In more ways than one, the Derek Chauvin trial offers a preview of post-pandemic justice.

Photo by Billy on Unsplash

Juries always have been seated in public, but before the pandemic, few of us made it a habit to serve as an audience for criminal trials. But with trials reorganized around screens and members of the public able to log on from anywhere in the world, the Derek Chauvin trial gives juror privacy a new twist.

In some respects, the privacy protections in place for the jury — such as social distancing within the courtroom, anonymity until after the trial and sequestration during deliberations — are not jarring. Juries previously have been subject to extreme restrictions in high-profile trials. …


I’m finally eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. From a mortality standpoint, I’m relieved. Gone (almost) are the worries of motherless children, of ventilators and FaceTime good-byes. I’ll be even more relieved when my children are eligible and vaccinated, but I keep reminding myself of the old airplane adage: “put on your own oxygen mask first.” Never mind that I hate airplanes.

The world has two speeds now: vaccinated and not vaccinated. My friends in vaccinated places are reporting increased speeds of living. They’re not responding to text messages, or when they do, it’s to report they’re “crazy busy,” and “back…


Judge Drain, as imagined by me, during Wednesday’s hearing

On Wednesday morning, I listened in on another hearing in the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy case. I tweeted occasional soundbites and drew cartoons, as I had begun doing a few months ago to make the bankruptcy proceeding more accessible to a lay audience. The hearings have taken on a familiar pattern — rarely are there any surprises.

Judge Robert Drain was considering arguments on a recurring issue: whether to extend the freeze on lawsuits against members of the Sackler family. The lawsuits have been on hold since the beginning of the bankruptcy proceeding, to the dismay of scholars and state attorneys…


Photo by Sahand Hoseini on Unsplash

You’ve heard about Purdue Pharma, and their owners, the members of the Sackler family. You know about their false marketing of OxyContin and the ensuing opioid epidemic — you even may be tired of hearing about it. That is understandable. It’s normal to become numb to the steady drumbeat of death … death … death. You also may have heard the word “bankruptcy” in relation to Purdue Pharma and that was enough to doom the cause.

Allow me to want to reframe this event. It’s not a boring legal mess. It’s not a disembodied crisis. It’s not even just a…


This piece was co-authored with Morgan Godvin.

Photo by Mike Labrum on Unsplash

A former narcotics prosecutor and former heroin injector are unlikely allies. A slight tweak of circumstances and we could have been adversaries, playing out a tragic trope of the ‘War on Drugs’ in a court of law.

Fortunately, Morgan Godvin and I met in a safer space: Twitter. She has survived overdoses and served time in federal prison for providing a fatal dose of heroin to a friend. She is now a freelance writer, advocate and researcher.

Morgan and I do not agree on everything — for instance, broad decriminalization. We are, however…

Charlotte Bismuth

Author of “Bad Medicine: Catching New York’s Deadliest Pill Pusher,” former Manhattan ADA , Columbia Law School grad, occasional legal cartoonist.

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