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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Forensic Genetic Genealogy: Law Enforcement’s Rapid Adoption Outpacing Adoption of Laws and Ethical Guidelines Regulating Its Use

by Matt Clarke

 

Millions of people have submitted oral cheek (buccal) swab samples to companies like 23andMe and Ancestry hoping to use their DNA to trace their ancestors and locate relatives in a process known as genetic genealogy. By comparing their DNA to that of other customers, the companies ...

Report Finds Inaccurate Field Drug Tests Major Cause of Wrongful Convictions

by Matthew T. Clarke

 

A report published in January 2024 by the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania’s Carey School of Law revealed that false positives in presumptive field test used in drug arrests are one of the most common, and possibly ...

Report Finds Bad Forensic Evidence Leads to More Wrongful Convictions and Establishes Forensic Errors Typology

by Matt Clarke

The National Institute of Justice and independent research consultant Dr. John Morgan collaborated “to analyze and describe the impact of forensic science on erroneous convictions that the National Registry of Exonerations classified as being associated with ‘false or misleading forensic evidence.’ … Findings from this work led ...

Maine Supreme Court: Defense Counsel Ineffective for Opening Door to Otherwise Inadmissible Evidence of Bad Character

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine reversed a defendant’s domestic violence conviction after finding her attorney was ineffective for opening the door to prejudicial evidence about her parenting and failing to object to the prosecutor’s improper introduction of evidence about having a child removed from her home. ...

Nebraska Supreme Court Announces Probation Search Unlawful When Conducted After Original Term Expired and Before Hearing on Extending Term

by Matthew Clarke

The Supreme Court of Nebraska held that a term of probation cannot be extended beyond its expiration date based on the mere fact that an Information for Revocation of Probation (“IRP”) had been filed and a revocation hearing could not reasonably be scheduled prior to the expiration ...

California Court of Appeal Reverses Denial of Full Resentencing Under SB 483

by Matt Clarke

The Court of Appeal of California, Sixth Appellate District, issued an opinion reversing a trial court’s refusal to apply Senate Bill (“SB”) 483 to a previously-remanded sentence. It also held that the trial court was not required to strike a prior serious felony enhancement.

An 86-count indictment ...

Sixth Circuit Announces Due Process Right to ‘Prompt’ Post-Seizure Hearing While Government Deciding Whether to Initiate Forfeiture Proceedings and Holds Wayne County’s Vehicle Forfeiture Program Violates Due Process

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the policies and practices of Wayne County, Michigan, in pursuing the civil forfeiture of vehicles seized by police violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause because prosecutors took months to decide whether to proceed with forfeiture ...

Indiana Supreme Court Announces Civil Forfeiture Triggers Right to Jury Trial

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of Indiana held that civil forfeiture triggers the right to a jury trial.

As Alucious Kizer fled from a traffic stop, he discarded 74 grams of methamphetamine, 67 grams of fentanyl,12 grams of cocaine, and 10 grams of crack cocaine. Police recovered the drugs ...

Car Culture Dramatically Increases Number of Cop Confrontations

by Matt Clarke

In the early 20th century, mass production of automobiles caused a fundamental shift in American culture. One aspect of the emergent Car Culture was an increased number of interactions between police and the public that was largely absent during the horse-and-buggy era. Many of the police interactions ...

One Solution to Jurors Giving Too Much Weight to Improper Forensic Testimony: 4-Minute Training Video Based on DOJ Guidelines

by Matt Clarke

Improper forensic evidence played a part in 1 out of 5 wrongful convictions listed in the National Registry of Exonerations as of September 2023. Studies show that jurors cannot distinguish between low-quality and high-quality forensic testimony. Yet, those same jurors are overconfident in believing they understand the ...

 

 

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