Supreme Court narrows law for fighting state and local corruption

The high court’s conservatives ruled that a key anti-corruption law only applies to bribes and not to “gratuities” meant to reward officials for their service.

Big Oil faces a flood of climate lawsuits—and they’re moving closer to trial

A quarter of Americans now live in cities and states taking companies to court over lying to the public.

Releasing suspects pretrial doesn’t lead to higher crime rates, experts say

Some states and jurisdictions are taking different approaches to cash bail.

States push ahead with social media laws amid legal challenges

Utah delayed its efforts for litigation purposes, while a judge blocked an Ohio law. But that hasn’t stopped other states, most recently Idaho and New York, from introducing their own restrictions to protect minors.

Shortage of prosecutors, judges leads to widespread court backlogs

The pandemic worsened problems that already had caused state and local court delays.

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Why the 14th Amendment bars Trump from office: A constitutional law scholar explains principle behind Colorado Supreme Court ruling

COMMENTARY | Colorado’s Supreme Court has removed Donald Trump from the state’s 2024 presidential ballot. A scholar of constitutional law explains why.

High fees, long waits cast shadow over new criminal expungement laws

A clear record helps people seeking employment, housing and education.

Cash bail policies are under fresh scrutiny

Some places have done away with the system, while others are considering stricter guidelines.

No longer above the fray, state supreme courts pulled into overtly political conflicts

The courts have become top-tier targets for party leaders, often considered the key to unlocking control of state legislatures, gubernatorial mansions and even Congress.

Police resistance and politics undercut the authority of prosecutors trying to reform the justice system

After major American cities began electing prosecutors who campaigned on the promise of systemic reform, law enforcement unions labeled these DAs as soft on crime while lawmakers made legal and legislative efforts to remove them from office.

California officials seek ‘care’ without coercion as new mental health courts launch this fall

Under the new system, family members and first responders can ask county judges to order people with psychotic illness into treatment, even if they are not unhoused or haven’t committed a crime.

What the police raid of a Kansas newspaper says about government and the press

The raid sparked coast-to-coast outrage, but it also raised concerns about the eroding relationship between government officials and the reporters who cover them. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

States Grapple with the Death Penalty

As it becomes harder and harder to obtain the drugs involved in lethal injections, most states are pausing executions and others are turning to older methods, such as firing squads.

Court Fights Begin Over Gun Bans in Places Like Subways and Bars

The legal wrangling comes after the Supreme Court placed new limits earlier this year on the restrictions states and localities can impose on where people can carry firearms. For now, it’s left to lower courts to hash out how that looks in practice.

Supreme Court Could Shift More Control Over Wetlands to States

The court will begin its new term with a long-running dispute over when wetlands fall under the nation's main water quality law. Depending on how the justices rule, it could leave federal regulators with less authority and states taking up the slack.

‘Robo-lawyers’ are Coming. Are States Ready?

Automated legal services are becoming more widely available for routine proceedings, offering possible cost savings and other benefits. But for the emerging tech to thrive, experts say regulations need to be updated.

Former State Lawmakers Fail in Fight to Clawback Pay They Voted to Cut

The Illinois legislators boasted that they slashed their salaries during the Great Recession. But they later went to court to get back raises they missed out on.

A New Mexico Official Who Joined the Capitol Attacks is Barred From Politics

COMMENTARY | The little-known law behind the removal has some potential pitfalls for democracy.

Key Parts of US Laws are Hard for the Public to Find and Read

Oblique or missing references to standards and codes specified by law make it difficult for judges, lawyers and the general public to comply with regulations.

Two Cities Took Different Approaches to Pandemic Court Closures. They Got Different Results

Did closing courts contribute to the resurgence in violent crime that began in 2020? What happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Wichita, Kansas, may provide clues.