Maggie Clark

NSA Controversies Spur States into Action

By: - January 9, 2014

The RAPTR drone helicopter manufactured by Tactical Electronics in Broken Arrow, Okla., is displayed at a convention on UAVs. State lawmakers will debate privacy issues related to drones, license plate readers and cellphones this year. (Photo: Maggie Clark/Stateline) A year of revelations about the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program has sent legislators back to […]

State of the Death Penalty as 2013 Ends

By: - December 19, 2013

An execution gurney. (AP) States continued to turn away from the death penalty this year, with just 39 people executed in nine states, according to a year-end report from the Death Penalty Information Center. Maryland repealed the death penalty this year, continuing a six-year trend of one state each year ending the punishment. There were […]

A Year After Newtown Shootings, Many States Have Made Changes

By: - December 13, 2013

In the year since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., states have both tightened and loosened gun laws and boosted support from mental health. (AP) One year ago, a 20-year-old gunman shot his way through the front office and into two first-grade classrooms at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, […]

High Court Revisits Death Penalty for Mentally Disabled

By: - December 6, 2013

The Supreme Court will consider how Florida determines mental disability for people facing the execution gurney on Florida’s death row. (AP) (UPDATED 12-13-2013 to clarify Texas definition of intellectual disability and CORRECT range of Wilson’s IQ) How should states decide if someone convicted of a crime has an intellectual disability, when the answer means life […]

License Plate Readers Spark Privacy, Public Safety Debate

By: - November 20, 2013

Caption A police officer prepares to go out on patrol using a license plate reader, which photographs license plates and then compares them with those in a database of stolen vehicles. Some states are considering limits on how long police can keep the data. (AP) Police have used cameras that read the license plates on […]

Thanks JFK: States Gained from Space Program

By: - November 20, 2013

Caption President John F. Kennedy visits Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Nov. 16, 1963 to review the progress of the space program. (AP Photo/NASA via John F. Kennedy Library and Museum) As the Minotaur 1 rocket launched from Virginia and Maryland’s spaceport Tuesday night, it provided a subtle reminder of President John F. Kennedy’s legacy. It […]

Supreme Court Considers Apartment Searches

By: - November 13, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. During Wednesday’s arguments in a California case, Sotomayor seemed to suggest that police need a warrant to search an apartment if one tenant gives permission but the other denies it and then leaves the apartment. (AP) The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday considered whether police should be allowed to […]

Wrongful Convictions Sharpen Focus on Death Penalty System

By: - November 12, 2013

For people wrongly convicted and sent to prison for crimes they did not commit, the opportunities for justice are few and far between. “There have been no consequences for the prosecutor in my case,” said Anthony Graves, a Texas man who was exonerated three years ago after serving more than a decade on death row […]

Marijuana Ballot Questions Win Big

By: - November 6, 2013

Support was high for marijuana ballot measures across the country yesterday. Voters in Colorado approved the world’s first taxes on the production and sale of marijuana. The money collected from a new 15 percent tax on wholesale marijuana and a 10 percent sales tax will go to marijuana regulation costs, school construction and public health […]

Criminal Case Puts Focus on Bullying Laws

By: - November 4, 2013

Aimee Galassi holds a sign during a carwash fundraiser for 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick in Lakeland, Fla. Sedwick, who had been bullied online and at school, committed suicide in September. (AP) Once considered a teenage rite of passage, bullying is now the subject of hundreds of state laws and a rallying cry for pundits, parents […]

Which Federal Appeals Court Vacancies Should Take Priority?

By: - October 29, 2013

Seven Republican attorneys general say President Obama is stacking the deck against states that sue federal agencies by filling vacancies on the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia Circuit. The D.C. Circuit currently has three open seats, but also has the lowest workload of any circuit, according to data from the Administrative […]

Mass Shootings, Marijuana Laws Dominate Attorney General’s Talk to Cops

By: - October 21, 2013

Newtown, Conn. Police Chief Michael Kehoe listens as he is honored at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference Monday in Philadelphia. Attorney General Eric Holder told the group that local authorities, who are often the first responders to mass shootings, can play a vital role in ending them. (AP) PHILADELPHIA—Making sure police […]