criminal defense Archives

DNA could be used to exonerate a person

Those who have been convicted of a crime in Georgia may be able to use DNA evidence to help overturn their convictions. It is not uncommon for a person who is charged with rape or murder to be found guilty of a charge based on witness testimony instead of physical evidence. Often, these individuals already have criminal records, which may make it easier to accept witness testimony.

Miranda rights protect against self-criminalization

People detained by police in Georgia and across the United States must be read a set of their rights guaranteed by the Constitution regarding those placed in police custody. These rights are commonly referred to as Miranda rights and come from the rights contained in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.

DNA testing is accurate, but it is not infallible

Juries in Georgia and around the country tend to find the results of deoxyribonucleic acid analysis extremely compelling, but DNA evidence can be used to free people from prison as well as send them there. DNA can be found in the cells of all animals, and it determines how organisms develop and function. When DNA tests are conducted correctly using tissue samples that have been collected and handled properly, the results are extremely accurate.

Critics say the SOFA Act would harm minority communities

Violent crime rates soared in Georgia and around the country in the 1980s and 1990s because of a new and highly addictive form of cocaine known as crack, and Congress responded by passing tough sentencing laws that led to the mass incarceration of African Americans. The country now faces a new drug menace in the form of powerful opioids that are linked to a nationwide overdose crisis, and Congress is, again, being urged to respond with harsh new laws.

Racial disparity in jails and prisons narrows

According to a survey from the Council on Criminal Justice, the racial gap in jails and state prisons in Georgia and across the country has narrowed since 2000. The racial gap among those on parole or on probation has also narrowed since then. In that 2000, black people were 15 times more likely to be in a state prison because of a conviction for a drug crime than white people. However, by 2016, they were only five times more likely to be in a state prison compared to white inmates.

Breath tests are not as ironclad as once thought

Most Georgia residents link the term "Breathalyzer" with getting pulled over DUI. They understand that if a person fails a breath test, they may be charged and could possibly be arrested. However, research has shown that breath tests are not as reliable as was once thought. There is a lack of transparency and consistency when it comes to DUI testing.

Unconscious bias can present a challenge in the courtroom

When scientists examine discriminatory conduct in New Jersey and across the country, they often find that problems are less attributable to overt bigotry than to unconscious bias. Unconscious bias, or beliefs and stereotypes embraced at a subconscious level, can affect the way that people respond to others, judge their behavior or assess their intentions. Unfortunately, many of these unconscious biases reflect racist and sexist stereotypes, putting people and their liberty and even lives at risk if they enter the criminal justice system.

Shortfalls with blood pattern analysis

Georgia residents may be interested in learning the role that analyzing blood splatter has in unearthing the particulars of a crime. Blood pattern analysis can be traced back to 19th-century Europe. Since the mid-1900s, it has taken on a more prominent role in crime scene investigations in the United States.

Community service sentencing may contribute to poverty

For many in Georgia, community service sentencing in criminal cases seems to present a more humane alternative to heavy fines or jail time, especially for people living in poverty. However, one study by the UCLA Labor Center and School of Law challenges these assumptions. It argues that the widespread use of community service sentencing devalues labor and may wind up exacerbating unemployment, especially in low-income communities and communities of color. It can even produce similar effects to court debt for large fines, especially because people sentenced to community service may need to provide weeks of unpaid labor to pay off their citations.

The truth about crime in America

Getting tough on crime is something that the president has made a priority during his time in the White House. However, it is important to note that crime rates have fallen in Georgia and throughout America since the 1990s. According to the FBI, violent crime rates fell 51% between 1993 and 2018, and property crimes are also less common today compared to 30 years ago. Property crimes include burglary or motor vehicle theft.

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