Monthly Archives: July 2012

Problems With “Eye Witness” Testimony

New Jersey has adopted new jury instructions on the unreliability of “eye witness” testimony.  Long considered the “gold standard” of evidence, we now know that human memory is not a tape recorder.  Many factors go into to the reliability of what people see and many other factors influence what they remember.

What Is “Civil Asset Forfeiture”?

Civil Asset Forfeiture is a lawsuit filed by the State (or the Federal Government) to seize ownership of assets they claim were purchased with the proceeds from a crime, typically drug dealing.  Such lawsuits can be filed against cash, cars, homes or essentially anything else the government wants to seize.  Civil Asset Forfeiture suits have […]

Waiving Your Rights

In plea bargain cases, it is standard practice for the Defendant to sign a document waiving his right to appeal.  A Federal district judge in New York is concerned that some of these waivers are so broad they violate the Constitution.  Should the prosecutor, for example, be able to force Defendants to waive their right […]

The Importance of the Indian Child Welfare Act

Editorial in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act, a Federal law that guarantees protections for Indian children in child custody or adoption cases.

Who Watches the Watchmen, Part 2

Excellent article from the New York Times via Forbes about the difficulties of punishing prosecutors who engage in unethical behavior or, better yet, preventing such unethical behavior from occurring in the first place.

Welcome to Florida…

The Florida Supreme Court has upheld that state’s draconian new drug law that says the prosecution no longer has the burden to prove Defendants knew the “illicit nature” of drugs in their possession.  Put another way, as the dissent points out, this makes it easier for the State to prosecute people who had drugs planted […]

Castles in Indiana

When I first read about a bill passed and signed into law in Indiana that allowed people to use force against the police entering their homes if they reasonably believed the police were acting illegally, I was pretty appalled and was prepared to chalk it up to a very extreme gun rights agenda.  Now that […]