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Post-Conviction Defense and Appeals
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Making a Splash

There’s a new district attorney in Los Angeles, you may have heard, and he’s making some changes. When George Gascon took the oath of office, he issued nine policy directives that will change the way his office carries out its important mission. We summarize each of them below. Bail and pretrial release. The office will Read More

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The Due Process Protections Act

Last week, Congress passed a new law that sharpens a fundamental rule of fairness in our system: “In all criminal proceedings, on the first scheduled court date when both prosecutor and defense counsel are present, the judge shall issue an oral and written order … that confirms the disclosure obligation of the prosecutor under Brady v. Maryland, Read More

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California Wants YOU for that Business or Professional License

Do you have a rap sheet? So do approximately one in three Americans, so you’re not alone. This summer, a new law went into effect that could help you earn that business or professional license you seek. We wrote about it in January 2019, but now that it’s effective, here’s more food for thought. It matters more Read More

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Do Not Put This Man Back In Prison

The man, Richard Midkiff, was 19 when he was sentenced to 38 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. After serving 23 of them, he was released in June of last year. He works full-time and then some, starting his days at 5am. He just got engaged last month. Now the state wants to Read More

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California Courts Must Tighten Belts Again

The state’s new budget, signed into law on Monday, cuts $200 million from the judiciary. For the fiscal year that begins today, the trial courts have $176.9 million less than last year, and the appeals courts lose $23.1 million. Overall, the budget gives $4 billion to fund the courts out of a total of $202.1 Read More

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Bridgegate, Reversed

Once upon a time, you might recall, there was another kind of lockdown. For four days in September 2013, three public officials shut down two traffic lanes on one bridge from New Jersey to New York. It wasn’t just any bridge, though, but the busiest motor-vehicle bridge in the world. And it wasn’t just for Read More

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An Impending Point of No Return

A prominent federal court of appeals has dismissed a lawsuit that aimed to compel the government to respond to climate change more urgently. It’s an interesting case. Essentially, the plaintiffs wanted an injunction that ordered the government to phase out emissions from fossil fuels and reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Or to come up with a Read More

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And Then There Were Six

On Wednesday, the longest-serving justice of the California Supreme Court announced that he would retire this summer. It’s a big deal for a court that seats only seven. Ming Chin, the state’s first Chinese-American justice, will hang up his robe after nearly twenty-five years on the high court. Before that, he served on the trial court Read More

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A Promise Is A Promise

Brilliant. In 2020, thirty-nine top prosecutors from across the country have promised to visit the jails and prisons in their jurisdiction and to require their line prosecutors to do the same. What’s more, they’ve pledged to make it part of the job description going forward. That’s thirty-nine district attorneys, county attorneys, or state attorneys from Read More

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You Cannot Be Serious

The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect your right to be secure against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Those are the actual words of the text, which is why I put them in quotes. But earlier this month, the federal court of appeals that covers California and eight other states could not say whether it violated the Fourth Amendment Read More

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