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Articles by Kevin Bliss

The ACLU Calls for a Moratorium on Blanket Recording of ALPR Footage

by Kevin W. Bliss

The American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) has published an appeal to the general public asking for organized opposition to the encroaching blanket surveillance company, Flock Safety. Concerns continue to be expressed regarding the company’s desire to catalog the movement of every citizen, and make that data available not only on a nationwide scale but worldwide.

Flock Safety is the nation’s first comprehensive mass surveillance data storage company. It installs unregulated automatic license plate recognition (“ALPR”) software driven cameras around a contracted city and captures images of every vehicle passing the area for storage. That database can then be searched any time in the future by law enforcement agencies who have secured the company’s services. This includes foreign law enforcement agencies.

Captured plates are automatically run against watch lists at the local, state, and national levels as well as the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (“NCIC”), AMBER alerts, and traffic violations. Homeowners, business owners, and others with access to independent camera footage can add their files to the already expansive database. In return, owners can create their own hit lists that will generate a cellphone alarm when the target vehicle enters their neighborhood. Already, over 2,000 cities ...

Memphis Police Beat Man to Death

by Kevin W. Bliss

Five Memphis police officers have been charged with second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct, and official oppression in the death of the 29-year-old Black motorist Tyre Nichols.

Ex-Memphis police Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III, and Justin Smith pulled Nichols over in a routine traffic stop January 7, 2023. The stop quickly escalated into an incident of extreme violence. The police report states that Nichols and the five ex-police got into a confrontation when they first pulled Nichols over during the initial stop and then again once he was placed under arrest. At this point, Nichols endured a beating so brutal that it ultimately resulted in his death.

The Guardian reported that the five ex-police beat Nichols continuously for three solid minutes. When firefighter paramedics later arrived on the scene, they were forced to give Nichols preliminary treatment for his injuries and then rush him to the hospital for more extensive care. Nichols died three days later from complications.

An independent autopsy authorized by Nichols’ family revealed that Nichols died from the extensive bleeding caused by the beating. “He was a human piñata for those police officers,” said the ...

Louisiana Jury Selection Illegal According to Recently Passed Bill

by Kevin W. Bliss

January 23, 2023, the Orleans Parish criminal court system halted all active jury trials until further information concerning the summons prices for jury selection could be supplied to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in response to allegations that the system precluded people with felony convictions from serving in violation of the Sixth Amendment right to a jury of one’s peers.

The Louisiana Legislature passed a bill in 2021 which allowed ex-offenders to serve on juries as long as it has been at least five years since the completion of their sentence including any probation or parole associated with the commitment, and the individual was not currently under indictment. The bill was signed into law by Governor John Bel Edwards and became effective August 1, 2021.

Yet to date, summonses sent to prospective jurors still read that felony convictions are grounds for being barred from serving on juries. And, that online questionnaires discussed felony convictions but not sentence or probation/parole completion dates.

Emily Posner, lawyer for the Voice of the Experienced (“VOTE”) received a letter from Orleans Parish Chief Judge Robin Pittman stating all venires for jury selection through February would be deferred, allowing the Fourth ...

A Brief History of K-9 Units in Law Enforcement

by Kevin W. Bliss

The history of canine use in modern day policing began in the 1950s and ‘60s as a response to the “Negro problem” and has been used as a tool to “civilize the savagery of urban orders,” according to civil rights advocates of that time.

Societies began ...

Technology Allows for Overbroad Searches on Warrants

by Kevin W. Bliss

Geofence location and reverse search warrants are the new trends in law enforcement agencies’ criminal investigations. But, their use concerns civil rights advocates because of the overbroad scope of their results and the means by which the data is obtained.

Geofence search warrants are issued to ...

It’s Time for Jaywalking Laws to Take a Hike

by Kevin W. Bliss

The crime of jaywalking becomes more and more uncommon as communities across the nation push to have the charge decriminalized or abolished.

Jaywalking is a term started around 1910-1920 as a means of denigrating those without vehicles walking the streets. At the time the term “jay” ...

A Brief History of K-9 Units in Law Enforcement

by Kevin W. Bliss

The history of canine use in modern day American policing began in the 1950s and 1960s, during the tumultuous Civil Rights Era and has since been used as a tool to “civilize the savagery of urban order by pacifying urban space,” according to many civil rights ...

911 Call Analysis Debunked as Pseudoscience – But It Helped Send Many to Prison

by Kevin W. Bliss

The 911 call analysis method used to convict hundreds of defendants for the past decade has been debunked as pseudoscience. Civil rights activists call to have prosecutors held responsible for using it in cases, while being cognizant of its inadmissibility.

Tracy Harpster is the chief architect ...

Sensitive Information in Police Database Vulnerable to Hacking

by Kevin W. Bliss

The law enforcement tech company, ODIN – which catalogs tactical plans for police raids, criminal investigation information, and the personal data of any person coming into contact with police whether as victim, criminal, or confidential informant – was hacked January of this year after warnings of ...

$100 Million Awarded in Federal Grant Money for Recidivism Reduction

by Kevin W. Bliss

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (“BJA”), created by the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), announced on October 5, 2022, that it was awarding over $100 million in grant money to programs geared toward recidivism reduction and the successful reentry of juveniles and adults into society after a ...

 

 

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