Monthly Archives February 2015

New Evidence Law Giving Hope to the Innocent

A new California law is giving new hope to those in prison who have been wrongly convicted, in part, by expert testimony. The amendment to California Penal Code 1473 was passed in September of 2014, signed into law, and took effect in January of this year. The new law should make it easier for a defendant to get a conviction overturned when an expert repudiates his or her testimony. Experts may repudiate their testimony for a variety of reasons, primarily because the science or knowledge changes. Under the old law, when an expert repudiated his testimony, courts did not treat
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Gun Restraining Orders will be a Reality in California

California is now the first and only state that allows family members to ask a judge to order the removal of firearms from a relative who poses a threat. Governor Jerry Brown signed the new legislation, AB 1014, into law last year. In some states law enforcement officers can ask a judge for an order allowing them to seize guns from those whom they deem to be a danger. The new California law also gives law enforcement officers this same option as well as extending it to family members. The law was introduced in response to a deadly rampage last
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Misremembering can lead to false accusations

The word “misremember” seems to be the current buzzword. Brian Williams misremembered his involvement in Iraq helicopter incident. While there is a debate to how serious Williams’ misremembering actually is, experts are saying that it can happen. What is serious, is that it can lead to false accusations and, ultimately, false convictions. One such example of the dire consequences of misremembering may be found in the Rolling Stone Article, “A Rape on Campus.” Shortly after the magazine published the article, a number of inconsistencies and discrepancies rose, and many people became skeptic of the story that University of Virginia freshman“Jackie”
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Understanding Hate Crime Laws

Making national headlines this week, the suspected hate crime in Chapel Hill North Carolina, which has left three young students murdered. The heinous crime begs the question whether the killings were motivated by hate.   The suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, has been charged with 3 counts of first degree murder of three Muslim victims, Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21 and Razan Abu-Salha, 19. Hicks allegedly shot all three students execution-style near the University of North Carolina campus on Tuesday after posting anti-religious sentiments online. The police investigation has unveiled that the murders stem from an ongoing parking dispute in the
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Ex-School Teacher Charged with Sexual Assault

In recent news, Joseph Koetters, an ex-school teacher at Marlborough School, was arrested on February 4, 2015 on charges of alleged sex crimes. The teacher is charged with four felony sex crimes involving a former student while she was under the age of 18. Specifically, Koetters is charged with two counts of oral copulation with a person under 18 and two counts of penetration with a foreign object. His charges stem from an alleged yearlong sexual relationship he initiated with a 16-year-old student while he was teaching at the Marlborough School. The allegations surfaced after another former student posted an
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Can the State Collect My DNA After Arrest?

A California appeals court recently decided that California’s practice of taking DNA from people arrested for felonies violates the state constitution. California has been taking DNA from people even if there are not convicted or even charged with a crime. When a person is arrested on suspicion of committing a felony, the state collects the DNA profiles using a cheek swab and stores the profiles in a database. And these profiles do not have to be expunged if the person is not ultimately convicted. Instead, those who are never charged with a crime or not convicted must apply to have
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Will Suge Knight Be Convicted of Murder?

Suge Knight’s legal problems continue to grow as he is arrested and now charged with murder after a fatal hit-and-run incident and facing life in prison. Marion “Suge” Knight has been charged with one count of murder, one count of attempted murder, and two counts of a hit-and-run for allegedly running over two men with his car in the parking lot of Tam’s Burgers in Compton, California. One of the men, Terry Carter, died. The morning after the incident, Suge and his attorney went to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department where detectives were waiting to question him. Suge is
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