The NCSL Blog

Civil and Criminal Justice

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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03
SCOTUS to Decide Whether Private Party May Exercise Eminent Domain Over State Land

In PennEast Pipeline Co. v. New Jersey the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether a private natural gas company may use the federal government’s eminent-domain power to condemn state land.

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04
NCSL Joins SLLC's Supreme Court Amicus Brief Defending State Court Jurisdiction

The issue in B.P. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore is whether a federal appellate court may review all the grounds a defendant alleges supporting hearing its case in federal court even though only one of the grounds is specifically listed in federal statute as a basis for federal appellate court review.

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05
Supreme Court Denies Prison Officers Qualified Immunity

In a very brief, unauthored opinion the U.S. Supreme Court denied qualified immunity in Taylor v. Riojas to a number of correctional officers who confined Trent Taylor to a “pair of shockingly unsanitary cells” for six days. The court didn’t hear oral argument in this case, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett didn’t participate in it. 

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14
Revisiting Kentucky’s Juvenile Justice Reforms

New data shows a big impact on Kentucky’s juvenile justice system arising from the state’s passage of comprehensive juvenile justice reform legislation in 2014.

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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.