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The Time Is Long Overdue For A Criminal Defense Attorney To Be On The U.S. Supreme Court

As we contemplate who the next Supreme Court Justice will actually be, it is important to recognize that, over the past twenty-five years, the highest court has been strikingly devoid of a member who has practiced criminal defense. The increasing restrictions placed on defendants by the nation’s highest court are concerning and not just from […]

Highlighting An Extraordinary Federal Judge

In light of the current public discussions regarding whether judges should strictly interpret the law or not, it seems as though it is only fitting to highlight the philosophy of this extraordinary U.S. District Court judge from the Western District of Washington. The story of “One Judge Makes the Case for Judgment: John Coughenour says […]

Employment Consequences of Conviction

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) has made available a paper entitled “Legislating Forgiveness: A Study of Post-Conviction Certificates as Policy to Address the Employment Consequences of a Conviction” and written by Heather Garretson, which addresses the fact that mass incarceration in America is creating an employment paradox that is the result of three facts […]

Federal Judge Reacts to Mandatory Minimum Sentence for Defendant that he Sentenced

“Former federal judge to President Obama: Free the man I sentenced to 55 years in prison” headlines an article in the Washington Post. Former U.S. District Court Judge Paul Cassell (previously appointed to the bench in 2002 by former President George W. Bush and now a professor at the University of Utah’s law school) has […]

Drug-War-Era Bans on Federal Benefits

According to the Marshall Project, “drug-war-era bans on benefits are [being] lifted” as the number of states still denying federal benefits to former drug felons is shrinking. 18 states have completely abandoned the federal prohibition on drug offenders receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or food stamps, while 26 other states have partly eased […]

Local Prosecutor Seeks Re-Election by Bragging About “Proudly Over-Crowding Our Prisons”

A recent blog in Reason.com brought to light the bragging of a local Indiana prosecutor who is seeking reelection. The full headline of the posting is entitled “Indiana Prosecutor Bradley Cooper Is ‘Proudly Over-Crowding our Prisons’: Cooper’s new campaign flyer brags about the people he’s put in prison for decades over drug sales and minor […]

“Voice Memo” Smartphone App & the Wiretap Act

A unanimous three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently held in Commonwealth v. Smith that a man who used a “voice memo” app on his smartphone to record a conversation with his boss should be charged with the interception of oral communications, which is a violation of the Wiretap Act. Section 5703 of the […]

Racial and Gender Dynamics Regarding Rates of Incarceration

A blog recently posted via the Washington Post highlights notable data on racial and gender dynamics regarding recent changes in the rates of incarceration. Following decades of growth, the U.S. imprisonment rate has been declining for the past several years and hidden within this overall trend is the sizable and surprising racial disparity that African-Americans […]

Sex Offenders & Federal Passports Law

According to the recent Associated Press article entitled “Sex offenders challenge new federal passports law,” President Obama just signed a somewhat controversial federal sex offender law, the International Megan’s Law bill, and a civil rights group has filed suit challenging the requirement for sex offenders to be identified on their passports. The lawsuit will be […]

Transforming Prisons and Restoring Lives

The Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections issued numerous recommendations last week to reform the federal criminal justice system in a large report entitled “Transforming Prisons, Restoring Lives.” A primary goal highlighted in the recommendations is focused on Federal Corrections sending fewer low-level drug offenders to federal prison and also sentencing offenders to far […]