The Boston Globe Spotlight Team reported last fall on Massachusetts’ unique system of "secret courts," places where defendants can have hearings before magistrates, rather than judges, and have their charges dropped without ever creating a public record of it. Proponents say the system keeps minor private disputes out of the overburdened criminal justice system, but the reporters found disturbing examples of powerful people using the system to avoid scrutiny, instances of serious crimes like domestic abuse being swept under the rug, and evidence of racial disparities in the system.

Since the investigation came out in September, the Globe has continued reporting on the still-unfolding aspects of our local criminal justice system.

Jim Braude was joined by Boston Globe reporters Nicole Dungca and Todd Wallack.