Public Safety

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 Second Circuit has become the first federal court of appeals to rule in favor of the Attorney General’s decision to add conditions to receiving federal Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (Byrne JAG) grants.

Congress created Byrne JAG in 2006 to provide “flexible” funds for state and...

CSG Midwest
The future of South Dakota’s marijuana laws is in the hands of the state’s voters. In late 2019 and early 2020, Secretary of State Steve Barnett validated the signatures of petitions for two different ballot proposals — one is an initiated measure to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, the second is a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational and medical marijuana.

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 stayed a nationwide injunction which disallowed the public charge rule from going into effect anywhere in the United States. For now, the public charge rule will remain in effect across the country (except in Illinois) until the Second Circuit, and the Supreme Court, if it decides to get involved, rules in this case.

Since 1882, when Congress enacted the first comprehensive immigration statute, it prohibited the admission to the...

The State and Local Legal Center’s (SLLC) Supreme Court amicus brief in Lomax v. Ortiz-Marquez  argues that a dismissal without prejudice for failure to state a claim counts as a strike under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). Less technically, the SLLC brief is aimed at decreasing meritless prisoner litigation...

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...

The Supreme Court refuses to review thousands of lower court decisions every year. Its decision to not review Martin v. City of Boise isn’t entirely surprising. The Supreme Court generally only agrees to hear cases where there is a circuit split—that is the lower courts have disagreed on how the law applies to a particular issue. Martin v. City of Boise raised no circuit split.

In Martin v. City of Boise the Ninth...

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