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Criminal Defense Archives

Preventing police abuses of power: Are body cameras the answer?

The news over the last two weeks has focused heavily on the fatal police shooting and resulting protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Depending on your age and where you live in the United States, this story can either feel foreign or frighteningly close to home.

Challenging warrants and evidence in your criminal case

If you are currently facing criminal charges, you may be worried that the evidence against you seems pretty strong. But are you sure the evidence was obtained legally? In most cases, police officers must obtain a warrant before conducting a search of your property.

DNA evidence combats racial bias in the criminal justice system

We have previously written about the problem of wrongful convictions in the United States. Awareness of this problem continues to grow thanks to the work of the Innocence Project and similar groups. Not only is the IP helping to exonerate innocent individuals, it is also providing important data on the most common problems that lead to wrongful convictions in the first place.

Understanding your Miranda rights and the protections they offer

Getting arrested can be pretty scary. Even if you know you are innocent, you may be overwhelmed and therefore not thinking clearly when you are taken into custody. Many arrestees often say or do things that they regret later because instinct told them to automatically cooperate with police.

Juvenile justice often at odds with our knowledge of development

In Wisconsin as in other states, there is a lot of controversy about the ways in which juvenile offenders are prosecuted. The age of adulthood in most of the country is 18, and in Wisconsin an offender can be tried as an adult at age 17. What most people never really consider, however, is that both of these numbers are essentially arbitrary divisions between childhood and adulthood.

Supreme Court protects our cellphones from warrantless searches

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects Americans against “unreasonable search and seizure” by law enforcement. In most cases, this means that police cannot search us or our property without first obtaining a warrant.

The serious problem of juvenile suspects and false confessions

Some of our previous posts have focused on the troubling issue of wrongful conviction. Of the many mistakes and investigative errors that lead to wrongful conviction, one of the most common is false confession. This is a particularly high risk among juveniles.

Many wrongful arson convictions based on debunked science

Imagine losing your spouse and children in a devastating house fire. While trying to process this immense loss, police accuse you of intentionally setting the fire. This was the horror felt by a Midwestern man who spent 26 years in prison for a crime that wasn’t a crime at all.

Why forensic 'evidence' may not be evidence at all

What constitutes evidence in a criminal trial? More importantly, what constitutes solid and irrefutable evidence? Anyone who has seen any of the dozens of television crime dramas would tell you that forensic science is the objective truth. Sadly, shows like “CSI” are far more fiction than fact – particularly when it comes to the reliability of forensic science.

WI woman's 'shaken baby syndrome' conviction under scrutiny

There is a good reason why the accused must be presumed innocent until proven guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In any criminal case where hard evidence is in short supply, there could be a number of narratives constructed to explain the information that is known. But just because an alleged crime could have occurred in a certain way, this alone is not a reason to conclude that it did.

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