Do Criminal Defendants Have Web Rights?

A Supreme Court ruling in June overruled the conviction of a sex offender for violating his probation after posting on Facebook. But that opens up a new legal minefield over limitations on internet access for anyone convicted of a crime, warns a Washington, DC attorney.

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Should We Legislate a Duty to Rescue?

Some countries have “Good Samaritan” laws in place that penalize individuals who fail to provide assistance to strangers in trouble, and at least one state—Minnesota—has a similar statute. Our legal affairs columnist wonders whether such laws are practical, and enforceable.


How Uruguay Left Pot ‘Prohibitionism’ Behind

The South American nation last month became the first in the world to legalize the production and sale of recreational marijuana.  But a Uruguayan writer says some of his compatriots, including the president, are still skeptical.


Rap on Trial: Do Violent Lyrics Prove a Crime?

Rap music isn’t the only musical genre that employs violent or misogynist lyrics, but it’s uniquely presented as evidence for criminal intent or confession in trials. The co-author of a study on the practice warns that it invariably—and unfairly—creates jury bias.

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A ‘Common-Sense’ Correction to California’s Prop 47?

A recent California Supreme Court ruling turned down an appeal by inmates who claimed the state’s reforms to the three-strike laws under Proposition 47 entitled them to reduced sentences. The president of the LA Deputy DA’s association argues that was a needed corrective to a prisoner realignment strategy that was oversold to the public.


Was Trump’s Call for Tough Policing a Crime?

A leading criminologist says the president’s words constitute incitement to criminal conduct. He calls on chiefs around the country to tell their officers to forget they ever heard them—and obey the rules governing use of force.  


When New Research Proves Courtroom ‘Experts’ Wrong

Many wrongful convictions are based on forensic testimony and science later exposed as flawed. A California statute this year laid out the terms for granting relief to defendants challenging ‘expert’ evidence—but striking the right balance between evolving scientific research and trial pressures remains a challenge, says a UC law professor.