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Articles by Casey Bastian

Dangerous Encounters: Interactions Between Autistic Individuals and Law Enforcement

by Casey J. Bastian

“Having an encounter with police … is an unsettling encounter for anybody, but for someone with autism, it can be extremely distressing.”


Helen Lyons, Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent, Adults Neglected, Vulnerable and Abused Division

Anyone who has experienced even a simple traffic stop understands the ...

U.S. Sentencing Commission Publishes Compassionate Release Datafile for Fiscal Years 2020-­2022

by Casey J. Bastian

In September 2022, the U.S. ­Sentencing Commission (“USSC”) published its Compassionate Release Datafile (“Datafile”). The Datafile reported the statistics concerning motions for compassionate release filed between October 1, 2019, through March 31, 2022. In that 30-­month period, 26,212 filed cases were reported to the USSC. A ...

Collaborative Project Between Innocence Project and National Registry of Exonerations Produces Interim Report Reconciling Data Coding Discrepancies

by Casey J. Bastian

The Innocence Project (“IP”) and the National Registry of Exonerations (“NRE”) each keep track of and list wrongful convictions. Each also works to identify the causes of those wrongful convictions and how forensic science-related errors is considered an “influential factor” in many of these injustices. When a study revealed a discrepancy in the contribution coding data between the IP and NRE lists, a five-year reconciliation process commenced. The result was an interim report entitled: “The Contribution of Forensic and Expert Evidence to DNA Exoneration Cases.”

In 2017, researcher Gerald LaPorte (“LaPorte”) published his findings on the relationship of forensic science to wrongful convictions. LaPorte observed that the coding of forensic science as a factor in 342 DNA exoneration cases did not match between the IP and NRE lists. The IP had identified forensic science as having a contributory role in 157 of those cases. Yet the NRE had identified forensic science as a factor in only 133 of the same cases.

LaPorte was raising important questions about the accuracy of the data pertaining to the alleged role forensic science actually plays in contributing to wrongful convictions. The questions in LaPorte’s report concerned “which disciplines were responsible, ...

Deceiving Themselves: How Cops’ False Belief in Their Ability to Detect Deception From Nonverbal Cues Leads to Miscarriages of Justice

by Casey J. Bastian

“The mistakes of lie detection are costly to society and people victimized by misjudgments. The stakes are really high.” — Maria Hartwig, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

For as long as human beings have communicated, many have practiced the art of deception. That people can lie is a fact of everyday life, and lie they will. Research suggests that an average person will tell two lies per day. Research also shows that during a typical 10-minute conversation, 60 percent of people will tell a lie. Obviously, some lie much more frequently than others. The motives are as varied as the actual lies.

The great majority of lies are low-stakes. These are the “little white lies” – about personal attitudes, feelings, and opinions – told to preserve and support social cohesiveness. And while some damage can be caused by these lies, they are generally harmless.

The darker side of deceptions and lies are considered high-stakes. Lies people consider serious, often told to hide significant transgressions such as cheating on a test or an infidelity to a spouse. The most serious of these are told to hide criminal acts and are told for the purpose of ...

America’s Latest “War on” … Protestors

by Casey J. Bastian

For decades, American law enforcement apparatuses have embraced an ideology of going to “war” against the American people. Under the guise of being “tough on crime,” addressing societal issues has instead become an opportunity to offend individual liberty and rights. This country has chosen to go to war on drugs, crime, terror – take your pick. All have been failures. Now there appears to be a war on peaceful protests.

Since George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, several people have been killed while protesting. On June 1, 2020, the National Guard killed David McAtee in Louisville, Kentucky. The next day, undercover police in Vallejo, California, gunned down Sean Monterrosa. The U.S. Marshals “hunted down” and “neutralized” both Michael Reinoehl and Winston Smith, Jr. The year 2022 “was the most lethal year on record for police-civilian encounters.”

This year, police have killed Tyree Nichols, Keenan Anderson, and Manuel Esteban Paez Teran. Teran was killed in Atlanta’s South River Forest protesting the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center (“APSTC”), infamously referred to as “Cop City.” For two years, Teran was one of hundreds living in tents and treehouses hoping to block ...

Beware of Smart Devices That Infringe on Your Privacy

by Casey J. Bastian

The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (“STOP”) released a review of smart devices entitled: “The Trojan House.” The revelations are concerning. If you like your privacy and don’t want strangers, hackers, and law enforcement surveilling you, especially in your home, “smart” devices are a dumb idea. Smart ...

The Power of the Prosecutor in America: Abuse, Misconduct, Unaccountability, and Miscarriages of Justice

by Casey J. Bastian

The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation than any other person in America.

– Robert Jackson, Former U.S. Attorney (1940)

To many people, prosecutors are viewed as the “Champion of the People.” Americans rightly expect those given such tremendous responsibility and incredible power ...

Minneapolis Police Department Surveillance Operation Kneels on the Neck of the First Amendment

by Casey J. Bastian

The actions and eventual trial of Derek Chauvin were at the center of multiple protests. The people had had enough of police brutality and a lack of accountability in Minneapolis; they were angry and wanted everyone to take notice. Law enforcement took notice and responded by ...

The District of Colombia: Inside the Most Expansive Surveillance Network in America

by Casey J. Bastian

Washington D.C. is not simply home to our nation’s capital or the seat of some of its most powerful institutions. What many people don’t realize is that the metropolitan area contains more officers from local, regional, and federal agencies per capita than any other city in ...

Registry of Approved Standards Adds Two New 3D Firearm Analysis Standards

by Casey J. Bastian

In an effort to improve forensic firearm and toolmark analysis, the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (“OSAC”) has updated its Registry of Approved Standards. OSAC is administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) and was launched in 2014. NIST claims ...

 

 

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