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After 21-Year Imprisonment, Wrongfully Convicted Nevada Man Pardoned

Fred Steese spent 21 years in prison for a murder that he did not commit. He was granted an Order of Actual Innocence in 2012, but was released from prison only upon entering an Alford plea—not admitting guilt but acknowledging that there is sufficient evidence to prove the charges. After entering the plea demanded by

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Georgia Supreme Court Reverses Mutually Exclusive Guilty Verdicts

The Georgia Supreme Court answered an unusual, yet significant, question on December 11, 2017. Can a conviction that requires proof that a rental car was stolen outside of the state coexist with a conviction that requires proof that the same car was stolen in the state? Both a trial court and an appellate court said

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Questioning the Use of DNA Testing Software in Criminal Prosecution

The use of DNA evidence in criminal trials has become ubiquitous. Because DNA evidence is highly persuasive to judges and juries, several new tests purport to make positive DNA matches using minuscule amounts of matter, or even matter that has been polluted. As defense attorneys push back on these new methods, they are running into

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Research Needed: Do Drug Dogs Respond to Drugs or Handler?

The use of drug detecting dogs in law enforcement is ubiquitous across the country. They are a popular tool among police agencies, because a drug dog’s “alert” provides the probable cause necessary to legally search a vehicle without warrant or permission. But are these alerts a response to the smell of illegal drugs or a

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Civil Asset Forfeiture: Unfair, Unjust, Un-American

Founding Father George Mason once said, “When the same man, or set of men, holds the sword and the purse, there is an end of liberty.” Mason, along with many other founders of the United States of America, believed strongly in the separation of government powers. These men knew firsthand the potential for abuse and

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Compensating the Exonerated: State Laws Are Arbitrary and Senseless

October 2nd of each year marks the Annual International Wrongful Conviction Day. As of October 2, 2017, the third anniversary of the commemorative event, 351 people have been exonerated based on DNA analysis alone. Those 351 served an aggregate 4,788 years in prison prior to exoneration. DNA exonerations are just the tip of the iceberg;

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Colorado Supreme Court: Criminal Defendant Seeking to Fire Paid, Retained Counsel for Court-Appointed Counsel Need Not Show Good Cause

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that a criminal defendant may fire retained counsel without any showing of good cause when seeking to replace retained counsel with court-appointed counsel. This is an issue of first impression in Colorado; the Court noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has not answered this precise question. Jesus Ronquillo was charged

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