Posts tagged "Criminal Defense"

Why the Georgia gang database is a bad idea

Organized gang activity is definitely a problem in many areas of the country, and Georgia is no exception. It's hardly surprising, then, that the governor has announced the creation of a statewide database that's designed to track known gang members, suspected gang members and their various associates.

Studies find some psychology tests, forensic science unreliable

Some people in Georgia may have higher bails or face harsher sentences because of a court that uses psychology or IQ tests that might not be reliable. According to a study that appeared in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest, many of these studies are not widely recognized within the psychological community and thus may not be reliable.

Reducing juror bias by openly discussing race

A recent paper says that talking about race during the course of a trial could lead to a lower level of juror bias. During the jury selection process, attorneys in Georgia and elsewhere should talk about the potential impact an implicit bias could have on a person's ability to evaluate evidence. They should also make opening statements that caution jurors to not make assumptions based on race or other preconceived notions that they may have about a defendant.

Reasons why eyewitness testimony may be unreliable

It isn't uncommon for Georgia residents to be convicted of crimes based on mistaken identifications. In some cases, witnesses are pressured to choose a person out of lineup even if they aren't sure if the perpetrator is in that lineup. This is partially because they want to be helpful to a police officer or other authority figure. An officer may also guide a person toward making a choice in an effort to get closer to solving a case.

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.

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