Timeline: The Jussie Smollett case

Actor Jussie Smollett with his lawyers
Actor Jussie Smollett in the court the day all charges were dropped against him. Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans/AFP/Getty Images

Charges against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett were abruptly dropped last month for filing a false police report.

Background: Smollett claimed to be the victim of a hate crime in January when 2 men violently attacked him. He was charged with filing false police reports and planning the attack in an attempt to save his character from being written off the "Empire."

Where the top 2020 Democrats stand on criminal justice reform

This image is a four-way split screen showing candidates in the following orders: Booker, Harris, Biden, and Sanders.
Sen. Cory Booker, former VP Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Photos: Sean Rayford/Getty Images, Spencer Platt/Getty Image, and Mark Makela/Getty Images

Eight 2020 Democratic candidates penned essays for the Brennan Center's collection, "Ending Mass Incarceration: Ideas from Today's Leaders," highlighting their personal priorities to tackle an issue with a history of bipartisan support.

The big picture: Most candidates are showing a united front on legalizing marijuana, limiting mass incarceration, and easing formerly incarcerated people back into society. Other candidates are taking a single-issue approach, like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's focus on incarcerated women and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro's vision for federal housing.