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Criminal Justice News This Week (week of 03-17-20)

As Coronavirus Spreads, Legal Industry Shifts into Crisis Management Mode. "Lawyers and their clients worldwide are responding to the coronavirus outbreak that, since December, has killed more than 4,900 people and infected more than 132,500.’s reporters around the world are covering the virus’ impact on law firm operations, client business, law schools, and lawyer and staffer safety. Here’s a collection of our coverage, which we’re continuously updating.")

The Incarcerated Population Is Especially Vulnerable to Coronavirus. "People held in jails and prisons throughout the US are at heightened risk of contracting COVID-19, thanks to crowded conditions, poor sanitation and hygiene, and underlying chronic health issues. In response, some public officials are trying organize emergency releases to reduce incarcerated populations. 'Unfortunately, given the volume of incarcerated people in America, the conditions under which they are detained, and the current spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, there is every reason to question whether American detention facilities, as a whole, are up to this challenge,' said Nina J. Ginsberg, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.")

A Federal District Court In Ohio Delays All Trials Because Of Coronavirus. "Judicial responses to the pandemic have varied and are changing rapidly.")

Criminal Defense Attorneys Are the Salt of the Earth. "The public doesn’t understand our role in protecting their rights—until they have some skin in the game."

Will We See Real Surveillance Reform This Week?. "The USA Freedom Act is about to sunset. Who will decide how and if it will be changed?"

Medical Marijuana Cases Test Preemption Doctrine. "With 33 states and the District of Columbia having enacted medical marijuana laws, courts in recent years have repeatedly been called on to determine whether these state statutes are preempted by the federal Controlled Substances Act."

Last Meals on Death Row, a Peculiarly American Fascination. "Researching his book on final-menu fantasies, the critic Jay Rayner came across an unsettling body of work about the choices of the condemned."

ICE's New Tactic To Get Local Law Enforcement Authorities To Cooperate. "ICE is using a new tool to get sanctuary communities to cooperate with immigration enforcement. Critics say this maneuver has the same legal problem as past efforts. But the new tactic is working."

After Slow Start, State to Probe 81 Convictions Involving Debunked Hair Analysis. "The newest plot turn in Oklahoma is that authorities are now trying to redress any wrongful convictions that occurred decades ago because of heavy reliance on microscopic hair analysis."

A Cleveland Prosecutor Swept a Wrongful Conviction Under the Rug. Now He's Running for Judge. "The candidates’ meeting with the Cleveland Plain Dealer on February 19 was just winding down when a reporter asked veteran prosecutor Richard Bell, running in the Democratic primary for a seat on the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, about a case he tried almost 20 years ago. Angela Garcia, put on trial three times for a fire that killed her two children, was convicted and given two life sentences in 2001. Bell was the lead prosecutor at the third trial and the case was a bi g win, highlighted for years on the website of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. But Garcia and her family had always insisted on her innocence. Although her appeals culminated in a guilty plea arranged by Bell in 2016, there were good reasons to believe she had been telling the truth all along.")

After Virginia prisons strip searched an 8-year-old, state lawmakers passed 4 bills to limit the practice. “Four bills addressing the strip searching of visitors at jails and prisons in Virginia passed the General Assembly this year and await a signature from Gov. Ralph Northam.”

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