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Articles by Derek Gilna

$9.5M Settlement Approved by Chicago City Council for Yet Another Excessive Force Case

by Derek Gilna

The Chicago City Council approved yet another multi-million dollar settlement for excessive force on September 5, 2017, but this time, some members complained about the steep tab.  

Jose Lopez was rendered permanently disabled after being Tased by a Chicago Police Officer. After a two-week trial, the jury ...

Cryptocurrency Leveraged to Help People Make Bail

by Derek Gilna

"Money bail,” the process by which courts seek to guarantee a defendant’s appearance in court by forcing him or her to post money before release, has been under assault on several fronts. Prisoner rights advocates have proven in several lawsuits that the system is inherently discriminatory against ...

Deaths From Police Shootings Outstrip Deaths From Terrorists Attacks, Wars

by Derek Gilna

Frank Walton, a writer for the Daily Kos, asserts that data compiled and reported by The Guardian newspaper show that since 9/11, deaths from police shootings exceed deaths from terrorist attacks on Americans. According to Walton, “(w)ith an average of 1,900 people killed annually since 2001, that would be ...

Confronting the Myth in Police-Suspect Knife Confrontations

by Derek Gilna

Each year dozens of suspects armed with knives are needlessly shot and killed by police who feel that they are justified in using deadly force based upon the “21-Foot Rule” contained in many department training manuals. According to former San Jose police officer and criminologist, Dr. Ron ...

$44.7 Million Awarded to Man Shot by Intoxicated Chicago Police Officer With Troubled History

by Derek Gilna

On October 27, 2017, a federal jury awarded a record $44.7 million to a man, Michael LaPorta, who was shot by a drunken off-duty Chicago police officer named Michael Kelly. Kelly and LaPorta, who were friends at the time, were in Kelly’s home, and after a night ...

District Attorney in New York and Aide Indicted for Covering up Beating by Police Chief

by Derek Gilna

Residents in Suffolk County, N.Y. concerned about crime in their community did not need to look any further than the activities of their own district attorney, Thomas Spota, 76, who was federally indicted in October of 2017 for helping to cover up the 2012 beating of a ...

Have the Wars on Drugs and Terror Transformed the U.S. Into a Police State?

by Derek Gilna

"Security checkpoints with identification scanners guard the train station and roads in and out of town. Facial scanners track comings and goings at hotels, shopping malls and banks. Police use hand-held devices to search smartphones for encrypted chat apps, politically charged videos and other suspect content. To ...

2015 Deportations Dropped to Lowest Since 2006

by Derek Gilna

A 2016 report issued by the Department of Homeland Security said that deportations carried out in 2015 by the agency's Immigration and Customs and Enforcement (ICE) had dropped to the lowest level since 2006. According to DHS, deportations peaked in fiscal year 2009 at 409,849, but dropped ...

Supreme Court Sets Aside Complicated Pennsylvania Death Penalty Case

by Derek Gilna

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 9, 2016 overturned the action of relief by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, that vacated the decision of a post conviction court that found the death penalty conviction  of Terrence Williams was tainted by Brady violations by state prosecutors. Williams, who testified ...

Report Finds States’ Suspension of Driver’s Licenses for Unpaid Fines Counterproductive

by Derek Gilna

The Legal Aid Justice Center released a report on September 26, 2017 that makes the argument the laws of 43 states that provide for the suspension of driver’s licenses for non-payment of traffic tickets or other court debt, which bear no relation to driving, creates a cycle ...



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