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.
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.
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).
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.
Today’s criminal defense bar is facing ever-increasing challenges when protecting their clients from law enforcement searches, unreliable information and prejudicial evidence. This program will arm you with the tools necessary to combat these intrusions and prosecutorial overreach, and equip you with effective strategies to suppress them whether on 4th and 5th Amendment grounds or by other pretrial motions.
Our nationally recognized faculty of experts and leading litigators will address the latest challenges and tactics to effectively suppress and preclude use of the prosecution’s evidence. You will acquire the skills necessary to suppress searches whether they arise from the increasing intrusions into our privacy as technology advances or old fashioned methods such as racial profiling, canine sniffs or knock and talks. Learn the latest techniques to suppress eyewitness identification and statements obtained in violation of your client’s Miranda rights. We’ll also cover creative motions to file, to preclude the admission of prejudicial evidence, inadmissible hearsay violating the right to confrontation and Daubert challenges to unvalidated forensic science and so-called prosecution experts. Most importantly, you will be provided with the strategic tools and arguments to protect your clients from a large variety of law enforcement and prosecution abuse.
There’s no time like the middle of winter to join your NACDL colleagues in sunny San Diego for this essential program to prepare yourself for future litigation.
This summer, Robert Wesley, Public Defender of the Ninth Circuit, partnered with Dr. Candice Bridge from the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the National Center for Forensic Science (NCFS) to provide a Forensic Science Law Camp for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida.
This law camp gave middle school and high school children an introduction to a career in forensic science. The students had the opportunity to learn how to compare fingerprints and ask for career guidance. This experience culminated in a mock trial at the end of the summer.
The Ninth Circuit for Orange and Osceola Counties, UCF, and the NCFS is committed to outreach programs like this one to help educate and make careers in Forensic Science accessible to the community.
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BB&T will be two full days incorporating a mock jury trial!
All FACDL seminars, apart from Booster Shot-Criminal Law Certification Review seminar, are intended to: promote the excellence of, disseminate knowledge to, and provide education to, the criminal defense community. In that regard, attendance at all seminars (apart from the certification review seminar) is limited to criminal defense attorneys, mitigation specialists, defense investigators and other staff involved in providing criminal defense.
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- Those seminar attendees in need of additional services under ADA, please provide notice of your needs to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than September 6, 2019, so arrangements can be made in advance.