Collective Power Podcast

Data Geek Series: Legal (Criminal InJustice) Systems with Attorney Karla Cruel

March 15, 2022 Rita S Fierro. Ph.D. Season 2 Episode 8
Collective Power Podcast
Data Geek Series: Legal (Criminal InJustice) Systems with Attorney Karla Cruel
Show Notes

 In this episode, Attorney Karla Cruel walks us through the components of the legal system for criminal law and the ways in which these different processes are flawed. "The very fact that we know there are frequent innocent convictions, in and of itself, tells us the system is flawed," she says. She walks us through various stages of bias and misjudgment, and how the are compounded over time.

Our guest, Karla L. Cruel, Esq. is a former educator, now social entrepreneur who launched Legal Empowerment Group to educate and support lower-to-middle income individuals. She worked as staff attorney for Tenant Union Representative Network (TURN), assisting with Philadelphia’s Eviction Prevention Project. Having grown up in West Philadelphia, attending academic programs created to help poor minority children go to college, now she holds three degrees. Throughout her schooling, she has been promoting social equality and racial and religious reconciliation. After living in Japan for 4.5 years, Ms. Cruel returned to the US to have a greater impact on the community in which she was raised. Through the encouragement of her students, Ms. Cruel attended and graduated from Drexel University’s Thomas Kline School of Law. She has practiced law in various areas including criminal law, family law, landlordtenant law, business law, charter school law and other civil transactional and litigation. Karla L. Cruel is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania. Ms. Cruel also holds a master’s degree from Saint Joseph’s University in criminal justice is a mentor, speaker, educator and community advocate. Karla has also given back to her community through volunteering with and serving as a member of Christian Legal Services’ Board of Directors, teaching at Temple University’s Pan-African Studies Community Education Program, serving on the Board of Directors of Imhotep Charter School, and teaching legal education workshops at Imhotep’s Communiversity. Even ran for a Philadelphia District City Council seat in 2019. She is the recipient of the Outstanding Law Student Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers and the Pro Bono Award from Drexel University Law School and First Judicial District in 2019 for her working in Landlord-Tenant court.

Resources mentioned on the show.
Overview of the Legal system book:
Scheb, J. M., & Sharma, H. (2020). An introduction to the American legal system. Wolters Kluwer

Innocence Project
Equal Justice Initiative

Wrongful Convictions
Innocent Convictions
Plea System
Jury Bias

Originally recorded on 3/10/2022.

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