Editor’s Preface

In 1999 the Washington Post won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, perhaps the most coveted of journalistic prizes, for “Deadly Force,” a five-part series of articles that sought to explain the alarming frequency with which police officers in Washington D.C. killed residents of the city they were charged with protecting. The series identified a number of causes for the epidemic of police violence, including poor training, inadequate supervision, and minimal accountability. In “‘Deadly Force’ Revisited: Transparency and Account – ability for the D.C. Police Force,” Karen Hopkins digs deep into the data to demonstrate that a decade and a half, later many of the same problems remain. This article could hardly be more timely. Over the past two years there has been a great awakening to the fact that police violence is a national epidemic that can no longer be tolerated, particularly in cities like the District of Columbia where there are large concentrations of African Americans. There have been mass uprisings around the country. Protesters and activists, including the bold and tireless Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, continue to demand reform. Even in the teeth of so much popular anger and resistance, police who kill, even under circumstances that, for any civilian, would constitute probable cause for arrest and prosecution, still tend to enjoy impunity. The framework of our criminal justice system is designed to exonerate them. Darren Wilson was not indicted after he shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri. Daniel Pantaleo was not indicted after choking Eric Garner, also unarmed, to death on Staten Island. Prosecutors did all they could to insure that a grand jury would not indict Timothy Loehmann, who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, armed only with a toy gun, in Cleveland. The list goes on interminably. “‘Deadly Force’ Revisited,” exploring how the reforms that followed the Post ’s landmark series have fallen short, helps demonstrate how frustratingly difficult reform in this area can be. Activists around the country, including BLM, deserve credit for continuing to force a national discussion of this issue even as months and years go by. Some of their efforts have led to more concrete gains, such as the recent indictment of the officers accused of killing Freddie Gray in Baltimore. And, clearly, it was only through ongoing efforts by activists and lawyers in Chicago that the public learned what authorities knew for a year, that Officer Jason Van Dyke murdered Laquan McDonald in cold blood, lied about it, and joined in an attempt to erase surveillance camera footage that could have belied the cover-up. NLGR ’s recently published “Race and Criminal Justice” theme issue (Volume 71, Issue 4) was our attempt to promote this effort and advance the discussion. “‘Deadly Force’ Revisited” utilizes social science and legal research methods to shine a light on how resilient the problem of police violence continues to be in D.C. It also recommends solutions that, if used as a model, might lead to widescale reforms to ensure respect for civil liberties and human life. David Loudon’s “Could or Must? Apprendi ’s Application to Indeterminate Sentencing Systems after Alleyne ” makes a particular, narrowly focused legal argument—that after Alleyne v. United States the Sixth Amendment requires that facts that postpone an inmate’s eligibility for parole in an indeterminate sentencing system should be treated like elements of the crime which must be proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. If implemented, that simple change would be an important step toward mitigating some of the devastating harms of our current gargantuan carceral state, in which more citizens are being locked up for longer periods of time than ever before. If courts interpret Alleyne as Loudon thinks they should two consequences will result, both of which could contribute to the end of this longstanding and shameful era of mass incarceration: the opportunity for parole will come sooner to many deserving inmates and, by increasing the role of the jury while decreasing that of the judge, sentencing will become more democratic and reflective of the judgment of the people to whom the agents of the criminal justice system should be accountable. Guantánamo Diary by Mohamedu Ould Slahi chronicles the author’s saga as a detainee trapped in a constitution-free Twilight Zone as part of the U.S.’s Global War on Terror. It is a revelatory work in the history of prison literature and essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand, as we all should, the yawning divide that crisis and fear can open up between the constitutional values a nation preaches and its actual practices. In their review of Slahi’s memoir, Leila Sayed-Taha and Azadeh Shahshahani summarize and explain the significance of this extraordinary work by a man who after 13 years is still held captive in the world’s most notorious prison, without ever having been charged and, so far as anyone can tell, despite a complete lack of evidence. What is particularly remarkable about his story is that Slahi has kept his humanity in a system that has lost its own.

—Nathan Goetting & David Gespass


National Lawyers Guild Review, formerly Guild Practitioner, is published quarterly by the National Lawyers Guild, a non-profit institution, at 132 Nassau Street, # 922, New York NY 10038. ISSN 0017-5390. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and at additional mailing offices. Subscription rates are $75/yr for libraries and institutions; $25/yr for lawyers; $10/yr for legal workers/law students; $5/yr for incarcerated persons; add $5/yr for overseas; $6.50/single copy, and should be sent to: 132 Nassau Street, # 922, New York NY 10038. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to: National Lawyers Guild Review, 132 Nassau Street, # 922, New York NY 10038. Address all editorial correspondence and law-related poems, criticisms, articles and essays to: Editor-in-Chief, N atioNal l awyers G uild r eview , 132 Nassau Street, # 922, New York NY 10038. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be returned unless accompanied by return post – age. N atioNal l awyers G uild r eview is indexed/abstracted in Westlaw, PAIS-Public Affairs Information Service, The Left Index, the Alternative Press Index and in A MATTER OF FACT. Editorial Board: Nathan Goetting, Editor in Chief; Richael Faithful, Executive Editor; Meredith Osborne, Managing Editor; Kathleen Johnson, Book Editor; Katherine Taylor, Notes Editor; Deborah Willis, Layout Editor. Contributing Editors: Crystal Abbey, Alan Clarke, Marjorie Cohn, Ryan Dreveskracht, Riva Enteen, David Gespass, Ann Fagan Ginger, Laura Horton, Nathan H. Madson, Henry Willis, Lester Roy Zipris. The opinions expressed in the articles are those of the various authors, and each article is Copyright, 2015, by the author and by N atio Nal l awyers G uild r eview . Advisory Panel: Elvia Arriola, John Brittain, Margaret Burnham, Erwin Chemerinsky, David Cole, Barbara Dudley, Richard Falk, Lennox Hinds, Sylvia A. Law, Staughton Lynd, Harold McDougall, Ruben Remigio Ferro, Jitendra Sharma, Kenji Urata, Frank Valdes, Patricia Williams.