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151 people exonerated in 2018 after losing 1,639 years of freedom

Our criminal justice system is meant to protect defendants' rights. Many of our constitutional amendments were specifically written to guarantee certain rights for criminal defendants, including the right to due process of law, to have competent counsel, to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, to confront the evidence and witnesses against you and more.

Supreme Court: Cops need warrants to search vehicles in driveways

The Fourth Amendment guarantees freedom from "unreasonable" searches and seizures by government agents like police officers. That has generally meant that the police are required to obtain warrants before they arrest someone or search their property -- unless the police can point to a recognized exception to the warrant requirement. These exceptions include emergencies, situations where the person consents, and situations where evidence could quickly and easily be carried away or destroyed.

At int'l conference, CSI experts call for forensic science reform

According to the Innocence Project, the misapplication of forensic science is a contributing factor in 45 percent of wrongful convictions that were resolved through DNA exonerations. The problem, which the Innocence Project defines as unreliable or invalid forensic discipline, insufficient validation of a method, misleading testimony, mistakes or misconduct, is the second most common contributing factor to wrongful convictions.

Decisions by prosecutors affect every aspect of a criminal case

The prosecutor may be the most powerful figure in the criminal justice system. They have power over everything from what charges will be filed to what the sentence will be after a conviction. They have influence over whether defendants get bail or have to remain locked up until they can be tried -- or until they agree to a plea bargain. They negotiate those plea bargains, too.

Records sealing: what you should know about this alternative to a permanent record

The National Employment Law Project estimates that more than 65 million Americans hold a criminal record of some sort, including convictions for misdemeanors and felonies. Most people know that a conviction, no matter what it is for or when the offense occurred, can follow you around for the rest of your life. However, did you know that even an acquittal or a dismissal of your case can mean a record that will show up on every background check, too?

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