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Criminal Justice News This Week (week of 04-13-20)

Inmate in Ohio federal prison where coronavirus outbreak has killed three records video on smuggled cellphone: ‘they literally leaving us in here to die'. "A video recorded inside a federal prison in Eastern Ohio where a coronavirus outbreak killed three inmates and infected dozens of others shows inmates lying on beds just feet apart coughing and wheezing."

Ohio National Guard being sent to help sick inmates at Elkton prison. "Gov. Mike DeWine said medical staffing at the prison in Columbiana County is at 50% of what it should be."

Ohio Governor Says State Will Seek Release of Some Inmates in Response to Coronavirus. "The state will seek the release of nearly 200 inmates who are either at-risk or nearing their release dates anyway in response to COVID-19."

‘Nothing changed in here’: Detainees at private Ohio prison talk fears amid coronavirus. "Staying six feet away from others is nearly impossible for Chris Johnson. The 29-year-old East Cleveland resident has high blood pressure and worries about catching the coronavirus. His medical condition is one of several that health doctors say could lead to more severe illness if he gets it."

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters on stay-at-home violators: 'Sit your butt in a jail'. "Joe Deters didn't hold back Saturday night when discussing his feelings for those who violate Ohio's stay-at-home order. In an interview on 700 WLW, the Hamilton County prosecutor said he's 'given the green light' to Sheriff Jim Neil to arrest and pursue felony charges."

Kansas law enforcement was justified in stopping vehicle after learning the owner's license was revoked, Supreme Court says. "The Supreme Court on Monday held that Kansas law enforcement was justified in pulling over a Kansas man for a traffic stop after learning that the registered owner of the vehicle had his license revoked by the state, even though the officers did not know who was driving.... She was supported by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, who said a win for Kansas, allowing a bright line rule, would 'erode the liberty of all drivers (and their passengers) who share or borrow cars registered to someone with a suspended or revoked license.'  The group also noted that sometimes a license is revoked not because of traffic safety but because of missed child support payments, unpaid court debts or other infractions 'unrelated to traffic safety.'"

FAMM, Washington Lawyers’ Committee, NACDL Launch Emergency Compassionate Release Effort. "In an effort to save as many lives as possible during the coronavirus pandemic, The Compassionate Release Clearinghouse launched an emergency release initiative that is designed to match qualified individuals in federal prisons who are applying for compassionate release with free legal counsel. The Compassionate Release Clearinghouse is a collaborative pro bono effort among FAMM, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL).") (Read the full release here.)

N.J. law graduates can temporarily practice without license amid coronavirus crisis, court says. "The state’s summer bar exam has been postponed amid the coronavirus outbreak, but law school graduates who were scheduled to take the July exam will be able to temporarily practice law before obtaining their law license, the state Supreme Court said in an order Monday."

Europe’s Prisons Reel Under Virus Assault; A Warning to U.S.?  "Italy’s prisons represented one of the earliest test cases for coping with the challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to incarcerated populations. Even as debates mount in the U.S. over releasing at-risk prisoners, the disease has already caused chaos in prison systems around Europe."

Researchers release first detailed survey on the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on correctional facilities in the United States. "Harvard Professors Crystal Yang and Marcella Alsan collaborate with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care for nationwide prison survey".

Denim, as a Crime-Solving Tool, Has Holes. "A forensic technique that involves matching patterns on bluejeans is highly inaccurate, a new study suggests."

Many Americans Willing To Trade Some Civil Liberties To Combat Coronavirus. "NPR's Tom Gjelten speaks with law professor Kevin Cope about a survey he conducted on which civil liberties Americans were willing to give up in order to tackle the coronavirus."

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