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Legal News
28 Oct 2015
by Justin Cosgrove

US President Barack Obama made the case [remarks] for overhauling the nation's sentencing laws on Tuesday in front of top law enforcement officials at the 122nd Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police [official website] Conference and Exposition. The president argued that placing large numbers of nonviolent drug offenders in … [read more]

Legal News
20 Oct 2015
by William Helbling

[JURIST] US Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates on Monday voiced the Obama's administration's support [press release] for the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 [S 2123]. The bipartisan legislation would reduce the prison sentences of some nonviolent drug offenders whose sentences have overwhelmed the criminal justice system's correctional … [read more]

Legal News
25 Sep 2015
by Ashley Hogan

[JURIST] The Massachusetts state Senate [official website] unanimously passed [docket] a resolution [text] Thursday to repeal a law requiring a driver's license suspension of at least six months for anyone convicted of a drug crime. The law required the driver's license suspension in all circumstances of drug offenses, even if … [read more]

Legal News
1 Sep 2015
by Taylor Gillan

[JURIST] Privacy International [advocacy website] reported [materials] Monday that Colombian intelligence agencies have been developing surveillance tools to collect large amounts of data without a warrant. According to the advocacy group, a newly changed intelligence law has made it possible for police and state security agencies to gather large amounts … [read more]

Legal News
1 Aug 2015
by Colleen Mallick

[JURIST] A Mexican judge temporarily suspended a US extradition order on Friday for drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman [US State Department backgrounder], even though the federal attorney general's office had approved the order earlier that day. No reason was given for the suspension [Reuters report]. Guzman, a notorious drug … [read more]

Legal News
22 Jul 2015
by Taylor Brailey

[JURIST] A Mexican federal official on Friday announced that seven of those who were being questioned regarding the prison escape of drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman [US State Department backgrounder] have been formally arrested. Originally sentenced for conspiracy to distribute and import cocaine, Guzman escaped Mexico's highest security prison, … [read more]

Legal News
14 Jul 2015
by Valerie Howell

[JURIST] US President Barack Obama [official profile] on Monday granted [statement, video] commuted sentences to 46 drug offenders in what he said was part of an effort by his administration to remedy the unfairness of the criminal justice system. In his statement, Obama noted that the majority of the men … [read more]

Legal News
27 Apr 2015
by Jacqueline Jones

[JURIST] The Indonesian Constitutional Court [official website, in Indonesian] has agreed to hear a last minute appeal by two condemned drug smugglers known as the "Bali Nine Pair" [ABC profile]. The pair's legal representative said [Daily Mail report] Monday that the court has agreed to hear the appeal. The pair … [read more]

Academic Commentary
17 Mar 2015
by W. David Ball of Santa Clara Law
edited by Christina Alam

JURIST Guest Columnist W. David Ball of Santa Clara Law, discusses the legal framework behind the Nebraska and Oklahoma law suit against Colorado to invalidate Colorado's marijuana law...In December 2014, Oklahoma and Nebraska took the unusual step of filing a complaint [PDF] in the US Supreme Court asking for a … [read more]

Legal News
15 Dec 2014
by Jaclyn Belczyk

The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] 8-1 Monday in Heien v. North Carolina [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that a police officer's mistake of law can provide the individualized suspicion that the Fourth Amendment [text] requires to justify a traffic stop. The case involves the arrest of an automobile passenger … [read more]

Legal News
7 Oct 2014
by Ann Schober

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [transcript, PDF] Monday in a case concerning whether a police officer's "mistake of law" should invalidate the officer's justification for a traffic stop. Heien v. North Carolina [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] is a state court case that involves the arrest of an … [read more]

Legal News
25 Jun 2014
by William Hibbitts

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Wednesday that police officers must obtain a warrant before searching a person's cell phone data, even at the time of arrest. In Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie [SCOTUSblog backgrounders], the court considered the question of whether a … [read more]

Legal News
13 Jun 2014
by William Hibbitts

[JURIST] West African governments should decriminalize drug use and treat it as a public health issue, according to a report [text, PDF] published Thursday by the West Africa Commission on Drugs [advocacy website]. The report also recommends that governments try to confront corruption so that traffickers cannot exploit corrupt officials. … [read more]

Legal News
11 Jun 2014
by Addison Morris

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] on Tuesday announced support [press release] for a proposal that could reduce the sentences of nonviolent drug offenders in federal prisons. Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] requested that the proposed law be applied retroactively to felons who lacked significant criminal histories … [read more]

Legal News
21 Apr 2014
by Ann Schober

[JURIST] US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] announced [DOJ press release] Monday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] is expanding its criteria for recommending clemency to federal prisoners convicted of certain drug crimes. Holder's announcement recapped the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) [text, PDF] that President Barack Obama … [read more]

Student Commentary
23 Mar 2014
by Brent Nesbitt of University of Pittsburgh School of Law
edited by Endia Vereen

JURIST Assistant Editor Brent Nesbitt, University of Pittsburgh School of Law Class of 2016, discusses the search incident to arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment in United States v. Wurie...On Tuesday, April 29, the US Supreme Court will hear argument in the case of United States v. Wurie involving the … [read more]

Legal News
13 Feb 2014
by Cynthia Miley

[JURIST] Italy's Constitutional Court [official website, in Italian] on Wednesday struck down a drug law that tripled sentences for selling, cultivating or possessing marijuana. The constitutional court declared the law illegitimate [Reuters report] without further elaboration. The cannabis law was blamed for causing Italian prison overcrowding, and an estimated 10,000 … [read more]

Legal News
27 Jan 2014
by Cynthia Miley

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF] Monday in Burrage v. US [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] to relax sentencing guidelines for drug dealers. Marcus Burrage was convicted of distribution of heroin causing death under 21 USC § 841 [text], and he appealed by challenging the causation instruction the courts … [read more]

Legal News
20 Dec 2013
by Bradley McAllister

[JURIST] President Barack Obama [official website] on Thursday commuted [press release] the sentences of eight inmates currently serving lengthly prison terms for crack cocaine offenses, citing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA) [text, PDF]. The FSA reduced significant disparities in convictions of drug offenses related to crack cocaine and … [read more]

Legal News
13 Nov 2013
by Nicholas Tomsho

[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] published [press release] a study [text, PDF] on Wednesday finding that 3,278 Americans are currently serving life sentences without parole for nonviolent offenses. The study, entitled "A Living Death: Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses," explains the racial and gender makeup … [read more]

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