Carrie Johnson http://wfpl.org en Holder Calls For Restoring Felons' Voting Rights http://wfpl.org/post/holder-calls-restoring-felons-voting-rights Attorney General Eric Holder called on 11 states to repeal "counterproductive" laws that bar convicted felons from "the single most basic right of American citizenship-the right to vote."<p>In a speech Tuesday at Georgetown University law school, Holder used his bully pulpit to note that 5.8 million people are prohibited from voting because of current or former felony convictions, including 1-in-5 black adults in Florida, Kentucky and Virginia.<p>"By perpetuating the stigma and isolation imposed on formerly incarcerated individuals, these laws increase the likelihood they will commit future cr Tue, 11 Feb 2014 16:18:49 +0000 Carrie Johnson 8551 at http://wfpl.org Holder Calls For Restoring Felons' Voting Rights Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples http://wfpl.org/post/holder-orders-equal-treatment-married-same-sex-couples Attorney General Eric Holder has for the first time directed Justice Department employees to give same-sex married couples "full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent under the law," a move with far-ranging consequences for how such couples are treated in federal courtrooms and proceedings.<p>The directive specifies that such couples can decline to give testimony in U.S. cases that might incriminate a spouse, known in the law as marital privilege. Sun, 09 Feb 2014 00:05:03 +0000 Carrie Johnson 8527 at http://wfpl.org Holder Orders Equal Treatment For Married Same-Sex Couples 5 Takeaways From The President's NSA Speech http://wfpl.org/post/5-takeaways-presidents-nsa-speech What does it mean when lawmakers as different as Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall and New York Republican Rep. Sat, 18 Jan 2014 12:53:00 +0000 Carrie Johnson 8289 at http://wfpl.org 5 Takeaways From The President's NSA Speech Federal Judge Rules NSA Bulk Phone Record Collection Unconstitutional http://wfpl.org/post/federal-judge-rules-nsa-bulk-phone-record-collection-unconstitutional A federal judge in Washington says the National Security Agency's program for bulk phone record collection violates Americans' reasonable expectation of privacy.<p><a href="http://legaltimes.typepad.com/files/obamansa.pdf">The ruling</a> (pdf), however, has been stayed pending a likely appeal.<p>Judge Richard Leon says the sweeping NSA collection of U.S. phone metadata constitutes an unreasonable search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment.<p>The judge says the <a href="http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=442&invol=735">Smith v. Mon, 16 Dec 2013 21:52:15 +0000 Carrie Johnson 7919 at http://wfpl.org Report: Threat Of Mandatory Minimums Used To Coerce Guilty Pleas http://wfpl.org/post/report-threat-mandatory-minimums-used-coerce-guilty-pleas A new report says the Justice Department regularly coerces defendants in federal drug cases to plead guilty by threatening them with steep prison sentences or stacking charges to increase their time behind bars.<p>And for the first time, the study <a href="http://www.hrw.org/node/120933" target="_blank">by Human Rights Watch</a> finds that defendants who take their fate to a judge or jury face prison sentences on average 11 years longer than those who plead guilty.<p>In all, a whopping 97 percent of defendants plead guilty — no surprise, says author Jamie Fellner, given the enormous and essent Thu, 05 Dec 2013 11:44:13 +0000 Carrie Johnson 7786 at http://wfpl.org Report: Threat Of Mandatory Minimums Used To Coerce Guilty Pleas Justice Department Pushes New Thinking On Kids And Crime http://wfpl.org/post/justice-department-pushes-new-thinking-kids-and-crime For a man who spent the bulk of his career as a public defender, Robert Listenbee's new role walking around the halls of the U.S. Justice Department may not be the most comfortable fit.<p>But Listenbee, who became <a href="http://www.ojjdp.gov/about/administrator.html" target="_blank">administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention</a> earlier this year, says his transition has been smooth. Thu, 26 Sep 2013 10:58:42 +0000 Carrie Johnson 6982 at http://wfpl.org Justice Department Pushes New Thinking On Kids And Crime Justice Department Tackles Quality Of Defense For The Poor http://wfpl.org/post/justice-dept-tackles-quality-defense-poor All over the country, lawyers who defend poor people in criminal cases have been sharing their stories about painful budget cuts. Some federal public defenders have shut their doors to new clients after big layoffs. Tue, 03 Sep 2013 10:36:25 +0000 Carrie Johnson 6697 at http://wfpl.org Justice Department Tackles Quality Of Defense For The Poor Source: Obama Considering Releasing NSA Court Order http://wfpl.org/post/source-obama-considering-releasing-nsa-court-order NPR has learned that the Obama administration, under pressure to lift a cloak of secrecy, is considering whether to declassify a court order that gives the National Security Agency the power to gather phone call record information on millions of Americans.<p>The document, known as a "primary order," complements a shorter Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court document leaked to <em>The Guardian</em> newspaper <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/06/09/190121734/newspaper-reveals-source-for-nsa-surveillance-stories">earlier this month</a>. That document revealed the U.S. Sat, 15 Jun 2013 17:37:03 +0000 Carrie Johnson 5794 at http://wfpl.org Justice Department Secretly Obtains AP Phone Records http://wfpl.org/post/justice-department-secretly-obtains-ap-phone-records The Associated Press is protesting what it calls a massive and unprecedented intrusion into its gathering of news. The target of that wrath is the U.S. Justice Department, which secretly collected phone records for several AP reporters last year. The AP says it's caught in the middle of a Justice Department leak investigation.<p>The scope of the Justice Department subpoenas is what gives David Schultz, a lawyer for AP, pause.<p>"It was a very large number of records that were obtained, including phone records from Hartford, New York, Washington, from the U.S. Tue, 14 May 2013 11:00:18 +0000 Carrie Johnson 5377 at http://wfpl.org Justice Department Secretly Obtains AP Phone Records Judicial Vacancies Languish On Key Federal Appeals Court http://wfpl.org/post/judicial-vacancies-languish-key-federal-appeals-court The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., is sometimes called the second most important court in the country, regularly delivering the final word on major environmental, labor and national security cases.<p>But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has a whopping four vacancies, the most in the nation, including one opening that dates all the way back to 2005, when John Roberts moved to the U.S. Supreme Court.<p>For some insiders, the Washington appeals court represents the legal version of Triple-A baseball, the last destination before a player hits the majors. Tue, 02 Apr 2013 10:59:57 +0000 Carrie Johnson 4782 at http://wfpl.org Judicial Vacancies Languish On Key Federal Appeals Court