Criminal Justice

More To Think About: Criminal Justice

Image result for gavel

The Connecticut experiment

Leona Godfrey was sitting down to dinner at a TGI Fridays in Orange in December 2013 when she glanced at a television and saw her little brother’s name on the local news. Davon Eldemire had tried to rob a small grocery store, shooting and injuring the owner. “I was devastated,” Godfrey recalled. “What was he thinking? I couldn’t eat.”

At first Godfrey didn’t visit, less out of anger than inertia. But early last year, their mother, Linda Godfrey, started begging Leona to come see something neither would have expected: the prison seemed sincere about helping Davon turn his life around. Linda had attended a presentation by John Pittman, an older prisoner who was going to be Davon’s mentor, pushing him away from gangs and towards planning for his life after release. Linda was deeply moved. “He touched my heart,” she said of Pittman.

Davon had been selected for a pilot program called TRUE at Cheshire Correctional Institution. The effort represents the edge of experimentation for prison officials trying to help a population — young adults, roughly 18-25 — long known as the most likely to end up in prison and to commit more crimes after their release. Public officials have recently started to listen to neuroscientists who say the developing brains of young adults are still prone to impulse. They’re not juveniles under the law, but like younger teens, their minds are plastic and receptive to change. Vermont is raising the age of who is considered a “youthful offender” to 21, Washington is allowing certain crimes committed by those up to 25 to stay in juvenile courts, legislators in Texas are studying how “gaps in services” contribute to crime among 17- to 25-year-olds, and Chicago and San Francisco have set up special courts for young adults.

Uniquely, Connecticut is focusing attention on young men who are already in prison.

Read the remainder of this story in its entirety as originally published May 8, 2018, by the Marshall Project. This story was produced in partnership with Mother Jones.

Connecticut approves 1st African-American chief justice

 By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press     Updated May 03. 2018 8:07PM

HARTFORD, Conn. — In a historic vote, Connecticut lawmakers unanimously confirmed Associate Justice Richard Robinson as the next chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court. He becomes the first African-American to hold the judicial branch’s top job.

The Senate on Thursday voted 36-0 in favor of Robinson’s nomination, with one top Republican lauding him as “a man of the people” who has remained grounded while having a “stellar career” as an attorney, superior court judge, and associate justice. The House of Representatives unanimously approved Robinson’s nomination on Monday.

Robinson, 60, was Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s second chief justice nominee this session. Associate Justice Andrew McDonald, a former Democratic state senator, and Malloy’s former legal counsel, would have been the nation’s first openly gay chief justice of a state Supreme Court if confirmed. He was narrowly rejected by the Senate in March.

 

It’s Judge Smith, A First in Hartford And For Connecticut

HARTFORD — Foye Smith grew up off of Albany Avenue and has lived in Hartford for most of her life. In November 2017, she became Hartford’s probate judge, the first African American in Connecticut to hold that position.  Smith, who is married to state Sen. Douglas McCrory, a legislator from Hartford, succeeded longtime Hartford probate judge Robert Killian, who held the post for more than three decades.