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Articles by Derek Gilna

Federal Judge Orders Accused Hacker to Post Bail in Bitcoin or Other Cryptocurrency

by Derek Gilna

Martin Marsich, a 25-year-old foreign national, was arrested on August 8, 2018, for hacking into Electronic Arts Company’s internal computer network and gaining access to approximately 25,000 customer accounts that are used to buy items for use in video games.

At his bond hearing, U.S. District Court ...

Security Expert Says FBI Has Unlocked iPhones With Fingerprints of The Deceased

by Derek Gilna

FBI forensics specialist Bob Moledor claims that FBI used the lifeless index finger of at least one dead suspect to unlock his iPhone to search for evidence. In 2016, Moledor said the agency unsuccessfully attempted to use the finger of suspected terrorist Abdul Razak Ali Artan, who ...

Federal Judge Effectively Ends Albuquerque’s Civil Asset Forfeiture Program as Too Focused on Revenue and Not on Due Process

by Derek Gilna

A federal judge in a July 28, 2018, ruling has effectively ended Albuquerque, New Mexico’s civil asset forfeiture program, finding that, “there is a ‘realistic possibility’ that forfeiture officials’ judgment will be distorted by the prospect of institutional gain—the more revenues they raise, the more revenues they ...

Hair Analysis a Useful but Not Foolproof Forensic Tool

by Derek Gilna

Richard Paul, a Bournemouth University, England, chemistry professor and specialist in toxicological hair analysis, maintains that although the relatively new technology can be useful, it is far from foolproof. He cautions that even though the High Court of the United Kingdom has accepted the results of hair ...

Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association Backpedals on Its Pre-Trial Detainee Figures

by Derek Gilna

The Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association was forced to backtrack from an April 19, 2018, statement that Louisiana jails hold about 1,300 individuals in jail over four years without standing trial and 70 for more than five years.

One week later the association stated that the figure is only ...

New York, Faced With Millions in Payouts for Prosecutorial Misconduct, Becomes First State to Create Oversight Commission

by Derek Gilna

New York Governor Mario Cuomo has signed a bill that many hope will rein in prosecutorial misconduct. New York, with 250 exonerations since 1989, has paid out millions of dollars in settlements. In an attempt to address this problem, New York assemblymen in June 2018, passed a ...

U.S. Supreme Court’s Carpenter Decision a Warning to Police on Warrantless Data Searches

by Derek Gilna

The United States Supreme Court’s 2018 decision in the Carpenter case, which set aside a criminal conviction based upon warrantless extended collection of cellphone location data on Fourth Amendment grounds, came from a court that many observers felt was moving in a more conservative direction.  

This decision ...

SCOTUS’ Unanimous Death-Penalty Jury Verdict Decision Affecting Florida Cases

by Derek Gilna

The effects of the January 2016 United States Supreme Court decision in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 6161 (2016), which overturned Florida’s prior law permitting non-unanimous jury verdicts in death penalty cases, continues to reverberate through the Broward County, Florida, criminal justice system. The previous statute ...

Georgia Defense Attorney Wins Another ‘Jury-Nullification’ Case

by Derek Gilna

Catherine Bernard, a former public defender in Laurens County, Georgia, who now practices criminal defense, won yet another “not-guilty” jury verdict in a marijuana possession trial on July 12, 2018, by utilizing a modified “jury nullification” approach. The term “jury nullification” refers to a refusal by juries ...

New York City Decriminalizes Some Public Smoking of Marijuana in Policy Shift

by Derek Gilna

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that as of September 1, 2018, the New York Police Department will no longer arrest individuals for the public smoking of marijuana in some circumstances and instead will issue tickets. However, those with arrest records, convictions, or open warrants ...



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