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Criminal Defense Archives

Police changing lineup procedures to reduce errors

Research shows that criminal eyewitness identifications tend to be unreliable, meaning defendants in Maryland and elsewhere could be wrongfully convicted if such evidence is used in a trial. As a result, many police departments are finally changing the way they conduct police lineups.

Individuals now have more control over cellphone data

According to the Supreme Court, a warrant is necessary to access a cellphone's location history. This is considered a major victory for the privacy rights of Maryland residents and all Americans. Its 5-4 decision in Carpenter v. United States is also seen as widening the scope and updating the Fourth Amendment. Under the Stored Communications Act, police could obtain cell site location information, or CSLI, as long as it could reasonably be used to find data relevant to an investigation.

Things to know if a Maryland police officer arrests you

No one really likes to think about facing criminal charges in a Maryland court. Especially if you have never navigated the criminal justice system, facing criminal allegations can be one of the most stressful, challenging experiences of your life. You may have a lot riding on the outcome as well and, depending on how strong a defense you have, your very freedom may be at stake.

Stronger alcohol laws could reduce drunk driving deaths

Accidents involving drunk drivers around the country claim 29 lives every day, and 110 million Americans drive while intoxicated each year, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A nationwide .08 percent blood alcohol limit and zero tolerance programs aimed at younger drivers have made roads in Maryland and across the country safer, but they have not been enough to prevent drunk driving deaths from rising alarmingly in recent years.

Supreme Court ruling protects rental car borrowers' rights

A May 2018 Supreme Court ruling could be important for protecting the rights of people in Maryland when driving a borrowed rental car. In a ruling, the high court said that people who drive a rental car with permission from the authorized driver have the same protections from searches by police as the original rental. The unanimous decision affirmed that people who are in lawful possession of a rental car have a reasonable expectation of privacy, even when they are not listed on the rental car agreement as an authorized driver.

The impact of pretrial detention in Maryland

A study by the American Economic Review found that the average defendant in the United States made less than $7,000 in the year before being taken into custody. That lack of an income could play a big role in whether a person is held before trial. In fact, less than 50 percent of individuals analyzed in the study could afford bail even when set at $5,000 or less. In the United States, there are roughly 500,000 who are held each day awaiting trial

Black defendants face harsher sentencing, finds study

Black men in Maryland and across the United States facing criminal sentencing may be worried about the potential impact of racial bias, including unconscious bias, on their sentencing. Those worries are borne out by sentencing data, according to a study by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, a bipartisan, independent agency that is part of the U.S. federal judiciary. Black men receive significantly longer sentences on average than white men convicted of the same crimes or similar offenses. On average, Black men's prison terms are 19.1 percent longer than those of white men; the study found when examining data related to sentencing between 2012 and 2016.

The link between race and the terms of a plea bargain

When Maryland defendants decide to accept a plea bargain, they may not feel they are doing so willingly. While an individual may not want to plead guilty in a case, it may mean going home in a timely manner instead of sitting in a jail cell. This may be especially true for those who may not be able to afford bail.

'Breakfast Club' star Anthony Michael Hall convicted of assault

Anthony Michael Hall, star of "The Breakfast Club," "Weird Science" and "Sixteen Candles" among other projects, has pled no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge. He had been facing a felony charge of battery for an altercation in which his neighbor sustained a broken wrist and a back injury.

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