Universal Background Checks for Firearm Purchases Passed by House

Under federal law, you must pass a background check to purchase a firearm from registered dealers. But there are a couple exceptions to that rule. First, online guns sales and those that take place at gun shows didn’t always require a background check. And second, if a background check took longer than three days, the …

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With Felony-Murder Rule Change, CA Starts to Release Some Inmates

In California, approximately 800 prisoners incarcerated for murder may soon be set free. Last fall, California legislature, joined by then-Governor Jerry Brown, passed SB 1437, a bill co-sponsored by Democratic State Senator Nancy Skinner and Republican State Senator John Anderson. This law significantly modifies California’s felony murder rule, and allows for retroactive resentencing. The law …

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How Long in Solitary Confinement Is Too Long?

We’ve all heard about solitary confinement, where prisoners are kept in cells alone, with little or no human interaction. The practice — sometimes used as punishment, or to keep the prisoner or other inmates and guards safe — has come under additional scrutiny lately, however, as tales of abuse or exceedingly long stretches in solitary …

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New California Transparency Law Reveals Police Officer Misconduct

There are some who claim that police misconduct, if it does happen, is a rare occurrence, and even so, a few bad apples shouldn’t spoil the whole bunch. There are others who claim such misconduct is rampant, and dirty cops outnumber the good ones. The problem for both sides of the argument has been one …

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3 Major Reforms in the New Criminal Justice Bill

The First Step Act, signed into law by President Trump last week, represents just that: a great first step towards criminal justice reform that altered federal sentences guidelines. While there are many other steps that need to be taken — especially at the state and local level — the bill will provide some major changes …

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Gov. Cuomo Looking to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in NY

Recreational marijuana could be headed to New York in 2019. In a remarkable turnaround, Governor Cuomo announced his plan to legalize recreational marijuana next year in his speech outlining his agenda for the first 100 days of his third term. In a move that could generate between $248 million and $677 million in new tax …

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Can You Be Charged With Homicide If You Didn’t Kill Anyone?

Darius Jacob Taylor wasn’t even in the same state when Wesley Burnett was shot and killed. And yet Pennsylvania prosecutors charged Taylor with criminal homicide. Under the felony murder rule, anyone who participates in a dangerous felony can be charged with homicide if the crime results in a killing. Burglars have even been given life …

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