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High Court Stays Execution Where Judge Overrode Jury Recommendation

A little over two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court in Hurst v. Florida ruled 8-1 it was unconstitutional for state judges to overrule jury sentencing recommendations in death penalty cases. The high court ruled a criminal defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a trial by jury was violated if the jury was not permitted to

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Inmates Lose Court Challenge to Ohio’s Execution Drugs

  A divided federal court of appeals has rejected a challenge to the three-drug execution protocol Ohio plans to use. The state had suspended executions for more than three years due to litigation attacking its three-drug lethal injection method, and to its inability to obtain barbiturates formerly used to anaesthetize death row prisoners before being

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Third Circuit Reverses Denial of Class Certification

by Christopher Zoukis The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has resurrected a challenge to the constitutionality of 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c), the section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that requires mandatory detention of undocumented immigrants who have committed certain crimes. The challenge was brought in 2012 by plaintiffs Garfield Gayle, Neville Sukhu

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Challenge to Lethal Injection Drug Rejected

By Christopher Zoukis On November 2, 2016, the Eleventh Circuit upheld a district court’s denial of death row prisoner Thomas D. Arthur’s challenge to the use of the drug midazolam in the lethal injection protocol used by the State of Alabama. Arthur challenged midazolam as the first in a series of three drugs administered during

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Supervised Release Conditions Premature

By Christopher Zoukis The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held it was premature to file a request to revise conditions of supervised release 14 years before those conditions were to go into effect. The terse per curium ruling, issued on September 6, 2016, disallowed federal prisoner Andre Williams’ request to modify his conditions of supervised

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Georgia Executions Resume, Inmate’s Firing Squad Request Denied

The state of Georgia, which carried out the highest number of executions in the nation last year, putting nine convicted criminals to death, recorded its first for this year May 17 by administering a three-drug lethal injection protocol to J.W. Ledford Jr., a criminal who spent years appealing his convictions at various levels, and whose

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Supreme Court Sets Aside Death Sentence for Triple Murderer

By Christopher Zoukis In a brief, unsigned opinion handed down October 11, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrown out the death sentence an Oklahoma jury gave Shaun Michael Bosse after convicting him in 2010 of the first-degree murders of his former girlfriend and her two young children. Bosse fatally stabbed 25-year-old Katrina Griffin and her

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High Court Tosses Appeal Court’s Try to Save Inmate Tort Claim

By Christopher Zoukis Two Maryland state corrections officers were escorting Shaidon Blake as he was being transferred to a new cell in the west Baltimore prison where he is serving time for murder. Known as “Papa Don,” Blake was an enforcer for the California Bloods who had been sent to Baltimore to impose discipline on

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