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Articles by Jacob Barrett

Common Sense Changes Can Fix the Cracks in Forensic Science’s Foundation

by Jacob Barrett

There is no universal requirementin forensic science to be an accredited laboratory, and instead of accrediting an entire lab, many accreditation vendors allow labs to choose which sections to accredit, e.g., just DNA or firearms. That is a problem, says Brian Gestring, forensic scientist and consultant.

Gestring ...

Government Snitches Rake in Millions as Their Testimony Is the Leading Cause of Wrongful Convictions

by Jacob Barrett and Dale Chappell

The general public’s familiarity with the government’s use of informants in criminal proceedings is largely confined to movies and TV documentaries. Yet, every year, the government negotiates tens of thousands of deals “off the record,” which are subject to few restrictions and have little ...

Study Shows Crime Reduced When Crisis Teams, as Opposed to Police, Respond to Low-Level Crimes

by Jacob Barrett

In June 2021, Denver, Colorado, launched its Support Team Assistance Response (“STAR”) program that consists of a two-person crisis response team, a medic and a clinician, who are called to provide crisis care, rather than arrest offenders.

A report published in the Science Advances journal by Stanford’s ...

$670,000 Awarded to Use Virtual Reality to Evaluate Eyewitness Accuracy

by Jacob Barrett

The National Science Foundation (“NSF”) awarded University of Arkansas Professor James Lampinen, and a  team of researchers, just under$670,000 to study the relationship between eyewitness confidence and accuracy across a range of variables using virtual reality.

Professor Lampinen and Assistant Professor of Psychology at Oklahoma State University ...

Missouri Supreme Court: Witness’ Two-Way Live Video Feed Testimony Violates Confrontation Clause

 by Jacob Barrett

In a case of first impression in Missouri, the Supreme Court of Missouri held a circuit court violated Rodney A. Smith’s constitutional right to confrontation under both the U.S. Constitution and Missouri Constitution by permitting two-way live video feed testimony at trial of an adult, non-victim ...

Tennessee County Disproportionately Jails Black Children, and It’s Not Getting Better

by Jacob Barrett

Tennessee’s Rutherford County hasbeenunderscrutinyafteritwaswidelycriticizedforitsdysfunctional juvenilejusticesystem.TheCountyhasbeenincarceratingBlackchildrenatadisproportionatelyhighrate, accordingtodataobtainedbyProPublicaandNashvillePublicRadio(“NPR”).Themostrecentdatarevealthat theCounty’sincarcerationofBlackyouthisanextremedeparturefromnationaltrendsandtheCounty’sracial disparityisgettingworse,notbetter.

ProPublica and NPR documented how Rutherford County charged 11 Black children for a crime that did not exist. Four of the children were confined in the County’s juvenile jail.

Followingthepublicationofthestorybythetwonewsorganizations,theyreceivedadditionalreportsfromthe TennesseeCommissiononChildrenandYouththatexposedwhiletheCountywaslockingupsomanykids illegally,itwasalsoincarceratingadisproportionately  highpercentageofBlackchildren.

RutherfordCountybooked childrenintoitsjuvenilejailatleast6,350timesbetweenJuly2010andJune2021, accordingtotheyouthcommissionsmonitoringreports.Thirty-eightpercentofthosewereBlackchildren.That percentageistroublinginlightofthefactBlackchildrenonlymakeup onlyabout16%ofchildreninthe County. ...

A Guide to Getting the Most Out of a Plea Bargain

by Jacob Barrett

Highly experienced lawyers and new lawyers alike can improve their negotiation skills (just as they improve their trial skills). But without legal training, what can you do?

Lawyers often use checklists as part of learning how to handle certain types of cases or defenses. This article is ...

Fourth Circuit: Bodily Injury Sentence Enhancement for Robbery Inapplicable Where Victim Sustained ‘Momentary’ Injury and Sought ‘Precautionary’ Medical Treatment

by Jacob Barrett

TheU.S.CourtofAppeals for theFourthCircuitruledadistrictcourtcannot simply“guess”that a victim suffered a qualifying “bodily injury” in connection with a robbery to trigger the two-level, bodily injury sentence enhancement under U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (“Guidelines”) § 2B3.1(b)(3)(A).

MelvinThomasLewisandtwoothersrobbedapawnshop.Lewisstruckthe managerinthebackoftheheadthreetimes,causinghimtofalltothefloor.Thepoliceobserveda“redspot”onthebackofthemanager’s head, and he stated that he felt “dizzy.” He was taken to the hospital ...

Fifth Circuit: Aggravated Assault in Texas Does Not Qualify as Aggravated Felony Under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(b)(2), Reentry With Prior Aggravated Felony

by Jacob Barrett

OnremandfromtheU.S. SupremeCourt, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held in light of Borden v.United States,141 S. Ct. 1817 (2021), Alan Victor Gomez Gomez’s conviction for aggravated assault in Texasdoes not qualify as an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. § 1326(b)(2).

In a drunken ...

Oregon Bans Police Lying to Obtain Confessions from Juveniles

by Jacob Barrett

On May 24, 2021 the Oregon Legis­lature passed SB 418 banning police from lying to juveniles in order to obtain a confession during interrogations. The bill is part of a number of youth reform measures recently passed by the Legislature. Oregon is only the second state to ...



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