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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

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

by Christopher Zoukis

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 ...

Compensating the Exonerated: State Laws Are Arbitrary and Senseless

by Christopher Zoukis

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 ...

More Than Half of 2015 Police Killings Not Properly Documented in Government Data

by Christopher Zoukis

A new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has found that over half of all police killings in 2015 were not properly documented as such in official government records.

The study was published online October 10, 2017 in PLOS Medicine. It hypothesized that ...

Massachusetts High Court Vacates OUI Conviction for Improper Jury Instruction in Which Judge Told Jury to Disregard the Absence of Any Sobriety Tests

by Christopher Zoukis

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that a defendant accused of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (“OUI”) has the right to prevent a jury instruction that could cause the jury to speculate about facts not in evidence.

Michael Wolfe was arrested and charged ...

Government Attempt to Shoehorn Union Activity into Hobbs Act Violation Rejected by First Circuit

by Christopher Zoukis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit handed the federal government a significant defeat in a September 8, 2017 opinion, in which it threw out all but one conviction of two union members.

Joseph Burhoe and John Perry were members of Teamsters Local 82, a ...

In Historic Move, 15 Cases Related to Crooked Chicago Cop Thrown Out

by Christopher Zoukis

Cook County, Illinois Chief Criminal Judge LeRoy Martin tossed the convictions of 15 criminal defendants on November 16, 2017 because the cases were linked to disgraced former Chicago Police Sergeant Ronald Watts.

All of the men whose cases were overturned claimed that they had been framed by ...

The Insanity Defense: It’s Not What You Think

by Christopher Zoukis

In the American criminal justice system, a defendant who commits a crime while “insane” cannot be held legally responsible for that crime. In such cases, legal guilt is not established, and the defendant may not be punished. Instead, a defendant who is found not guilty by reason ...

Stingray Technology Lets G-Men Into Your Pocket (and Your House, and Your Car...)

by Christopher Zoukis

It’s 3 a.m. Do you know what your cell phone is doing?

With the advent of stingray technology, it just might be reporting your location to government officials. Or it might be transmitting data to the authorities. Your phone may even be acting as a microphone, allowing ...

Absurd, Abusive, and Outrageous: The Creation of Crime and Criminals in America

by Christopher Zoukis

The U.S. is a world leader in the jailing and imprisoning of its own citizens. The FBI estimates that local, state, and federal authorities have carried out more than a quarter-billion arrests in the past 20 years. As a result, the American criminal justice system is a ...

Sex Offender Registries: An Easy Sell, But Do They Work?

by Christopher Zoukis

Sex offender registries are the norm in all 50 states and are an easy sell, politically. But the actual value of these laws, in terms of public safety, is increasingly being questioned. Do these laws actually provide the protection that the public presumes?

Registry laws are designed ...



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