Federal Judge Overturns San Francisco’s Money Bail Schedule

The concept of money bail is almost as old as the penitentiary itself. And on its face, it seems logical: people charged with a crime can secure their release, and the justice system has a financial interest in motivating defendants to appear for trial. But in practice, it means that thousands of potentially innocent people …

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Another ‘Making a Murderer’ Appeal; Will Steven Avery Get a Second Trial?

If the Theresa Halbach murder story were a soap opera, you might’ve stopped watching by now because the story had truly gone off the rails. Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were charged with her 2005 killing, and their convictions have been scrutinized ever since, leading to two documentaries and a slew of appeals. …

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Baltimore Ends Marijuana Possession Prosecutions

The City of Baltimore joined Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Philadelphia in decriminalizing pot possession, even though they reside in non-legalized states. State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced in January that her office will decline to prosecute any marijuana possession cases, regardless of the amount or the prior criminal history of the person in question. The recreational possession …

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Using Drugs During Pregnancy Isn’t Child Abuse, Pennsylvania Court Rules

You can’t abuse a child if there is no child, according to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In the debate over whether using drugs during pregnancy rises to the level of child abuse, the court found that a fetus is not a child, and therefore the act cannot amount to child abuse. As such, Child Protective …

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Federal Ban on Female Genital Mutilation Struck Down

Sometimes, you have to take the good with the bad, and that is very true of America’s governmental system. Based on Federalism principles, Judge Bernard Friedman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that Congress overstepped its authority to pass the 1996 law that criminalizes female genital mutilation (FGM), …

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Homeless in Western States Can’t Be Prosecuted for Sleeping on Streets

Outlawing the criminalization of homelessness just got a little clearer in the Western United States. A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it is unconstitutional to prosecute someone for sleeping on public streets, at least for the most part. More on that later. Cruel and Unusual to Criminalize the Unavoidable Consequence of Being Homeless …

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