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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Betty Nelander

Death Penalty Usage Trending Downward, Report Reveals

by Betty Nelander

A look back at 2018 reveals death-penalty usage in the United States trending downward for the fourth consecutive year, according to a year-end report by the Death Penalty Information Center (“DPIC”). Executions numbered fewer than 30, and death sentences dropped below 50. 

Even Texas, the “capital ...

New California Laws Peel Back Secrecy Surrounding Police Discipline Amid Pushback

by Betty Nelander

The tide is changing on police accountability and transparency in California with the passage and signing of the California Records Act (“SB-1421”) and Assembly Bill 748.

But SB-1421, which was scheduled to take effect January 1, 2019, has encountered pushback.

At least one community (Inglewood) has given ...

Illinois Law on Informants Designed to Avoid Wrongful Convictions

by Betty Nelander

Anew Illinois law aims to bring transparency to the use of jailhouse snitches, which are the main cause of wrongful convictions nationwide and the cause of at least 17 wrongful convictions in that state alone.

Dubbed the “nation’s strongest jailhouse informant bill,” Senate Bill 1830 requires ...

‘Innocent Man Almost Executed’ Freed After Decade on Death Row

by Betty Nelander

Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin of Altamante Springs, Florida, was recently exonerated and freed after spending 14 years in prison, including 10 on death row, for double murder.

“An innocent man was almost executed for a crime he did not commit,” said Josh Dubin, one of the lawyers representing ...

Washington Governor Expects to Pardon About 3,500 for Single Misdemeanor Pot Convictions

by Betty Nelander

Washington Governor Jay Inslee aims to nip draconian marijuana incarceration in the bud — at least for those behind bars for possessing a small amount of it.

“We shouldn’t be punishing people for something that is no longer illegal in Washington state,” he tweeted. “It is ...

Under Fire, Long Beach Police Suspend Use of Self-Deleting Message App

by Betty Nelander

The TigerText app that permanently erases messages after a set time period has triggered controversy in Long Beach, California. There, the police department suspended use of it after its use was exposed by the media. What may have been sent using the self-erasing texting app remains unknown ...

Is Blue Privilege at Work in Texas Police Killings?

by Betty Nelander

Demonstrators who protested the police killings of black men in north Texas are crying blue privilege as the officers involved remained free in mid-September. In fact, nine of them who were exercising their First Amendment right to demonstrate outside AT&T Stadium were placed behind bars while officers ...

Wrongful convictions: Tax relief deadline for exonerees looms

Exonerees can receive a special tax refund, thanks to a federal law that allows exonerees to recoup taxes paid on damages or restitution they received for their wrongful convictions. 

However, the deadline for filing a claim — December 17, 2018 — is looming.

Among those spreading the word is Jon Eldan, who leads the ...

Will Groundbreaking California Bail Reform Help or Hinder Defendants’ Likelihood of Pre-Trial Release?

by Betty Nelander

Gov. Jerry Brown hailed a sweeping cash bail elimination law in California as landmark, years-in-the-making legislation to fairly treat “rich and poor alike.” Whether it will keep more people out of jail remains to be seen.

The California Money Bail Reform Act makes California the first ...

Federal Judge Extends Stay of Executions in Louisiana

by Betty Nelander

Louisiana’s 71 death-row prisoners are in limbo after a federal judge in that state ordered that a stay of executions be extended at least until July 18, 2019.

The order by U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick was requested by the state. To continue with litigation challenging the state’s lethal injection protocol, said state’s attorney Jeffrey Cody, would be “a waste of resources and time” because “facts and issues involved in this proceeding continue to be in a fluid state.”

That protocol calls for a one-drug injection (pentobarbital) and a two-drug backup combo (the painkiller hydromorphone and the sedative midazolam), but the drugs are not in the state inventory for executions. The state hasn’t been able to acquire the drugs because manufacturers don’t want to sell them for the procedure. And there is no legislation for alternative types of execution.

State Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican, blames Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, for foot-dragging on the issue and points out that Texas carried out seven executions the first six months of the year. There were eight through July 17.

“Edwards countered that Landry is using the state’s difficulty with executions to score political points ...




 

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