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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

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

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]

1 Nov 2013

The US War on Drugs started in earnest during the 1970's. The US Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act in 1970, following the spread of recreational drug use during the 1960's and of drug addictions of US soldiers serving in the Vietnam War. Particularly troubled by … [read more]

Legal News
19 May 2013
by Endia Vereen

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit [official website] on Friday ruled [opinion, PDF] that people convicted of crack cocaine offenses have a right to resentencing hearings under the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) [text, PDF; JURIST report]. The case was brought by two incarcerated defendants seeking retroactive … [read more]

Legal News
6 Dec 2012
by Daniel Mullen

[JURIST] The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court [official website] ruled [opinion] Wednesday that police do not need a warrant to search a suspect's cell phone once the suspect been lawfully arrested. The defendant was arrested after police observed him participating in an apparent drug transaction, and, upon being booked the police … [read more]

Student Commentary
5 Dec 2012

JURIST Guest Columnist Brendan Block, Saint Louis University School of Law Class of 2013, argues for exigency to apply to driving while intoxicated (DWI) suspects to allow for warrantless blood tests...After working in a southwest Missouri prosecutor's office last summer, I learned one of the harsh realities of DWI cases … [read more]

Legal News
28 Sep 2012
by Rebecca DiLeonardo

[JURIST] Drug trafficking and violent crime in Central America and the Caribbean threaten the rule of law in those regions, according to a report [text, PDF; press release] released Thursday by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) [official website]. The report concluded that cocaine trafficking and the associated … [read more]

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