The Law Office of Robert D. Anderson, PLLCFormer Chief Prosecutor Of Loudoun County
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February 2020 Archives

Implicit racial bias may affect court decisions

Criminal defendants in Virginia and across the country often have to deal with the effects of racial bias in the courtroom. While outright bias and racist remarks may be far less common than they were in the past, implicit bias and stereotypes continue to play a role in bail decisions, pre-trial detention, sentencing and other serious issues. One of the key factors distinguishing implicit bias is that it is unspoken and unrecognized rather than a conscious act of racial discrimination.

What is weapon focus?

You get accused of a crime. A witness comes forward. They testify that they saw you. They claim they remember it very well. They were watching the whole time.

Some news organizations stop putting mugshots online

When people in Virginia are charged but not yet convicted of a crime, their mugshots may still appear online. These might stay online even if the person is later found innocent or for years after people have completed sentences and moved on with their lives. However, some news organizations are making the decision to stop posting these.

Questioning psychological tests could help with criminal defense

When a person is arrested in Virginia and needs a criminal defense, it is important to think about how that defense can be presented based on the prosecution's case. This is true whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony. One aspect of a court case that could be called into question is psychology tests.

Police detective admits keeping unrelated evidence

People in Virginia facing criminal charges or investigations may contend with overzealous police investigators who exceed the terms of their search warrants or attempt to badger suspects into a dubious confession. In one California wrongful death case, a widow is suing police after her husband committed suicide while under investigation for a murder committed in 1984. During the trial, a retired detective admitted that some of the evidence retained by the police in the investigation had no connection to the search warrant or probative value in the case, including boxes of personal photos and family items.

Witness identification errors may lead to wrongful convictions

Trials for those accused of a crime in Virginia and across the United States often rely on the testimony of witnesses. Witnesses are often asked to identify individuals who they believe committed a crime. Unfortunately, witness identification can be unreliable. In 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ordered a task force to look into witness reliability.

Authorities take 4 into custody after investigation

Authorities in Virginia say that four people were taken into custody as part of an investigation into drug activity in Carroll County. The first person to be taken into custody was a 26-year-old man who was spotted outside of a store and was previously wanted by authorities. He was on probation for drug and firearm charges when police found him, and they say that he was taken into custody without any problem.

Authorities take 5 people into custody on multiple charges

Virginia authorities say that they executed search warrants at two properties in Amelia County on Jan. 22. They said that controlled substances and firearms were found during the search of the homes on Amelia Springs Road and Military Highway. Five people were taken into custody on a variety of charges, and authorities say that there could be more people taken into custody as the investigation continues.

Man charged with DUI after hitting pedestrian

Virginia authorities say that a 56-year-old man was under the influence of alcohol when his vehicle collided with a pedestrian. The 51-year-old victim was walking on North Franklin Street when he was struck by the man's vehicle. An officer who arrived at the scene noted that the driver smelled of alcohol, and the driver admitted to police that he had recently consumed a glass of wine.

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