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Criminal Defense Archives

Supreme Court may rule some forfeitures are 'excessive fines'

The use of civil forfeitures has been called "policing for profit." The civil forfeiture process usually begins when someone is charged with a crime, either at the state or federal level. At that point, police and prosecutors may find that some of the defendant's money or property is connected to criminal activity. In essence, the prosecutor charges these valuables with being connected to or the proceeds of crime. The defendant bears the burden of proving that they were not. If the defendant fails to prove that, the police and prosecutor's office get to seize the money and property permanently -- even if the defendant has not yet been convicted of any crime.

Child endangerment charges often triggered by other allegations

Iowa Code §726.6 provides nine specific definitions of child endangerment. Overall, however, child endangerment could be described as: 1) knowingly exposing a minor to substantial risk of physical, mental or emotional harm; 2) intentionally causing such harm; 3) depriving a child of the basic necessities of life; 4) abandonment; or 5) failing to provide adequate supervision in specified circumstances.

US Supreme Court to consider racial bias in jury selection

When prosecutors and defense attorneys choose jurors from a pool, they are allowed to reject some jurors, either for good cause or in what is called a "preemptory challenge." Jurors can be removed for cause, for example, when they are unqualified to serve, have a conflict of interest, or admit that they cannot put aside their biases. Each side gets a limited number of preemptory challenges that can be used to strike jurors without a specific cause.

Keeping Halloween fun and free of criminal charges

For children and parents who go out trick-or-treating or to haunted houses during Halloween, the season is an occasion for fun and creativity. But for older children and teens, Halloween can also lend itself to a degree of mischief that can sometimes border on criminal. It's important to know where the line is between a bit of fun and a potential arrest, so you and your family can keep the holiday lighthearted, and potentially avoid a trip to the local jail.

Protect your rights when stopped by the cops: 4 key concepts

Always be respectful when interacting with law enforcement. At the same time, to be aware that when the police are questioning you about a potential crime, they are not on your side. Explaining your side of the story will not clear things up. In fact, it's best to avoid saying more to the police than you absolutely have to.

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