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February 2019 Archives

SCOTUS unanimously rules states can't impose excessive fines

Did you know that your property can be seized simply because you have been accused of a certain crime? You don't even have to be convicted. When police decide your money or property is connected to criminal activity, they can seize it in what is called a civil forfeiture proceeding.

Keto diet could create some positive OWI breath test results

These days, a lot of people are on the keto diet, a low-carb diet advertised to encourage weight loss. The diet puts your body into a state called "ketosis," where the liver begins to break down fat to fuel the body. Acetone, a byproduct of ketosis, is released through the breath in the form of isopropyl alcohol. This is different from ethanol, which is the type of alcohol people drink. The question is, can breathalyzers tell the difference?

A large percentage of drug field tests result in false positives

If a drug field test comes back positive, that is generally considered enough to justify an arrest. Field tests are inadmissible in most courts, so further testing must be performed by a lab. Unfortunately, lab results can take months to come back. If a field test is inaccurate, an innocent person could be stuck in jail for a long time before the inaccuracy is discovered.

Report: Federal judges using more discretion in sentencing

The question of how much discretion federal judges should have when sentencing criminal defendants is an important one, and opinions have changed over time. In the 1980s and 1990s, Congress passed a large number of strict, mandatory minimum sentencing requirements.

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