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Articles by Kevin Bliss

Wisconsin Considers Updating Its Cash Bail System

by Kevin Bliss

Wisconsin’s constitution establishes that cash bail only be set as a means of ensuring defendants’ appearance at court hearings, but opponents say the system only ensures that the poor remain incarcerated while the rich enjoy freedom.

Defendants who cannot afford bail can remain behind bars for days ...

Erie County Convicted 11 People of Violating a Law Ruled Unconstitutional Over 20 Years Ago by Federal Court

by Kevin Bliss

Erie County, New York, wrongfully convicted 11 people under a law that was ruled unconstitutional over 20 years ago — yet is still listed in the state’s penal code and being enforced. 

District Attorney John J. Flynn stated that the county never received notification sent out ...

Law Enforcement and Lobbyists Battle Over Need for Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

by Kevin Bliss

Texas used civil and criminal asset forfeiture to obtain more than $50 million in cash and property in 2017, according to the Texas Attorney General’s Office. Everything from cash and cars to clothing, art, and other property were seized and sold.

Prosecutors and police claim that asset ...

NYPD Gang Database Lacks Transparency, Limits Due Process

by Kevin Bliss

The New York Police Department (“NYPD”) expanded its gang database to include more than 42,000 New Yorkers during a time when gang-related activity is at an all-time low in the city. Placement is secretive with little-known criteria, yet repercussions for being listed are severe and far-reaching ...

Study: Racial Bias Inherent in the Jury Selection Process

by Kevin Bliss

Wake Forest University criminal law professor Ronald Wright recently published a research paper, which proves—with statewide evidence—that the peremptory challenge process of jury selection in North Carolina trials is racially biased. 

Prosecutors, who are first to use their peremptory challenges, remove about 20 percent of the ...

Agencies: Bite-mark Forensics Outdated Science

by Kevin Bliss

Critics contend that bite-mark evidence is an inconclusive forensic science and should be supported by other evidence when used in the prosecution of a defendant for any crime. To date, there have been 31 exonerations from re-examination of cases dependent on bite-mark comparison, according to forensicmag.com ...

Massachusetts Drug Lab Scandal: Thousands More Cases Likely Affected

by Kevin Bliss

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has dismissed about 45,000 charges in more than 30,000 drug cases prosecuted in the state due to misconduct by chemists Sonja Farak of Amherst drug lab and Annie Dookhan of Hinton drug lab.

Both were found to be falsifying records. Farak ...

Police Use of ‘Undercover Friending’ Investigative Technique Unregulated

by Kevin Bliss

The widespread use of social media to conduct unregulated, warrantless, long-term surveillance of individuals has become prevalent among the nation’s police departments. Officers have created Facebook accounts with false identities to follow targeted individuals without consideration for any clear investigative outcome.

Civil liberties groups question department policies ...

Race-Based Arrests Rampant in San Francisco

by Kevin Bliss

The U.S. Supreme Court made targeting by law enforcement of people based on race unconstitutional over 130 years ago, yet the practice still runs rampant in police departments nationwide, says Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project.

He said San Francisco has a ...

Former Balch Springs, Texas, Officer Found Guilty of Murder of Black Teen

by Kevin Bliss

Former Balch Springs, Texas, police officer Roy Oliver was recently found guilty of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The outcome of this case is notable not only because Oliver is a white officer who responded to a call with his partner in suburban Dallas ...




 

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