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Category Archive: Criminal Justice

Jun 02 2014

Appeals Court Upholds Right to Record Police

Another appeals court (I believe this is the third one) has ruled that there is a First Amendment right to video record the police when they’re on duty. This case involves a woman who started to record a traffic stop, was told to stop (and did) but then they demanded the camera to delete it.

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May 29 2014

Judge: Many Innocent People Plead Guilty

A federal judge in New York did an interview with the New York Daily News in which he said that tens of thousands of innocent people have pleaded guilty to crimes they didn’t commit because the criminal justice system gives prosecutors enormous power to coerce such pleas.

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May 25 2014

Feds to Record All Interrogations

In a huge and very important policy change, the Department of Justice has announced that all federal law enforcement agencies will now record their interrogations of suspects. This is a move that is crucial to making our criminal justice system more just and fair.

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May 01 2014

Study: 4% of Executed Convicts Are Innocent

There has long been a debate over just how high a percentage of convicted criminals, especially those on death row, are wrongfully convicted. It’s very difficult to properly measure, of course. But a new study that applies a new methodology concludes that at least 4% of those put to death are innocent.

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Apr 29 2014

Three Companies Divest from Private Prison Firms

Here’s a bit of good news. Three major investment funds have announced that they are divesting their holdings — about $60 million — from the two largest private prison companies in the country, GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America.

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Apr 27 2014

Proof D’Souza Knew He Was Breaking the Law

While Dinesh D’Souza makes the rounds of the right wing media spinning a tale of persecution, the New York Times reports that the government has pretty much definitive proof that he knew that he was breaking the law when he paid others to make campaign contributions to a Senate candidate in 2012. And it also …

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Apr 21 2014

KKK Shooter Had Role in Anti-Gay Murder

For several years I had the privilege of being the editor for reporter Todd Heywood with the Michigan Messenger. He’s now broken a potentially huge story about Frazier Glenn Miller, the former KKK leader who allegedly killed three people at a pair of Jewish centers in Kansas last weekend. Turns out he may have played …

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Apr 15 2014

Indiana Court: Police Testimony Trumps Video

In an age where it has become absolutely routine to have video evidence that shows police officers to be lying in their reports and testimony, the Indiana Supreme Court is coming down firmly on the side of “who are you gonna believe, the cop or your lying eyes?”

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Apr 10 2014

LAPD Officers Disable Tracking Antennae

Here’s an entirely unsurprising but appalling story. LAPD officers that are assigned to inner city neighborhoods have been disabling the antennae that allow their conversations to be monitored by their superiors and to be recorded for future use in tracking their actions.

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Apr 04 2014

How to Put a Stop to Stop and Frisk

Christopher Smith is a white law professor with a black son who goes to Harvard. When his son was doing an internship on Wall Street for a summer he was stopped repeatedly by the police as part of their Stop and Frisk program. His father writes a powerful essay about it.

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Apr 03 2014

VA Sheriff Wants to Set Up Innocence Commission

Sheriff Chip Harding of Albemarle County, Virginia wants the state to set up an innocence commission to help prevent wrongful convictions. If established, it would be the second one that I’m aware of, the first being in Dallas, Texas, where District Attorney Craig Watkins set it up. And what Harding wrote to his fellow law …

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Apr 01 2014

Durham Police Paying Informants for Convictions

The police in Durham, North Carolina have been paying confidential informants not only for their testimony but giving them an extra bonus payment if the person they testify against is convicted. This is a rather blatant violation of the rules under Supreme Court precedent.

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Apr 01 2014

Alleged Right Wing Bombing Plot Ends in Arrest

In a situation reminiscent of the situation here in Michigan with the Hutaree militia (the subject of my second appearance on the Rachel Maddow show), a Texas man has been arrested by the FBI for an alleged plot to start a new revolutionary war with a bombing campaign.

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Mar 30 2014

Bin Laden Son-in-Law Convicted

Hey, remember all that Republican fury over the idea that terrorists could be tried in civilian courts and convicted without the world coming to an end and dogs and cats living together? Turns out, not so much. Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law was convicted in civilian court in New York, just like hundreds of others have …

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Mar 26 2014

The Broken Criminal Justice System

Glenn Reynolds, law professor and the infamous Instapundit, has a good op-ed in USA Today wherein he declares, correctly, that our criminal justice system is a crime in and of itself. He points out how prosecutors vastly overcharge to force plea bargains:

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