McCullum Youth Court turns to community for financial support

McCullum Youth Court, a student-run justice system in Oakland for first-time middle and high school-age offenders, turns 17 this Friday. That makes it older than many of the young people who serve as its lawyers, bailiffs, and clerks. But instead of a birthday party, Youth Court organizers are scrambling to invite as many people as possible to a different type of event—a fundraiser.

Gang leaders orchestrate crimes from prison using cell phones

A coalition of law enforcement agencies has arrested four Nuestra Familia gang leaders and 30 gang members. Several of those caught were allegedly given orders to commit murder and other violent crimes by imprisoned gang leaders who sent them encrypted messages via cell phones.

Hearing date for North Oakland gang injunction proposal pushed back

The proposed Oakland gang injunction has, in recent weeks, been the focus of heated listserv debates, community meetings and a rally held Thursday afternoon in front of the Alameda County Superior Court. The injunction, which aims to restrict certain behaviors of members of the North Side Oakland gang, has sparked considerable debate about the balance between crime prevention and individual rights. But supporters and detractors of the injunction will have to wait for a definitive pronouncement on its future.

OPD goes undercover to get young prostitutes off the street

“There’s another one there,” the undercover cop says to me from the driver’s seat. He gestures up the street with a nod. Half a block ahead, I can see who he is talking about: a young woman crosses the street wearing tight jeans tucked into black leather knee-high boots with tall, spiky heels. Her black hair hangs in a braid pulled through the white sequined baseball cap covering her head.  She wears a black tank top with thin straps, and…

As more Oakland youth join the sex trade, law enforcement explores alternatives to incarceration

For decades, the law enforcement and justice systems have treated juvenile sex workers as criminals, not victims, arresting and locking them up. Now the Oakland Police Department, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and an Oakland nonprofit that works with sexually exploited youth are exploring alternatives to incarceration. But what’s the best way to do it?

“What is justice?” Inside a death penalty trial

In 2001, Christopher Evans murdered two people at 85th Avenue and International Boulevard in East Oakland, setting him up for either the death penalty or a sentence of life without parole. This week, a jury of his peers would return a verdict on his fate. A look at what they considered and what they decided.

After final arguments, murderer’s fate lies with jury

Christopher Evans, convicted this summer of a pair of 2001 East Oakland killings, will undoubtedly end his days in prison. What jurors must now decide is whether that end will come via capital punishment or of natural causes at the end of a life-without-parole sentence.