News

California Court OKs Using Map App While Driving

In January 2012 Steven Spriggs was driving in Fresno, California when he encountered road construction and activated his iPhone’s map application to find a route around the traffic jam. Mr. Spriggs heard a siren and saw a police officer motioning him to pull over. The officer ticketed Mr. Spriggs for violating California law which prohibits […]

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New California Law Requires Smartphone Kill Switch

Starting in July 2015, every smartphone sold in the state of California will be required to have a feature known as a kill switch [1]. A kill switch allows consumers to disable a phone after the device has been reported stolen and reactivate it only with a correct password or personal identification number. In May, […]

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Miami Dade Police to Record Suspect Interviews

Miami-Dade police will begin videotaping their interviews of suspects in homicide cases. The new policy is meant to stop claims of false confessions, and will be done with hidden cameras [1]. Twenty states, but not Florida, require some form of taping of suspect interrogations. In 2003, Fort Lauderdale police became the first major South Florida […]

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Federal Judge Finds California Death Penalty Unconstitutional

On July 16, 2014 an Orange County Judge ruled that California’s death penalty violates the United States Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment [1]. According to U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, the state’s death penalty creates long delays and uncertainty for inmates, most of whom will never be executed and the “random few” […]

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California High Court Clarifies Three Strikes Law

Recently the California Supreme Court made a ruling that clarifies the state’s 1994 ‘three strikes’ sentencing law. The ‘three strikes’ law sets sentences of 25 years to life for defendants convicted of violent crimes who have also committed two prior felonies [1]. The California Supreme Court ruled that two felony convictions stemming from a single act […]

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Florida Supreme Court Changes Rules for Death Penalty Appeals

On Thursday, July 3rd the Florida Supreme Court approved a number of changes aimed at improving the death penalty appeals process in Florida. One of the changes involved revising the requirements for attorneys who handle death penalty appeals. Under the new rules, attorneys who wish to handle death penalty appeals in Florida must have at […]

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Michigan Legislative Update

New Michigan Law Proposes to Pay Exonerated Prisoners: Michigan is one of twenty-four states that does not offer any compensation to individuals who have been wrongfully imprisoned [1]. Senate Bill 98 may change that. Senate Bill 98, known as the “Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act”, will entitle wrongfully imprisoned individuals to at least $60,000 for every year they have […]

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Michigan Raises Minimum Wage

A newly-passed bill will raise minimum wage in Michigan from $7.40 per hour to $9.25 per hour by 2018. The bill is supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, as well as President Barack Obama. The new minimum wage will be increased in 4 stages: a rise to $8.15 in September 2014, then to $8.50 in early […]

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California Senate Passes Fair Sentencing Act

On May 28, California’s Senate passed the California Fair Sentencing Act. The Act addresses the sentencing disparity for offenses involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine. Possession of powder cocaine for sale in California is punishable by incarceration for between 2 and 4 years, while possession of crack cocaine for sale is punishable by incarceration for […]

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House Votes Against Hiring Attorneys to Process Clemency Petitions

The Obama Administration recently announced a clemency initiative for nonviolent drug offenders. Since the announcement, more than 18,000 prisoners submitted petitions for clemency; before the Obama Administration’s announcement, it took 12 years to reach 18,000 clemency petitions [1]. The sudden spike in petitions is causing a backlog in processing. To help with the backlog, Attorney General Eric Holder […]

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