The court unanimously sustained the law’s centerpiece, the one critics have called its “show me your papers” provision. It requires state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if there is reason to suspect that the individual might be an illegal immigrant. Continue reading
In both the federal and state court systems, 9 out of 10 cases end up in a plea bargain, wiping out the notion of your “day in court”. Both Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties are no different. We know families with loved ones serving long prison sentences, had their children taken away, or ended up in deportation proceedings because of a plea bargain gone wrong. But the Supreme Court ruled this week that defendants have a right to competent counsel during the plea bargaining phase of the criminal justice system. This ruling honestly is a little surprising, because you’d think effective assistance of counsel should extend to all phases of the justice system already. But this seals the clarity once and for all. Submission post by Charisse Domingo
Supreme Court expands defendant’s rights in plea deals
In two 5-4 decisions, the Supreme Court rules that defendants in criminal cases have a constitutional right to a competent lawyer’s advice when deciding whether to accept a plea deal.
By David G. Savage, Washington Bureau
Los Angeles Times
March 21, 2012
Defendants in criminal cases have a constitutional right to a competent lawyer’s advice when deciding whether to accept a plea bargain, the Supreme Court ruled, providing a significant expansion of rights that could have a broad impact on the justice system. Continue reading
According to the Innocence Project, 75% of post-conviction DNA exoneration cases cited witness misidentification testimony as a factor, making it the leading cause of wrongful convictions in the United States. This month, the Supreme Court heard the first of oral arguments in a case that questions witness testimony as the “gold standard” of criminal prosecution. Submission post by Charisse Domingo
THE CERTAINTY OF MEMORY HAS ITS DAY IN COURT
by Laura Beil
New York Times
November 28, 2011
Witness testimony has been the gold standard of the criminal justice system, revered in courtrooms and crime dramas as the evidence that clinches a case.
Yet scientists have long cautioned that the brain is not a filing cabinet, storing memories in a way that they can be pulled out, consulted and returned intact. Memory is not so much a record of the past as a rough sketch that can be modified even by the simple act of telling the story.
For scientists, memory has been on trial for decades, and courts and public opinion are only now catching up with the verdict. It has come as little surprise to researchers that about 75 percent of DNA-based exonerations have come in cases where witnesses got it wrong. Continue reading