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Our Federal Prisons Are Fueled By Drugs

That’s the takeaway from this report by the federal courts and U.S. Sentencing Commission. To summarize, there are almost 200,000 people in federal prison today, and almost half of them (or 48%) are there for drugs. Almost all of them (93%) are men, and the vast majority are young, minority men. The breakdown is 35% Hispanic, 35% black, and 27% Read More

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Can They Search My Phone at the Border?

Suppose you go to visit your aunt in Italy, and you take your phone and tablet with you. When you come back through customs, can they just search your devices willy nilly? Probably. Here’s a good overview of your rights at the border, along with some practical considerations. It’s worth reading ahead of time because the government is stepping Read More

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New California Criminal Laws in 2017

Let’s get right to it. We already covered three of them in prior posts. One was Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana. Another was Proposition 57, which expanded parole eligibility for nonviolent felons and cut back on prosecuting kids as adults. A third was Assembly Bill 1909, which made it a felony for prosecutors to commit Brady violations in bad Read More

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The Price of Freedom is Eternal Vigilance

Antonin Scalia didn’t coin that expression, but the late Supreme Court Justice, who died one month ago, once delivered a speech that touched on a similarly uncomfortable notion. Nearly two years to the day before his death, Scalia was speaking to a group of law students at the University of Hawaii, and he was asked about Read More

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New California Criminal Laws: Part Deux

To conclude our two-part series on the state’s new criminal laws, here are three more important ones that went into effect on January 1, 2016. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys must account for the immigration consequences of a plea deal. This is Assembly Bill 1343. It amended the Penal Code to reflect that defense lawyers must advise noncitizens accurately about Read More

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