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Convicted mass murderer Dylan Roof had his motion for new attorneys granted last week ahead of his expected appeal. Roof was sentenced to death this past January. Since motions for a new trial have been unsuccessful, it is expected that Roof will file an appeal.

It is no secret that Roof was not happy with his attorneys. In fact, reports have surfaced claiming that Roof believed his attorneys are evil. During the sentencing phase of his federal trial, after a jury returned a conviction, Roof chose to represent himself, against the advice of his attorneys and the court. However, now that the conviction and sentence have been issued, and there are no more motions to be made at the trial level, Roof must proceed with an appeal if he plans to continue fighting the conviction.

The Ohio Supreme Court reached a rather controversial decision on Thursday about the Fourth Amendment rights of students on public school grounds. The state's highest court reversed the two lower courts' decisions suppressing the evidence that was discovered during three warrantless searches of a student's backpacks.

In short, the Ohio Supreme Court found that schools may conduct warrantless searches of unattended backpacks to identify who the bag belongs to, and ensure the bag does not contain dangerous items or pose a threat to student safety.

Up until last week, Colorado had a law in place allowing the state to keep fees and restitution paid by criminal defendants, even after their convictions were overturned. That was until the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the majority in a 7-1 decision, held "Colorado may not presume a person, adjudged guilty of no crime, nonetheless guilty enough for monetary exactions." And these monetary exactions were not insignificant. The two plaintiffs in the case had paid $12,500 between them in court costs, fees, and restitution, and Colorado attorneys say they've been contacted by exonerated defendants who've paid over $20,000, only to have their convictions vacated. Here's a look at the Court's ruling.

A few years ago, Ethan Couch was made infamous as a result of the defense his lawyers pleaded in an effort to get him off on four counts of DWI manslaughter. Couch is the notorious "affluenza teen." This week he is again making headlines as the Texas Supreme Court denied his appeal.

Unlike influenza, affluenza is a rather different ailment, if it can even be considered such at all. Couch's medical expert testified that the teen was unable to appreciate the consequences of his actions (of killing four people while driving drunk) due to his affluent upbringing. As if claiming an affluent upbringing as a defense wasn't shocking enough, until he fled the country in 2015, he wasn't even sentenced to a single day behind bars.

A federal district court judge in Arizona has ruled that the state's relatively new no-intent-required child molestation law is unconstitutional.

Although the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a man convicted under that new law, the federal district court in Arizona reversed the state's supreme court's upholding of the law.

Under federal rules of procedure, there is what's known as the "no-impeachment rule" which prohibits jurors from undermining or discrediting their verdicts. The rule is designed to provide finality to jury verdicts as well as promote "full and vigorous discussion" by jurors without fear that they will be harassed after being discharged or summoned to recount their deliberations.

Jury deliberations are essentially a "black box" in that they are free from judicial review in almost all cases. But the Supreme Court added one more exception to that rule, permitting judges to consider evidence of a juror's racial statements and whether they violated a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to a trial "by an impartial jury."

A decision by the highest state court in Colorado may have far reaching implications for states that have legalized recreational and medical marijuana.

The big pot-law decision they reached last week has sparked national debate over whether law enforcement must return marijuana seized in criminal investigations. Basically, despite Colorado state law requiring law enforcement to return marijuana seized for a criminal prosecution if the prosecution fails, the court found that officers are not required to return marijuana as it would violate federal drug laws.

Today, during President Barrack Obama's last week in office, he commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former US Army intelligence analyst that leaked classified information to Wikileaks in 2010. Manning, who was not scheduled to be released until 2045, will now be released on May 17, 2017. The 35-year sentence was an extreme result, particularly given that Manning was agreeable to a plea bargain and confessed to her actions.

Manning's leak is notorious for making Wikileaks world famous. Also, Manning's prison sentence has been the subject of controversy due to the fact that Manning came out as transgender after being sentenced, which has posed problems for her incarceration at an all male military prison.

A recent appellate decision in California is causing a minor stir throughout the mental health treatment community, particularly for those involved in the treatment of sexual addiction or compulsion.

A certified drug and alcohol counselor and two licensed marriage and family therapists in California sought a court declaration protecting the privacy rights of their patients' therapy sessions. All three plaintiffs work with patients that struggle with sexual addiction/compulsion. As a result of a change in California law in 2015, the three are now required to report to law enforcement when their patients disclose having viewed child pornography online. Needless to say, many therapists have been feeling the implications of the new law since it took effect.

Today, the Dylann Roof saga neared some semblance of closure as the young man was sentenced to death. The jury returned the death sentence after only three hours of deliberation. The speed of the sentencing decision was likely fueled by Roof's own insistence that he did not suffer from any mental impairments, coupled with his lack of a repentant attitude. To make matters worse for Roof, he not only confessed to the murders, he never even appeared remorseful for his actions.

When delving into the tragedy of this hate crime, it becomes abundantly clear that Roof held disturbing, patently false, and racist beliefs. The guilty verdict was reached in mid-December during the guilt-phase of the trial. Roof was convicted of all 33 counts, over 20 of which fell under the federal hate crimes statutes. The death penalty was reached today during the sentencing-phase of the trial. During this phase, the families of the victims were asked to present testimony about their losses. Roof chose to represent himself during this phase of the trial, despite the advice of the court and counsel.