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Articles by Jo Ellen Nott

NYPD Has Spent Millions of Dollars on Social Media Analysis Tools

by Jo Ellen Nott

The New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) has spent millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money buying products from tech company Voyager Labs that claims it can analyze social media to track and even predict crimes. The NYPD’s 2018 contract with Voyager Labs, worth nearly $9 million, ...

Study Raises Alarms About Inaccuracies and Bias in Gun Forensics Reporting

by Jo Ellen Nott

An October 2023 study from Iowa State University reveals a troubling trend among firearms experts reporting on cartridge-case comparisons. The authors of the study, Gary Wells and Andrew Smith, state that gun forensic examiners are improperly labeling mismatches as “inconclusive,” potentially concealing evidence that could convict ...

Researchers Find Fiber Evidence Lasts Longer Underwater Than Previously Thought

by Jo Ellen Nott

People have long looked to bodies of water as safe places to dispose of and forever hide evidence of their crimes. They believed that by tossing murder weapons or victims into the depths of rivers, lakes, and oceans, they could escape punishment. However, advancements in forensic ...

Who Let the Dogs Out? Robotic Dogs Are the Newest (and Scariest) Surveillance Tech in U.S. Police Departments

by Jo Ellen Nott

After months of debate, the Los Angeles City Council approved the donation of a $280,000 robotic police dog in late May of 2023 in a rowdy public meeting that saw disruptive protestors ejected and banners displayed that read “No Robot Dogs.”

The Boston Dynamics robotic canine ...

DHS Allows CBP and ICE Officers to Create Fake Social Media Profiles to Track Subjects of Interest and Conduct Investigations

by Jo Ellen Nott

The Brennan Center for Justice, a civil rights non-profit law and public policy group, has learned that authorities in several Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) law enforcement agencies are using fake accounts on social media platforms to conduct investigations. Civil rights groups and some legislators criticize ...

DEA’s Domestic Surveillance Mission Creep: Beyond Drugs, Beyond Protests

by Jo Ellen Nott

An ongoing investigation reveals that the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (“DEA”) involvement in domestic surveillance operations far exceeds its drug enforcement mandate.

Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Cato Institute in its litigation against the FBI and the Department of Justice show ...

Harris County, Texas, Settles Civil Rights Case for $1.5 Million Brought by Innocent Man Shot in His Home Five Times by Trigger-Happy Deputy

by Jo Ellen Nott

On December 19, 2023, the Harris County Texas Commissioners Court approved a $1.5 million settlement in Joshua Coucke’s case against Harris County, Texas. Coucke, 35, was an innocent bystander in his own home when he was shot five times by a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy. ...

West Virginia University Forensic Scientists Provide a Benchmark for Analyzing Duct Tape Fracture Edges

by Jo Ellen Nott

A common household item is being analyzed by forensic scientists as the newest tool in crime scene investigations. Researchers at West Virginia University are establishing the standard for the trace evidence left by everyone’s favorite fix-it friend—duct tape.

Duct tape is used to restrain, gag, strangle, ...

House Judiciary Committee Investigates Major Banks for Unauthorized Sharing of Private Financial Information With the FBI

by Jo Ellen Nott

The House Judiciary Committee and Weaponization Select Subcommittee headed by Ohio Republican Jim Jordan is actively investigating major banks for allegedly sharing Americans’ private financial information with the FBI. The committee alleges the banks shared this information without proper legal processes, thus raising concerns about privacy ...

Natural Language Processing Software Can Identify Biased Jury Selection, Has Potential to Be Used in Real Time During Voir Dire

by Jo Ellen Nott

The Journal of Empirical Legal Studies published a ground-breaking study out of Cornell University that proves prosecutors question Black venire persons in a hard-to-detect, but significantly different way, than they question other potential jurors.

“Quantifying Disparate Questioning of Black and White Jurors in Capital Jury Selection” ...

 

 

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