Justiceline: February 21, 2013

Welcome to Justiceline, ThinkProgress Justice’s morning round-up of the latest legal news and developments. Remember to follow us on Twitter at @TPJustice

  • The U.S. Supreme Court issued several decisions Wednesday in criminal justice cases. In a 7-2 decision, the justices declined to block an immigrant’s deportation, finding that a 2010 ruling that defense lawyers are obligated to warn their clients about the deportation consequences of a guilty plea does not apply retroactively. The court also held 8-1 that holding a second criminal trial because of a judge’s error violated his right against douple jeopardy. In a third case, the justices held 6-3 that a court may correct a lawyer’s “plain error” that led to a defendant’s longer jail sentence.
  • A federal appeals court is allowing a lawsuit alleging a prison should hire a Wiccan chaplain to go forward.
  • An African American man who faced life in prison for a shooting on his property that he said should have been protected by his state’s Stand Your Ground law was released from jail after he pled guilty to manslaughter — just two days after his wife, who had been suffering from cancer, passed away.
  • The incarceration rate for African Americans is now six times the national average, and black men in their 20s and early 30s without a high school diploma are now more likely to end up behind bars than in the workforce.
  • In his new column, none other than conservative columnist George Will calls solitary confinement torture and a probable violation of the Eighth Amendment.