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Posts tagged "constitutional rights"

Could a parking violation put you at risk for arrest?

Imagine you're out on a freezing January evening in Milwaukee. You stop at a liquor store, momentarily parking your car while you run inside. Unfortunately, you park less than 15 feet from an unmarked crosswalk.

Federal court: Searches at the border must still be reasonable

In 2015, Abdisalam Wilwal, Sagal Abdigani, and their four young children were heading home after visiting Canadian relatives when they stopped at the Portal, North Dakota, border station. They are both U.S. citizens and married. Shortly after handing over their papers, they were confronted by armed and aggressive Customs and Border Protection officers. Mr. Wilwal was handcuffed in front of his frightened, crying children.

How can we know how accurate DNA testing devices really are?

The basic science behind DNA testing is sound enough. Each individual has DNA that varies as much as one person varies from another. With the right technology, we should be able to compare a DNA sample found at a crime scene with one taken from a suspect.

Can data from your Amazon Alexa be used against you in court?

An estimated eight million people use Amazon's Alexa, the virtual assistant that can make lists, set timers, dial phone calls and even tell jokes. Depending on your setup, it can turn off your lights, set your home security system, and turn on and tune your TV. She recognizes different voices and can key various activities and lists to individuals based on their voices. She can keep track of most everything you're up to, and she's always listening.

'Serial' podcast defendant gets new trial for ineffective counsel

Adnan Syed, the defendant profiled in Season 1 the popular podcast "Serial," has been granted a new trial. A Maryland court of appeals has ruled that Syed received constitutionally ineffective assistance from his trial counsel 18 years ago, and that ineffective assistance probably affected the outcome of his trial.

Is it too cruel to execute people who are old or sick?

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal on behalf of a 67-year-old Alabama death row inmate. After suffering at least two serious strokes, Vernon Madison has dementia. His speech is slurred and he says things that don't make sense. He is also blind now, and incontinent. He doesn't remember how to use the toilet in his cell. He can only say the alphabet to the letter G. He can't remember committing the crime for which he was sentenced to death.

ACLU: Milwaukee's own data shows illegal race-based police stops

Two criminal justice experts have cast serious doubt on the legality of many police activities in Milwaukee. Just as many African-Americans and Latinos have claimed for years, the evidence shows that they and their neighborhoods are being unfairly targeted for police stops and pat-down searches -- often with no legal basis.

Should DNA probabilistic genotyping be used against defendants?

When a crime scene sample has evidence of more than one individual crime labs attempt to assign the results to particular individuals.  When there are DNA alleles from only two people the process is usually straightforward -- there is a "major contributor" and "minor contributor" identified.  The problem becomes more complicated if there is evidence of DNA from three or more persons in the mixture.  Until recently, many labs reported results as "inconclusive" because separating the mixture of DNA was too subjective.  Then several software companies developed algorithms that could assign the DNA profiles to particular individuals by using statistical probabilities.  This method of "probablistic genotyping" has been controversial among scientists in the field and forced courts to confront much new evidence.

Judge: Cruelty, isolation at WI juvenile prisons must change

The federal judge hearing the case on Wisconsin's juvenile prisons commented that Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, suffers less restrictive solitary confinement than do the juveniles confined at the Lincoln Hills School correctional facility in Irma.

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