The NCSL Blog

Civil and Criminal Justice

08
A Term of Change on the Supreme Court

And if you think the last Supreme Court term was big (census, partisan gerrymandering), well, buckle up. 

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06
Finding Common Ground on Criminal Justice Reform

You never know where you will find a kindred spirit, especially on a contentious and polarizing issue like criminal justice reform.

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30

Mississippi and West Virginia recently signed legislation to remove the lifetime ban on public benefits for those formerly convicted of drug-related crimes. As of 2019, only South Carolina and Guam continue to prohibit drug felons from receiving public assistance. 

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23
POTUS Can’t Block Critics on Twitter, Says Federal Appeals Court

The decision, which affirmed the lower court’s ruling, may signal how First Amendment doctrine limits public officials’ use of social media in other contexts as well.

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17
New NCSL Report on Misdemeanor Justice

In a follow-up to NCSL’s brief on misdemeanor sentencing trends, the new report “Misdemeanor Justice: Statutory Guidance for Sentencing” looks at how statutes provide guidance in misdemeanor sentencing.

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02
Supreme Court to Tackle 'Bridgegate' Case

The basic question the U.S. Supreme Court will decide is whether the masterminds of “Bridgegate” committed fraud in violation of federal law. The more technical question is whether a public official “defrauds” the government of its property by advancing a “public policy reason” for an official decision that is not the subjective “real reason” for the decision.

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28
SCOTUS Backs States, OKs Warrantless Blood Draws From Unconscious Drivers

In Mitchell v. Wisconsin the Supreme Court held that generally when police officers have probable cause to believe an unconscious person has committed a drunk driving offense, warrantless blood draws are permissible. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief arguing for this result.

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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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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.