Skip navigation
Prisoner Education Guide

ISSN 2576-9987 (print)

ISSN 2577-0004 (online)

Welcome to Criminal Legal News!


Criminal Legal News (“CLN”), a project of the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center (“HRDC”), is a monthly magazine that reports on criminal justice issues and related civil litigation topics.
CLN focuses on individuals’ constitutional rights as they relate to interactions with the criminal justice system and the persistent expansion of the police state in America.  In addition, CLN provides case summaries of the latest state and federal appellate court decisions of importance for anyone with an interest in the most recent developments in substantive criminal law and criminal procedure.
Specifically, CLN’s coverage of criminal justice issues includes, but is not limited to, police brutality, prosecutorial misconduct, abuse of power, habeas corpus relief, ineffective assistance of counsel, sentencing errors, militarization of police, surveillance state, junk science, wrongful convictions, false confessions, witness misidentification, paid/incentivized informants, search and seizure, Miranda warning, and due process rights.
CLN is the companion publication to Prison Legal News (“PLN”), which is widely recognized as the preeminent source of information and advocacy for prisoners' rights and associated legal issues.  In 2013, PLN received the First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.
Both CLN and PLN serve as vital resources for prisoners who otherwise don’t have access to current legal and prison-related news and information.
The Human Rights Defense Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit human rights organization that zealously advocates, educates, and litigates on issues pertaining to people’s constitutional rights, especially on issues affecting individuals at all stages of the criminal justice system from initial police-citizen encounter to post-incarceration release.
To search CLN’s articles and other content, click “Search Content” on the top menu bar.  For recent news articles that mention CLN, PLN, and HRDC, click “In the News” (which also includes press releases from across the entire HRDC organization).  For HRDC’s litigation project, which tracks our First Amendment lawsuits, public records cases, and other legal actions, click “Litigation.”
CLN’s monthly magazine is a subscription print and online publication.  Our core subscriber base are prisoners incarcerated nationwide and members of the legal community who are interested in the latest criminal law-related court decisions and criminal justice news.
We also offer website subscriptions that provide full access to all content on our website (most of our news content is free, but a subscription is required to access some of our legal content).  For subscription options and fees, please click on “Subscribe” on the menu bar.
CLN also distributes numerous criminal justice, legal, and self-help books through our book store. Plus we do much more—for a better understanding of everything we do, please review our Annual Reports (also available under the “About” tab). 

  Recent CLN Articles

Indigent Defense in America: An Affront to Justice

by Christopher Zoukis

The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right ... to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” What exactly the “right” to counsel in a criminal matter means has been the subject ...

News in Brief

California: California AttorneyGeneral Xavier Becerra announced on February 20 that he will not appeal a landmark decision on excessive bail. This decision came a month after the First District Court of Appeal ruled on a case involving 64-year-old Kenneth Humphrey, who had bail set at $350,000 for stealing a ...

Mississippi Supreme Court Caps Attorney’s Fees in Wrongful Conviction Cases at 25%

The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the state statute governing attorney’s fees in wrongful conviction and imprisonment cases sets out an escalation of fees tied to each stage of the case with the fee award capped at 25%.

Jason Hall’s conviction was vacated by the Mississippi Supreme Court. He subsequently ...

West Virginia Supremes: Previous Nonviolent Crimes, Life Sentence Unconstitutional

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that a life sentence based on two prior driving on a revoked license felonies violated the West Virginia Constitution’s provision that “[p]enalties shall be proportioned to the character and degree of the offence.”

After ...

Fourth Circuit: No Qualified Immunity for Deputies in Shooting of Armed Suspect

by Dale Chappell

An officer does not possess the unfettered authority to shoot a member of the public simply because that person is carrying a weapon,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit said, upholding the district court’s denial of defendant deputies’ request for summary judgment ...

More articles

Breaking News

Listen now to this week's broadcast of "Criminal Injustice", a weekly segment of the radio program, "Loud & Clear." HRDC founder and executive director Paul Wright is a contributor and joins the show to discuss the most egregious conduct of our courts and prosecutors and how justice is denied to so many people in this country, including commentary on this week's deadly South Carolina prison riot.

The single most important person to reform the criminal justice system is not…(In Justice Today)

Human Rights Watch publication: Dark Side: Secret Origins of Evidence in U.S. Criminal Cases

The case for allowing felons to vote (

Efforts to restore voting rights to people who were convicted of felonies gets boost from Florida federal judge (

Restoring voting rights makes it to Florida ballot in November (


Recent Headlines 

Ohio: First Amendment covers man who was prosecuted for parody Parma police Facebook page, judge says

Who's watching the police? The state of civilian oversight in Southern California

FBI Is Using Classified Tools For Regular Investigations And That's Going To End Up Hurting Everyone

If Police Kill Because Citizens Are Afraid, That's a Problem

California: Sacramento DA Received $13,000 From Police Unions Within Five Days After Stephon Clark Was Killed

In Races for District Attorney, Insurgent Candidates Are Challenging Police-Backed Incumbents

California: SF man awarded $10 million after jury finds police framed him for murder


Federal Prison Handbook


Prisoner Education Guide side


Prisoners Self Help Litigation Manual


Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual