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Daily Criminal Justice Briefing

Below is a sample of the Daily Criminal Justice Briefing, which is available exclusively to members of NACDL. The briefing comprises each day's most important stories affecting the criminal defense profession from major new sources and journals, and is delivered each day to your inbox.

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 Monday, September 10, 2018 

Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

U.S. Says Syria Plans Gas Attack in Rebel Stronghold ("Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has approved using chlorine gas against the country's last major rebel stronghold, U.S. officials said, raising the prospects for another retaliatory U.S. military strike.")

Marijuana-Research Applications Go Nowhere at Justice Department ("Two years after the Drug Enforcement Administration began accepting requests to grow marijuana for federally approved research, none have been answered, leaving more than two dozen applicants in limbo, people familiar with the process said.")


New York Times 

Editorial: Don't Let Migrant Kids Rot ("If the Trump administration gets its way, the government will be able to detain the children indefinitely.")

A Spy Story: Sergei Skripal Was a Little Fish. He Had a Big Enemy. ("Sergei V. Skripal was a little fish. This is how British officials now describe Mr. Skripal, a Russian intelligence officer they recruited as a spy in the mid-1990s. When the Russians caught Mr. Skripal, they saw him that way, too, granting him a reduced sentence. So did the Americans: The intelligence chief who orchestrated his release to the West in 2010 had never heard of him when he was included in a spy swap with Moscow. But Mr. Skripal was significant in the eyes of one man - Vladimir V. Putin, an intelligence officer of the same age and training.")

C.I.A. Drone Mission, Curtailed by Obama, Is Expanded in Africa Under Trump ("The C.I.A. is poised to conduct secret drone strikes against Qaeda and Islamic State insurgents from a newly expanded air base deep in the Sahara, making aggressive use of powers that were scaled back during the Obama administration and restored by President Trump.")

California Tries New Tack on Gun Violence: Ammunition Control ("Sold from vending machines in Pennsylvania, feed depots in Nevada, pharmacies in Georgia and jewelry stores in Texas, ammunition is in many states easier to buy than cold medicine. But in California, which already enforces some of the nation's most restrictive gun laws, there is a movement underway against the unfettered sale of bullets. Gun control advocates here have pushed to limit internet sales, ban large-capacity magazines, require sellers to have licenses, raise taxes on bullets, and mandate serial numbers or other traceable markings on ammunition so that the police can more easily track them.")

Paris Knife Attack Wounds 7 People ("Seven people were injured by a knife-wielding assailant in Paris on Sunday night, including two British tourists, French news reports said.The attacker was arrested by the police, and the assault was not initially being treated as terrorism. His motives and identity were not immediately known.")

CBS Chief Executive Les Moonves Steps Down After Sexual Harassment Claims ("Mr. Moonves had already been negotiating his departure before a report on Sunday detailed new sexual harassment allegations against him.")

Russian Police Detain Over 800 People Protesting Pension Changes ("The Russian police detained more than 800 people protesting planned increases to the retirement age on Sunday, a rights group said, disrupting demonstrations against an unpopular change that has hurt President Vladimir V. Putin's approval rating.")

Opinion: The Urgent Question of Trump and Money Laundering ("How Bruce Ohr, President Trump's latest Twitter target, fits a suspicious pattern of behavior on Russia.") 

Opinion: The Kavanaugh Hearings Are Over. Now What? ("Democrats did the best they could. Pressuring red-state senators to vote no will backfire.")  

Opinion: Does Originalism Matter Anymore? ("To the 'originalists' on the Supreme Court, apparently not.") 

Opinion: A Progressive's Guide to Reclaiming the Constitution ("Progressives should not just resist the erosion of important legal gains, but say what they believe the courts should do, and what they believe the Constitution means.")  

Opinion: Looking Our Racist History in the Eye ("An exhibit about the civil rights movement in Nashville shows Faulkner was right: The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.")


Washington Post

In commuting 20 murder convicts' sentences, California governor draws praise, condemnation ("Thomas Yackley fatally stabbed two men at a party. Kimberly LaBore took part in a home invasion that ended with one person dead. Virgil Holt killed his boss at a fast-food restaurant shortly after he'd been fired. All are among the 20 killers serving life sentences that were recently commuted by California Gov. Jerry Brown (D). With barely four months left in office, California's longest-serving governor is granting forgiveness to record numbers of criminals.")

White House expected to warn of sanctions, other penalties if international court moves against Americans ("The United States will threaten Monday to punish individuals that cooperate with the International Criminal Court in a potential investigation of U.S. wartime actions in Afghanistan, according to people familiar with the decision. The Trump administration is also expected to announce that it is shutting down a Palestinian diplomatic office in Washington because Palestinians have sought to use the international court to prosecute U.S. ally Israel, those people said. White House national security adviser John Bolton is expected to outline threats of sanctions and a ban on travel to the United States for people involved in the attempted prosecution of Americans before the international court in an address Monday.")

The shadowy extremist sect accused of plotting to kill intellectuals in India ("Police say the murder last year of journalist Gauri Lankesh is part of a wider conspiracy - linked to a sect accused of using hypnotherapy to incite its followers to kill those they consider enemies of Hinduism. Investigators have uncovered a hit list of more than two dozen other writers and scholars.")

Officer arrested after authorities say she killed a man when she entered the wrong home ("The arrest came amid intensifying calls for the police officer to be charged in the fatal shooting of her neighbor.")

Editorial: Even this ultra-conservative judge rejects Trump's argument on DACA ("It would be hard to find many federal judges more sympathetic to the Trump administration's immigration policies than Andrew S. Hanen, a Republican appointee who sits in Brownsville, Tex., on the border with Mexico. From that outpost of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Mr. Hanen fulminated against what he saw as the Obama administration's lax enforcement policies and, in 2015, blocked its effort to shield from deportation millions of undocumented immigrants, including parents of U.S. citizens and other legal residents. Still, even for Mr. Hanen it was too much, and too destructive, to yank similar but existing protections from "dreamers" - young migrants brought to this country by their parents and granted temporary lawful status and work permits in 2012 by the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. In an Aug. 31 ruling that surprised that policy's advocates and foes alike, Mr. Hanen refused a request from nine states, led by Texas, that he halt DACA, a move that would upend the jobs, educations and lives of nearly 700,000 teens, 20- and 30-somethings who have grown up in this country and share every attribute of Americanness save proof of citizenship.")

Swedes give boost to far-right anti-immigration party, even as it falls short of goals ("Swedish voters angry about crime and migration on Sunday delivered a blow to two centrist parties that have traded power for decades, but an insurgent far-right party fell short of capturing a commanding position inside the parliament. The election had been watched closely for signs about the extent to which a cascade of anti-immigrant fear could hit even Sweden, which has long been one of Europe's most open nations toward refugees. The far-right Sweden Democrats had at times during the campaign appeared to have a shot at becoming the biggest party in the country, but in the end the party placed third, capturing 18 percent of the vote, according to initial tallies. Still, they succeeded in defining the election's agenda and expanded their power in parliament.")

Editorial: Some police face justice for shooting into cars. But Bijan Ghaisar's family can't even get answers. ("In Texas last month, a police officer was convicted for killing an unarmed 15-year-old, Jordan Edwards, who was in a car driving away from a house party in a Dallas suburb. Neither the teenager nor the car nor any of its other occupants posed a threat to the officer when he opened fire with a high-powered rifle. It was the first time an on-duty police officer in Dallas County had been convicted of murder in nearly a half-century.In Chicago last week, another police officer went on trial in the death of another teenager, Laquan McDonald, who, although he carried a knife, was shot to death as he appeared to veer away from police as they approached him.Those are two instances of the justice system functioning as it should - in the first instance, by holding to account an officer who abused his authority and used lethal force without just cause; in the second, by weighing that same question.") 

Opinion: Drug users keep accidentally poisoning themselves. Here's an idea to stop them. ("Needle exchanges have proven to be effective. Why not a similar program for tainted drugs?")


Greek Police Jails Rescuer Of Fellow Asylum Seekers ("A Syrian refugee who was lauded for helping to rescue fellow migrants in 2015 has now been arrested by Greek police, accused of various charges including people smuggling.")

Troll Watch: Misinformation Operations Target UK ("What stories were pushed out by Internet trolls this week? NPR's Michel Martin asks Matt Tait, a cybersecurity fellow at the University of Texas at Austin.")

North Carolina's Board Of Elections Fights Back Against ICE Request ("Federal immigration authorities have requested millions of North Carolina voting records, potentially creating chaos just two months ahead of the midterm elections.")


The Hill

This week: Senate set to pass sweeping opioid package ("The Senate is poised to take up a bipartisan opioid funding package during a short work week in Washington. Both chambers are out of session on Monday and Tuesday. Lawmakers, instead, will return to Washington on Wednesday for the abbreviated week, where the Senate generally leaves on Thursday afternoon and the House early Friday. But before they head back out of town, senators are expected to vote on a package aimed at combating the nation's opioid epidemic. Passage of the bill would give the Senate a bipartisan win months before the midterm election.")


The New Yorker
An Inside Account of the National Prisoners' Strike ("On August 21st, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, a labor union for prisoners that aims "to end prison slavery," announced the start of a nationwide strike inside U.S. prisons. Wages for incarcerated workers are typically measured in cents per hour, and several states-including Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and South Carolina-use the labor of prisoners without paying them at all.")
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? ("The most famous entrepreneur of his generation is facing a public reckoning with the power of Big Tech.")


The Atlantic

The Democrat Who Could Lead Trump's Impeachment-Or Stand in Its Way ("If the House flips, Representative Jerry Nadler would head the committee that could try to oust the president. But he's not convinced it's warranted.")

Tommie Smith and the Price of Protest ("Fifty years after his iconic Olympic moment, the former athlete reflects on his legacy and the resurgence of activism in sports.")


Just Security

Trump's Disrespect for the Rule of Law Spreads ("A day after President Donald Trump berated his attorney general on Twitter for indicting two Republican congressmen, news broke of an 'administrative coup d'état' taking place inside the White House. The following afternoon, a senior official penned an op-ed in The New York Times, in which the author claimed to be part of a 'resistance' inside the Trump administration. This stunning series of events are more than just an outgrowth of Trump's impetus personality or toxic management style - they are symptoms of a breakdown in the rule of law, a danger that threatens both Trump and everyday citizens alike.") 

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