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fifthamendment
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Hidden Bias and Fair Trials

You may serve on a jury one day, and if you do, your thought process will mean a lot to the people involved. Those people, and the system as a whole, will rely on you to give them a fair trial. To that end, one court has created a video to help potential jurors understand their hidden biases. These Read More

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Back to Basics, Again

Speaking of the U.S. Supreme Court, we shouldn’t have to rely on the country’s highest court to decide some questions correctly. But we do. This week, the Court issued a friendly reminder about the presumption of innocence. If you’re convicted of a crime, but your conviction is overturned on appeal, and there won’t be a retrial, the government has to return Read More

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The New Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Now that Neil Gorsuch has been sworn in, we’ll begin to find out how he wields the law as a member of the highest court in the land. Some say he’s a natural successor to the Justice whose seat he fills, Antonin Scalia. Here is a profile of Mr. Gorsuch that compares his views to those of Mr. Scalia Read More

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Take the Money and Run

Kudos to the California Court of Appeal for enforcing due process and the rule of law. Earlier this month, the Court took another stand on the law of asset forfeiture by siding with people who had sued to get their stuff back. In three separate cases, the Court ordered the trial court to reinstate lawsuits brought by eight Read More

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A Tale of Two Rules for California Prosecutors

In the first days of fall, the Golden State has set forth two new, important rules to punish prosecutors who unreasonably, recklessly, or intentionally withhold evidence from the accused. One is a criminal statute that goes into effect next year. The other is an ethics rule that goes into effect if and when the state’s supreme court Read More

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Do You Care About Justice?

Speaking of lies, there’s no shortage of them in an election year, but if you’re looking for a constructive way to sound off to the presidential candidates, here’s one. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has sent each of the four candidates—Clinton, Trump, Johnson, and Stein—a questionnaire with fifteen questions about their views on the criminal-justice system. The NACDL has created Read More

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How to Assert Your Miranda Rights

Here’s a guide to your Miranda rights on the occasion of their 50th anniversary. It’s a rough composite of the current state of the law, but you should always consult a lawyer about your specific situation before consenting to an interview with law enforcement. The first thing to understand is that the police don’t have to give you Miranda warnings Read More

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The 50th Anniversary of Miranda

“The quality of a nation’s civilization can be largely measured by the methods it uses in the enforcement of its criminal law.” This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s seminal decision in Miranda v. Arizona. To commemorate the occasion, here’s a great write-up on why the case matters so much and how we Read More

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A Postscript to Last Week’s Open Letter

Following up on last week’s post, readers should understand the timeline of events that brought the misconduct to light. Here are the highlights. In January 2013, a defendant in a murder case filed a motion to get some important information from the prosecution. The trial court found good cause for the motion and granted it, but the district attorney’s office Read More

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An Open Letter to the District Attorney of Orange County

Mr. Rackauckas: Just what is going on in your office, sir? I’m not talking about the fight that broke out in a county courthouse three weeks ago between one of your investigators and a defense attorney. Never mind that if a defense attorney did this to a cop, he’d be arrested so fast his head would spin. (Full Read More

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