Lara Bazelon discusses her recent cover story for Slate, “The Innocence Deniers,” which looks at the role of prosecutors in wrongful conviction cases. While some prosecutors ask judges to dismiss cases that have proven to be faulty, Bazelon argues that “there is a class of prosecutors that might fairly be called innocence deniers.” These prosecutors will relitigate a case, sometimes filing appeals or even seeking “no contest” pleas from wrongfully convicted prisoners. These "Faustian bargains” stem from a prosecutor’s reluctance to admit they were wrong. They not only impede the pursuit of justice, but can actively prevent it.
Lara Bazelon is proof that lawyers can wear many hats: She’s a professor, litigator, and contributing writer for Slate, where she has a long-running series about criminal justice and modern family life. Her op-eds and essays have also been published in the New York Times and The Washington Post, among other outlets. Next year, she’ll add “author” to her list of titles when her book about wrongful convictions is published. Here, she talks about career setbacks, challenges for women in the courtroom, and overcoming the stigma of a painful divorce.
When Jair and his then-girlfriend drove home to the East Bay after a concert in San Francisco, they didn’t know it would be the beginning of a 15-month legal ordeal. By the end of the night, he had been charged with driving under the influence of MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, and she had been subjected to degrading treatment by the police. But with the help of students from USF School of Law’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice Law Clinic, his case was finally dismissed this fall.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is trying to change an Obama-era policy concerning Title IX with the belief the policies were overreaching and the accused were not given equal treatment. We brought on Lara Bazelon, an associate professor at the University of San Francisco, to explain why she supports DeVos’ policy changes, and why colleges are not equipped with handling sexual assault cases. More of Bazelon’s work can be viewed here.
A San Francisco jury has found Jose Ines Garcia Zarate not guilty of murdering Kate Steinle in a case that attracted national attention to San Francisco’s sanctuary city policy. Zarate’s attorneys argued that he accidentally killed Steinle on San Francisco’s Embarcadero when he picked up an object wrapped in a towel that he didn’t know was a gun and it fired. Zarate had been deported five times and was wanted for a sixth deportation when Steinle was killed.
Listen to Lara Bazelon’s interview with Madeleine Brand on KCRW’s Press Play on September 25, 2017. A bill awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s signature would make big changes to the way schools handle reports of sexual assault. It codifies Obama Administration standards for investigating alleged assaults and applies them to elementary and high schools. Lara discusses her New York Times op-ed, which explains how the law could have a negative impact on African-American boys.