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Articles by Edward Lyon

Junk Sciences and Scientists Strike Again in Texas

by Ed Lyon

It is an unfortunate byproduct in the age of mass incarceration in the United States that there are a great many wrongful convictions. Despite its negative reputation in the criminal justice area, Texas has been slowly reversing this disturbing trend. Dallas County was among the very first ...

Philadelphia Pays Out Millions to Settle Police Shootings

by Ed Lyon

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Supposedly the “city of brotherly love.” The sentiment expressed in the moniker is apparently not shared, observed, or even practiced by some members of the city’s police department.

During an August 2012 traffic stop, police officer Cyrus Mann shot 28-year-old Hassan Pratt to death. This ...

Crime Labs Falling Short

by Ed Lyon

Whenever most people hear about DNA testing in criminal cases, they invariably envision well-equipped, sterile labs like the ones depicted in television dramas such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation or Bones. However, a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) that was finished in ...

Illinois: Chicago Police Misconduct Outed in Database 2.0 Version

by Ed Lyon

On August 16, 2018, a new era of transparency in Chicago police misconduct dawned. An updated version of a public database called the Citizens Police Data Project 2.0 (“CPDP”) makes available disciplinary records of Chicago police officers.

Similar to the nationwide Henry A. Wallace Police Crime Database ...

New York City Cops Using Supposedly Sealed Arrest Records

by Ed Lyon

Since 1976, arrests in New York that do not result in convictions are supposed to be sealed. Sealed meaning inaccessible through any background checks or public records, anywhere. This is meant to ensure that citizens acquitted of a charged offense will not endure any future hardship simply ...

Oklahoma’s Railroading its Citizens into Prison

by Ed Lyon

Lynch mobs, vigilance committees, and necktie parties. These terms evoke what many stories refer to as frontier justice, where groups of people operated outside the established frameworks of law and order, sheriffs and courts, to wreak revenge on other people, making such groups outlaws.

In Oklahoma today, ...

Free at Last! California Modifies Its Felony Murder Law, Helping up to 800 Prisoners Currently Serving Life Sentences

by Ed Lyon

California’s felony murder statute, as originally enacted, is quite draconian in its inclusiveness. A person could be convicted and punished as severely as the primary participant in a felony murder even if the person was not present at the murder scene—they might have been a getaway driver, ...

ACLU Sues ‘Crooked’ Public Defender in Georgia

by Ed Lyon

Reid Zeh is Glynn County, Georgia’s public defender. As a lawyer, his personal conduct is far from the sterling standard expected from members of the Bar. In March 2018, he was jailed on a battery charge. He promptly made bail and hired a lawyer to represent him. ...

$1.275 million settlement awarded to sheriff whistleblower who testified in federal obstruction case

by Ed Lyon

 Tara Jan Adams was an exceptional deputy in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department ("LASD"). Striving for a patrol officer’s slot, she began her career in the records division, where it also ended, due to her integrity and honesty.

During an FBI investigation into L.A. county jail ...

The power of sheriffs rooted in U.S. history

by Ed Lyon

Three of the most recognizable and well-known facets of U.S. society originated in England: the language, the writ of habeas corpus and the office of sheriff.

The first sheriff in the colonial United States was elected in Northampton County, Virginia.

There is a popularly elected sheriff in ...



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