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Post-Conviction Defense and Appeals
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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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When the Government Goes to Trial

Every now and then, a court will speak to the core of the laws that govern our way of life. Last week, the California Court of Appeal said something profound for the 21st century. Sure, it’s been said before but maybe not in this way, updated for the modern day, spelled out in language we all understand. Read More

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Prosecutors Endorse Pell Grants for Prisoners

On Thursday, the nation’s largest organization for prosecutors endorsed an idea we touched on a few weeks ago. Let people in prison apply for federal grants toward higher education. Don’t cut them off completely. In the press release, the National District Attorney Association backs a federal bill that would restore eligibility for Pell grants to prisoners Read More

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A Feel-Good Story From Our Backyard

Earlier this month, a group of law students from the University of California, Irvine did something special: they won the release of an elderly inmate based on the law of compassionate release. That is not easy to do. Before a recent new law, it was nearly impossible, and even now, it’s exceedingly rare. But the man Read More

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Giving the Gift of Education

How’s this for an idea? Let’s reinstate Pell grants for people in prison. What are those? They are federal grants that help people pay for college who otherwise can’t. They require you to use the money for higher education and maintain satisfactory progress toward a degree. People in prison were eligible for them until 1994 but Read More

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