Hats off to defense counsel, the circuit court, and court of appeals for the decision in this case. The State charged Knauer with misdemeanor theft of property. Police had interviewed him for just 1 hour at about 11 p.m. at the county jail. He admitted to stealing a trailer and storing it at his aunt’s and uncle’s house. But then police told Knauer that if any other stolen property was found at the same location they would arrest his aunt and uncle. The circuit court held that threatening to arrest Knauer’s relatives when police lacked probable cause that they had committed a crime was an improper interrogation tactic that rendered his confession involuntary. Read more
The State charged Bentz with OWI 3rd and PAC 3rd. Bentz moved to suppress evidence for lack of reasonable suspicion to detain and lack of probable cause to arrest. The circuit court denied his motion. The appeal concerned the point at which the law enforcement officer seized Bentz and the evidence supporting reasonable suspicion and probable cause. Read more
The circuit court terminated D.C.’s parental rights to his child, A.D.C. On appeal, D.C. argued that the trial court (1) lost competency to proceed when it failed to conduct an initial appearance in the case, and (2) erred in denying his request for discovery of emails between the ADA and the Child Protective Services case manager. Read more
T.S.R. appeals the termination of her parental rights to her daughter. She argues that the two statutory grounds on which she was found unfit–continuing CHIPS and failure to assume parental responsibility–violate due process as applied to her. Read more
An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City police officer’s testimony was probably untrue. The Times identified these cases — many of which are sealed — through interviews with lawyers, police officers and current and former judges.
In these cases, officers have lied about the whereabouts of guns, putting them in suspects’ hands or waistbands when they were actually hidden out of sight. They have barged into apartments and conducted searches, only to testify otherwise later. Under oath, they have given firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness. They have falsely claimed to have watched drug deals happen, only to later recant or be shown to have lied.
Read the NY Times full article, “‘Testilying’ by Police: A Stubborn Problem,” here.
Excerpt from Empirical SCOTUS:
One of the exciting new tools to measure legal writing quality is BriefCatch. Designed by Ross Guberman, BriefCatch allows users to measure writing quality along five dimensions and get thousands of potential editing of suggestions. Guberman says that he created the scoring dimensions based on quantifiable features in the writing of such luminaries as Justices Roberts, Kagan, and Scalia. Making some of the edits that BriefCatch suggests generally makes the scores increase.
This post looks at 2017 cert-stage filings. Yes, SCOTUS pros like Jeff Fisher come out on top, but you might be surprised at how many novices score highly and who some of them are. You’ll have to click here to find out.
We are still waiting for SCOTUS to answer this question. In the meantime, you might read this update on the Confrontation Blog. If you have this issue in the trial or appellate courts, you might find want to review this white paper tracking the different approaches used by courts around the country. Who knows? Your case could be the one SCOTUS takes.
Some states have “mental health courts” for mentally ill defendants who are accused on crimes. They sound a lot like veterans courts or drug treatment courts, so your initial reaction might be “great idea.” However, this new empirical study by E. Lea Johnston and Connor Flynn at the University of Florida will make you think twice. Consider this excerpt from the article’s abstract: Read more