Amanda Hernández

Amanda Hernández

Amanda Hernández is a staff writer for Stateline. She has reported for both national and local outlets, including ABC News, USA Today and NBC4 Washington.

A door displays a sign for bail bond services in Los Angeles. Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous, is one of many jurisdictions working to change its bail protocols. The Los Angeles Superior Court implemented a zero cash bail system in October. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Cash bail policies are under fresh scrutiny

By: - November 14, 2023

States can’t figure out what to do about cash bail. The system — in which an arrested suspect pays cash to avoid sitting in jail until their court date and gets the money back when they appear — is deeply entrenched in the nation’s history as a way to ensure defendants return to face justice. […]

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, speaks at a campaign event earlier this month in Tampa, Fla. DeSantis touts Florida’s low crime rate, but fewer than 1 in 10 law enforcement agencies in his state reported their crime statistics to the FBI in 2021. (John Raoux/The Associated Press)

Politicians love to cite crime data. It’s often wrong.

By: - October 30, 2023

When Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his presidential campaign in May, he proudly told the nation that Florida’s crime rate in 2021 had reached a 50-year low. But really, DeSantis couldn’t say for sure. That’s because fewer than 1 in 10 law enforcement agencies in his state had reported their crime statistics to the […]

Former New Mexico State NCAA college basketball player Deuce Benjamin breaks down in tears

It’s hazing season on college campuses. State safeguards are uneven.

By: - October 2, 2023

Max Gruver spent the early morning hours of Sept. 14, 2017, heavily intoxicated and passed out on a couch inside the Phi Delta Theta chapter house at Louisiana State University. He had been forced to repeatedly chug 190-proof Diesel liquor in a hazing ritual called “Bible Study,” during which pledges are quizzed on fraternity facts. […]

States stiffen penalties for fentanyl, despite public health concerns

By: - July 20, 2023

As they struggle to reduce drug overdose deaths, policymakers across the United States are embroiled in a heated debate over creating and increasing criminal penalties related to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that’s up to 100 times more potent than morphine. Legislators pushing the new wave of criminal penalties say the laws will deter drug […]

More blue states declare themselves sanctuaries for transgender health care

By: - June 22, 2023

Democratic governors and state lawmakers across the country are mobilizing against a surge of Republican restrictions on transgender health care by establishing their states as sanctuaries for gender-affirming care. Earlier this month, Democratic Gov. Wes Moore signed an executive order making Maryland the 11th state, plus the District of Columbia, to declare itself a sanctuary. […]