The NCSL Blog

Civil and Criminal Justice

02
SCOTUS Rules Prisoner Can't Choose Less-Painful Method of Execution

In Bucklew v. Precythe, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Missouri wasn’t required to execute Russell Bucklew by using a drug he claimed would cause him less pain due to his unusual medical condition.

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21
College Admission Scandal Highlights Cash Bail Issues

Celebrities—are they really just like us? Fans of Aunt Becky (“Full House”) and Lynette Scavo (“Desperate Housewives”) were dismayed to learn allegations of the actresses’ involvement in the highly publicized college admissions bribing scandal.

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11
Much-Needed Guidance on How to Close Juvenile Facilities

In April of 2018, the last boy was moved out of the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown after Governor Dannel P. Malloy ordered the facility closed by June of 2018.

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28
SCOTUS Reaffirms Rational Understanding Required for Executions

Madison v. Alabama provides clarity rather than makes new law. In this case the Supreme Court held 5-3 that the Eighth Amendment prohibits a person who lacks a “rational understanding” due to mental illness for why the death penalty has been imposed to be put to death regardless of what mental illness the person is suffering from.  

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21
Supreme Court Decides Civil Forfeiture Case Against States and Local Governments

Indiana sought to forfeit Tyson Timbs’ Land Rover which he used to transport heroin. The trial court concluded the forfeiture was unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause because the value of the vehicle well exceeded the maximum statutory fine for the felony Timbs plead guilty to.

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21
SCOTUS Rules Defendant is Intellectually Disabled (and Can't Be Executed)

In an unauthored opinion in Moore v. Texas II the Supreme Court concluded Bobby James Moore has intellectual disability. In Atkins v. Virginia (2002) the Supreme Court held that persons with intellectual disability can’t be executed.

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12
What Science Tells Us About Young Adults in the Justice System

Young adults are overrepresented in every stage of the criminal justice system. But why? Policymakers are turning to neuroscience to learn more about them.

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06
NCSL Resources on Issues of State Concern Raised During the State of the Union

President Donald Trump touched on a number of issues of significant interest to states during Tuesday's State of the Union address. Here are NCSL resources related to those issues. 

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28
SCOTUS Case: Statute of Limitations on Fabricated Evidence

The issue the Supreme Court will decide in McDonough v. Smith is whether the statute of limitations for a due process fabrication of evidence claim begins to run when the criminal proceedings terminate in the defendant’s favor, or when the defendant becomes aware of the tainted evidence and its improper use.

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10
New Tool Shows Data on Juvenile Status Offenses

In Principles in Effective Juvenile Justice Policy, a report developed by a bipartisan group of state legislators and published by NCSL last year, one of the key concepts is the importance of serving youth with effective, evidence-based services in their communities in order to promote public safety.
 

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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.