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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Steve Horn

Lack of Academic Research in U.S. on Secondary DNA Transfer Affects Criminal Defendants

by Steve Horn

The ivory tower of academia. It’s seemingly quite a long distance from the real-world implications of the U.S. criminal justice system’s often brutal iron fist. 

It’s a place in which professors and their assistants have the world at their fingertips for research. A collegial atmosphere ...

Report Finds Lack of Reporting on Deaths in Law Enforcement Custody, Even After Landmark Legislation

by Steve Horn

The Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Justice has unfurled a new study on state and federal law enforcement agencies’ reporting of deaths of individuals who were under the custodial watch of federal law enforcement agents. The results are disturbing ...

DEA Used Decades of Warrantless Phone Data in Building Parallel Construction Cases

by Steve Horn

After a years-long federal court dispute, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) and Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”) won a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) lawsuit, which forced the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) to fork over hundreds of pages of records revealing the machinations of the ...

U.S. Government Lab Withheld Groundbreaking Study for 5 Years That Can Help Defendants Question the Reliability of Certain DNA Evidence

by Steve Horn

A study that called into question the reliability of DNA as a piece of smoking-gun evidence due to its propensity to be easily transferred and detected by modern DNA-detection technology was big news. However, a U.S. government lab sat on the laboratory-based and peer-reviewed study results ...

Why Defining a ‘Credible Witness’ in Criminal Trials Is a Slippery Slope

by Steve Horn

In the aftermath of her testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was hailed by legal scholars, legal practitioners, and laypeople alike as a “credible witness.”

Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, testified at a hearing September 27 ...

How Defense Lawyers Break Attorney-Client Privilege to Defend Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims

by Steve Horn

A cardinal rule of defense lawyering – or any lawyering, for that matter – is to zealously advocate on behalf of your client. Yet in many states, incentive systems exist for criminal defense attorneys to do the opposite and collaborate directly with prosecutors.

These dynamics are spelled ...

Civil Rights Groups Urge Ending Use of Pretrial Bail Risk Assessment Tools

by Steve Horn

More than 100 civil rights organizations have signed a statement to denounce the use of pretrial bail risk assessment algorithm tools meant to determine conditions of bail and, in many cases, jail.

The 10-page document titled, “The Use of Pretrial ‘Risk Assessment’ Instruments: A Shared Statement of ...

Article Calls for Courts to Implement ‘Brady Violation Disclosure Letter’ System

by Steve Horn

A draft copy of an academic article set to be published in 2019 in the Vanderbilt Law Review calls for a novel approach to chipping away at the nagging issue of Brady violations that occur during criminal cases.

That paper, titled “Disclosing Prosecutorial Misconduct” by University of ...

Report: Right to Trial Exists in Name. In Reality, Only 3% of Cases Go to Trial

by Steve Horn

The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury, but a new report documents that in the U.S. criminal justice system, trials have become the rare exception — not the rule.

The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right to ...

Conviction Integrity Units, Innocence Commissions Tackle Wrongful Convictions, Prosecutorial Misconduct

by Steve Horn

Conviction integrity units, known as CIUs and sometimes referred to as conviction review units or CRUs, have in recent years become increasingly widespread in county prosecutors’ offices throughout the U.S. They sit alongside actual innocence commissions, which exist in several states and review claims of innocence ...




 

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