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June 2015 Archives

Some basic information on the criminal appeals process: Part I

We often write about important criminal-defense-related rulings by state Supreme Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. Before any of these cases make it to a high court, however, they are first handled locally. The lower courts where most cases are first heard are often referred to as "trial courts."

Medical marijuana states show no real increase in teen pot use

We live in a country where the legality of marijuana is rarely clear and is frequently changing. Although the drug remains illegal under federal law, marijuana and derivative drugs are legal for medical purposes in 23 states and the District of Columbia. As most readers know, Wisconsin is not on that list.

How can courts minimize risks from false eyewitness testimony?

In today's post, we'll be following up on a topic we discussed last week: flawed eyewitness testimony. The New York Times recently published a story about a shooting incident involving two police officers and an African-American suspect. Security camera footage corroborated the officers' version of events (and showed that the shooting was necessary and justified). Before that, however, two eyewitnesses gave the Times somewhat conflicting and ultimately incorrect accounts of what transpired. Both witnesses gave their accounts confidently.

A real-life example of how flawed eyewitness testimony can be

We have previously written about the problems with relying on eyewitness testimony to solve crimes and secure convictions. Most of us are pretty confident about our powers of observation and the reliability of our memory. But in most cases, that confidence is misplaced.

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