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Articles by Derek Gilna

$225,000 Settlement by Detroit for Unjustified Shooting of Dogs in Drug Case

by Derek Gilna

The city of Detroit, Michigan, has settled a Section 1983 federal civil rights suit filed by Kenneth Savage and Ashley Franklin after police unnecessarily shot three dogs while confiscating potted marijuana plants from the owners’ enclosed yard.

The $225,000 settlement was the most recent payout by ...

Investigation and Arrest of Mail Bomb Suspect Rips Cover Off Postal Surveillance

by Derek Gilna

The recent investigation and arrest of the suspect in the 2018 mail bomb incidents targeting Democratic and liberal figures have focused attention on a virtually unknown federal government surveillance program that has caught the attention of privacy experts.

The so-called “mail cover” program carried out by the ...

U.S. Senator Sounds Alarm on Privacy, Public Safety Concerns of Cell-Site Simulators

by Derek Gilna

A U.S. senator has added his voice to those of privacy experts who have expressed concern about the use of cell-site simulators (“CSSs”) also known as “Stingrays.” According to a letter written by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon to then-U.S. Attorney General ...

DEA Agents Trap Cocaine-Trafficking Suspects with Doctored Blackberrys

by Derek Gilna

Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) agents apparently supplied suspected cocaine-traffickers with smartphones that the users thought were encrypted but instead were modified with eavesdropping technology.

According to Human Rights Watch (“HRW”), it is unknown how often the DEA or other federal agencies have utilized this technique. However, the ...

Montana Supreme Court: City May Not Impose Local Surcharge Not Authorized by State Law for Violation of State Criminal Statute

by Derek Gilna

Corrine Franklin, who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Missoula, Montana, Municipal Court, was assessed a $25 surcharge by the City of Missoula, earmarked for a fund for the City Attorney’s Office. She objected to that surcharge, and on September 11, 2018, the Montana Supreme Court agreed ...

Scottish Psychologist’s Study Focuses On Why the Innocent May Confess to Crimes

by Derek Gilna

Dr. Faye Skelton of Napier University in Edinburgh, Scotland, has published a report detailing the tendency of some individuals to confess to crimes they did not commit. She noted that research from the United States shows that, “over 25% of people later exonerated by DNA evidence made ...

Harris County, Texas Prosecutors Review DWI Cases Impacted by Discredited Expert

by Derek Gilna

The testimony of county scientist Fessessework Guale, who was employed by the Harris County medical examiner’s office for 10 years, has been called into question by the very criminal justice offices who relied on that testimony to obtain convictions in criminal DWI prosecutions.

The Texas Forensic Science ...

Police Misconduct Threatens Over 20,000 New Jersey Drunk Driving Convictions

by Derek Gilna

The New Jersey Supreme Court has issued a report and order that could result in the invalidation of at least 20,667 drunk driving convictions in the state, after a state police officer was charged with criminal misconduct that cast serious doubt on the accuracy of blood-alcohol ...

$384 Million Paid Out by New York City in Last Five Years for Police Misconduct

by Derek Gilna

New York City police misconduct continues to cost New York taxpayers a lot of money. In the past five years, New York City has paid out $384 million in judgments and settlements to resolve scores of lawsuits, including sums as small as $1,500 and as large ...

ACLU Report: A Tale of Two NYCs When It Comes to Policing

by Derek Gilna

A September 2018 report by the New York American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) argues that the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) continues to target minority communities by following a broken-windows theory of policing.

The theory “posits that if minor crimes are allowed to happen in a ...


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