criminal justice

Jury selection begins Monday in a criminal trial against comedian Bill Cosby on felony charges of sexual assault — and just a few hours into the process, it's evident that seating a jury is going to be a challenge.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

In the family visitor’s lounge, under paintings of Disney cartoon characters, two-dozen incarcerated men at Dade Correctional Institution take turns walking up to a microphone to recite poems they wrote while in prison.

Miami Herald

Death Row inmate Mike Lambrix has lost his appeal for a new sentence.

Lambrix was one of the subjects in the WLRN documentary Cell 1, where we looked at Florida’s death penalty and the limbo it was in for more than a year.

Will convicted felons be allowed to vote again in Florida after completing their sentences?

That is the subject of a proposed constitutional amendment that could go to voters as early as the 2018 general election. Monday, the Florida Supreme Court reviewed the language of that amendment, moving it one step closer to the ballot.

Creative Commons via Flickr / Mark Goebel (https://flic.kr/p/5A7n4k)

A new bill under consideration by the Florida Legislature would make it easier for defendants to use the "Stand Your Ground" defense when faced with use of force charges. 

For years, Florida laws have  had provisions for self-defense immunity, protecting people who use force in self-defense from being prosecuted. There are certain restrictions on where and when you are justified in using various kind of force in self-defense.

Florida lawmakers should take a comprehensive approach to reforming the state’s criminal justice system. That’s according to a new poll by a free market think-tank.

Middle School Students Take The Law Into Their Own Hands

May 17, 2016
Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

Brownsville Middle School students visiting the Police Academy recently got a stark warning from recruit Albert Hightower: “I have friends who’s dead; I have friends who’s in jail…Do not, do not let the environment you’re in right now dictate what you become,” Hightower said, drawing on his own experiences growing up near Brownsville, in Liberty City.

Courtesy of Fusion

For the most part, mug shots are not a good thing, marked by bad lighting, slightly grainy resolution and a not-so-happy model. And yet, we seem to have a fascination with them in pop culture -- galleries of celebrity mug shots, hot mug shots and, of course, the most unflattering ones imaginable.

Creative Commons via Flickr / Kathryn Decker (https://flic.kr/p/9yMfuF)

Update 10/6/2015 5:15 p.m. - This measure passed in an 8-4 vote.

People who have been to jail may soon find it easier to get a job with Miami-Dade County.

The controversial law that would take questions about criminal history off county job applications is up for final debate at Tuesday’s commission meeting.

Flickr Creative Commons: 3D_Judges_Gavel Wikimedia: Flag
Ilustration: Nadege Green / WLRN

The Miami-Dade Public Defender’s office has released a manual for the local community that explains the  consequences of having a conviction, or pleading guilty in Florida.

Diego Saldaña-Rojas / WLRN

Miami-­Dade County has the largest percentage of individuals with serious mental illnesses among all urban areas in the U.S., according to data from the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court. 

The figures led the psychiatry department at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine and the Miami branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host the Stop the Stigma conference. The event, held Saturday at UM's hospital, aimed to "stop the sitgma" of mental illnesses.

sakhorn38 / freedigitalphotos.net

A new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts finds Florida leading the nation in inmates who “max out” their sentences --- serving 100 percent of their time and being released with no supervision beyond the prison gates.

The study found that 64.3 percent of Florida inmates, or 21,426 offenders, were released in 2012 without conditions, monitoring or support.

Creative Commons / Flickr user Bart Everson

Five hundred young adults in Broward County may soon wake up to clean criminal records if the County Commission gives the go-ahead at its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

These kids are first-time, non-violent offenders who were eligible for the Civil Citation Program for Juveniles but were instead arrested and slapped with a misdemeanor.

The program is an opportunity to look at the source of the trouble-making and engage with other kids in similar situations. At the completion of the program, no mention is ever made on the kid’s record.

Juan Carlos Chavez's inadvertent legacy to the people of Florida was a piece of legislation now known as the Jimmy Ryce Act, in honor of the nine-year-old boy Chavez raped and murdered in 1995. It was one of those crimes so heinous that it inspired action.

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