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Criminal Defense Archives

Pretrial detention makes convictions, long sentences more likely

Recently, criminal justice reform advocates have pointed out a fundamental unfairness in our system. People who can afford bail are allowed to continue their lives while under criminal charges. People who cannot are held in pretrial detention, often until their criminal charges are resolved. They typically lose their jobs and housing and may even lose their kids -- all before they've been found guilty of anything.

It may be far harder to decline a police search than many believe

You have a right to withhold your consent when police ask to search your clothing, home, car or belongings, although many people don't realize it.

TSA body scanners may discriminate against black women, Muslims

According to the government, the full-body scanners that are standard at airports cost about $150,000 each. In the last decade or so, the Transportation Security Administration has invested over $100 million on the scanners, which are called "millimeter wave machines."

Intrusive, coercive child protection process must be reformed

In 1974, a federal law was passed requiring doctors, many healthcare professionals and others to make a report to the state's child protection agency when they reasonably suspect child abuse or neglect.

10 years after the NAS report, is forensic science more reliable?

Forensic In February 2009, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a ground-breaking report called "Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States, A Path Forward." Researchers at NAS had looked at the state of forensic science in the U.S. and found serious problems.

False positives common in drug field tests; the innocent at risk

Matthew C. was charged with possessing 92 grams of heroin after a baggie full of white powder was discovered in his van. The powder allegedly tested positive for heroin in a field test. In reality, it was laundry detergent.

NBC examines the issues with common forensic evidence

If you've been reading our blog, you know that many common forensic evidence techniques have been called into serious question by scientists. Yet police, prosecutors and judges continue to use or allow these techniques to be used. Sometimes, it seems as if they are used simply because they have been in use for so long. That isn't sound policy.

Analysis reveals more flawed forensic evidence being presented

"How many cases of innocent people being wrongly convicted have to occur before people realize that there's a very broad spectrum of forensic science?" asks U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff, a former member of the National Commission on Forensic Science.

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