Vox: The separation of church and state had a very bad day before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Economist: Fewer Americans are trying to buy guns.
News-Medical.Net: College-in-prison programs lead to reduced recidivism, study finds.
"Incarceration is bound with systems of poverty and a lack of access to opportunity, especially education and socioeconomic mobility," notes Matthew G.T. Denney, a PhD student at Yale University, who coauthored the study. "Participation and intensity of engagement in programs like BPI might disrupt these cycles."
The Harvard Gazette: Prosecutors push for harsher penalties when election time looms.
Chika Okafor, a doctoral candidate in economics and the Reginald F. Lewis Fellow at Harvard Law School, recently released “Prosecutor Politics: The Impact of Election Cycles on Criminal Sentencing in the Era of Rising Incarceration,” which looked at the political careers of district attorneys across the U.S. between 1986 and 2006.
“Using quasi-experimental economic methods, I found causal evidence that being in a local prosecutor election year increased total admissions rates and total months sentenced per capita on average during the period of the steepest rise in U.S. incarceration,” Okafor said.
Okafor noted that evidence showed that election effects are larger when local prosecutor races are contested, as well as when they are in Republican counties or in the southern U.S. “All these factors are consistent with a view that election effects might be arising from political incentives that influence local prosecutors,” he said.
Bloomberg: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh says it is "close call" if bad lawyering can be raised as an issue in federal court if it wasn't raised in state court because of bad lawyering.
David Martinez Ramirez and Barry Jones were convicted of murder and sentenced to death in separate state-court cases. Arizona officials say the pair had the chance to raise ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel claims in state postconviction proceedings, so they’re bound by the state-court record and can’t develop new evidence on federal habeas review. The defendants point out their state postconviction lawyers were ineffective, too, so federal habeas review is the only way to develop their claims.
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