In the News

Franklin Zimring in the news:

9th Circuit panel reverses judge’s decision declaring state death penalty unconstitutional

Franklin Zimring and Jesse Choper interviewed by Daily Journal, (registration required), Nov. 13, 2015

Zimring noted that the effort was not for naught, as its “legacy in relationship to death penalty politics is likely to be substantial.” While all previous attempts to “slow down the death penalty” had been procedural and incremental, this case was a “big picture, comprehensive attack,” he said.

“If I were a 9th Circuit judge, I’d have done the same thing,” said Jesse H. Choper. … “While the systemic delays may ultimately be unconstitutional, only the United States Supreme Court can say so.”

The soft evidence behind the hard rhetoric of ‘deterrence’

Franklin Zimring quoted in The New York Times Magazine, Oct. 20, 2015

“If you keep throwing people in prison, you run out of the most dangerous guys, and you start suffering from diminishing marginal returns,” says Franklin Zimring.

I went looking for the uptick in murders in U.S. cities. Here’s what I found.

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Washington Post, Sept. 4, 2015

“Crime and violence in most big cities in the United States are pretty much as they’ve been lately,” said Franklin Zimring. “Boy, is that good news.”

Actually, research shows that guns do kill people

Franklin Zimring cited in Daily Commercial, August 29, 2015

Almost two decades ago, Franklin Zimring, a longtime researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and a colleague, Gordon Hawkins, showed that the U.S. doesn’t have an especially high crime rate relative to other developed nations. But the U.S. is far more violent. Every conflict, from the mundane to the serious — not just domestic disputes and robberies, but traffic altercations and bar fights — is more deadly in the U.S. because of the presence of guns.

The crimes of children

Franklin Zimring cited in The Atlantic, August 10, 2015

Research by criminologist and Berkeley law professor Franklin Zimring found that juveniles with five or more non-sex-related arrests on their record are twice as likely to be arrested for sex crimes in adulthood as juveniles who did commit sex offenses but had fewer than five total arrests for any crime.

LA District Attorney releases roadmap for diverting mentally ill from jail

Franklin Zimring interviewed for KPCC-FM, July 22, 2015

“This is not an issue you run for Attorney General on. The people who are going to give you brownie points are not the elites,” said Zimring.

NYC has lowest homicide rate of 5 largest U.S. cities, NYPD says

Franklin Zimring quoted in Newsday, July 21, 2015

“New York has broken new ground on what is possible with violence in a very large city,” said Franklin Zimring.… Such low rates of life-threatening violence in New York City and Los Angeles may at some point make it fair to start comparing them to other large and less violent global cities such as London and Paris instead of other U.S. urban areas, Zimring said.

Yes, U.S. locks people up at a higher rate than any other country

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Washington Post, July 7, 2015

“What sets the American pattern so clearly apart from the rest of developed nations is a byproduct of the generation after 1972,” said Franklin Zimring, a University of California at Berkeley law professor.

Years of growing crime weigh on Antioch residents

Franklin Zimring quoted in San Jose Mercury News, May 26, 2015

UC Berkeley Professor Frank Zimring, who has written books about America’s crime rate, says ascertaining the root causes of crime is more complicated than many believe. He looked at declining crime rates in the 1990s, for instance, and determined that there was “practically nothing” that could be used to explain crime’s decline during that era. “I ended up calling it ‘criminological astrology,’” Zimring said.

Parole could end inmate’s effort to have sex change surgery

Franklin Zimring quoted in San Jose Mercury News, May 20, 2015

“It is precisely the sort of ironic set of incentives and disincentives that are created by the patchwork nature of medical coverage that we have,” Zimring said. “In the general society, the care that is provided is considerably less generous.”

Conservative Nebraska looks at abolishing death penalty

Franklin Zimring quoted in The New York Times, May 4, 2015

“If New Hampshire wanted to abolish the death penalty, Nebraska could set a terrific precedent,” said Frank Zimring. … “But it probably wouldn’t work in Texas or Missouri.” Nebraska’s debate shows the topic no longer is a “third rail” issue among conservatives, Zimring said.

Drop in crime offers hope of cost cuts

Franklin Zimring and Barry Krisberg cited in UT San Diego, April 24, 2015

Zimring: Because of prison realignment (to county jails) and other policies in response to federal prison overcrowding orders, California has undertaken “a pretty substantial experiment in decarceration,” he added, and yet crime just keeps falling.

Krisberg says many Republicans—typically leaders of the law-and-order coalition—now often back changes that help reduce costs and incarceration rates, even as some Democrats oppose them because of their closeness to the prison guards and police unions.

Video in South Carolina police shooting makes building a defense that much harder

Franklin Zimring quoted in Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2015

“You’ve got a very extreme case,” said Franklin Zimring. … “There are 500 killings by police in the U.S. each year. How many of them are realistic candidates for the criminal conviction of officers? They would be on the fingers of one hand…. This may very well be the one.”

Killings by police are almost a daily occurrence in America

Franklin Zimring writes for San Francisco Chronicle, February 27, 2015

The failure to collect and audit accurate information on killings by the police is a major scandal. 2015 should be the year when effective reporting of police use of fatal force becomes a practical reality. This will help reveal the high volume of chronic government violence that otherwise is disregarded as just the way things are.

Experts wary of push to dump grand juries in cop shooting cases

Franklin Zimring quoted in Daily Journal (registration required), February 18, 2015

A prosecutor “works with police and depends upon them,” Zimring said. Even with Mitchell’s bill blocking a prosecutor from using a grand jury to escape accountability for a decision, “all of the problems I mentioned of both prosecutorial power and a high burden of proof” still work to protect police, he said.

Bay Area cities’ homicide rates show striking drop

Franklin Zimring quoted in San Francisco Gate, January 18, 2015

“They’re good numbers — they’re wonderful news in terms of feeling less at risk,” Zimring said. “They are not clearly indicating that something particular worked. The person who reads Bay Area homicide numbers should be a cheerful agnostic.”

Lack of date on police shootings a ‘scandal’

Franklin Zimring interviewed on KQED, January 13, 2015

The records that we keep at the federal level of national patterns in police use of deadly force are not audited; they’re essentially voluntary. In terms of the police, they turn in this data when they want to—and it’s very uncarefully classified. As far as the Federal Bureau of Investigation is concerned, every killing by a police officer in uniform in the United States is presumably the justifiable killing of a felon.

In a safer age, U.S. rethinks its ‘Tough on Crime’ system

Franklin Zimring quoted in The New York Times, January 13, 2015

“Canada, with practically none of the policy changes we point to here, had a comparable decline in crime over the same period,” said Franklin E. Zimring. … He described the quest for an explanation as “criminological astrology.”

NYC crime stats show homicides dropped 2.4 percent in 2014

Franklin Zimring quoted in Newsday, December 31, 2014

“If it stays this low it remains unmitigated good news in ways that couldn’t have been anticipated, even just a decade ago,” said noted criminologist and law professor Franklin Zimring.

Protests against grand jury decisions are especially vocal in Bay Area

Franklin Zimring quoted in Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2014

But in what Zimring called “the irony of public protest 2014,” it is the most fringe elements who have captured the spotlight. “The message may be lost,” he said, “but the attention is focused on people who want it.”