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California to End Money Bail

On August 28, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 10 into law. It becomes effective October 1, 2019, and as you may have heard, it changes everything. It completely repeals the chapter of the Penal Code that provided for cash bail and replaces it with an entirely new one. Here’s the gist of it. If you’re arrested for Read More

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The Trial Penalty

That’s the title of this new report by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. It looks at the steep decline of jury trials in our system, explains why that matters, and examines how to preserve this important right to trial by jury. What is the trial penalty? It refers to the big difference in Read More

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Police Need a Warrant for Your Cell-Phone Location Records

You can thank the Supreme Court for that. Last week, the nation’s high court ruled that police need a warrant to get your phone’s location records and map out your every move over time. The case reflects a growing consensus to protect these records, and it builds on a prior decision that said police can’t rummage through your phone just because Read More

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Two Sneak Peeks Inside a Grand Jury

It’s not every day that grand jurors write about their experiences, but here are two who did. Both recently served on grand juries in New York, and they offer competing takes on this corner of our justice system. The first juror emerged from the experience with an awareness of the power of prosecutors, who dominate the process. The Read More

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“The Fourth Amendment … Is In Retreat”

That’s how a dissenting opinion ends in a major federal case that was decided on Tuesday. This is how it begins: “A customer buys a cell phone. She turns it on and puts it in her pocket.” And with that, according to the majority’s opinion, the customer has consented to create a record of everywhere she goes, a Read More

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SCOTUS Stands Up for the Sixth Amendment

We’ve asked this question before. What if the government charged you with a crime, and you wanted to defend yourself but couldn’t—not because you didn’t have any money, but because the government had blocked all access to it? Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court said the government can freeze your money before trial if there’s probable Read More

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Cyber Search Warrants Are Going to the Dogs

It’s true, and reportedly, even the recent search of Jared Fogle’s home involved a Labrador who found a thumb drive of potential evidence. The dog is one of a handful or two nationwide that’s trained to sniff out electronics and their component parts based on a chemical that’s common to all of them. Law enforcement won’t identify the chemical, but after a few Read More

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These Walls Are Thin

A federal court of appeals recently issued an interesting opinion that touched on law enforcement’s use of new radar technology that can peer through the walls of your home. Reportedly, at least fifty agencies have quietly equipped their agents with such devices, and other, similar devices boast even greater capabilities. Here’s the backstory. The defendant was on the lam. He’d been convicted of Read More

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“The Right of Working Stiffs Not to Endure Forced Colonoscopies”

Wow. This story has made the rounds, but if you hadn’t heard, there was a bit of a ruckus in New Mexico recently when police stopped a 54-year-old guy with a five-year-old conviction for meth possession, thinking he might have drugs again. So they asked him to step out of his car, and as it happened, they didn’t find any drugs Read More

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In Your Face: Law Enforcement Expands Its Use of Mobile Face-Recognition Technology

In another example of how technology is changing not just criminal justice but life as we know it, San Diego County has been quietly rolling out a new facial recognition system that will affect how police conduct simple stops on Americans. The system, which allows officers to use mobile devices to collect face images in the field, already has a database Read More

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