Posts tagged "Criminal Defense"

Studies examine racial bias in risk assessment tools

After a person in Georgia is taken into custody in relation to a crime, that person may then appear before a judge who decides whether the person should be released or kept in jail until the trial. There have long been concerns that racial bias plays a part in an assumption that black defendants are more likely than white ones to be repeat offenders. In response, some districts nationwide have introduced algorithms that are supposed to help judges make this decision without bias. However, some critics say that because the algorithms themselves are based on a system that is full of bias, they may still result in unfair assessments.

Supreme court upholds certain double jeopardy cases

In a major decision by the Supreme Court in June, the justices declined to protect defendants from being prosecuted for the same underlying crime in both state and federal courts. The decision, which will impact defendants in Georgia and every other state, involved a defendant who was charged with crimes related to firearms. According to the appeal, the federal charges violated double jeopardy protections described in the Fifth Amendment to the constitution. The lower appellate court denied the appeal, and the Supreme Court affirmed their decision.

Juvenile justice system differs from adult system

The juvenile criminal justice system is run differently than it is for adults who have committed crimes. Though laws vary by state, most juveniles over the age of seven and under the age of 18 who are accused of committing a crime will go through the juvenile justice system. Children under the age of seven are generally not penalized, though the parents may be held accountable for the crime. Juveniles who commit serious crimes may be tried as an adult.

Smartphone apps may promote unnecessary fear

Apps like Citizen and Nextdoor are widely promoted to Georgia residents hoping to protect themselves from crime. While violent crime statistics have dropped significantly across the country in the past 25 years, many people are more concerned about crime than ever before. Crime statistics may do little to ease the concerns of people who simply feel unsafe. There are several factors that may contribute to this perception of crime, including dramatic nationwide media reporting that often focuses on the most violent incidents. While these apps may seem to provide people with greater control over their crime knowledge, critics say that they stoke fears and don't protect people from danger.

Validity of fingerprint evidence dependent on technician skill

Juries in Georgia tend to place great value on fingerprint evidence. Although everyone appears to have unique fingerprint patterns, mistakes in the processing of fingerprint samples could place blame for crimes on the wrong people. The accurate identification of a fingerprint depends on criminal evidence technicians never making any mistakes. Criminal defense attorneys contend that no one can avoid mistakes 100% of the time, especially when technicians often work with partial or smudged prints.

Georgia's changing views on marijuana: Could it become legal?

There are widespread movements across the nation to legalize marijuana. So far, only 11 states have fully legalized its recreational use. The other 39 states cover a wide range, from completely illegal to only legalized medical marijuana.

Racial attitudes toward police differ sharply

Black and white Americans in Georgia and across the country have very different experiences with and perceptions of the criminal justice system, as explored in a survey by the Pew Research Center. While a majority of both black and white adults agree that black people are mistreated in the system and subjected to discrimination, their own experiences are sharply different and their understanding of the importance of the issue often varies greatly. While 87% of black respondents said that in general, blacks are treated less fairly in the justice system at all levels, 61% of whites said the same.

Breath-testing equipment could be influenced by low-carb diets

Diets that are extremely low in carbohydrates have become an extremely popular weight loss option in Georgia and around the country in recent years. They work by forcing the body to deplete its glucose stores so that energy is provided by burning fat directly. This metabolic condition is known as ketosis, and some experts say that it can influence breath test results. The claim has been made because the liver produces acetone when it burns fat and isopropyl alcohol is a byproduct of this process.

Supreme Court hears arguments on extra penalties for felons

People with criminal records in Georgia and across the country can face additional penalties for a range of other actions. For example, people who were formerly convicted of a felony offense would face additional penalties for carrying a weapon. These penalties can also apply in other circumstances; in the firearms example, people who were in the country illegally could also face additional penalties for possessing a firearm. There are questions, however, about what the accused person is required to know about his or her status.

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