Franklin Zimring

California’s death penalty ruled unconstitutional

Franklin Zimring interviewed by KPCC-FM, July 17, 2014

“His finding … is that, as applied to a sentence like the one that brought this suit, the death penalty system in California violates the 8th amendment. If that stands, when appealed, for everyone in the position of this defendant, the death penalty would not be available. The convictions can still stand, but executing people under those circumstances, the judge said, is a violation of the 8th amendment.”

U.S. edges closer to Europe in attitude toward capital punishment

Franklin Zimring quoted in The New York Times, June 16, 2014

“The first thing that happens is a radical downsizing in the scale of the use of capital punishment,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a law professor and death penalty specialist, describing the typical process through which nations move toward ending the death penalty. Through most of the last century, “there was a strategic withdrawal from capital punishment as business-as-usual in European nations, long before abolitions started to spread.”

San Quentin plans psychiatric hospital for death row inmates

Franklin Zimring quoted in Los Angeles Times, June 10, 2014

“This is the only place on Earth where you’d be talking about building a psychiatric hospital for condemned prisoners,” said Berkeley law professor Franklin Zimring, who has written about the U.S. capital punishment system. “It is a measure of American greatness and American silliness at the same time.” Federal courts have ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute people who are not aware of what is happening to them. “We are curing them to make them executable,” Zimring said.

How California Chrome’s rags-to-riches story makes America great

Franklin Zimring writes for The New York Post, May 31, 2014

Thoroughbreds are supposed to cost millions; “top quality” studs cost $150,000 alone. Chrome is the $10,000 horse—the one that’s not supposed to compete. Except California Chrome kept winning. And with the help of a 77-year-old trainer—who had never entered a horse in the big races of the east—Chrome easily took the first two races of the Triple Crown. Our nation was built on stories like this. The little guy who isn’t supposed to win but triumphs. The hero who isn’t from the right class, or the right neighborhood, or the right tax bracket, who succeeds wildly.

Shootings in NYC continue to rise, even as serious crimes decline

Franklin Zimring quoted in Newsday, May 29, 2014

Professor Franklin Zimring … said that since shootings are not considered a serious crime statistic under FBI data reporting rules and aren’t capable of being audited, there is a risk that shootings in New York may actually be underreported. “My guess it is only a partial count of the episodes in which guns are fired in New York City,” Zimring said of the current shooting data.

Inmates’ newspaper covers a world behind San Quentin’s walls

Franklin Zimring quoted in The New York Times, May 20, 2014

“The leading public health problem in prison is boredom,” said Franklin E. Zimring, a law professor and criminologist at the University of California, Berkeley. The newspaper, he said, “is an operational antidepressant that keeps its participants structured and psychologically well organized.”

SF family of man killed by neighbor calls for murder charge

Franklin Zimring and Andrea Roth quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, May 8, 2014

“The question is whether there’s an imminent threat of bodily injury, and home invasion is very high on the list of things people get frightened of, particularly in the middle of the night,” said Franklin Zimring. “This case is well within the confines of circumstances where citizens will not be criminally prosecuted.”

Andrea Roth said that if a jury was asked to determine whether a shooter in Kachepa’s situation reasonably feared for his life, the panel would be “allowed to consider that this was an elderly man at 2 a.m. who faced an intruder who broke the doorknob.”