If you haven't caught up with the New York Times in a while, don't miss the intense three-part, investigative series the paper launched on Monday. Links for all  three  stories  are now up on their site.
The series is about the completely out-of-control rural magistrates that populate New York State. Yes, it sounds a little lackluster, but the Times spent a year putting it together and it's making the rounds like crazy.
Thirty states have "justices of the peace," according to the piece, who often have little to no education, but are powerful enough to rule on civil suits worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they can put people in jail for up to two and three years. Some of the judges hardly even have a high school education, let alone a law degree, yet they possess an enormous amount of power. A mind-blowing deviation in the nation's criminal-justice system.