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An Illinois inmate has been released after over a decade in prison for a double-homicide conviction that was key to ending the state's death penalty.

Alstory Simon was the second person to be convicted for a 1982 double murder, but there were serious questions about whether Simon's confession was coerced, the Sun-Times Media Wire reports. Now, more than three decades after the deaths, Illinois prosecutors have asked that charges against Simon be dropped.

What happened in Simon's case, and why is he now being released?

Michael Dunn has been found guilty of first-degree murder for the fatal shooting of a teenager in 2012.

Jordan Davis, 17, was shot and killed by Dunn, 47, over claims that Dunn feared for his life, with the teen's loud music and threats allegedly prompting him to pull the trigger. According to Jacksonville's First Coast News, a Florida jury on Wednesday found Dunn guilty of first-degree murder, taking only a fraction of the time to deliberate as Dunn's first trial jury had done.

Now that Dunn is a convicted murderer, what punishment lies ahead?

A Northern California man has been sentenced to a year in jail for a distracted-driving crash that killed two women in March.

Nicholas Tognozzi, 30, of Rohnert Park, pleaded no contest to two felony gross vehicular manslaughter charges in August, reports San Francisco's KPIX-TV. The charges stemmed from allegations that Tognozzi was checking a cell-phone text message moments before his SUV rear-ended into the victims' car, killing them both.

How did Tognozzi get such a light sentence?

Criminal convicts who receive an inappropriate sentence may have the chance to have it reduced, or even possibly increased, if they are resentenced.

A federal judge in Miami resentenced terrorism convict Jose Padilla on Tuesday, increasing his original 17-year prison sentence to 21 years. Reuters reports that Padilla had been an al-Qaeda recruit, and an appeals court had deemed his original sentence "too lenient."

How do convicted criminals like Padilla get resentenced?

Just as the term "drugs" refers to an extremely varied list of prohibited natural and synthetic substances, drug possession is a crime that encompasses a wide spectrum of possible violations and potential punishments.

Each state has its own laws regarding what constitutes drug possession and the potential penalties and sentences that a conviction can bring. But there are a few general principles that apply in most states.

So what can you expect if you're facing a drug possession charge?

The Detroit-area "porch shooter" who killed Renisha McBride was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison for her murder on Wednesday.

Theodore Wafer was sentenced to a minimum of 15 years for second degree murder, a minimum of seven years for manslaughter, and another two years for a felony firearm penalty, the Detroit Free Press reports. While the sentences for manslaughter and murder may be served concurrently, the firearm punishment must be served separately, giving Wafer at least 17 years in prison to consider his crime.

What led the judge in McBride's murder case to sentence her killer this way?

Most people consider speeding tickets to be a pain in the neck, not to mention a pain in the wallet.

But in some circumstances, speeding tickets can have far more dire legal consequences. A writer for car website Jalopnik found this out the hard way after having to spend three days in a Virginia jail following a speeding citation.

When can a speeding ticket land you in jail?

Penalties for first-time pot possession, like real estate, depend primarily on three things: location, location, location.

For example, in Washington and Colorado, possessing marijuana is no longer even a state crime for those old enough to buy it. Even in states where it is still against the law to possess pot, district attorneys are refusing to prosecute low-level pot cases. But what about the states that do still punish possession of marijuana?

What penalties are possible for first-time pot possession?

  • Know someone who has been arrested or charged with a crime? Get in touch with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in your area today.

Getting a DUI is an embarrassing experience, but maybe not as embarrassing as having to relive your drunken driving arrest on a job application.

Not all drunken driving incidents are created equal, however, and it may be possible for you to legally avoid the topic of DUI without committing fraud.

Sharpen your pencils for these tips on whether you have to disclose DUI arrests or convictions on job applications:

Community service isn't something you have to be ordered to do, but for many it is an alternative to jail time.

However, not every act of community work will necessarily qualify as "community service" when it's ordered by a court, and it may not be available to every criminal offender who wants to avoid jail or prison.

So what exactly is community service in the eyes of the criminal justice system? And when can you get it?