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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Data Mining: Law Enforcement Pays Cash for Your Private Data and Saves on the Hassle of Complying With the Fourth Amendment

by Douglas Ankney

According to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal, a company known as Near Intelligence purchases individuals’ private data from brokers who usually sell the data to advertisers, but Near Intelligence sells the data to government contractors who then pass the data along to federal military and ...

Steady Improvement in Techniques for the Analysis of Degraded DNA

by Douglas Ankney

DNA, while remarkably resilient, may be degraded by exposure to ultraviolet radiation, extreme temperatures, humidity, and microbial activity. These exposures may result in “single-strand and double-strand breaks, depurination, deamination, and crosslinks.” Consequently, the DNA “becomes fragmented, diminishing its suitability for traditional forensic analysis methods that rely on ...

Study Finds Public Defenders’ Heavy Workloads Prevent Effective Representation, Amendments to 50-Year-Old Guidelines Recommended

by Douglas Ankney

The National Public Defense Workload Study (“Study”) examined the guidelines created by the National Advisory Committee in 1973 (“NAC Standards”) that determine the recommended number of cases annually that a public defender should handle. The Study was conducted by a team of attorneys and researchers from the ...

Identification Via DNA, Fingerprints, and 3D Scanning of Footwear

by Douglas Ankney

Eyewitness identifications of possible perpetrators of crime are often unreliable. Scientific identifications by comparison of DNA profiles and fingerprint exemplars are, by far, more trustworthy. But coming soon may be identifications made by analysis of 3D-scanned footwear.

Analysis of footwear impressions left at crime scenes has long ...

California Court of Appeal: Probation Condition Prohibiting Possession of Pornography Impermissibly Vague

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, held that a probation condition prohibiting possession of pornographic materials was impermissibly vague.

Michael Gruis pleaded no contest to one count of possession of child pornography in violation of California Penal Code § 311.11(a). The trial court suspended imposition ...

DOJ Spending Over $6 Billion in Firms to Seize Innocent Citizens’ Property Via Civil Asset Forfeiture

by Douglas Ankney

According to a September 2023 report from, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is “shelling out more than $6 billion to private companies to manage its asset forfeiture investigations.” When the government merely alleges that money, homes, land, boats, cars, and other property is linked to ...

Survey: Why Defendants Cooperate with the Government in a Process Described as ‘Unfair’ by Defense Attorneys

by Douglas Ankney

“Cooperation is a horrible thing for clients. Doing law enforcement’s job and requiring someone to bargain for their freedom encourages an ugly, unfair, and unjust system to become even more so that way.”

Those are the words of an anonymous federal defense attorney who participated in a ...

Maryland Supreme Court Announces Expectation of Privacy Covers Electronic Data, Not Physical Devices, Thus War-rantless Search of Government’s Copy of Defendant’s Hard Drive After Consent Revoked Violated Fourth Amendment

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Maryland (formerly the Court of Appeals) held that a defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the digital content of the hard drive to his computer; therefore, a warrantless search of the Government’s copy of the hard drive after the defendant had ...

Fifth Circuit Affirms Habeas Relief Granted to Capital Defendant Where Counsel Failed to Impeach State’s Pivotal Wit-ness with Available Forensic Evidence

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana’s grant of habeas relief to a capital defendant where defense counsel failed to impeach the State’s pivotal witness with available forensic evidence.

Jarrell Neal, his half-brother Zannie ...

Human DNA Retrieved From Dogs Might Provide Evidence

by Douglas Ankney

Researchers from Flinders University in Australia published the results of a study involving the work of the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department and Deakin University regarding the collection of human DNA from 20 dogs from separate households. Wearing clean gloves, researchers swabbed samples from the dogs’ chests, ...



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