The Crime Report, an online publication of John Jay College’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice (CMCJ) and the group Criminal Justice Journalists, has chosen as its 2012 Person of the Year Bryan Stevenson, who won a Supreme Court ruling extending the ban on life without parole (LWOP) for juvenile offenders to young people accused of murder.
The Crime Report, led by executive editor Stephen Handelman, the CMCJ’s Director, is the nation's most comprehensive criminal justice news and resource service.
Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Montgomery, AL-based Equal Justice Initiative and a law professor at New York University. The landmark June 24 Supreme Court ruling that came as a result of his efforts capped a year in which reforms of the nation's juvenile justice system gathered impressive momentum. "It reinforced and strengthened nationwide efforts to make 'mitigating circumstances' – such as a youth's lack of maturity, brain development, early history – a factor in determining the treatment of troubled youth," said Handelman.
The Supreme Court’s ruling barring life without parole for juveniles topped The Crime Report’s list of "Top 10" criminal justice stories in 2012, which was released earlier this week.
The list also includes the passage of marijuana-legalization referendums in Washington and Colorado and the recent mass murder of schoolchildren and teachers in Newtown, CT. Also on the list is John Jay College's pioneering Prison-to-College Pipeline program.
In addition to honoring Stevenson as its Person of the Year, The Crime Report also bestowed special recognition on three other individuals for the transformative roles they played this year in criminal justice.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, was cited for leading the fight to reform local law enforcement across the country. He has presided over 19 civil investigations of police departments in the past two years, capped by the DoJ's contested lawsuit against Maricopa County, AZ, Sheriff Joseph Arpaio for alleged discrimination against Latino immigrants.
Attorney Michael Romano and Professor Larry Marshall, founders of Stanford Law School's Three Strikes Project, were recognized for their efforts in spearheading California's successful initiative to reform the state's Three Strikes law.
To read the complete story on The Crime Report's Person of the Year, click here.
To read the complete story on the Ten Most Significant Criminal Justice Stories of 2012, click here.