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July 2019 Archives

Only 2% of federal criminal cases go to trial

We've known for years that the vast majority of criminal cases are resolved via plea bargain. Courts are so overwhelmed that they simply could not operate otherwise. Unfortunately, the pressure to plead guilty is immense, even when the defendant is not guilty.

How your prescriptions can lead to an OWI charge

When most people think of driving while under the influence, they first think of drunk driving. However, many do not realize the government might attempt to prosecute you for driving while taking prescription drugs. Because of Iowa's broad approach to controlled substances, those taking prescription medications can find themselves unfairly charged. 

Study: Asset forfeiture does little to reduce crime, drug use

A recent study released by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian-leading public interest law firm, calls into question a number of justifications for civil asset forfeiture. Contrary to claims by law enforcement, seizing property from criminal suspects does not appear to meaningfully reduce crime rates or lessen drug use. Far from being used to fight major drug traffickers, civil asset forfeiture is usually deployed against the poor and people of color.

SCOTUS allows warrantless blood draws from unconscious drivers

If you are pulled over for OWI, stay awake. You lose some of the constitution's protection if you pass out, according to a new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. If you remain awake, law enforcement officers must obtain a warrant before drawing your blood for a chemical test. If you're unconscious, however, they can draw your blood without bothering to get a warrant.

22% of new Iowa prison entries are for minor supervision breaches

The idea of parole and probation was to reduce the number of people in prison, but states are spending millions on incarcerating people for technical violations of their supervision agreements. In Iowa, for example, 40% of the prison population is made up of parole and probation violators. And, 56% of all new prison admissions are for supervision violations -- 22% of them technical violations.

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