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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Steve Horn

Documents Reveal How Law Enforcement Partners with Private Companies to Surveil Schools

by Steve Horn

Unbeknownst to college students across the country, their school may be surveilling their social media activity. What may be even more surprising to learn is that even individuals who have no affiliation with a school that’s engaged in this type of surveillance may nevertheless have their social ...

Eric Schneiderman Pushed Laws Opposing Abuse of Women as He Stands Accused of Abusing Them Himself

by Steve Horn

Eric Schneiderman, who resigned as New York’s Attorney General May 8, had a record of supporting legislation and criminal law enforcement to protect women from sexual abuse. However, allegations surfaced that he did not practice what he preached. A former state senator prior to his election as attorney general in 2010, Schneiderman’s rising-star political career came crashing down after The New Yorker magazine revealed a pattern of both physical and emotional abuse toward at least four romantic partners in New York City. Schneiderman, who resigned just hours after the article went public, might potentially face criminal charges and is under investigation by a special prosecutor, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas. In a conversation with The New Yorker, one of his accusers revealed that Schneiderman told her, “I am the law.” In contrast to his personal behavior, Schneiderman’s work showed a history of advocacy on women’s issues and law enforcement.

Strangulation Prevention Act

As a state senator in 2010, for example, Schneiderman introduced and sponsored the Strangulation Prevention Act (S.6987), which became law. But two women told The New Yorker that, in fact, Schneiderman had physically abused them by slapping and choking them.

“They did not report ...

Academic Paper Highlights Need to Tighten Rules for Fingerprint Evidence in Light of False-Positive Error Rate

by Steve Horn

A new study published in the UCLA Law Review reveals a potential for rule tightening on the use of fingerprint evidence in the U.S. judiciary.

The Reliable Application of Fingerprint Evidence,” written by University of Virginia School of Law professor Brandon Garrett, focuses on ...

Courts Have Made Social Media a Landmine for Defendants. Could It Change Soon?

by Steve Horn

Social media, broadly defined as encompassing popular websites, and smartphone applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, has been pointed to by many as a potentially revolutionary avenue through which citizens from around the world can communicate with one another to effect change and participate in democratic actions.

Underneath that popular narrative sits a murkier reality for defendants in the U.S. criminal justice system. A recent history of court rulings, combined with lack of legislative action on the federal-level, has ushered in an era in which law enforcement has nearly carte blanche authority to utilize social media during criminal investigations.

The broad authority given to law enforcement agencies to use social media has real-life consequences for defendants in the criminal justice system, even amid debate over Fourth Amendment privacy protections. Everyone from journalists, to criminal justice scholars, legislators, and the U.S. Supreme Court, have called for updated constitutional or legislative protections over law enforcement use of social media.

Some have heeded that call, predominantly in the legislative sphere – in city councils across the country and particularly in California. But, at the federal level, little has been done in courts or Congress to regulate law enforcement’s ...

The Long, Dark History of Law Enforcement’s Warrantless Bus Searches

by Steve Horn

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That’s a truism to many observers of history and politics, but in the orbit of the U.S. criminal legal system, it’s literally governed by precedential decisions.

So, when news broke early this year about U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) agents working alongside the company Greyhound to perform warrantless searches on its buses to sniff out people ICE agents think might be undocumented immigrants, something about that fact pattern seemed awfully familiar. Enter: the 1991 U.S. Supreme Court case, Bostick v. Florida.

The Bostick ruling — and everything that followed it — is key. Under 8 U.S.C. § 1357(a)(3), CBP has a 100-mile range extending from the border in which to conduct warrantless searches of any vehicle passing through that territory.

That 100-mile range, criticized as too broad by the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”), was deemed “a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States” under that statute. The ACLU derisively calls the 100-mile range, in which two-thirds of the U.S. population lives, a “Constitution-Free Zone.”

But the reality: Greyhound buses have long been a place in which constitutional rights are ...

Golden State Killer Suspect Arrest Opens Floodgates for Law Enforcement Use of DNA Websites

by Steve Horn

The use of DNA-based genealogy websites to track down Joseph DeAngelo — the “Golden State Killer” suspect — appears to have inspired police departments nationwide. It’s a move that has irked privacy advocates and criminal justice system reformers.

DeAngelo, a former police officer and alleged serial killer in the 1970s ...

Alabama’s Most Populous County Reaches Bail Reform Settlement, But Problems Could Persist

by Steve Horn

Jefferson County, the most populous county in Alabama, reached a Resolution Agreement on April 6 with the U.S. Department of Justice and the group Equal Justice Under Law in response to a complaint brought by the group alleging that the County court system’s bail policy violated Title ...

Eric Schneiderman, Once a Champion of Women, Now Accused of Assaulting Four

by Steve Horn

Eric Schneiderman, who resigned as New York’s Attorney General May 8, had a record of supporting legislation and criminal law enforcement to protect women from sexual abuse. However, allegations surfaced that he did not practice what he preached.

A former state senator prior to his election as ...

Golden State Killer Suspect Arrest Opens Floodgates for Law Enforcement Use of DNA Websites

by Steve Horn

The use of DNA-based genealogy websites to track down the “Golden State Killer” suspect, Joseph DeAngelo, appears to have inspired police departments nationwide. It’s a move that has irked privacy advocates and criminal justice system reformers.

DeAngelo, a former police officer and alleged serial killer in the ...

Eyewitness Sketches Provide ‘Stormy’ Results, Can Lead to False Convictions

by Steve Horn

Stephanie Clifford, the adult film actress known as Stormy Daniels, has set off a flood of media coverage on her claims of having a sexual relationship with President Donald Trump and the subsequent non-disclosure agreement and $130,000 paid to her by Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, during ...




 

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