The Marshall Project
Opening Statement
June 28, 2022
Edited by Andrew Cohen
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Pick of the News

A big win for supporters of the First Step Act. Federal trial judges can reduce sentences based on new laws or factual conditions that emerge after a defendant’s initial sentencing, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday. The Wall Street Journal The decision expands the scope of judicial discretion under the Trump-era First Step Act, the reformist law that was cited by a prisoner seeking to reduce the term he got under an older federal sentencing law. ABA Journal Related: Read the opinion. U.S. Supreme Court TMP Context: What’s really in the First Step Act? The Marshall Project

Forty-six people found dead in a trailer in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday evening. Police and immigration officials say they were migrants who were abandoned by smugglers and left without water in brutal heat. “This is nothing short of a horrific human tragedy,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. The Associated Press One of the deadliest human-smuggling episodes in recent history. Los Angeles Times “I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of life today,” said Homeland Security Department Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Twitter Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blamed President Joe Biden's border policy for the deaths. Houston Chronicle

“Ladies, I’m so sorry to tell you that the law for abortion has been overturned. We are not able to perform any abortions at this time…” The final hours of the Roe v. Wade era, as experienced by healthcare workers in an abortion clinic in Houston. The New Yorker “We’re not going away.” The final hours of the Roe era in the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The New York Times Related Analysis: In states that still allow abortions in cases of rape or incest, it will become increasingly difficult to find doctors willing to perform the necessary medical procedures. Politico

The U.S. Supreme Court sides with “pill-mill doctors” in a drug case. Prosecutors must prove that doctors knew they were illegally prescribing addictive pain drugs in violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act, the justices unanimously ruled on Monday. The Associated Press The justices disagreed, however, on a precise legal standard to apply in these cases. Justice Stephen Breyer, in one of his final opinions, wrote that prosecutors could not rely on objective standards of medical care in making charging decisions. The New York Times Related: Read the opinion. U.S. Supreme Court

Thousands of threats against election workers since 2020. The Justice Department has prosecuted only a handful of cases. Hundreds more are under investigation. Some victims say the feds aren’t acting quickly enough. The New York Times More: Members of the Proud Boys, the far-right extremist group, reportedly ignored the orders of their leaders last Jan. 6 when they stormed the U.S. Capitol. Many are skeptical of that claim. The New York Times Related Analysis: As long as we use the Electoral College, our presidential contests will be vulnerable to anti-democratic coups. The New Yorker


Ricky Dubose took his own life in a Georgia prison over the weekend, officials say, just 10 days after he was sentenced to death for murdering two corrections officers in 2017. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A Virginia judge disqualified the entire prosecutors’ office in Loudoun County after accusing prosecutors of misrepresenting the record in a case in which they signed off on a plea bargain. State attorneys say they will now take over the case. Loudoun County prosecutors have appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court. The Washington Post

A Missouri judge acknowledged two years ago that Christopher Dunn was wrongfully convicted of murder. But Dunn remains behind bars because of a state law that doesn’t allow judges to remedy legitimate innocence claims in non-capital cases. The New Republic

Native American women in South Dakota will be particularly vulnerable to anti-abortion laws permitted under the U.S. Supreme Court’s new ruling. The New York Times

A police officer in Los Angeles, California, died during a training exercise last month in which he was beaten by fellow officers who were simulating a mob riot, the victim’s mother alleges in a new wrongful death case she’s bringing against the city. Los Angeles Times


Arbitrary and capricious. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last week striking down New York’s century-old gun law is another example of how bogus “originalism” is as a legal principle. Slate More: It’s also a decision that deliberately excludes women and people of color from the historical analysis. The New Yorker

A “humanitarian disaster” across two administrations. Title 42, the public health law that limits border access for asylum seekers, is an embarrassing failure that continues to dominate immigration policy. Just Security Related: Ed Gonzalez, the sheriff of Harris County, Texas, withdraws his long-stalled nomination to lead U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. The New York Times

The legality of long-term pole camera surveillance remains ambiguous.” A federal appeals court ruling this month raises as many questions as it answers about the legality of a police surveillance technique that is growing in popularity. Lawfare

The case for expanding health care coverage. Keeping people healthy helps keep them out of prisons and jails, too. Inquest

“School should not be a scary place.” Time to end “seclusion,” a form of solitary confinement, for children with disabilities in New Jersey’s schools.


TMPWelcome Geoff Hing. Hing joins The Marshall Project as a data reporter to contribute to our investigative journalism. “Geoff will help expand our horizons, deepen our understanding, and help build a healthy, skeptical data culture in our newsroom,” said David Eads, our data editor. The Marshall Project

ICEd out. The Biden administration, bowing to a federal judge in Texas, ends limitations on immigration arrests even as federal lawyers appeal a ruling that stymies the White House’s effort to rein in Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions. CBS News

A “botched covert arrest operation.” A federal jury last week awarded $21 million to the family of a pregnant teenager who was fatally shot by undercover police officers in California in 2017. The Associated Press

“Come to a place where you are loved.” Gun manufacturers are leaving northeast states for states like Texas, which have expanded gun rights amid rising gun violence. Boston Globe

After decades of inaction. Senate Republicans finally compromised on gun regulations. Here’s how the deal came about this month. The Washington Post

Opening Statement curates timely articles on criminal justice and immigration; these links are not endorsements of specific articles or points of view.

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