Colorado lawyers specializing in drunken-driving cases are questioning the validity of thousands of convictions after a technician who certified the state’s breath-test machines said his signature was forged on more than 100 records in 2013, the Denver Post reports.
The county tests evidence seized from drug defendants even after they enter guilty pleas. When the supposed drugs they possessed were tested, in many cases no illegal drugs were found. Study also finds that innocent black people are about 12 times more likely to be convicted of drug crimes than are innocent white people.
Retired Federal Judge Schira Scheindlin has said mandatory-minimum requirements made her feel “dirty.” Other judges have joined the chorus of justice reformers who complain rigorous sentencing guidelines are unfair. But are they addressing the wrong problem?
Judges in New York have been urged to formally remind prosecutors of their obligation to turn over evidence that might exonerate defendants before a trial— or face contempt charges. It’s a step long advocated by reform advocates like the Innocence Project—will other states follow suit?
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen will never again serve as a judge in Nevada, says the state’s Commission on Judicial Discipline. Hafen drew criticism from groups of defense attorneys after ordering a deputy public defense lawyer handcuffed on a contempt charge that was later overturned.
Rodney Class admitted possessing a gun illegally on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Despite his guilty plea, Class contended that the statute under which he was convicted “violates the Second Amendment” because he had a legally-owned firearm in a vehicle parked in a lot he did not realize was on the Capitol grounds.
Etan Patz disappeared on May 25, 1979, while walking to his school bus stop, and the case had long been one of New York City’s most notorious unsolved killings. A man who worked in a bodega in his Manhattan neighborhood was convicted in a second murder trial following a hung jury.
The National Task Force on Fines, Fees and Bail Practices has issued instructions to state judges spelling out alternative sanctions such as reducing fines, extending times to pay and requiring community service. “It’s morally right,” says Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, task force co-chair.