The Sentinel recently released a series of stories titled “Minor Judiciary” which examined bail decisions in Cumberland County and the role of magisterial district judges in the criminal justice system.
It has received praise and attention from criminal justice leaders in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States.
Sentinel reporter Joshua Vaughn’s investigation found median bail imposed at the time of preliminary arraignment in 2016 varied from judge to judge, ranging from as a low as $7,500 for Magisterial District Judge Anthony Adams to more than $40,000 for Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Birbeck.
The series drew praise from numerous people including Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel, who called the stories an “absolute must read.”
Organizations like Harvard Law School’s Criminal Justice Policy Programs, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Marshall Project, John Jay College’s Center for Media Crime and Justice and the Pretrial Justice Institute also helped promote the series.
Here is a sampling of the public comments and praise on The Sentinel’s work:
John Wetzel – Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections
— John E. Wetzel (@DOCSecretary) August 28, 2017
Bret Bucklen – Director of Research and Statistics at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
— Bret Bucklen (@kbucklen) August 25, 2017
Steven Chanenson – Professor of Law at Vilanova University Charles Widger School of Law
— chanenson (@chanenson) August 29, 2017
Benjamin Levin – Professor at University of Colorado School of Law
— Benjamin Levin (@hashtagblevin) August 31, 2017
David Menshchel – criminal defense lawyer and documentary film maker
Great article, thread, looking at bail decisions in Cumberland Co., a rural county in central PA. https://t.co/VTd7Uu5raf
— David Menschel (@davidminpdx) August 26, 2017
— Justice Codes (@JusticeCodes) August 28, 2017
The Pretrial Justice Institute
— Pretrial Justice (@Pretrial) August 29, 2017
Harvard Law School Criminal Justice Policy Program
— HLS Criminal Justice (@HLS_CJPP) August 30, 2017