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Legal News Roundup: January 27

Here’s a roundup of recent legal stories in the news.

Biden targets private prisons in criminal justice reform push

Reuters – President Joe Biden is taking aim at private prisons with an executive order that would curtain the federal government’s use of them.

Under the new policies, the Department of Justice will not renew contracts with private prison operators, whose facilities, according to reform advocates, have contributed to an increase in incarceration rates and poor inmate treatment.

Biden called the order a step to “stop corporations from profiting off of incarceration” and the start of his administration’s efforts to address problems in the criminal justice system.

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Teen Sentenced to 141 Years Drops Appeal due to New Law

Court News Ohio – A new state law granting parole hearings for juveniles imprisoned for adult crimes has led a Youngstown man to drop his third appeal of a sentence originally set at 141 years.

Citing the passage of Senate Bill 256, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law Jan. 9, Brandon Moore and the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office jointly requested that the Ohio Supreme Court dismiss the appeal of his latest sentence of 50 years in prison. The Court dismissed the case Thursday.

The U.S. Supreme Court in Graham declared that a life-without-parole sentence for a juvenile who did not commit homicide violated the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

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Texas judge blocks Biden deportation freeze nationwide

Bloomberg – President Joe Biden suffered his first major court setback after a federal judge in Texas temporarily blocked the new administration’s plan to pause deportations of undocumented immigrants for 100 days.

U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued the ruling that blocks Biden’s order nationwide for 14 days.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit on Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Victoria Division.

The Biden administration argued in court that the agreement was unenforceable because “an outgoing administration cannot contract away that power for an incoming administration.”

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Majority of Republicans vote against proceeding with Senate impeachment trial

Fox News – Senators were sworn in as jurors to President Trump’s impeachment trial Tuesday as the Senate voted 55-45 to end debate on Sen. Rand Paul’s point of order arguing that the impeachment trial is unconstitutional now that Trump is out of office.

Five GOP senators voted not to dismiss the impeachment trial of President Trump: Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, Pat Toomey  and Mitt Romney. They voted with all 50 Democrat senators to table the point of order.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has indicated he has an open mind on whether Trump should be convicted, voted against ending debate.

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