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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

#Policetoo: 35 States Allow ‘Consensual’ Sex Between Police and Detainees

by Christopher Zoukis

On September 15, 2017, 18-year-old Anna Chambers was taken into custody by two NYPD detectives on suspicion of smoking marijuana. According to Chambers, the detectives handcuffed her, led her into the back of an unmarked van with tinted windows, and raped her repeatedly. About an hour later, ...

Durham, North Carolina, Opts Out of Military-Style Training for Police

by Christopher Zoukis

The Durham, North Carolina City Council faced an unusual debate at a recent meeting. Activist groups urged the council to prohibit city police officers from participating in police training exchanges with Israel. According to the groups, such training promotes the militarization of police forces. Council members agreed ...

Seventh Circuit Affirms Suppression of Evidence Because Traffic Stop Unreasonably Prolonged

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a district court’s ruling that evidence obtained from an unlawfully extended traffic stop must be suppressed. The March 7, 2018, decision upheld the lower court’s ruling that the police officer did not have the reasonable suspicion ...

Biased Facial Recognition Systems Are Coming to a Law Enforcement Agency Near You

by Christopher Zoukis

A new report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) has revealed some disturbing facts about facial recognition systems, which are becoming very popular law enforcement investigative tools.

According to the February 2018 report, one in every two American adults is already in a law enforcement facial recognition ...

Fifth Circuit Grants § 2255 Petition Challenging Failure to Register Conviction for Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a district court’s denial of a former prisoner’s 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition, in which he claimed that his guilty plea to charges of failure to register as a sex offender was the result of ineffective ...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Vacates Intellectually Disabled Prisoner’s Death Sentence

by Christopher Zoukis

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania vacated a convicted murderer’s death sentence after concluding that the prisoner suffered from an intellectual disability, rendering him ineligible for the death penalty. The February 5, 2018, order replaced the defendant’s death sentence with a sentence of life imprisonment.

James VanDivner was ...

Ninth Circuit: Younger Abstention Not Appropriate in Habeas Case Challenging Lack of Constitutionally Sufficient Bail Hearing

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on February 9, 2018, that Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 (1971) does not require a U.S. district court to abstain from hearing a petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the conditions of pretrial ...

Is FBI Using Classified Tools for Everyday Investigations?

by Christopher Zoukis

The website reported on a Department of Justice Inspector General’s report looking into how the FBI uses classified tools meant for national security investigations in run-of-the-mill cases. It seems that government-developed software hacks, malware, and surveillance equipment—classified, national security tools—are finding their way across a “line ...

Risk Assessment Software: Biased and No Better Than Human Behavior Prediction

by Christopher Zoukis

Risk assessment software is all the rage in criminal justice circles. Programs such as COMPAS — Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions — are hailed as the ideal method for answering the all-important question: Will a given individual reoffend?

Algorithms and data, after all, are (supposedly) ...

$25,000 Settlement Offer from NYPD over Assault, False Arrest Accepted by Parolee

by Christopher Zoukis

Jose Perez, a parolee who was assaulted, arrested and re-imprisoned over charges that were later dismissed, agreed to a $25,000 settlement with New York City in response to a federal suit alleging violation of his civil rights.

     On June 24, 2010, Perez was returning to his ...



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