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.
The next time you ride Amtrak, you may encounter an agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration asking you to allow a search of your belongings. Don't consent -- especially if you have something to hide.
There are approximately 1.16 million people labeled "known or suspected terrorists" on the FBI's terrorism watch list. While most of them are from foreign countries, about 4,600 people on the list as of 2017 were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents -- and many of them are completely innocent.
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.
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.
Terance Gamble was convicted of second-degree robbery and domestic violence charges in Alabama, both of which made it illegal for him to purchase or carry firearms under Alabama and federal law. In 2015, he was pulled over for a missing headlight. An officer searched his car and found marijuana and a handgun.
Should criticizing the police get you charged with criminal harassment? Not if you didn't make any threats, according to the ACLU and an Adams County man. Nevertheless, the man was charged with harassment in the third degree when he criticized the behavior of an Adams County Sheriff's deputy.
Would you let a stranger in a lab coat search through your phone? What about a police officer? How about if you had a good reason to refuse, such as evidence of a crime?
Sometimes, the non-court consequences of criminal activity are as serious as the consequences of a conviction. These "collateral consequences," however, have traditionally come as the result of criminal prosecution. Most of the time, society doesn't inflict serious consequences on people who have never been convicted.
"Driving while black" isn't a real crime, but it might as well be. African-Americans and people of color persistently report being stopped, searched, cited and even arrested for traffic offenses in situations where white people probably wouldn't be. Yet people of color don't break the law at a higher rate than whites. If anything, a recent study found, whites are more likely to do so.