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An Ohio Supreme Court task force has given legislators 56 recommendations on how to improve administration of the death penalty. The comprehensive list of proposed changes covers nearly all aspects of the death penalty — from tighter controls on how evidence is collected and interrogations are conducted, to more funding for defense services, to new rules for post-...

Warrantless searches of cellphones?  Simple question.  Simple answer.  No (generally).  

In Riley v. California the Supreme Court held unanimously that generally police must first obtain a warrant before searching an arrested person’s cellphone.

Police searched David Riley’s cell phone after he was arrested on gun charges and found evidence of gang activity.  In a second case, police arrested Brima Wurie for selling drugs and used his cell phone to figure out where he lived—where they found more drugs and guns.    

The Fourth Amendment requires police to obtain a warrant before they conduct a search unless an exception applies.  The exception at issue in this case is a search incident to a lawful arrest.

Firearms are a public health issue in the United States. In 2010, 31,328 people died because of firearms, either from suicide, homicide, or accidents, and approximately 40,000 people were hospitalized with firearm injuries. The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council and the American Public Health Association have identified practices and areas of research that may reduce firearm-related deaths, violence and injuries.

Are you a state legislator from Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, North Carolina, and Washington?  If so, keep reading.  Your legislature may need to rewrite its definition of intellectual disability as it applies to the death penalty. 

In Hall v. Florida the Supreme Court held 5-4 that if a capital defendant’s IQ falls within the standard error measurement (SEM) for intellectually disabled, the defendant must be allowed to present additional evidence of intellectual disability.  Hall may require the above 9 states to rewrite their death penalty statutes because they have strict IQ cutoff scores of 70.

Exclusionary discipline (suspensions and expulsions) is contributing to the dropout crisis, particularly for those students at greatest risk. Research has shown that students who are suspended and expelled are less likely to graduate from high school—which comes with a big price tag to the nation.

A report released this week by The Council of State Governments Justice Center details more than 60 evidence-based recommendations on how states and communities can make their schools safer and help students succeed. "The School Discipline Consensus Report" is the result of a three-year effort involving a 100-member working group comprised of experts in the field of school safety, behavioral health, juvenile justice, social services, law enforcement and child welfare.

Over the course of three years and hundreds of interviews, the Council of State Governments Justice Center has seen significant awareness to reform school discipline policies in a variety of school districts throughout the country. The map below offers just a glimpse of some of the impact made as schools work to keep students in the classroom while enforcing student safety and enabling all students to succeed.

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The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center released a comprehensive report providing school leaders and state and local government officials more than 60 recommendations for overhauling their approach to school discipline. The recommendations focus on improving conditions for learning for all students and staff, strengthening responses to student’s behavioral health needs, tailoring school-police partnerships, and minimizing students’ involvement with the juvenile justice system.

The Supreme Court issued two unanimous opinions favoring state and local government in qualified immunity cases where the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed amicus briefs.

State and local government officials can be sued for money damages in their individual capacity if they violate a person’s constitutional rights. Qualified immunity protects government officials from such lawsuits where the law they violated isn’t “clearly established.” 

Insurance companies, law enforcement officials and industry watchdogs have called scrap metal theft—including copper, aluminum, nickel, stainless steel and scrap iron—one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. State leaders have taken notice, passing a flurry of legislation meant to curb metal theft and help law enforcement find and prosecute criminals. Researchers at The Council of State Governments, in collaboration with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, set out to determine if all that legislation is having an impact on metal theft rates.

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