In 2012 in Miller v. Alabama the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that states may not mandate that juvenile offenders be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.  The question in Toca v. Louisiana was whether Miller is retroactive; that is, whether it should apply to those convicted before the case was decided. 

Toca has been dismissed as George Toca has been released from prison after pleading guilty to two counts of armed robbery in exchange for his murder conviction being vacated. ...

In City & County of San Francisco v. Sheehan the Supreme Court will decide whether, pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), police must accommodate a suspect’s mental illness when arresting him or her.  The State and Local Legal Center’s (SLLC) amicus brief argues no because no conclusive evidence indicates that...

Since 1997, states have been able to bill for Medicaid-enrolled inmates who leave prisons or jails longer than 24 hours for health treatment in a hospital or nursing facility. That provision is an important but little-known exception to the federal prohibition on spending Medicaid funds for health services to inmates of state prisons and local jails, according to Dr. Nicole Jarrett, who spoke at September’s CSG Medicaid Leadership Policy Academy.

A May 2014 state-by-state survey conducted by National Public Radio (NPR) finds that the costs of the criminal justice system across the U.S. are increasingly being shifted to defendants and offenders. Specifically, defendants are now being charged for government services that were once free, including those that are constitutionally required. From the study:

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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-...

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.

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 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.” 

"Ban the box” is a nationwide effort to remove inquiries about criminal history from employer job applications. Supporters argue that the question should be deferred until later in the interview process and not used as an automatic bar to employment at the application stage. Ten states have enacted “ban the box” measures, including Illinois and Minnesota in the Midwest, according to the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit group that advocates for these restrictions on employers.

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