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Posts tagged "Criminal Defense"

Police are relying on sealed arrest records in new cases

New York City is infamous for its "stop-and-frisk" policy, which allowed officers to perform a pat-down search on anyone they suspected of carrying a firearm. This resulted in tens of thousands of innocent people, the vast majority of whom were African-American or Latino, being stopped, frisked, and given an arrest record despite having done nothing wrong.

Do police gang databases violate people's rights?

Around the country, there have been calls to significantly reform or even end the practice of keeping police gang databases, along with other gang policing practices. Last year, the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica found glaring errors in the Chicago Police Department's gang database, including people who were not gang members, people who were deemed members of multiple, rival gangs, and people who were elderly or even dead.

Study: Risk-assessment algorithms are fraught with racial bias

The Center for Court Innovation, a New York-based criminal justice reform agency, recently released a study on supposedly race-neutral risk assessment tools. These tools are widely used by courts to determine whether defendants should be granted bail or held in jail until trial.

Criminal restitution orders leave juveniles languishing in debt

When we think of people being ordered to pay restitution to the victim of their criminal act, we typically picture that victim being an ordinary person who lost valuables in, say, a burglary. We imagine the restitution is directly tied to the criminal behavior, with simple justice requiring the victim to be repaid. It's often a lot more complicated than that.

Prison vs. probation: Equally effective at crime prevention?

Those opposed to criminal justice reform often cite worries that reducing incarceration among violent offenders would be dangerous. This argument rests on the assumption that putting violent offenders in prison is more effective at preventing future crime than other forms of crime prevention. But is that true?

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.

'Genetic surveillance': Police use of DNA databases and privacy

If you take a genealogy test, you could be exposing your family, from your kids to your distant relatives, to the possibility of having their genetics exposed to third parties, including law enforcement.

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.

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