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A burglar in San Francisco has just been sentenced to 327 years to life for a string of home invasion robberies against local senior citizens. The convicted burglar, 60 year old German Woods, targeted vulnerable seniors, many of whom didn't speak English, or did so poorly.

Woods' modus operandi included lying in wait for seniors that lived alone to return home, then as they were entering their homes, he would attack, forcing them into and ransacking their homes. The charges against Woods go back to 2014. Between then and 2016, he committed numerous burglaries, and was ultimately convicted in July 2016 on 17 different counts, including some charges for elder abuse.

In the wake of a natural disaster, or large protest or assembly gone wrong, looters and other opportunistic thieves can make matters much worse. Looting is stealing, which is never legal (though in matters of life or death, it might be excusable).

Generally, the penalties for looting in any given state will be the same or similar to the penalties for stealing. The various details of how the theft or looting occurs will matter. For instance, if a looter must break a window or door, they may also be facing charges for breaking and entering in addition to theft. However, if the door was open, or window already broken, the charges may simply be theft charges, but those too can vary based on what is taken.

It seems as though as soon as the car was invented, people were racing cars. We've always wanted to see who's the fastest. The only problem is, racing 4,000-pound automobiles at hundreds of miles per hour on public streets is a bit more dangerous than your average foot race.

That's why many states have enacted specific street racing statutes or allowed for enhanced penalties for racing-related offenses. Here are some of those laws and the penalties for breaking them.

When it comes to the criminal justice system, most people accept the fact that a plea bargain is the only guaranteed way to avoid more serious consequences. Despite a person's innocence, accepting a deal is often the most expedient, and certainly the most certain, end to a scary situation. Trials are uncertain, and being found guilty at trial generally involves lengthier or harsher sentencing.

However, how good a plea bargain will be often depends on who's negotiating on a defendant's behalf. While some deals may be too good to pass up, others can have grave consequences that impact every facet of a person's life.

After a criminal conviction, or being released from custody, a person usually must 'walk on thin ice' for a varied length of time. That's usually due to being on probation or parole.

Sadly, when probationers and parolees violate the terms of their parole or probation, they can end up facing time in custody. Probation, or parole, officers are tasked with regularly meeting with individuals and reporting violations to the courts. As such, individuals often wonder whether they can record their meetings with a parole or probation officer, as they would with a police officer conducting a traffic stop.

Thomas Arthur was first indicted of murdering Troy Wicker in 1982. Three convictions (two of which were overturned), seven stays of execution, and 35 years later, Arthur was executed by the state of Alabama, mere minutes before his latest execution warrant expired.

Arthur's eighth attempt at a stay was denied by the Supreme Court, despite the dissent of Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who questioned the state's use of death penalty drug midazolam and its denial of phone service to Arthur's attorneys during the execution.

Undoing Obama era guidance advising federal prosecutors to pass on charging low-level drug offenders, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered prosecutors in his Justice Department to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense" under the law. What this shift means in practice is that federal defendants may now face "the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences," which were frowned upon during previous AG Eric Holder's tenure.

Sessions called his directive "moral and just" and advised that "[a]ny inconsistent previous policy of the Department of Justice relating to these matters is rescinded, effective today." What will the new rules mean for prosecutors and defendants?

Gary Howard was arrested, charged, and convicted of marijuana possession with intent to distribute after he was found with 18 grams of pot. To put that amount into context, that's about enough for 18 joints. And, because Howard had a prior felony on his record, those 18 grams got Howard 18 years in prison, without the possibility of parole.

Howard appealed his harsh sentence, and was rebuffed by the Louisiana Supreme Court. But the court's Chief Justice Bernette Johnson slammed her colleagues' decision, calling it "outrageous," "ridiculous," and of "little societal value."

When a person is sentenced to probation, or is paroled from prison, many of their individual rights will be restricted until the court appointed supervision gets completed. Among the most serious deprivation of rights includes a parolee’s or probationer’s inability to freely travel around the world, or even just the country.

Generally, a released convict who plans on travelling to another state for less than a few weeks will only need to get permission from their supervising officer, or the court. In many jurisdictions, if the conviction was for a misdemeanor, then permission may not be required except for extended travel.

However, if the plan is to remain in the other state permanently, or for more than a few weeks, then, more than the usual permission to travel is required. For extended travel, or moving across state lines, a person subject to court ordered post conviction supervision will need to get approval before leaving, or moving, to avoid penalties and arrest for violating the terms of their supervision.

Whether through new DNA testing, faulty forensic science, or procedural error, many criminal convictions eventually get overturned or vacated. Often, these exonerations don't occur until years or even decades after the fact and in that span a defendant may have already paid thousands of dollars in court costs, fines, fees, and restitution.

So when a conviction is tossed out, what happens to all that money? Until last week, Colorado had a statute on the books that allowed the state to keep fees and restitution paid by criminal defendants, even after their convictions were overturned. But the Supreme Court stepped in and ruled the law unconstitutional.