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Articles by Bill Barton

Prosecutors Working to Clear Wrongful Convictions With Mixed Results

by Bill Barton

Before the murder charge against him was finally dropped, Richard Phillips had the decidedly dubious distinction of being locked up longer than any other eventually exonerated prisoner—he was incarcerated for 45 years, convicted of a crime he did not commit. 

According to a report from the ...

Killer’s Bold DNA-Based Defense to Get New Mexico Supreme Court Hearing

by Bill Barton

Anthony Blas Yepez, in October 2012, beat to death the 75-year-old boyfriend of his girlfriend’s mother in a drunken dispute. Charged with first-degree murder, Yepez said he could not remember much of the incident and didn’t know why his reaction was so violent. Public defender Ian Loyd ...

Michigan Will Pay $1.5 Million to Longest Serving Exonerated Prisoner

by Bill Barton

Richard Phillips, a Michigan man who was wrongfully incarcerated for 46 years before being exonerated in spring 2018, will receive a settlement of $1.5 million from the state, more than a year after he was released without even as much as a bus ticket. Phillips is ...

Black Drivers in Missouri 91 Percent More Likely to Be Stopped Than White Drivers

by Bill Barton

A report by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt reveals that black motorists in that state are 91 percent more likely to be pulled over than whites. The 2018 report illuminating this statistic was released in May.

Scott Decker, an Arizona State University professor of criminology and criminal ...

Genetic Testing Raises Privacy Concerns

by Bill Barton

DNA testing, once an expensive technology, is now so inexpensive that approximately 26 million people have taken advantage of it,” according to “With sites like and 23andMe, you can easily submit samples of your DNA and receive information about your family history ...

Tracking Phones: Google as a Dragnet for the Police

by Bill Barton

The Google Sensorvault database has been used by law enforcement agencies on multiple occasions to obtain what are being called “geofence” warrants, which specify an area and period of time and require Google to provide information regarding the devices that were there.

According to, the ...

Chicago Fingerprint Unit Flawed, Under Scrutiny

by Bill Barton

In 2016, Cook County prosecutors relied on a fingerprint lifted from a laptop as pivotal evidence against a juvenile charged with robbery.

According to Chicago Reporter coverage of the case, Judge Stuart Katz “ripped into the competence of Chicago police Sergeant Thurston Daniels III, the forensics expert ...

Groundbreaking Empirical Study of Expungement Released

by Bill Barton

An empirical study of a state law limiting public access to criminal records has been released by professors Sonja B. Starr and J.J. Prescott of Michigan Law School.

Starr and Prescott said, “Despite the considerable legislative ferment and the excitement that surrounds ‘clean slate’ initiatives in ...

Another Study Shows There’s No ‘War on Police’

by Bill Barton

"Currently, the ‘war on cops’ thesis is not supported by any evidence, and we apply the 50-year lens in this study to provide important context for understanding recent trends in officer deaths.” That’s the conclusion of an in-depth study, some 25 pages long, “Assessing dangerousness in ...

Law Enforcement Access To Consumer Genetics Needs to Be Closed

by Bill Barton

The United States. is well on the way to establishing a de facto national database, according to an article presented by Future Tense — a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University — and written by Natalie Ram, published on Slate March 19. Future Tense ...


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