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Articles by David Reutter

Michigan Court Forced to End “Pay or Stay” Policy

by David Reutter

A Michigan state district court judge was ordered to end a “pay or stay” policy that he used to toss poor defendants in jail for their inability to pay fines, fees and court costs.

The ACLU of Michigan assigned interns and fellows to watch the court proceedings ...

Reform of Florida’s Criminal Justice Laws Urged

by David M. Reutter

Florida taxpayers spend around $2.3 billion annually on the state’s Department of Corrections--twice what they spend on Florida’s 28 public colleges combined. At least five other states also led by Republican governors and GOP legislative majorities--Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska and Utah--have enacted criminal justice reform measures ...

Study Indicates Racial Bias Skews Criminality Risk Assessment Tool

by David Reutter

The use of software to predict future criminality is increasing in popularity. However, a study by ProPublica, an independent, nonprofit news agency that produces investigative journalism, found that prediction programs are racially skewed.

Risk assessments are gaining traction in courtrooms across the United States; some jurisdictions use ...

Pennsylvania’s Lifetime Employment Ban Unconstitutional

By David M. Reutter

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania held the lifetime ban on employment for persons convicted of enumerated felonies and seeking employ in facilities that care for older adults violates the Pennsylvania constitution’s due process clause.

The ruling came in a petition for review by five persons with ...

Alford Pleas: Prosecutors’ Choice for the Wrongfully Convicted

by David M. Reutter

When confronted with wrongful convictions, many prosecutors are forcing the exonerated on remand to make a Hobson’s choice: risk another trial or enter an Alford plea and go home. Faced with the uncertainties of a retrial and a desire to be free after years of wrongful ...

Eleventh Circuit Holds Defendants Voluntarily Consented to Search in Police Ruse to Search Home Purportedly to Investigate Burglary

by David Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld a warrantless home search that was consented to as a result of a ruse by law enforcement to obtain evidence of credit card fraud under the guise of investigating a burglary of the home.

On two occasions, ...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules State Sex Offender Registration Law Violates Ex Post Facto Clause

by David Reutter

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the registration sections of Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) are punitive and thus cannot be applied retroactively. The Court concluded that applying SORNA’s registration requirements to a defendant convicted of offenses prior to SORNA’s effective date but sentenced ...

Proof of Law Enforcement Duty Is Primary Job to Establish Peace Officer Status

by David Reutter

The California Supreme Court reversed a conviction of misdemeanor battery upon a peace officer because the prosecution failed to prove harbor officers’ primary duty was law enforcement.

Bryan Pennington was not authorized to enter the Santa Barbara Marina. The manager witnessed his unauthorized entry and called the ...

U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit Holds Waiver of FOIA Rights in Plea Agreement Unenforceable

by David Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) waiver as part of a plea agreement is unenforceable on public policy grounds. The Court emphasized it was not holding that FOIA waivers in plea agreements are always unenforceable, but ...

$1.1 Million False Arrest Award Affirmed

by David Reutter

A federal jury’s $1.1 million awardin a false arrest claim was affirmed by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This case stemmed from the arrest of Richard Wesley, a counselor and intervention specialist at Sixth District Elementary School in Covington, Kentucky. Wesley was informed on February ...



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