The Anatomy of Discretion (Podcast 2 of 4) Interview with Anne J. Swern

This is the second in a four-part series discussing findings from The Anatomy of Discretion, a Vera Institute study of factors that influence prosecutors’ decisions in criminal cases. In this part, prosecutor Anne J. Swern discusses the effects of resource constraints. Swern is First Assistant District Attorney for Kings County, NY, and serves on the board of directors and the executive committee of the National District Attorneys Association. In other podcasts in this series, one of the study’s authors summarizes its main findings; a federal judge discusses the balance between individualized treatment of defendants and consistency in decision making across similar cases; and a law professor discusses the balance between strength of evidence and other considerations.


AAPI Heroes Who've Fought for Change in the Criminal Legal and Immigration Systems

This Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Vera spotlights changemakers who have worked tirelessly to create a more just society for all.

Photo credits: Grace Lee Boggs: courtesy Quyen Tran; Fred T. Korematsu: courtesy Shirley Nakao; Chol Soo Lee: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images; Grace Meng and Pramila Jayapal: U.S. House of Representatives. Illustration by andrew uhrig. Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities have been integral players throu ...

  • Dominic Arenas
    Dominic Arenas
  • andrew uhrig
    andrew uhrig
May 23, 2024

After Over 50 Years, It’s Time to Decriminalize Cannabis

Moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III on the Controlled Substances Act isn’t going far enough.

What descheduling means The CSA places all substances that federal law regulates into one of five schedules. Schedule I substances are defined as those with no accepted medical use and the highest potential for abuse. Cannabis currently falls into this category, as do ecstasy, heroin, and LSD. At the other end of the CSA, Schedule V substances, su ...

  • Nazish Dholakia
    Nazish Dholakia
May 21, 2024