Supreme Court Weighs How to Define Violent Felonies Triggering ACCA

ACCA changes for career criminals

By Christopher Zoukis Congress passed the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) in 1984, aiming to bring longer sentences to violent career criminals. Under ACCA, federal defendants facing firearms possession charges can get much longer sentences if they have previously been convicted of three or more violent felonies or serious drug…

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Virginia Expands Defendants’ Access to Prosecution Evidence

Virginia expands defendants' access to prosecution evidence

By Christopher Zoukis After considering for years whether to revise its criminal procedure rules to broaden defendants’ access to information that will be used to prosecute them, the Virginia Supreme Court has decided to expand defendants’ pre-trial access to prosecutors’ evidence. An order issued September 5 by the top state…

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Is It Curtains For The First Step Act?

Last Chance for First Step Act

By Christopher Zoukis Back in February, the House of Representatives by a 360-59 margin passed H.R. 5628, the “First Step” Act – an acronym for the “Formerly Incarcerated Re-enter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act.” With bipartisan co-sponsors, Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the bill had…

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Study Says Official Misconduct Was Leading Cause of Inmate Exonerations in 2017

By Christopher Zoukis The Registry of National Exonerations has monitored and analyzed over 2,100 instances since 1989 in which inmates were later found not to have been guilty of the crimes for which they were incarcerated. A new report from the group says at least 139 inmates were exonerated last…

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Lawsuit Over GEO Group “Voluntary” $1 a Day Work Program Survives Motion to Dismiss

By Christopher Zoukis A federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging private prison company GEO Group’s “Voluntary Work Program,” which pays detained immigrants $1 per day for cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and otherwise running the facility in which they are held. The December 6, 2017 order rejected GEO’s arguments…

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Ohio Experiences Continued Problems with Aramark Over Alleged Food Fraud

By Christopher Zoukis The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) over­paid food service giant Aramark $57,193 for food provided to nonexistent prisoners, investigators found. The overpayment was uncovered by the state Office of the Inspector General (OIG). According to a June 15, 2017 report, the OIG began investigating Aramark…

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In Historic Move, 15 Cases Related to Crooked Chicago Cop Thrown Out

By Christopher Zoukis Cook County, Illinois Chief Criminal Judge LeRoy Martin tossed the convictions of 15 criminal defendants on November 16, 2017 because the cases were linked to disgraced former Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts. All of the men whose cases were overturned claimed that they had been framed by…

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