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Posts tagged "Criminal Defense"

Critics call ankle monitors unfair, costly and dangerous

At times, authorities will attach electronic monitoring systems to parolees or people awaiting trial in Virginia. Two men heading the Challenging E-Carceration Project have researched the negative aspects of ankle monitors and the excessive punishment that they place on people, especially those who have not yet been convicted of a crime.

Cellphone location information receives greater protection

People in Virginia could have greater privacy protections after a U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant in order to access location information for a person's cellphone. The June 2018 decision is based on the Fourth Amendment, protecting people's rights to be free of warrantless search and seizure. There have been a variety of mixed rulings on how the Fourth Amendment applies to modern technologies, but experts say that this ruling could be among the most significant.

Up to 6 percent of prisoners may be wrongfully convicted

The criminal justice system may be far less reliable than many Virginia residents expect. Many people are aware of some of the famous exonerations for serious crimes, especially on the basis of DNA. These cases generally concern capital crimes such as rape or murder.

How evidence may be suppressed in a case

If a Virginia resident is charged with a crime, there must be enough evidence to convict on that charge. If there are any doubts as to the legality of evidence collected, it may be suppressed. It is important to note that evidence used in a case must be relevant and collected properly. Otherwise, a judge may grant a defendant's motion to have it suppressed.

Understanding plea bargains and how the process works

Approximately 90 percent of all criminal cases in the United States involve some type of plea bargain arrangements or negotiations. Essentially, a plea bargain is an agreement in which the defendant seeks a lesser charge or sentence. There are different types of plea bargains and certain conditions that apply to legal arrangements of this nature in Virginia.

Attorney General focused on asset seizure

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced its intention to make the asset forfeiture process easier for law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies in Virginia and across the country may, in some circumstances, seize assets from suspects in criminal investigations. There are a number of valid reasons for such actions, including their use as a tactic against strong criminal organizations, but critics say asset forfeiture is often abused by police.

The exclusionary rule and unreasonable search and seizure

Virginia residents likely know that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, but they may not know that evidence obtained without a search warrant or probable cause was still admissible in state courts during criminal trials until the Supreme Court effectively created the exclusionary rule in 1961. However, deciding whether or not evidence was gathered within the boundaries established by the Fourth Amendment is often difficult for judges.

Posting bail can be the first step in criminal cases

A person accused of committing a crime in Virginia will frequently have the opportunity to get out of jail before trial due to release on bail. When a person is arrested and charged, a police officer can either release the defendant with a ticket or take the person into custody. Bail is a specific amount of money set by a court that is meant to guarantee the presence of the defendant at a later court appearance on the charges in question.

Combating hacking by the government

The use of hacking by federal law enforcement agents to gather evidence has been increasing. However, attorneys who practice criminal defense law in Virginia and the rest of the country now have strategies for challenging the surveillance technique used to obtain the evidence and to make the evidence inadmissible in court.

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