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Posts tagged "criminal defense"

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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.

Supreme Court rules 'excessive fines' clause applies to states

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on "excessive fines" applies to states and local governments as well as to the federal government. The high court had never actually ruled that the clause applied to states and local governments, although many people assumed that it did.

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?

SCOTUS likely to rule that costly seizures are 'excessive fines'

When Tyson Timbs of Indiana was convicted of selling a small amount of heroin in order to support his opioid addiction, he was sentenced to a year of home detention and five years of probation. The court could also have fined him up to $10,000, but chose not to. But Indiana law allows private law firms to intervene on behalf of the state, and one filed a civil forfeiture case and seized Timbs' $42,000 Land Rover.

Research: Racial disparity in lie detectors

The National Academies of Science released a comprehensive report in 2003 that examined the state of the science in lie detection. After reviewing nearly a century of scientific data and reports and visiting polygraph units run by government agencies, the NAS committee found that polygraphs were prone to both false positives and false negatives.

Colorado sees jump in crime, national crime rates still dropping

How safe are we in America? How about in Colorado? Reports on the crime rates were just released by the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Colorado saw increases in both violent crimes and property offenses, the nationwide rates actually dropped, on average.

Is it double jeopardy when states try cases and then the feds do?

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains the Double Jeopardy clause, which reads, "nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."

Unprecedented crackdown on hazing by Air Force Academy

When colleges or universities discover an alleged rule violation that could also be considered a crime, they typically have a choice in all but the most serious types of offenses. They can refer the case out to local police and process the case as a violation of school rules, or they can handle the allegations internally through their administrative discipline process without referring it to law enforcement. Both are serious, but referral out to law enforcement can result in criminal prosecution.

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