Courts

The Simple Principle That Can Fix American Law

COMMENTARY | What if a coherent legal philosophy could exist between the poles of living constitutionalism and originalism?

The Court is Now in (Virtual) Session: How Remote Services are Transforming the Judicial System

COMMENTARY | The judicial system has been slow to adopt technologies, but the Covid-19 crisis has initiated a digital transformation that is here to stay.

Colorado Bill Would Give Rape, Sexual Assault Survivors Evidence Updates

The legislation, if passed, would allow victims to receive updates on the status of their test kits when the results are received, among other things.

A Las Vegas Judge Approves $1.4 Million Payment to Wrongfully Convicted Man Who Served More Than Two Decades

Fred Steese, who spent decades behind bars for murder — despite the fact that Nevada state prosecutors had documents showing he was in another state at the time of the crime — will receive cash, fees and a certificate of innocence.

Lawsuit Reveals New Allegations Against PG&E Contractor Accused of Fraud

Former Pacific Gas and Electric employees are accused of taking bribes to funnel business to a waste-hauling company.

Illinois Becomes First State to Abolish Cash Bail

Judges will instead use a risk assessment tool to determine a defendant's fitness for release. The change is part of a broader criminal justice reform bill Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed this week.

Lawyers Who Were Ineligible to Handle Serious Criminal Charges Were Given Thousands of These Cases Anyway

In the only state with no public defenders, people charged with murder and other serious crimes can get assigned attorneys who are legally ineligible to take on their cases. The state claims it was unaware.

One State is Poised to Shield Businesses from Covid-19 Lawsuits

Indiana legislators approved the measure on Monday, sending it to Gov. Eric Holcomb. Lawmakers in a number of states are weighing proposals to protect businesses from liability related to Covid-19.

How States Could Lead on Reforming U.S. Supreme Court Appointments

COMMENTARY | Many states have taken steps to de-politicize their high courts. With a state-initiated convention to amend the constitution, they have the power to propose similar reforms at the federal level.

Republicans in State Legislatures Look to Toughen Rioting Penalties

Indiana is one of nearly two dozen states where proposals along these lines have emerged in the wake of last year's protests over racial justice and police misconduct. Critics are raising constitutional rights concerns.

In 2021, States Are Poised to Tighten Abortion Restrictions

The more conservative Supreme Court will likely embolden lawmakers to pass restrictions that could run afoul of Roe v. Wade.

Lawsuit: State Vaccination Program Should Prioritize Seniors

An 87-year-old Idaho man filed the suit, seeking to force the state to alter its Covid-19 vaccination program.

New Hampshire Sued Over Treatment of Foster Youth with Mental Health Issues

Civil and children’s rights groups allege that the state has been negligent in its treatment of older foster youth and those with mental health issues.

Magistrate Judges Took Bribes, Stole Money and Mishandled Cases. South Carolina Officials Now Want Reform.

South Carolina lawmakers are eyeing reforms to strengthen oversight of magistrate judges after ProPublica and The Post and Courier found some had been appointed and reappointed despite ethical and professional lapses.

Would Judges Sentence Fewer People to Prison if Local Governments Had to Pay for Their Prison Stays?

In a case where counties had to bear the cost of incarceration, local prosecutors and judges dismissed more cases. For one researcher, this raised a key question: If local governments had to pay for prison sentences, would incarceration rates decrease?

Republican AGs Sue Google, Alleging Uncompetitive Conduct With Online Ads

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Vegas city council green-lights expansion of Elon Musk-backed tunnel project … City’s plan to spend relief funds on golf course upgrade draws backlash … Santa who visited with kids tests positive for Covid.

Michigan Lawmakers to Do Away with Automatic License Suspensions

Legislators approved a bill that will stop the suspensions of driver's licenses for most unpaid fines and fees.

How a Spreadsheet Could Change the Criminal Justice System

COMMENTARY | A lack of data instills trial-court judges with enormous, largely unrestrained sentencing power.

Lawsuit Claims Remote Learning is Driving Inequities for California K-12 Students

The suit, brought by families and advocacy groups, argues that kids have lacked technology and faced other problems as the coronavirus keeps them from classrooms.

Three Alternatives to the Usual Strategies for Collecting Fines and Fees

A report from the Fines and Fees Justice Center lays out alternatives for cities looking to make collection practices more equitable and efficient.