Crime

James Kahler shot his wife, her grandmother, and his two daughters after his wife filed for divorce and moved out with their children. He argued that Kansas “unconstitutionally abolished the insanity defense” by allowing the conviction of a mentally ill person “who cannot tell the difference between right and wrong.” The Supreme Court disagreed.

In Kahler v. Kansas the Supreme Court held 6-3 that the Constitution’s Due Process Clause does not...

In Jones v. Mississippi the Supreme Court will decide whether the Eighth Amendment requires the sentencing authority to make a finding that a juvenile is “permanently incorrigible” before imposing a sentence of life without parole.

In Miller v. Alabama (2012) the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment bars life-without-parole sentences “for all but the rarest of...

In a 5-4 decision in Kansas v. Garcia the Supreme Court held that the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) does not preempt state statutes that provide a basis for identity theft prosecutions when someone uses another person’s Social Security Number on their state and federal tax-withholding forms.

The IRCA requires employers to verify, using a federal work-authorization form, that an employee is authorized to work in the United States....

The Supreme Court was supposed to decide whether D.C. Sniper Lee Boyd Malvo could have his Virginia sentence of life in prison without parole reconsidered. The Supreme Court dismissed this case because Virginia just passed a law making all juvenile offenders eligible for parole after 20 years. Even if paroled in Virginia, Malvo faces six additional life sentences in Maryland.

In ...

McKinney v. Arizona is an excellent illustration of the complexity and disagreement on the Supreme Court over the death penalty. The Supreme Court held 5-4 that a court rather than a jury may reweigh improperly excluded mitigating evidence in a death penalty case on collateral review.

In 1992 James McKinney was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder. To receive the death penalty at least one aggravating circumstance must be found. A...

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) amicus brief in City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton argues that the Supreme Court should rule that a local government need not immediately return a vehicle impounded because of code violations upon a debtor filing for bankruptcy.

The City of Chicago impounds...

The Supreme Court has held that excessive force violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” The question in Torres v. Madrid is whether police have “seized” someone who they have used force against who has gotten away.   

In this case police officers approached Roxanne Torres thinking she may be the person they intended to arrest. At the time Torres was “tripping” from using meth for several days...

CSG Midwest
Kansas and Nebraska have among the strongest laws in the nation to prevent sex trafficking of minors and to help victims of these crimes, according to the advocacy group Shared Hope International. Both of those Midwestern states received “A” grades in the group’s national report card for 2019. These grades are based on 41 components of state law — for example, the criminal penalties for perpetrators and facilitators of trafficking crimes; the types of legal protections and services provided to victims; and the investigative tools given to law enforcement.

If you went to the Supreme Court today to check on Justice Ginsburg’s health, you were in luck. She asked the very first question (and many after) in oral argument in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, New York.

If you came to hear a robust discussion of whether New York City’s now-repealed gun regulation violates the Second Amendment...

CSG Midwest
Before they voted to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, legislators in Illinois committed to learning as much as possible from the experiences of other states. Rep. Kelly Cassidy, lead sponsor of the bill signed into law in June (HB 1438), and others spent two years visiting growers, processors and dispensaries across the United States; they also held more than 100 stakeholder meetings in the state.
The end result: a 600-plus-page bill much different than any other state’s law on marijuana legalization. For example, the bill focuses heavily on ensuring diversity in ownership of the new businesses that come from legalization, and investing in the communities and people disproportionately impacted by enforcement of the state’s old laws on cannabis. But another facet of the new law stands out as well, and reflects what lawmakers found in their fact-finding work prior to the bill’s introduction. “[We were] struck by the intensive power and water usage involved in growing marijuana,” Cassidy says. In response, lawmakers included environmental requirements and efficiency standards for those seeking a license to cultivate marijuana.

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