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Criminal Justice News This Week (week of 05-25-20)

Sixth Circuit Overturns Death Sentence of Ohio Killer. "An Ohio man convicted of murder in 1986 is intellectually disabled and therefore cannot be executed based on Supreme Court precedent, a unanimous Sixth Circuit panel ruled Wednesday."

State Prison Inmates Sue Over Conditions Amid COVID-19. "Two advocacy groups are suing the state on behalf of four prison inmates, trying to secure the release of more than 15 thousand other inmates."

Ohio prisons are again accepting new inmates even as coronavirus death toll rises. "The decision to accept new inmates was needed because courts around Ohio are reopening and again sentencing people to prison time, according to the state’s prisons agency. But some civil-liberties groups are criticizing the decision, saying it will inevitably result in more people dying from the virus."

Why We Shouldn’t Reward Fearmongering In Criminal Justice Reporting. "The Courier Journal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on Governor Matt Bevin’s commutations sensationalizes crime at the expense of future clemency efforts."

The Jury and the Screen: Judges, Lawyers Reflect on Texas' Experimental Zoom Jury Trial. "'I can't think of any other time---other than a global pandemic---that we would be able to make that happen that quickly,' Judge Emily Miskel said.")

Legal Experts See Tough Road for Jury Trials While Pandemic Rages. "As the Covid-19 pandemic prevents people from gathering in courtrooms, courts throughout the United States are exploring new ways of preserving the right to trial by jury.")

Philadelphia-Based Feds Have Ramped Up Prosecutions Against Lawyers. “'I find these cases professionally offensive,' said U.S. Attorney William McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 'They’re damaging to our profession. When you have lawyers taking advantage of people, especially their own clients, that is really reprehensible conduct.'”

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