In the News

Franklin Zimring in the news:

Death penalty is dying across America. Will California save it?

Franklin Zimring quoted by The Sacramento Bee, Sept. 25, 2016

While courts and legislatures around the nation are abolishing capital punishment, when it goes to a public vote the hard line tends to have the advantage, said Franklin Zimring. … “The question is what do you do with the worst criminals you have?” Zimring said. “And if that ever becomes a question of sentiment the answer is boil them in oil.”

Death-penalty justice depends on where we live

Franklin Zimring quoted by, Sept. 20, 2016

As University of California Berkeley law professor Franklin Zimring observes, the determining factor for seeking the death penalty is not homicide rates or demographics, but “Who is the district attorney?” One elected official in each county is effectively the “decider” as to who faces the death penalty.

California wants to make it easier to prosecute old rape cases. But how much would a new law really help?

Franklin Zimring quoted by Los Angeles Times, Sept. 5, 2016

Although prosecutors generally do not file charges without enough evidence to prove them, other factors might come into play, Zimring said. “The prosecutor might take cases which have an enormous amount of publicity or an enormously attractive victim or an enormously vulnerable and important defendant.”

Institute of Governmental Studies releases poll data on death penalty, bilingual education

Franklin Zimring quoted by The Daily Californian, August 29, 2016

“Executions are the third leading cause of death on death row (in California),” Zimring said, the first two being natural causes and suicide. But Zimring says that if Proposition 66 were to pass, it would mean such a large change in the death penalty procedures that the state would be tied up in litigation for years, leading to even more delays in executions.

What the data says about whether Bill Bratton, New York’s outgoing top cop, made the city safer

Franklin Zimring quoted by The Washington Post, August 3, 2016

Franklin Zimring … has argued that Bratton and his lieutenants contributed to making New York City’s streets safer — and that what Zimring calls the “New York model” helped reduce crime in other cities, too.

When cops kill, and when cops die

Franklin Zimring quoted in Chicago Tribune, July 8, 2016

American police kill civilians at rates five times higher than police in Canada, 40 times higher than in Germany and 140 times higher than in England and Wales. Is that because we have so much more violent crime, including gun crime? Partly, says Zimring, but “the U.S. rate of killings by police is 10 times as great as the difference in homicides generally.”

Oakland 8-year-old’s shooting death could yield first county death penalty in years

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Mercury News, May 18, 2016

Frank Zimring … said Alaysha’s slaying was a case of “extreme victimization” of an innocent girl caught in an enormous violence. There wasn’t a fight between equals; the gunfire blasted through the door, he said. Even an office that wouldn’t touch the death penalty with a 10-foot pole would feel an obligation to do so “in an extraordinary case of unprovoked and meaningless violence,” he said.

The White House has some unexpected ideas about reducing crime

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

“If you and I are selling drugs on the street, we’re both going to want the best corner, and if we have a conflict about who got there first, we’re not going to put it into arbitration,” Zimring said. “They put a tremendous number of cops in to destroy the public drug markets.”

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, 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.”