Is the practice of suspending defendants' driver's licenses for nonpayment of criminal justice debt unfair to those who can't afford to pay? Does it actually make it harder for courts to collect that debt?
Search warrants are generally required when police officers search your property -- unless a specific exception applies. In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court carved out a major exception to the search warrant requirement in a case called Carroll v. United States. It created the "automobile exception" or "motor vehicle exception," which essentially allows any motor vehicle to be searched without a warrant as long as the officer has probable cause to believe that evidence or contraband will be found in that vehicle.
Criminal defense attorneys and civil rights activists have raised the alarm at the increasing number of electronic devices being searched at our borders and at international airports. In April, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reported that it searched 19,000 devices in fiscal year 2016 -- a shocking increase over the 8,500 it searched in 2015. In the first half of 2017 the agency had already searched nearly 15,000.
Apple Face ID is the newest thing; just look directly at your phone and it unlocks and opens so you can use it. As always with new technology, however, there are questions.
Speaking before a law enforcement conference in Alabama recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reported that "violent crime is back with a vengeance." He reported that the nationwide murder rate increased in 2015 by nearly 11 percent, which would represent the fastest increase since 1968. "Per capita homicide rates are up in 27 of our 35 largest cities," he said.
Let's say you were driving home after an evening at your favorite restaurant with friends. You immediately notice a glare when red and blue lights begin flashing in your rear view mirror. The pit in your stomach announces your state of nervousness as you realize a police officer is pulling you over. Whether it's your first experience in a traffic stop or you've been through the process before, it's typically a highly stressful situation for any motorist.
An influential federal appeals court has ruled that a judge erred when granting a search warrant for a cellphone. That search warrant granted police the authority to search a man's residence for any cellphones or electronic devices he might own, and the court said the warrant was unconstitutionally vague.
When are police officers allowed to search your glove box after a traffic stop or an accident? At its base, it's a civil rights issue. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures" by government agents such as police.
The Department of Justice has just announced that it will revive a forensic science initiative that was begun in 2012, during the Obama Administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a halt to the initiative in April, in order to invite public comment.
A large number of common forensic techniques including bite marks, hair analysis, ballistics, fingerprint IDs and footprint analysis were called into question last year. The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a nonpartisan group established by Congress in 1976, issued a report that debunked the evidence produced by the techniques as unscientific.