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Articles by Derek Gilna

Study: Unionized Police? Increased Misconduct

by Derek Gilna

According to a December 2017 study by University of Chicago Law School researchers, data from Florida indicate that “shielding officers from the consequences of their actions ... result[s] in increased misconduct.” After Florida sheriffs’ deputies were allowed to unionize in 2003, such incidents of misconduct increased.

The ...

Magistrate Judge: Change Rule of Evidence That Allows Prior Conviction to Impeach Witness

by Derek Gilna

Judicial proceedings are governed by strict rules, but none is more burdensome to convicted offenders than having their testimony disregarded because of a prior felony conviction. Federal proceedings are governed by the Federal Rules of Evidence. Rule 609(a)(1), enacted in 1975, permits attacking a witness’ character for ...

Gang Enhancement: California Court Reverses Denial of Motion for New Trial

by Derek Gilna

The Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division One, reversed a trial court’s denial of a defendant’s motion for a new trial on the issue of whether or not a gang enhancement was supported by the evidence.

Defendant Bobby Watts was convicted of murder, and ...

Washington Supremes: Former Prisoner Can Take Bar

by Derek Gilna

Tara Simmons overcame the burden of two previous jail sentences, 20 months in prison, a bankruptcy, and a drug addiction to graduate from law school, magna cum laude. She has clearly turned her life around. However, earning a law degree is only the first step to actually ...

Not Disclosed: NSA-Obtained Evidence

by Derek Gilna

The Intercept has revealed that Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) evidence is frequently being used to convict people in federal court without disclosing to defendants that such evidence is being relied upon, as required by federal law. “The FBI frequently searches Section 702 databases when it opens ...

Kansas Supremes: No Lifetime Post-Release Supervision

by Derek Gilna

The Kansas Supreme Court vacated sentences in which the district court had imposed lifetime post-release supervision on a defendant convicted of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and illegal use of a communication facility. The Court held that the lifetime post-release supervision requirement for all four ...

Mass. Disciplines Prosecutors: No More Business as Usual

by Derek Gilna

Prosecutorial misconduct is considered a cancer by many criminal justice experts, eating away at the credibility, moral authority, and public support for the criminal justice system. However, the recent actions of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers in sanctioning Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Laura Marshard ...

Law Enforcement Scrambles to Hide Stingray Use

by Derek Gilna

Privacy experts have warned against the use of Stingray technology since its existence was first revealed. This device permits the user to locate individuals by tracking the signals emitted by their cell phones.

Dozens of large law enforcement agencies in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, ...

Georgia Attempts to Limit Access to Official State Law

by Derek Gilna

The State of Georgia has sued to block publication on the internet of its Official Code of Georgia Annotated (“OCGA”) by a nonprofit organization called Public Resource. The group wants to publish the OCGA on the internet in order to make the state’s official laws freely available ...

$ Millions to Settle Philly Police Misconduct Cases

by Derek Gilna

Philadelphia is the latest big city in the spotlight after a series of big-money settlements to resolve dozens of police misconduct cases. According to court records, more than 300 lawsuits against narcotics officers with the Philadelphia Police Department have either settled or are in settlement negotiations, and ...



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