Nov 4, 2019

527 Oklahoma inmates to be freed in largest commutation in U.S. history

El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images.

Hundreds of inmates in Oklahoma left their cells Monday and were sent home to their families, CNN reports.

Why it matters: It was the largest mass commutation in U.S. history, part of a broad criminal justice reform effort being undertaken by Oklahoma. A total of 527 inmates in prison for non-violent and low-level crimes had their sentences commuted Friday, with 65 still held on detainers and set to be released at a later date.

The big picture: A series of reforms in 2016 changed multiple low-level felonies in Oklahoma to misdemeanors, including the possession of small amounts of drugs. The state also raised the property crime threshold from $500 to $1,000.

By the numbers: The average released inmate was 39.7 years old, had been incarcerated for three years, and was released 1.34 years early. The inmates would have cost the state an estimated $11.9 million more if they had served the full remainder of their sentences.

Go deeper: Where the top 2020 Democrats stand on criminal justice reform

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Supreme Court denies subject of "Serial" podcast new trial

The Supreme Court said Monday it would not review the case of Adnan Syed, whose conviction for a 1999 murder was scrutinized on the first season of the popular podcast "Serial," NPR reports.

The big picture: Syed's attorneys claimed the lawyer in his original case failed to call a witness who said she could provide him with an alibi at the time he was alleged to have murdered his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Lawyers had petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling from the Maryland Court of Appeals, which had denied Syed a new trial. Syed is serving a life sentence in prison.

Go deeper: 527 Oklahoma inmates to be freed in largest commutation in U.S. history

Keep ReadingArrowNov 25, 2019

Oklahoma judge lowers Johnson & Johnson's opioid payout

Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson will only have to pay $465 million for its role in the state's opioid crisis as of Friday, instead of the original $572 million judgment, after the Oklahoma judge overseeing the case admitted he made a math error in the abatement plan.

The big picture: Oklahoma maintained its verdict that J&J created a public nuisance by falsely promoting its opioids as safe and necessary, and J&J still plans on appealing the decision, despite the lower amount.

Go deeper: Johnson & Johnson's legal bills keep mounting

Keep ReadingArrowNov 15, 2019

CFP rankings: LSU on top, Georgia edges Alabama

Photo: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Fresh off its victory in Tuscaloosa on Saturday, LSU finds itself atop this week's College Football Playoff rankings, while No. 4 Georgia edged No. 5 Alabama to break into the top four.

Rounding out the top 10: No. 6 Oregon and No. 7 Utah both moved up one spot, while Minnesota's win over Penn State vaulted them nine spots to No. 8. The loss dropped Penn State to No. 9, followed by Oklahoma at No. 10.

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019