Restoration of Rights Update 2019

New Restoration Laws Take Center Stage in Second Quarter of 2019: (“State legislatures across the country are moving quickly and creatively to repair some of the damage done by the War on Crime, which left a third of the adult U.S. population with a criminal record.  In the second quarter of 2019, 26 states have enacted an eye-popping total of 75 separate new laws aimed at addressing the disabling effects of a record – bringing the first-half total to 94 new laws enacted by 36 states.  By way of comparison, in all of 2018 there were 61 new restoration laws enacted in 32 states and two territories, which was then a record.”)

Bank of America Drops Private Prison Industry

Shares of Private Prison Companies Slump After Bank of America Cuts Financial Ties: (“Private prison companies took another dive on Wednesday after Bank of America announced it would no longer finance the facilities. * * * What’s happening: Shares of major private prison companies GEO Group and CoreCivic had another major selloff, slumping 4.2% and 4.4% respectively after the BofA news. * * * Reuters’ Imani Moise, who broke the news, also made waves in March with news that JPMorgan had made a similar declaration, and Wells Fargo also announced it would stop loans to the industry. * * * Background: Activists have stepped up pressure against the financing of private prisons amid heightened tension over immigration policies from the Trump administration and concerns about facility conditions. Private prisons account for about two-thirds of people held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to S&P Global Ratings estimates. * * * Earlier this month, the companies were rocked by an announcement from presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted about about her plan to terminate private prisons entirely. * * * That news sent GEO to its biggest intraday drop since March. CoreCivic fell by as much as 6%, the largest intraday decline of the year. * * * The big picture: GEO Group’s stock is up a little more than 3% year-to-date, but has fallen more than 16% since June 18. * * * CoreCivic’s stock is up 14% for the year, but has dropped more than 18% since June 18.”)

Protections of Vagueness Doctrine Regarding Crimes of Violence (18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B))

Vagueness Doctrine as a Shield for Criminal Defendants: (“[On June 24, 2019], as expected, the Supreme Court invalidated 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B). In United States v. Davis, the court declared that the categorical approach is dead, and with it Section 924(c)(3)(B). Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for a 5-4 majority (joined by the four more liberal justices), and Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the dissent. * * * This case involved the constitutionality of a federal criminal statute — Section 924(c). Section 924(c) makes it a crime to use a firearm during or in relation to a crime of violence, and Section 924(c)(3)(B) (now defunct) defined a crime of violence as ‘any other offense that is a felony and that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.'”)

Justice Gorsuch Chastises Court on Overcriminalization

Gorsuch Slams the Supreme Court for Turning a Blind Eye to Overcriminalization: (“The U.S. Supreme Court made it much easier for federal agencies to create new crimes and prosecute them, rejecting a constitutional challenge based on the separation of powers. In an unusual split that saw Justice Samuel Alito join the Supreme Court’s liberal wing, Gundy v. United States upheld the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), a ‘comprehensive national system’ Congress established in 2006 to register sex offenders, which gave the Attorney General vast powers of rulemaking and enforcement.”)

SORNA Retroactivity Is Constitutional

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Retroactive Part of Sex Offender Law: (“The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the federal government’s authority under a 2006 law to require thousands of sex offenders to register with authorities in the states where they live, as the justices ruled against a child rapist convicted in Maryland. * * * In its 5-3 decision, the court rejected convicted sex offender Herman Gundy’s argument that in passing the law, Congress handed too much power to the U.S. attorney general in violation of a principal of constitutional law called the non-delegation doctrine. This doctrine forbids Congress from assigning its legislative powers to the federal government’s executive branch.”)