About a million people each year are arrested for drunk driving in the United States. When you're pulled over on suspicion of OWI, you will be asked to blow into a breathalyzer.
In 2018, a Mexican immigrant who had been brought to the U.S. as a teenager was convicted in Iowa of intent to deliver marijuana. During a 2017 traffic stop, officers allegedly found 184 one-pound bags of marijuana and a handgun in his car. Although he claimed he had been using the marijuana to treat back pain, Guillermo A. pled guilty to the charge.
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.
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.
In many criminal cases, the police rely on the testimony of an eyewitness to the crime. Eyewitnesses may have crucial information about what happened, of course. They are also frequently used to identify a suspect. These identifications are typically done by having the eyewitness look at a lineup or an array of photographs.
The National Registry of Exonerations recently issued its 2018 annual report. One hundred fifty-one people were exonerated in the U.S. last year after having been wrongfully convicted of various crimes ranging from traffic offenses to homicide. Together, the exonerees lost 1,639 years of their freedom.
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.
The case involved South Carolina bank robbery. Witnesses were unable to ID the robber and the bank's surveillance video turned out to be too grainy to help. When the FBI finally arrived at a suspect, the man countered that the robber had been his brother. With only low-quality video to go by, how could investigators tell which brother had committed the crime?
"You have nothing to fear if you're not going to be a criminal," said a spokesperson for the Bensalem, Pennsylvania police.
The idea that ballistics -- marks made on bullets and casings by the gun they are expelled from -- can be relied upon as evidence is something most of us are familiar with. We've seen it on the CSI shows.