Lara Bazelon

Lara Bazelon is an associate professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she directs the Criminal & Juvenile Justice and Racial Justice Clinics.

Recent Articles

Redemption for Offenders and Victims

A new variation on an age-old tradition helps criminal defendants redeem their lives, far more effectively than prison does.

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This article appears in the Winter 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Judge Leo Sorokin, 56, has spent his professional life working in the criminal justice system. A graduate of Yale College and Columbia Law School, Sorokin served as an assistant attorney general, a federal public defender, and a magistrate judge. In 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Sorokin to the federal district court in Boston; he was confirmed by the Senate in 2014. Sorokin, a soft-spoken, balding man with pale blue eyes, has an unassuming manner that gives no hint of his tenacity. In the fall of 2015, Sorokin launched a pilot program he had been envisioning for years, with no precedent in the federal system. He called it RISE—Repair, Invest, Succeed, Emerge. RISE offered a rare second chance for adult defendants convicted of serious federal crimes to avoid prison. Beginning in October 2015, a committee of judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and probation officers met...

DeVos Has Rescinded College Sexual Assault Guidelines. What Now?

The Trump administration's decision to end the 2011 guidelines draw attention to a split in the left wing.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
On September 22, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that she was eliminating the regulations put in place by the Obama administration in 2011, which directed college campuses and universities to crack down on allegations of sexual assault or risk losing federal funding. The guidelines have generated fierce controversy since their inception, mandating that schools hire a Title IX coordinator to oversee an investigation and provide a grievance procedure where both sides were allowed to offer witnesses and evidence, but where cross-examination of the accuser was strongly discouraged. Mediation, even if both parties agreed to it, was forbidden. Perhaps most controversial of all, the schools were required to apply a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard, meaning that the accused must be held responsible if the proof amounted to 50.01 percent. The Trump administration’s rescission of the guidelines was decried by sexual assault survivors, their advocates, 32 Democratic...