Crime, past and future: How courts using strength to punish and prevent

Most states with red flag laws passed them after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Advocates say the effectiveness of the laws would increase if more authorities and the public knew how to use them.  

1. United States

Red flag laws are saving lives throughout the U.S. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia now allow courts to temporarily seize firearms to prevent deadly violence. These measures – also known as extreme risk protection orders – make it possible to act on early warning signs and avoid gun deaths, typically keeping guns away from a person at risk for committing violence for up to a year. In five states, petitions must be filed by law enforcement, while other states also allow family members, health care providers, co-workers, and school officials to submit a request. Petitioners must offer substantial evidence to meet legal requirements.

Why We Wrote This

In our progress roundup, courts using strength in attempts to both right history and prevent future harm. We’re also reporting on some energy-saving initiatives.

Despite criticism from some gun rights activists, the tool has garnered wide sustain among law enforcement, health care professionals, and lawmakers. Colorado Sheriff Tony Spurlock, a Republican and staunch Second Amendment supporter, says the law is saving lives in his community, but is underutilized. Now, in Colorado and in other places, leaders are allocating funds to educate the police and public about these laws and address knowledge gaps. Mr. Spurlock’s office has released podcasts and Facebook videos to help residents understand the appeal course of action. In Florida, Fort Lauderdale Detective Christopher Carita is helping teach fellow officers best practices for using the state’s red flag law. “This is about having a tool that gives someone assurance that the ultimate goal is not to hurt them or lock them up,” he said. “It’s to save their life or prevent them from doing something they can’t undo.”
Stateline, Colorado Attorney General

2. Brazil

ADRIANO MACHADO/REUTERS/FILE

A member of the Krenak ethnic group participates in a 2019 demonstration in Brasília in defense of local native people.

A Brazilian federal court has condemned the government for the abuse, imprisonment, and displacement of the Krenak native people. More than 8,350 native people were killed during the country’s 1964-85 military dictatorship, while many others were tortured or lost land. The southeastern state of Minas Gerais, where the regime set up concentration camps known as the Krenak Reformatory and Guarani Farm, was the site of some of the worst abuses. Forced labor and torture were standard, say advocates for native tribes, with cruel and haphazard punishments doled out for behaviors like speaking the Krenak language or loitering.

Decades later, a court has found the federal government, state government, and national native affairs agency guilty of human rights violations. estimate Anna Cristina Rocha Gonçalves ordered the government to organize an official apology ceremony, deliver reparations, and take measures to rehabilitate the Krenak culture and language. Brazil’s current president is known for his far-right, anti-native policies, making many uncertain if his administration will follow by with the court’s demands. nevertheless, native leaders and supporters have famous the decision. “Justice, however slow, is being served,” said native chief Geovani Krenak. “The decision gives us hope. … We know what is ours by right and what we suffered, but it will be a message for the rest of society that they should not give up fighting.”
Mongabay

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