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Posts tagged "Criminal Defense"

Reports: Blood pattern analysis could use scientific improvement

In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a blockbuster report challenging the scientific underpinnings of many fields of forensic evidence. The report found that such evidence is rarely supported by rigorous study. Moreover, the analyses are often performed unscientifically, and analysts often overstate the scientific rigor of their evidence during testimony.

Called by someone demanding money and claiming to be a US marshal?

There is a scam going around that targets the public, criminal defendants and especially sex offenders. We've received some calls about it at our office, so we thought we would cover it here.

Study: Cellphone location data is not necessarily accurate

In 2009, the National Academy of Sciences issued a blockbuster report on the state of the science in forensic investigation. That report concluded that, "with the exception of nuclear DNA analysis ... no forensic method has been rigorously shown to have the capacity to consistently, and with a high degree of certainty, demonstrate a connection between evidence and a specific individual or source."

Jailhouse informants lie. Should they be allowed to testify?

A jailhouse informant is rarely someone who just wants to help. Jails and prisons have a strong anti-snitching culture, so passing along information to prosecutors is a choice that could get you in serious trouble. People don't inform on other prisoners to be solid citizens; they do it to get a break on their sentences.

When people with intellectual disabilities commit sex crimes

When Adam N. was arrested for exposing himself to a neighbor, it was hard to understand it as a sex crime. Adam is 32 but functions at the level of a 10-year-old. His mother says that the neighbor was actually abusing Adam and coerced him to expose himself. Adam pled guilty, however, and was sentenced to two years of probation and 10 years on the sex offender registry.

Wisconsin's county jails are full of innocent people

According to the bipartisan nonprofit the Prison Policy Initiative, a third of all Wisconsin county jail inmates between 2009 and 2013 were locked up solely because they couldn't afford a low cash bail. In other words, they're behind bars before having been convicted of anything.

Does police use of Amazon's Ring constitute illegal surveillance?

The Ring doorbell sold by Amazon offers homeowners security by filming and recording everyone who enters its field of vision. Along with the product comes access to a social network called Neighbors, where Ring users can share and discuss the footage their systems capture.

DEA agents routinely target Amtrak passengers for searches

If you're traveling by train and a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent asks to search your bags, you have the right to refuse. Law enforcement only has the right to search you or your belongings if they have probable cause to believe you are committing a crime. Most of the time, when officers ask for your consent to search, they do not have probable cause.

The US arrests 10.5 million each year. Is that really necessary?

When researchers examined arrest data from 1997 to 2008, a third of all young adults and almost half of all African-American men had arrest records by age 23. Yet most arrests are for low-level crimes like disorderly conduct, public drunkenness and drug possession. Nevertheless, America's 18,000 police agencies arrest about ten and a half million people every year.

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