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Criminal Law

Criminal Law: The O’Rama exception

What should happen when the jury comes back with questions during deliberations? The trial judge is required to take several steps to notify the parties and respond to the jury. Failure to comply with the statute will implicate the holding ...

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Criminal Law: Extra peremptory challenge may cure jury selection error

Both the prosecution and defense are entitled by statute to a certain number of peremptory challenges. This depends on the highest offense level contained in the accusatory instrument: with class A felonies, for example, 10 challenges; for misdemeanors, three challenges. ...

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Commentary: Mandatory minimum sentences are cruel and ineffective. Sessions wants them back.

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed the nation’s 2,300 federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges in all but exceptional cases. Rescinding a 2013 policy that sought to avoid mandatory minimums for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, Sessions wrote it ...

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Criminal Law: The ‘light most favorable’ standard

When a trial judge is called on to make a ruling, certain burdens apply: for example, probable cause, preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence, and beyond a reasonable doubt. In other situations, the judge must evaluate the evidence ...

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