You aren’t considered dangerous or liable to flee before your court date. You have not been proven guilty so you must, by this country’s legal code, be considered innocent. You are nonetheless told you will be incarcerated indefinitely. Your trial date may be scheduled for a few weeks from now – – or, it may not arrive for years.
The U.S. positions itself as a just country with a superior legal system where people are always considered innocent until proven guilty and always granted the right to a trial before a jury of their peers. Except this isn’t true at all. Despite the promise of the Sixth Amendment, we do not have an effective right to trial because today, the overwhelming majority of cases will never see a judge.