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Criminal Justice News This Week (week of 11-16-20)

Rape Sentence Cannot Be Increased Without Jury Considering Use or Threat of Force  “A Hamilton County man’s prison sentence of 25 years to life for rape based on compelling a child victim to submit by force violated the man’s constitutional rights because the trial court, not the jury, determined force was used, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled today.

In Current Term, the Supreme Court Will Interpret Another White-Collar Criminal Statute "The meaning of 'exceeds authorized access' in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act will soon be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court in 'United States v. Van Buren'. In their White-Collar Crime article, Elkan Abramowitz and Jonathan Sack describe the Circuit split and explore different methods used by appellate courts to interpret these operative words of the CFAA. The Supreme Court will have the opportunity once more to articulate its approach to interpreting white-collar criminal statutes."

Captivating the Jury from Your Opening Statement "In a trial as in life, 'you never get a second chance to make a fist impression.' Opening statement is the jury’s first impression of the case, the first time the hard structure of the case’s framework is built. If it is not done correctly in opening, it is not likely to be corrected through the trial."

SEC Pushes Back Against Argument to Find 'Tolling' Agreements Unenforceable "Critics of the tolling agreements cite the statute's unusual language as setting it apart from ordinary statutes of limitation."

Should Plea Bargaining Include the Right to Confront Witnesses? "The Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment grants defendants the right to question witnesses testifying against them, but the clause has only been interpreted to apply to defendants who proceed to a trial."

Lawyer, Juror Test Positive for COVID-19, Prompting Judge To Pause Federal Trial "Attorneys from Hogan Lovells and Beck Redden were representing the parties in a jury trial that was placed on hold because multiple court participants tested positive for COVID-19."

What Makes the Difference Between Getting Out of Prison and Staying Out? "For those navigating the challenges of reentry, it can help to have a tough-minded guide with lived experience."

Supreme Court Could Create New Government Immunity In Its Latest Police Brutality Case "After a summer that saw cities erupt in protest over police brutality and the U.S. Department of Justice deploy federal agents to combat violent crime, the Supreme Court held oral argument on Monday in a particularly timely case. The High Court considered whether James King, who was brutally beaten and nearly choked unconscious by a police detective and FBI agent more than six years ago, can hold the officers accountable by requiring them to defend their actions in court."

DEA Pursues Vast Expansion of Patient Surveillance "The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is looking to expand its anti-diversion surveillance infrastructure by being able to search and analyze myriad patient behaviors for the vast majority of controlled and scheduled drug prescriptions—all accompanied by a rapid process for legally unveiling personally identifying information. In early September, the agency requested proposals for the creation of software capable of searching at least 85 percent of all US residents’ controlled-substance prescriptions for certain patient behaviors, as well as prescriber and pharmacist practices."

Trial 4: how a teen spent 22 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit “Sean Ellis was 19 years old when he was arrested for killing a police officer in Boston. Decades later, he prepares for his fourth trial in Netflix’s Trial 4.”

COVID-19 Has Flawed the Jury Selection Process "The asserted flaws in the screening process are constitutionally significant. Trials should be halted until there is a resolution of the problems."

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