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Tamar Birckhead
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Entries by Tamar Birckhead

To Defend a Terrorist: Reflections on Reid, Tsarnaev and How I Got From There to Here

(5) Comments | Posted May 3, 2013 | 3:56 PM

Since my last post, I've been occupied with putting myself out there (via print, radio and cable news) to share the message that even those charged with the most heinous offenses are still human beings, that we are each more than the very worst thing we have done, and that...

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A Holiday Gift from Me to You -- Really!

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2012 | 9:00 AM

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter the holiday season, I am reminded of our annual family tradition, one that I imagine is shared by many across the United States. After gathering around the table with our plates piled high with turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings, we take turns sharing...

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Why Obama Won: The Empathy Factor

(159) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 7:21 PM

During this election season, my young daughters posed many questions that were difficult to answer. What's the difference between Democrats and Republicans? Do politicians tell the truth? How do you decide which candidate to vote for?

I tried to give them meaningful answers that didn't oversimplify the issues at...

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In the Eye of the Storm: Remembering the Most Vulnerable

(0) Comments | Posted November 2, 2012 | 3:03 PM

As with most natural disasters, the attention of the media was initially centered on the havoc wrecked by Hurricane Sandy. We were drawn to its most dramatic images -- the dangling crane at the construction site of a luxury high-rise in Midtown Manhattan; the New York City building whose façade...

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Juvenile Hall Is No Place for Kids

(15) Comments | Posted October 31, 2012 | 4:34 PM

The local detention center where my juvenile clients are held while their cases are pending is called the "Youth Home." The irony of the label is never lost on me, as the contrast between the name and the reality could hardly be more stark.


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Shutting Down the School to Prison Pipeline

(2) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 1:37 AM

"School is just a waiting room to prison." ~ African-American teenager, Washington, D.C.

If you sit in juvenile delinquency court long enough, you notice a few things. Most of the kids are black or brown. Almost all of the families are poor. And a huge percentage of the children have...

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Reconsidering Life Sentences for Juveniles Who Kill

(44) Comments | Posted October 20, 2012 | 12:40 PM

In the 1993 book Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen Prejean tells the story of people directly impacted by capital punishment -- convicted murderers counting down to their own executions, wardens and guards dutifully operating the machinery of death, and victims who are consumed by rage and grief....

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When the Law Doesn't Fit the Crime: Lessons From the Blogosphere

(12) Comments | Posted October 11, 2012 | 9:45 PM

Practicing criminal law is not rocket science. It's also not open heart surgery. But it's more than just slapping a slice of cheese between two pieces of bread and calling it a sandwich. Although there are occasional dramatic wins and devastating losses, it is often dull and technical. This is...

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