Criminal Justice News This Week (week of 04-26-20)
Supreme Court Bans Non-Unanimous Jury Verdicts for Serious Crimes. "The badly fractured decision, affecting defendants in two states, continued a debate among the justices over the power of precedent."
SCOTUS to Hear Ex-Cumming Cop's Challenge to Computer Fraud Conviction. "The decision allows the justices to settle circuit courts' dispute as to whether an authorized computer users' improper use constitutes a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act....Bolstering their petition were amicus briefs, one filed by The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and another by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Center for Democracy & Technology, and New America’s Open Technology Institute.") (NACDL's cert. stage amicus brief in Van Buren v. United States is available here.
High Court to Hear Case About Reach of Computer Hacking Law. "The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide a case from Georgia about the reach of a federal computer hacking law."
Virus Outbreak in Ohio Prisons Highlights Risk at US Lockups. "A massive coronavirus outbreak that has sickened nearly 4,000 inmates in Ohio has highlighted the dangers lurking in the nation’s correctional facilities during the pandemic and what system-wide testing reveals about the scope of infections behind prison walls."
Ohio prisoners on their own after release from coronavirus hotspots. "Cherry, who was incarcerated for a year at the Marion Correctional Institution, the Ohio prison that is now the largest known hot spot of coronavirus infections in the U.S., was released April 11 but three days later tested positive for COVID-19, according to medical records he sent to the Marion Star newspaper."
Prisoner in Ohio Halfway House Complains About Lack of COVID-19 Preparations. He's Sent Back to Prison. Now Ohio Prisons are Exploding with COVID-19. "While his own prison is not yet facing a huge problem, Brandon Baxter had a prescient complaint for which he seems to be being punished."
Ninety-six percent of inmates in four state prisons who tested positive for coronavirus were asymptomatic: report. "An overwhelmingly majority of inmates from four states' prison systems that tested positive for COVID-19 have been asymptomatic, according t o Reuters."
Wisconsin Supreme Court Rejects Lawsuit To Release Inmates To Prevent Spread Of COVID-19 In Prisons. “ACLU Sued To Release Older Inmates And Those With Pre-Existing Health Conditions”
Idaho Woman Threatened With Jail Time for Holding 'Nonessential' Yard Sale. "The local police department says 'a garage sale/yard sale is not an essential business and should not be open for business.'"
‘McDonough v. Smith’: ‘Favorable Termination’ and the Confusing Civil Law of Wrongful Convictions. "The Supreme Court made its first foray into the civil law of wrongful convictions last year in 'McDonough v. Smith'. It seems to have made an already confusing situation still more so.")
A Defendant Challenged Evidence From Police Dogs. It Did Not Go Well. "Courts should consider a cadaver dog's work experience when deciding whether to admit evidence, according to this Fourth District Court of Appeal ruling."
Saudi Arabia Abolishes Flogging as a Punishment for Crime. “The most high-profile flogging in recent years was of the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes on charges of insulting Islam."
Exonerated man freed from prison, now in hotel quarantine: 'I could watch Netflix!' ("Kevin Harrington has had a 'beautiful' time quarantining at a Michigan hotel after a 17-year battle to overturn his murder conviction came to an end last week.")