The NCSL Blog

Civil and Criminal Justice

28
Becoming a Man ...

“Now I know what it means to be a man.” Last week, policymakers heard these powerful words from a young man participating in a felony diversion program in Philadelphia called “The Choice is Yours.”     

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24
Supreme Court Allows Congressional Delegation of Authority in SORNA to Stand

In Gundy v. United States the Supreme Court held 5-3 that the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act’s (SORNA) delegation of authority to the attorney general to apply SORNA’s requirements to pre-act offenders doesn’t violate the constitution’s nondelegation doctrine.

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18
Supreme Court Rules Dual-Sovereignty Stays

The Double Jeopardy Clause provides that no person may be “twice put in jeopardy” “for the same offence.” Per the “dual-sovereignty” doctrine, the Supreme Court has long held that a “crime under one sovereign’s laws is not ‘the same offence’ as a crime under the laws of another sovereign.”

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17
Revisiting Utah’s Juvenile Justice Reforms

Utah passed wide-ranging juvenile justice reform with broad support in 2017, and initial data show the state is reducing the number of youth in custody and reinvesting into services in the community, while juvenile referrals to court continue to drop. 

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13
SCOTUS to Decide Death Penalty Mitigating Factors Case

In McKinney v. Arizona James Erin McKinney wants the Arizona Supreme Court out of his death penalty case.

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28
Supreme Court Rules for Police Officers in Free Speech Retaliation Case

It has been three cases and nearly a decade in the making but the U.S. Supreme Court has finally ruled in Nieves v. Bartlett that the existence of probable cause defeats a First Amendment retaliatory arrest case … with one, small caveat. 

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14
New NCSL Report on Misdemeanor Sentencing

In recent years, changes to state sentencing schemes have focused primarily on felony offenses. However, lawmakers are increasingly making adjustments to sentences for lower-level offenses such as misdemeanors.

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23
SCOTUS Addresses Workplace Discrimination on Basis of Sexual Orientation, Transgender Status

After refusing to accept or reject petitions for months, the Supreme Court has finally agreed to decide whether employers violate Title VII when they discriminate against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status. Among other things, Title VII prohibits discrimination “because of ... sex.” 

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10
Timbs vs. Indiana Civil Forfeiture Case Won’t Have Much Impact

Timbs v. Indiana has received a lot of attention because it deals with a controversial subject—civil asset forfeitures. But as a practical matter this case is unlikely to have much of an impact.

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04
NCSL Joins SLLC's Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Impaired Driving Case

In its amicus brief in Mitchell v. Wisconsin, the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) argues that when police officers encounter an unconscious motorist they have probable cause to believe is impaired it should be permissible to draw the motorist’s blood without a warrant.

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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.