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California Supreme Court Revisits the Law of Access to Police Personnel Files

Police officers are human beings who are capable of making mistakes or behaving badly, just like anyone else, and if they testify in a criminal case, their credibility is always at issue, just like any other witness. So what do you do if you believe that an officer previously lied, behaved violently, used excessive force, or otherwise acted in ways that Read More

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The Unlawful Prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens

That’s the subtitle of a new book, Not Guilty, by Rob Cary, one of the lead defense lawyers in the case. You may remember the garbage prosecution of Ted Stevens from 2008. The case received no shortage of press as it wound its way from indictment to trial to dismissal and, then, to criminal proceedings against the prosecutors who brought it. You Read More

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Mother of Five Gets New Trial on Capital Murder Conviction

Have you heard of Hannah Overton? She’s spent the last seven years serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for the murder of her four-year-old, then-soon-to-be-adopted son. But this September, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is that state’s supreme court for criminal cases, reversed her conviction and sent it back Read More

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A Ten-Year Sentence for $50 of Marijuana?

And to make it worse, the poor soul may have been set up. Here’s the story. Two cops stop a guy, supposedly for horsing around on his bicycle in the middle of the street. They pat him down, supposedly because he approached them holding out two Xanax pills in his hand and saying, “Do you want to talk to me? This is all I have.” They pat him Read More

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An Epidemic of Government Misconduct Abroad in the Land?

“There is an epidemic of Brady violations abroad in the land. Only judges can put a stop to it.” So begins a dissenting opinion of five judges on the federal court of appeals that covers California, eight other states, and a couple territories to boot. It’s worth a read. What is Brady? It’s shorthand for Brady v. Maryland, the seminal 1963 Read More

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Former Prosecutor Convicted for Withholding Evidence, Taking 25 Years of an Innocent Man’s Life

In 1987, Michael Morton was convicted of beating his wife, Christine, to death the year before. At a pretrial hearing in the case, the judge specifically asked the prosecutor in the case, Ken Anderson, whether he possessed any evidence that was favorable to the defense. By law, prosecutors have a constitutional and ethical duty to discover and turn over such Read More

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