Supreme Court Revisits Issue of Harsh Sentences for Juveniles: New York Times

Do you feel that juveniles should be charged with the death penalty? You be the judge. – Submission by Cesar Flores

WASHINGTON — At a pair of Supreme Court arguments on Tuesday, the justices returned to the question of what the Constitution has to say about harsh sentences imposed on juvenile offenders.

A majority of them appeared prepared to take an additional step in limiting such punishments, but it was not clear whether it would be modest or large. The court’s precedents have created so many overlapping categories — based on age, the nature of the offense and whether judges and juries have discretion to show leniency — that much of the argument was devoted to identifying the possible lines the court could draw. Continue reading

San Jose Mercury News: Warrant Needed For GPS Tracking, High Court Says

In October 2010, local San Jose student Yasir Afifi found out that the FBI was secretly tracking him when he discovered a GPS device in his car.  It turned out he was being investigated for about 3-6 months for terrorist activities, all of which he completely denied.  On Monday, January 23, 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that this kind of investigation was illegal, and police can’t track suspects by installing GPS technology without first obtaining a warrant. As Professor Donald Tibbs from Drexel University says, “The Supreme Court’s decision is an important one because it sends a message that technological advances cannot outpace the American Constitution.”  Submission Post by Charisse Domingo

Warrant needed for GPS tracking, high court says

By JESSE J. HOLLAND and PETE YOST Associated Press
AP Photo/ Photo by PAUL SAKUMA
Posted: 01/23/2012 07:30:10 AM PST
Updated: 01/23/2012 06:43:42 PM PST
WASHINGTON—In a rare defeat for law enforcement, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed on Monday to bar police from installing GPS technology to track suspects without first getting a judge’s approval. The justices made clear it wouldn’t be their final word on increasingly advanced high-tech surveillance of Americans.
Indicating they will be monitoring the growing use of such technology, five justices said they could see constitutional and privacy problems with police using many kinds of electronic surveillance for long-term tracking of citizens’ movements without warrants.
While the justices differed on legal rationales, their unanimous outcome was an unusual setback for government and police agencies grown accustomed to being given leeway in investigations in post-Sept. 11 America, including by the Supreme Court. The views of at least the five justices raised the possibility of new hurdles down the road for police who want to use high-tech surveillance of suspects, including various types of GPS technology.

New York Times: Court to Weigh Arizona Statute on Immigration

The supreme court will take on anti-immigration laws in the near future, could this cause turbulence to the presidential election coming up? I think so. -Submission by Cesar Flores

WASHINGTON — In the space of a month, the Supreme Courthas thrust itself into the center of American political life, agreeing to hear three major cases that could help determine which party controls the House of Representatives and whether President Obama  wins a second term.

The court announced Monday that it would decide whether Arizona was entitled to impose tough anti-immigration measures over the Obama administration’s objections. The case joined a crowded docket that already included challenges to Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the 2010 health care overhaul law, and a momentous case on how Texas will conduct its elections. Continue reading

LA Times: Californians would rather ease penalties than pay more for prisons

LA Times poll showing Californians in favor of reforming 3 Strikes Law

According to a LA Times poll, Californians are calling for the reduction of prison inmates and also reduced sentences for three-strikers. The article points to two reasons for this: (1) The large hole left in the wallets of hard-working Californians, whose tax dollars have been spent in giant sums ($38,000 per inmate per year) to support the prison system…  And to make matters worse, the global stock market just had its worst plunge since 2008, this week. This means the economy is only getting worse. (2) The June 2011 Supreme Court ruling (Brown v. Plata) which declared that California’s prison are overcrowded. The Supreme Court has ordered the State of California to begin releasing 31,000 inmates.

Preparations for the release of prisoners is already underway. Reducing the population of the prisons will help California save a lot of money. However, there is a responsibility that falls upon all members of the public. This responsibility is to make sure that the inmates who are being released have received the rehabilitation and reentry support they need to reenter society. A lot of prisoners experience a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since they are being released back into our communities, we need to make sure we give them the support they need. This means that all Californians, regardless of political party, need to hold our county and public officials accountable in helping to make sure that these inmates are made ready to reenter our communities.  Also read: California’s Goal to Reduce Prison Populations Hinges on County Plans.  — post submission by Ernest Chavez Continue reading