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Are cash bonds a problem?

The state of New Jersey has decided they are and has completely revamped their bail system. The change is so dramatic that in the first four weeks of January, out of 3,382 cases, bail was only required three times and 283 defendants were held with no bond. (New York Times). That means that less than 9% were not given bail at all and less than 1% were required to post a bail. The other...

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"...individuals who carry firearms elect to subject themselves to being frisked when lawfully stopped by law enforcement officers."

On January 23, 2017, in United States v. Robinson, Judge Wynn of the Federal 4th Circuit stated "individuals who carry firearms elect to subject themselves to being frisked when lawfully stopped by law enforcement officers.", in his concurring opinion. In this case, a tip was called in to local police that a man was seen loading a pistol, placing it in his pocket, and then enteri...

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How do you represent "those people"?

That is the one question every criminal defense attorney expects when they tell someone what they do for a living or at least what I have come to expect. People genuinely have a look of puzzlement or may even shake their head when they ask me how I do my job on a daily basis. What is interesting is that my start in the criminal justice system was actually on the other side of the cour...

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Why are mandatory minimums in Federal Court dangerous?

Weldon Angelos can tell you how dangerous mandatory minimums can be, because he was sentenced to 55 years and has been in jail since his sentencing in November 2004. The Judge on the case could also tell you how dangerous they are because when he sentenced Angelos he stated “If he was a child rapist, he would have gotten 11 years in prison. And now I’m supposed to give him a 55...

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Justice Department adds new eyewitness Id requirements.

The Department of justice has created new guidelines for federal agents, when they are collecting eyewitness identifications. The guidelines include recording the eyewitness's confidence in their identification at the time of the ID and to perform "blind" photo arrays, which means that the agent showing the photo array does not know which photo is the actual suspect. The se...

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Is Best Buy a new branch of law enforcement?

No, but some Best Buy employees have decided to team up with the FBI to help uncover child pornography. These employees actually work at a Geek Squad repair show in Brooks, KY and they notify the FBI when they find signs of child pornography on computers. One of the most interesting aspects is that these employees may have been paid by the FBI, for these tips. (See The Washington Post story link...

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When does a search, with consent, still violate the 4th amendment?

In Delaware, the Superior Court held that police had violated a man's 4th amendment rights when they searched his vehicle after he gave them consent. At first blush, this seems to be an absurd ruling by the court, but their reasoning is important when you evaluate the result. The defendant was pulled over for speeding by an officer and was given a ticket for his traffic violation. ...

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