The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in two murder cases testing whether it is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a 14-year-old to life in prison without the possibility of parole. There are currently 79 people serving such life terms for crimes committed when they were 14 or younger.
We hear a lot about juvenile offenders when they commit a crime — and again, when they're sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison. But not much is known about what happens after the prison gates slam shut.
Raphael Johnson shot and killed a classmate when he was 17. After his release from prison, he got bachelor's and master's degrees and started a community policing program in Detroit.
Credit Courtesy of Equal Justice Initiative
Evan Miller (in the white shirt) was sentenced to life in prison for a crime he committed when he was 14.
Credit Courtesy of Equal Justice Initiative
One of the most famous of those who have changed their lives is award-winning actor-producer Charles Dutton. By the age of 12, he quit school and lived a life of fights and crime on the streets of Baltimore.
Credit Equal Justice Initiative
Kuntrell Jackson, 14, and two other kids held up a <strong> </strong>video rental store. One of the other boys shot and killed the cashier. Under Arkansas' felony-murder law, Jackson was deemed just as responsible as the gunman. He was tried as an adult for aggravated murder and, under state law, received a mandatory sentence of life without parole.
Credit Courtesy of Equal Justice Initiative
Award-winning actor-producer Charles Dutton is example of juvenile offenders who have later changed their lives. By age 12, he had quit school and was living a life of fights and crime on the streets of Baltimore.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in two homicide cases testing whether it is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a 14-year-old to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
There are currently 79 of these juvenile killers who will die in prison. What's more, in many states, the penalty is mandatory, meaning neither judge nor jury is allowed to consider the youngster's age or background in meting out the sentence.
Early on Thursday, lawmakers in New York approved a bill that will make the state the first to require DNA samples from almost all convicted criminals — and make its DNA database one of the largest in the nation.
Law enforcement agents raid a home where the occupants are suspected of selling drugs last month in Middletown, N.Y. For three months, court papers say, authorities tracked them using wiretaps and cameras set up on telephone poles and trees.
If he's not at one of his 16 restaurants in New York, Las Vegas or Los Angeles, Mario Batali is easily found on TV these days.
One day he's making meatloaf with his co-host on the new daytime show The Chew. The next he's having a friendly cook-off with a rival celebrity chef on Good Morning America. Or traipsing through Europe for PBS, sporting his reddish ponytail, baggy shorts and not-so-fashionable clogs with celeb food enthusiast Gwyneth Paltrow.
Afghan female police officers are trained by Afghan police and NATO soldiers in eastern Afghanistan's Ghazni province on Sept. 12. In the culturally conservative country, women serving in the security forces say they face systemic sexual coercion and even rape by male colleagues.
Credit STR / EPA/Landov
Afghan female police officers march at the Police Training Center on the outskirts of Herat province in western Afghanistan on Dec. 8.
Credit Aref Karimi / AFP/Getty Images
Afghan female cadets attend their graduation ceremony at the Military Training Center in Kabul, the Afghan capital, May 19. Some women say they joined the security forces in order to serve their country, but many say it's because the pay is better than working as a maid or teacher.
Federal prosecutors have charged five men with responsibility for some of the biggest computer hacks in the past few years. The FBI says the hackers penetrated the computer systems of businesses like Fox Broadcasting and Sony Pictures, stole confidential information and splashed it all over the Internet.
But what's most unusual about the case is how investigators cracked it — with the help of an insider who became a secret government informant.
Ernie Lopez hugs his daughter, Nikki Lopez, for the first time since 2009. Ernie was released from prison on March 2 in Amarillo, Texas, after nine years, while he awaits a new trial.
Credit Katie Hayes Luke / Katie Hayes Luke for NPR
Ernie Lopez was convicted of sexually assaulting a 6-month-old girl and spent the last nine years in prison. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that his original attorneys failed him by not calling potentially important medical experts as witnesses.
Credit Photos by Katie Hayes Luke for NPR
William McKinney Jr. will represent Ernie Lopez at his new trial, expected to begin in the Fall.
Ernie Lopez calls it his "rebirth." After spending nearly nine years in prison for the sexual assault of a 6-month old girl, a top Texas court threw out the conviction. And on Friday, the 41-year-old Lopez walked out of the detention center in Amarillo, Texas, where family and friends were waiting.
Former Judge Mark Ciavarella leaves the federal courthouse in Scranton, Pa., in 2009. Ciavarella was convicted last year of racketeering and conspiracy for taking nearly a million dollars from the developer of two for-profit prisons.
Credit David Kidwell / AP
Ciavarella sentenced Hillary Transue to a wilderness camp for building a MySpace page that lampooned her assistant principal.
More than 2,000 young people in Pennsylvania are trying to put one of the nation's worst juvenile justice scandals behind them. It's been a year since a former judge was convicted in the so-called "kids for cash" scandal.
New rules intended to protect the rights of children took effect this week, but questions about Pennsylvania's juvenile justice system remain.
An image released Nov. 14, 2011, by the Australian Federal Police shows cocaine seized during the yacht raid in Bundaberg. Drug smugglers take advantage of Australia's long coastline and many harbors.
Credit Australian Federal Police / EPA/Landov
Australian authorities discovered more than 100 pounds of cocaine and methamphetamine concealed in cases of Mexican beer in a sea cargo shipment last October.
Credit Courtesy Australian Federal Police
Cocaine seizures are up sharply in Australia, and Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel is believed to be involved in large-scale smuggling. Authorities seized about 660 pounds of cocaine and more than $3.2 million from a yacht in Bundaberg, Queensland, in November 2011. Four Spanish nationals were arrested.
Australia is a huge island, with stretches of lonely, rocky coastline that extend for thousands of miles. What's more, there are lots of harbors and airports.
In short, opportunities are plentiful for an enterprising Mexican drug trafficker to move his product 8,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to service the vibrant new market Down Under.
One such drug lord is Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman, head of Mexico's Sinaloa cartel. He's a cunning, small-statured, exceedingly dangerous outlaw recently dubbed "the world's most powerful drug trafficker" by the U.S. Treasury Department.
You've heard of identity theft — someone using a person's credit information or a Social Security number for ill-gotten gains. Well, experts say similar crimes are also affecting businesses.
Business identity theft involves posing as a legitimate business in order to get access to credit lines or steal customers. Experts believe that the practice has become more prevalent in the past two years.
At the federal court in Concord, lawyers made opening statements in a case involving Beatrice Munyenyezi, a Manchester woman accused of lying about her role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide to obtain US citizenship.
NHPR's Dan Gorenstein was in court; he tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the first day of the trial.
Recovering alcoholics can usually pinpoint their rock-bottom. For Michael Hagar, it was the night of July 28, 2009. That evening, he met up with some friends to drink behind the Hannaford’s supermarket in Keene.
“And that is where the whole incident took off from,” said Hagar.
Behind the grocery story, Hagar believes he drank about 18 beers. Then someone jumped him, hitting him in the face with a log. His pants and wallet were stolen. Gushing blood and enraged, he staggered into the store's parking lot.
The Medal of Honor is held by a military honor guard at the White House last September, when President Obama awarded the medal to Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer, 23, from Greensburg, Ky., for his actions in Afghanistan. The Supreme Court is now deciding if those who <em>falsely</em> claim to have won such military awards can be prosecuted for lying.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case about lies, big and small, and when those lies can be a crime under the Constitution's guarantee of free speech. At issue is the constitutionality of a law making it a crime to lie about being the recipient of military medals.
At the center of the case is Xavier Alvarez, a man nobody disputes is a liar. He lied about being an ex-professional hockey player. He lied about being an engineer. He lied about rescuing the American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis. He even lied about being a retired Marine.