Zachary Miller was napping in the car as he rode west through the Florida Panhandle, back to Texas and his cannabis business.
He was coming from a wellness expo in Miami where he had shown off waxes, oils and cigars made from hemp, a relative of marijuana. He awoke when his associate, driving the car, told him they were being pulled over.
Okaloosa County sheriff’s deputies started to search the car but Miller didn’t think he had anything to worry about. His products, he said, contained mostly CBD — the compound found in hemp and marijuana that doesn’t get you high and was declared legal under a federal hemp bill passed late last year.
The Trump administration has revived the debate over “end-to-end encryption” — systems so secure that the tech companies themselves aren’t able to read the messages, even when police present them with a warrant.
“It is hard to overstate how perilous this is,” U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a speech last fall. “By enabling dangerous criminals to cloak their communications and activities behind an essentially impenetrable digital shield, the deployment of warrant-proof encryption is already imposing huge costs on society.”
Attorneys with the Orlando-based law firm Morgan & Morgan joined Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala and Public Defender Robert Wesley Thursday to launch a nonprofit fund that would give bail money to low-income people who can’t afford to bond out of jail.
Outside the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, Matt Morgan said his family will match every dollar donated to the Community Bail Fund up to $250,000. The organization will also fight for criminal justice reform, he said.
Forensic judgments and their peer review are often the result of human assessment and are thus subjective and prone to bias. This study examined whether bias affects forensic peer review.
We hypothesized that the probability of disagreement between two forensic examiners about the proposed conclusion would be higher with “blind” peer review (reviewer saw only the first examiner’s comparison photos) than with “non-blind” peer review (reviewer also saw the first examiner’s interpretation and proposed conclusion). We also hypothesized that examiners with a higher perceived professional status would have a larger effect on the reported conclusion than examiner with a lower status.
We acquired data during a non-blind and a blind peer review procedure in a naturalistic, covert study with eight examiners (3-26 years of experience). We acquired 97 conclusions of bullet and cartridge case comparisons in the blind and 471 in the non-blind peer review procedure.
The odds of disagreement between examiners about the evidential strength of a comparison were approximately five times larger (95%-CI [3.06, 8.50]) in the blind than in the non-blind procedure, with disagreement about 12.5% and 42.3% of the proposed conclusions, respectively. Also, the odds that their proposed conclusion was reported as the final conclusion were approximately 2.5 higher for the higher-status examiners than for lower-status examiners.
Our results support both the hypothesis that bias occurs during non-blind forensic peer review and the hypothesis that higher-status examiners determine the outcome of a discussion more than lower-status examiners. We conclude that blind peer review may reduce the probability of bias and that status effects have an impact on the peer reviewing process.
Dr. John Cox knew as soon as he heard the baby’s cry that he had hurt his 1-month-old adopted daughter. He’d accidentally fallen asleep while cuddling the girl in bed early one morning last May, he said, and must have turned on top of her.
Cox, 39, a pediatric emergency room doctor at Children’s Wisconsin hospital, sat up, panicked. His hands shook as he assessed the baby, he said, fearing that he’d smothered her. She wasn’t in distress, but he said he could tell from the way she was moving her left arm that he might have broken her collarbone, a common injury in infants that typically heals on its own without medical treatment.
After a high-speed chase north of Orlando, Fla., sheriff’s deputies punctured the tires of a stolen Dodge Magnum and brought it to a stop. They arrested the driver, but couldn’t determine who he was. The man had no identification card. He passed out after stuffing something into his mouth. And his fingerprints, the deputies reported, appeared to have been chewed off.
So investigators turned to one of the oldest and largest facial recognition systems in the country: a statewide program based in Pinellas County, Fla., that began almost 20 years ago, when law enforcement agencies were just starting to use the technology. Officers ran a photo of the man through a huge database, found a likely match and marked the 2017 case as one of the system’s more than 400 successful “outcomes” since 2014.
Historical Cell Site Information cannot tell you where a client was at the time a crime was committed. Historical Cell Site Information is maintained by Cell Phone Companies for use in determining whether they have adequate cell phone “towers” to handle the potential usage by subscribers in a particular area. It was never designed to track or pinpoint a location from which a particular call was made. However, prosecutors are using Historical Cell Site information to create maps with the purpose of claiming a Defendant was located within a relatively close area to the crime scene or to refute an alibi. A Cell phone’s particular location can be tracked and pinpointed, but not through the use of Historical Cell Site data. We will discuss strategies for challenging the admissibility, the scope, and the weight of the prosecution’s proffered testimony regarding Historical cell site data. Attendees will learn the importance of challenging the proffered testimony under either Frye or Daubert. We will also discuss how cell phones “connect” to towers, which will be helpful in limit the weight given the Prosecution’s expert when she tries to claim the Defendant was in a general area at the time of the alleged crime.
A woman accused of stealing two grills from a Clermont hardware store was caught through facial recognition programs that analyzed security footage from a bulletin posted on social media, according to an arrest report.
A new facial recognition program being tested in Tampa along with a program used by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest Thursday of Heather Renee Reynolds, 31, of Apopka, the report said.
Hundreds of state prisoners have successfully used DNA evidence to win exonerations in the past three decades — except in 13 states.
The states are Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont. Exonerations have occurred in the 13 states, but none in which DNA evidence was central to proving innocence, according to the Innocence Project and the National Registry of Exonerations.
Elina went into labor on a scorching day in July.
It would be the second child for her and her husband, immigrants from Ukraine who ran a trucking business in Sarasota County. They picked out Western names: Adele for their rambunctious little girl. William for the child inside her belly, the son they had prayed for.
And so even though Elina wasn’t dilated, even though she was afraid, when the nurses told her to push, Elina pushed.
The creator of Scientific Content Analysis, or SCAN, says the tool can identify deception. Law enforcement has used his method for decades, even though there’s no reliable science behind it. Even the CIA and FBI have bought in.
Just two years ago, GEDmatch was still an obscure genealogy website, known only to a million or so hobbyist DNA sleuths looking to fill in their family trees. The site was free, public, and run by two guys with a knack for writing algorithms that helped relatives find each other. All in all, it was a pretty controversy-free place.
That all changed in April of 2018, when news broke that police had used GEDmatch to identify a suspect in the 40-year-old Golden State Killer case. As the site emerged as a crime-fighting tool, some users and privacy experts began to worry about how people’s genetic data might ensnare them in criminal investigations, when all they wanted was to learn about their family history. The transition has been rocky for GEDmatch. One drama after another has engulfed the website: Police searches have grown increasingly invasive; the site’s owners tried to react with changes to its terms of service that ended up backfiring; and white-hat hackers pointed out glaring security flaws. But starting Monday, that’s all someone else’s problem.
BRENDAN MAX AND two of his colleagues in the Cook County, Illinois, public defender’s office got some good news and some bad news in the spring of 2018. Actually, it was the same news: The three lawyers had nearly aced a proficiency test designed for fingerprint examiners.
None of them had any training or real expertise in latent fingerprint analysis — the practice of trying to match a fingerprint collected from a crime scene to the known print of a suspect — aside from what they’d learned during their years working criminal defense.
Big Names. Big Science; a Big-Time CLE Experience!
Don’t miss this great opportunity for a no-nonsense, national networking CLE featuring the leading faculty in their respective fields. This two-day event is produced in partnership with the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ).
As Tony Aiello entered his nineties, he had false teeth, an artificial hip, and an artificial knee. He gripped a walker to hoist himself out of bed. Stiff in the back, he had contraptions to help him pull on his pants and socks, along with a shoehorn to slide his feet into velcro-strapped shoes. He had hearing aids and a pacemaker with a defibrillator for his triple-bypassed heart. He would read recipes in the living room and forget the ingredients by the time he reached the kitchen. Arthritis stiffened the fingers that had served him for decades as a deli butcher, so he cut food with scissors. He took blood thinners for his congestive heart failure. The slightest nick while pruning trees in the yard would make him bleed until his wife, Adele, would, as he put it, “patch me up.” After losing an inch or so to age, Tony stood 4’11”.
Still, Tony would brag, “Nobody believes that I’m 90.” He could do anything—“a little slower.” Perhaps that was just Tony being Tony. People who’d known him for decades said he’d always had “little man syndrome.” But maybe there was something to the bravado. Neighbors said that not so long ago, Tony seemed hale—a stocky figure walking down the sidewalk in a tank top, like a pint-size, sure-stepping Marlon Brando. He was gutsy too: When he was about 80, he met Adele Navarra while they were in line at the Save Mart meat counter and asked her to coffee the same night. He bought two dozen roses for the occasion.
Please remember the 18th Annual Public Defender Clothing Drive at the Orange County Courthouse on Saturday, December 7th between 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. We will be located at the circular driveway at 435 North Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801, to receive your donations and thank you for your contributions. Donation receipts will be provided.
We are happy to take your donations throughout the year. Please call the office at 407-836-4806 to schedule a clothing pick-up or drop-off.
Public Defender, Ninth Judicial Circuit
435 N. Orange Ave., Ste. 400, Orlando FL 32801
Join us for a lunch and learn event featuring Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ President Hal Schuhmacher for a presentation on DUI defense. Hal will share techniques and strategies to use pretrial defense motions to reduce the state’s power and achieve better outcomes in DUI cases. Lunch will be provided by Fresh Kitchen. CLE credit will be available for Florida bar members.
The Georgia Capital Defenders had scheduled a great October CLE program in Savannah captioned “Telling the Client’s Story,” but had complications which prevented them from going forward. We contacted GCD and offered to put on their program in Orlando with the always helpful Barry School of Law as hosts. Next, our partners at the National Center for Forensic Science joined the party with their support. The final, special ingredient came with friend of PD9, Professor Richard Rogers, agreeing to join us on Friday.
So, with all this energy and collaboration we are presenting this program on Friday, Nov. 8, all day Saturday, Nov. 9 and a Sunday, Nov. 10 morning closing session. Please review the agenda. You will find a very thorough Daubert program as well as the modified Georgia program.
Pricing will be in the $200 range for the entire event. CLE credit calculations are pending. To register, please click here.