In the News


Franklin Zimring in the news:



Virginia wants to hide the names of lethal injection drug suppliers. Here’s how that is going in other states.

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Washington Post, April 12, 2016

“The shield law is an attempt to create circumstances in which continuity of supply is going to be possible,” Zimring said. “Once the idea of a shield law takes hold, then anybody who is suffering from these issues will go after it.”


OJ Simpson case: how knife discovery puts burden of proof on LAPD again

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Guardian, March 7, 2016

“In the annals of homicide investigation, [the Simpson case] was problematic in the extreme,” Zimring said. “But in terms of police-community relations, this was a minor disaster given some of the major disasters that preceded it.”


The tricky legal questions about the knife purportedly found on O.J. Simpson’s former property

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Washington Post, March 4, 2016

Zimring, the Berkeley law professor, said the only criminal option left for prosecutors would be federal charges, which can be brought against someone who was acquitted in a state trial. So this knife isn’t wholly “legally irrelevant,” he said.


California backs off easing standard for inmate firefighters

Franklin Zimring cited in The Washington Post, Feb. 20, 2016

Expanding inmates’ eligibility would have been a calculated risk, said University of California, Berkeley, law professor Frank Zimring, who has studied California prisons for more than 30 years. He warned that recruiting in jails may be tougher because many prisoners there have shorter sentences and may have active drug or mental health problems.


Killings down 45% in January in NYC, NYPD Commissioner Bratton says

Franklin Zimring quoted by Newsday, Feb. 2, 2016

“What is important about January is what is not happening,” said Professor Franklin Zimring of the University of California Berkeley School of Law, referring to the low crime numbers. “To the extent there is any news, it is good.”


Feds launching ‘comprehensive review’ of S.F. Police Department

Franklin Zimring interviewed by KQED.org, Feb. 1, 2016

“COPS is going to be helping out the Police Department in two ways: It takes them off the hook from doing something — a lot better than either firing the chief or putting out bold new guidelines,” Zimring said.


More people were murdered last year than in 2014, and no one’s sure why

Franklin Zimring interviewed by The Washington Post, Jan. 27, 2016

Nonetheless, last year’s interruption in the decline in homicides has experts concerned. They say it’s too early to know what caused the change, or whether it will endure. … “There’s no national pattern,” said Franklin Zimring.


Fox Lake cop’s death sheds light on aggressive approach taught to Explorers

Franklin Zimring interviewed by Chicago Tribune, Jan. 25, 2016

“It’s giving all the wrong people the wrong idea about what municipal policing should be,” said Franklin Zimring.


Bay Area cities’ homicide rates show striking drop

Franklin Zimring interviewed by San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 18, 2016

“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.”


Gun control groups emphasize suicides in bid for more public support

Franklin Zimring interviewed by CNN, Jan. 12, 2016

“It’s a politically sophisticated way to change the nature of the debate,” he said. “The point is not to increase the percentage of support, but to increase the intensity of support. It’s not to make more people support gun control. It’s to make them care about it.”


Riverside County leading US in death sentences, report says

Franklin Zimring interviewed for Los Angeles Times, Dec. 15, 2015

“If you want executions, you move to Texas. If what you want to do is frame the number of death sentences you’ve obtained, then it’s a good idea to move to Riverside. Those are pretty expensive status rewards, though,” he said.


Wearing an electronic monitoring device might be worse than jail time

Franklin Zimring and Kate Weisburd quoted in Pacific Standard, Dec. 15, 2015

Beyond the cyclical criminalization that the device provokes, its rules and circumstances clash with the infrastructure of the teenage mind. “Expecting the experience-based ability to resist impulses … to be fully formed prior to age 18 or 19 would seem on present evidence to be wishful thinking,” says Berkeley law professor Frank Zimring.

Weisburd recommends community-based programming. “In Oakland there were Evening Reporting Centers at local non-profits,” she says, “the youth were kept busy, off the streets, got good programming, and there was no need at all for electronic monitoring.”


Is Obama’s executive action on guns legal? Let’s break it down.

Franklin Zimring interviewed by The Washington Post, Jan. 5, 2016

“It is certainly consistent with the capacity and responsibility of the executive branch of government to make legislative standards coherent and clear,” Zimring said. Obama is “trying to make it coherent and clear—and give it more reach.”


Law enforcement, advocates blame politics for increase in hate crimes

Franklin Zimring interviewed by KQED-FM, Dec. 30, 2015

“If you’re a police officer there, and there’s a brick through a Muslim house of worship, then what you have to do is round up the usual suspects. They’re the same people who drink too many beers in bars and will in other situations go off gay-bashing or finding themselves racial minorities,” he said. “Those are essentially thugs taking on different targets because Muslims are in the news.”


Will Chief Suhr survive?

Franklin Zimring quoted in Beyond Chron, Dec. 14, 2015

Zimring wrote in response to the Woods shooting, “There was never any attack with a knife that killed an officer unless he was alone with his attacker, and there was never a fatal attack when the officer and the attacker were any distance apart. Based on these statistics, the death risk to the officers in the Woods encounter was zero.”


Mario Woods’ unnecessary death

Franklin Zimring writes for San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 9, 2015

There are a lot of kitchen knives in England and Wales (population 56 million), yet the police have shot to death only one citizen from 2012 through 2014. If it is unnecessary to kill in Manchester or Liverpool, then why is it necessary to shoot in the Bayview?


San Bernardino shooting: Does blanket TV coverage change minds?

Franklin Zimring interviewed by Los Angeles Times, Dec. 5, 2015

“The reason that gun control laws do or don’t pass is not so much the number of people for or against it, but how deeply they feel,” Zimring said. “And for pro-gun, anti-more-control folks, it’s much more important to them — they care more deeply about their cause — than the average citizen.”


We’ve had a massive decline in gun violence in the United States. Here’s why.

Franklin Zimring interviewed by The Washington Post, Dec. 3, 2015

In New York City, the recruitment of more officers was a crucial reason that the decline in crime was larger and more sustained than in other cities, according to Franklin Zimring. … As Zimring notes, police in New York were among the first to realize the potential for computers to aid in fighting crime.


Conflict between state, federal child porn statutes leaves authorities breaking the law

Franklin Zimring interviewed by NBC, Nov. 25, 2015

He doesn’t buy the argument that law enforcement and prosecutors lose control over contraband by handing it over to defense teams. “That’s an argument I really don’t understand unless federal law enforcement is telling you that they don’t trust local judges in local criminal courts,” Zimring said.


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.”