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November 2013 Archives

Time to Change Drug Laws & Sentencing

Time to Change Drug Laws & Sentencing: Even though I have represented many accused drug dealers, I would give up all that business in a heartbeat if the government would make sentences equal the circumstances and the individuals. We have more people in prison than any other country in the world, and mostly because of crazy drug sentencing laws that "tough-on'crime" politicians relentlessly pushed to get public notoriety. It's time to come to our senses. (And thanks to the Atlantic Monthly for a great article.)

Sentenced to a Slow Death

Finally politicians are looking at the absurdity of life sentences for non-violent crimes, if only because of the financial burden it puts on the economy. Well, right things happen sometimes for the wrong reasons and, as a lawyer, I am very pleased that we may be seeing the end to these idiotic life sentences.

Forensic Expert Witness Testifies in the Amanda Knox Murder Trial

More on the Second Amanda Knox Murder Trial in Italy - There's no such thing as Double Jeopardy in Italy . . . but this case proves there should be.

A forensic expert witness will play a critical role in the re-opened case against Amanda Knox, shedding light on the evidence allegedly linking the young American to the 2007 murder of her former roommate, British student Meredith Kercher. Kercher was found in the Italian apartment she shared with Knox having died from 47 stab wounds, including a deep gash in her neck. Rudy Guede, an Ivorian man whose bloody fingerprints were found at the crime scene, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for Kercher's murder. Yet, prosecutors allege that Guede was just an accomplice to the murder, and that Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito killed Kercher in what had begun as an erotic game (Guede admitted to having sexual relations with Kercher on the night of her death). Knox and Sollecito were acquitted of their alleged involvement in Kercher's death. However, as Italy does not proscribe to the American rule prohibiting "Double Jeopardy" - the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
inherently prohibits trying a defendant following a legitimate acquittal verdict - the Italian Supreme Court was free to vacate the appeal. Italy's highest court has remanded the case to reexamine previously untested DNA evidence found on the knife prosecutors allege is the murder weapon.

Here is a Former County Prosecutor.......

Here is a former county prosecutor, later appointed criminal court judge, who knowingly sent an innocent man to prison, where he served 25 years before being proven innocent. This poor excuse for a man intentionally withheld crucial evidence of innocence, even after being ordered to turn over all such "exculpatory" evidence to the defense. All he gets is loss of his license (and his judicial position) and ten days in jail. Too bad it couldn't be a few months - at least - in the same maximum security prisons where Mr. Mortan was forced to try to survive for 25 years. And thank heavens for the Innocence Project and people like its founder, Barry Scheck, with great help from a number of National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers.

4 On Your Side Investigates Traffic Stop Nightmare

After all these years as a prosecutor and then criminal defense lawyer, I though I'd seen just about every kind of twisted abuse some police use on citizens - innocent or otherwise - but this outrageous conduct described here takes the cake, and offers a whole new chapter into insidious police abuses. it proves once again that, notwithstanding all the upstanding and honest law enforcement people who really work hard to protect us every day, there are still a bunch who should never have a badge, much less guns. And, you might ask, what in the world were those idiots at the hospital thinking! Read on and weep.

The Search for Truth

All too often criminal investigators, and prosecutors, only search for guilt.  I was reading a British crime novel last night, and the protagonist, a 1920's Scotland Yard detective, reminisced about what an old sergeant had taught him at the beginning of the detective's career (and I'm paraphrasing): A police officer's [or prosecutor's] job should be to search for the truth.  If he just searches for guilt, he's always going to find it, because everyone's got some guilt, but if he searches for the truth, then he's a true man of justice.