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Criminal Defense Archives

Do bail risk assessment tools reduce unnecessary pretrial holds?

Many people agree that our criminal justice system relies too much on pretrial detention -- keeping people in jail because they are assigned bail they can't afford. Ideally, we could tell who is a flight risk and who is a danger to the community in some logical way and release those who are not.

Arrests, jail more common in rural and small/midsize counties

As we consider the causes of mass incarceration in the United States, we start with the knowledge that crime has been dropping since the mid-1990s. That should mean that arrest rates are also dropping, but that isn't always the case.

It's surprisingly easy to qualify as a fingerprint expert

When a criminal defendant's fingerprints are at issue, the stakes are high. The person has been accused of a crime, and those fingerprints could theoretically place them at the crime scene or otherwise indicate their involvement. People go to prison in cases where a matching fingerprint is the primary evidence.

What is a prosecutor's duty if an officer is shown to have lied?

Prosecutors have a legal and ethical duty not to knowingly allow perjury. If a prosecutor learns that a witness -- even a police officer -- in one of their cases lied on the stand, that prosecutor is required to notify the judge and attempt to correct the matter.

New FBI data shows violent crime continuing its downward trend

The violent crime rate in the U.S. hit a high in approximately 1990 and then began to taper off. That trend continued until 2015 and 2016, when the violent crime rate rose slightly. In 2017 and 2018, however, the violent crime rate resumed its downward trend. Now, the violent crime rate is half of what it was in the early 90s.

Momentum growing to limit the role of jailhouse informants

It's a tale as old as time. Someone is arrested and held in jail before trial. Naturally, they're desperate for a friendly face or a caring voice. They spill their guts to their new friend, giving details of the crime. That "friend" contacts the prosecution offering to turn over those details in exchange for a break on their own sentence.

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