Trump Packs Appeals Courts with Conservative Ideologues

The president has already appointed eight federal appellate court judges, the most this early in a presidency since Richard Nixon, and a ninth nominee is under consideration. The New York Times says the lifetime appointments are part of a careful plan to load the courts with young partisan conservatives who will serve for decades.

NY Judge Orders Early Disclosure by Prosecutors

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore ordered all judges to prompt prosecutors both to seek and speedily hand over exculpatory evidence to the defense. The order, said to be a national first, will give judges the power to level contempt charges against prosecutors who withhold such evidence, a key component in wrongful convictions.

scales of justice

Legal Aid for Capital Punishment Cases Depends on Where You Live: Study

A pro-death penalty “punitive culture” in some federal jurisdictions ensures that poor defendants in capital punishment cases never get the quality of public defense they are entitled to, argues a study published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. The authors say their findings help explain the stark racial disparities in the application of death sentences across the U.S.

Constitution Hall

Fix Your ‘Failing’ Public Defense System, ACLU Tells Nevada

A class-action lawsuit charging Nevada with violating its constitutional responsibility to ensure all citizens receive equal treatment before the law is aimed at pushing the state to fix its “utterly failing” public defense system, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It’s the eighth such suit launched by the ACLU against states and counties.