The NCSL Blog

Civil and Criminal Justice

06
NCSL Co-Hosts Hill Briefing on Policing

As Congress grapples with federal policing reform legislation, NCSL was joined by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) for a briefing on policing issues in the states.

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23
SCOTUS Clarifies Sentencing Juvenile Homicide Offenders to Life in Prison Without Parole

In Jones v. Mississippi the U.S. Supreme Court held 6-3 that sentencing a juvenile convicted of homicide to life without parole doesn’t require a separate factual finding of permanent incorrigibility or an on-the-record explanation with an implicit finding of permanent incorrigibility.

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07
SCOTUS to Decide When State Attorneys General May Intervene in Appellate Litigation

In Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether an attorney general should be permitted to intervene in a lawsuit after a federal court of appeals invalidates a state statute when no other state actor will defend the law. 

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25
 Supreme Court Rules Against Police Officers in Fourth Amendment Case 

In a 5-3 decision in Torres v. Madrid the U.S. Supreme Court held that a person may be “seized” by a police officer per the Fourth Amendment even if the person gets away.

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24
Virginia Becomes 23rd State to Abolish Capital Punishment

Virginia is the 23rd state to abolish capital punishment.

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12

According to state court data, approximately 20 million civil lawsuits are filed each year. Debt collection represents 1 in 4 of these cases and 70% of debt collection hearings result in default judgments in favor of the plaintiffs filing these lawsuits. 

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09
SCOTUS Rules Plaintiffs May Bring Lawsuits Asking for Only $1

In Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski the Supreme Court held 8-1 that to have a “redressable injury” required to bring a lawsuit a plaintiff need only ask for nominal damages ($1). The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in this case asking the court to hold that a lawsuit for nominal damages only is moot. 

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09
Supreme Court to Decide Malicious Prosecution Case 

In Heck v. Humphrey (1994), the Supreme Court held that a plaintiff can’t bring a civil suit for wrongful conviction unless his or her conviction was “favorably terminated.” But what if charges were dropped and the plaintiff was never convicted?

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22
Study Shows Drop in Jail Populations, Bookings

Each year, nearly 11 million people are admitted to jail in the United States, nearly 18 times the number of yearly admissions to state and federal prisons.

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08
Supreme Court Strikes Down California’s Ban on Indoor Religious Services

A divided U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s “Tier 1” total ban on indoor religious services, while allowing a 25% capacity limitation. Most of the state is currently under Tier 1 COVID-19 restrictions. It also allowed California to continue banning singing and chanting during indoor services.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.