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Criminal Justice News This Week (week of 12-10-19)

States imprison black people at five times the rate of whites — a sign of a narrowing yet still-wide gap. “In its first major report, the independent, bipartisan Council on Criminal Justice has found that racial and ethnic disparities in U.S. prisons and jails, as well as in parole and probation populations, declined from 2000 to 2016 — though the gap is far from closed."

Hundreds of parents say kids wrongly taken from them after doctors misdiagnosed abuse. "'They made us feel like we were monsters,' said a Florida mother who temporarily lost custody of her 4-month-old son based on a doctor's report."

11 Houston Judges Were Sanctioned. What Happened Next is a Mystery"Eleven Houston-area judges were sanctioned in August for their bail bond practices, but the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct has deleted their public admonitions from its website. The judges' lawyer said the sanctions were withdrawn, and the matter is concluded. But judicial ethics experts say that would be unprecedented."

Supreme Court Blocks Resumption of Federal Executions. "The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday prevented the Trump administration from resuming federal prisoner executions next week after an approximately 16-year pause.”

Strip-Searching of 8-Year-Old at Prison Leads Virginia to Halt the Practice. “Gov. Ralph Northam suspended the policy after a girl was strip-searched while trying to visit her father.”

Man who offered $500 for killing an ICE agent is acquitted. "A man who tweeted that he would give $500 to anyone who would kill a federal immigration officer was acquitted Friday in a case that centered on whether a threatening social media post is protected speech. A federal jury at U.S. District Court in Boston cleared Brandon Ziobrowski, 35, of New York City. He had faced up to five years in prison and a fine of as much as $250,000 if convicted."

Can We Learn from Prosecutor Misconduct? “The growing list of high-profile exonerations features grotesque episodes of prosecutorial dishonesty. We have dozens of cases, imposing decades of wrongful—and avoidable—imprisonment on the wrong individuals, in which buried evidence of innocence would have made a difference.”

Bill Cosby Loses Appeal of Sexual Assault Conviction. "A Pennsylvania appellate court voted unanimously to reject the entertainer’s argument that he had been denied a fair trial. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence."

Michael Avenatti wants his expensive lifestyle, money woes kept out of extortion trial. "Avenatti’s lawyers argued in a court filing that the proposed evidence of his personal money matters would create an unfair bias against the hard-charging counselor."

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