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Articles by Jo Ellen Nott

California AB 2773 Requires Police to State Reason for Traffic Stops Before Questioning

by Jo Ellen Knott

On January 1, 2024, Assembly Bill 2773 took effect in California. The law requires police officers to tell drivers why they have been pulled over before questioning them on other matters. This aims to curb pretextual traffic stops, where officers pull someone over for a minor ...

FBI Visit to Oklahoma Woman in Response to Social Media Post Sparks Debate on Free Speech

by Jo Ellen Knott

On March 19, 2024, an Egyptian-Muslim woman in Oklahoma filmed an encounter with FBI agents who visited her home to discuss social media posts. The video went viral, sparking debate on free speech and government surveillance. Free speech advocates worry the FBI may be exceeding its ...

New Data From BOP Reveals Technical Violations Account for Nearly a Third of First Step Act Recidivism

by Jo Ellen Nott

The Council on Criminal Justice (“CCJ”) released a December 2023 update to its original report (August 2023) on the impact of the First Step Act (“FSA”) on recidivism. The update separates new crimes from technical violations to give a more accurate picture of how the legislation ...

Cellebrite Asks Law Enforcement Clients to Keep Its Phone Hacking Tech Secret

by Jo Ellen Nott

Cellebrite—the Israeli digital intelligence company that provides data extraction tools for law enforcement to collect, analyze, and manage digital data—is asking its customers to keep the technology a secret.

For years, Cellebrite has tried to keep the technology of its products secret and has urged law ...

Research Shows It Makes Sense to Hire Individuals with Criminal Records

by Jo Ellen Knott

Rand, a nonprofit research organization, published a research brief on January 9, 2024, that proves hiring individuals with criminal records is not risky and has benefits for the employer, the individual seeking employment post-incarceration, and society.

The brief titled “Resetting the Record: The Facts on Hiring ...

AI Disrupts Established Forensic Fingerprint Analysis—Not Every Fingerprint Is Unique

by Jo Ellen Knott

On January 10, 2024, Forensic Mag delivered astonishing news: Research out of Columbia University and the University at Buffalo radically challenged the long-held belief that fingerprints from different fingers of the same person are always unique and unmatchable.

The research team, led by Columbia Engineering undergraduate ...

Time Served Under the First Step Act: Reduction, Not Revolution

by Jo Ellen Knott

The First Step Act (“FSA”), a 2018 law designed to curb recidivism among formerly incarcerated individuals on the federal level, is showing modest but positive results in reducing the amount of time people serve in the federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) system.

An analysis performed by ...

‘Trail ’Em, Nail ’Em, and Jail ’Em’: Issues Private Probation and Parole

by Jo Ellen Nott

Vince Schiraldi talks private probation and parole in his new book Mass Supervision: Probation, Parole, and the Illusion of Safety and Freedom. When Schiraldi was selected to run the troubled New York Department of Corrections (“DOC”) during the COVID pandemic crisis, the New York Times called ...

Crime Scene Context: Bridging the Gap Between Evidence and Reconstruction

by Jo Ellen Nott

F.D. Zigan, a veteran crime scene investigator who specializes in fingerprint analysis for the Roswell Police Department in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, writes about the disconnect between evidence collection and scene reconstruction in Forensic Magazine, November 2023.

Zigan points out that in a world of specialization, a ...

Unconscious Bias: Facial Features Can Influence Life-or-Death Decisions in Verdicts

by Jo Ellen Nott

Imagine a courtroom where a defendant’s fate is being decided. But instead of evidence, jurors rely on an unconscious judgment based on downturned lips or a heavy brow. Scientists at Columbia University have proven that people unfairly believe that those specific facial features mark a person ...



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