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October 2015 Archives

New DHS policy guideline raises issue of privacy in criminal investigations, P.3

We’ve been discussing in our last couple posts the recent change in policy announced by the Department of Homeland Security concerning the use of cell site simulator devices. With the change in policy, investigators must now—at least in most cases—demonstrate to a judge that they will likely be able to gather evidence of criminal activity with the use of the device before they can actually go ahead and use them.

When Homecoming Gets Out Of Hand

Homecoming is a time to cut loose, cheer on your school's football team and show your school pride at campus events and private parties. No one thinks it will end with criminal charges and possible expulsion from college. Unfortunately for some college students, that is the harsh reality.

New DHS policy guideline raises issue of privacy in criminal investigations, P.2

Last time, we began speaking about a change in the Department of Homeland Security’s policy regarding cell site simulators. Specifically, investigators are now required to obtain warrants to use the devices. The policy is certainly an improvement over previous practice, but there are definitely privacy-related concerns over even the new policy.

New DHS policy guideline raises issue of privacy in criminal investigations, P.1

Law enforcement officers and agencies have a great deal of power when it comes to investigating suspected criminal activity. As we frequently point out, though, there are definite limits on investigators’ ability to search persons and property and to seize evidence.

“Retrograde extrapolation” in DUI prosecution, P.2

In our previous post, we began speaking about a technique sometimes used by prosecutors to estimate the blood alcohol content of a drunken driving defendant. As we mentioned, accurate retrograde extrapolation of blood alcohol content depends on a number of factors.

“Retrograde extrapolation” in DUI prosecution, P.1

For police officers, time is of the essence when it comes to getting an accurate reading of a suspected drunken driver’s blood alcohol content. Because alcohol dissipates in the blood, officers ordinarily work to get a suspect tested as soon as possible after arrest. In some cases, though, a test may not be administered until hours after the suspect operated a motor vehicle.

When mental illness is a factor in criminal defense, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about the issue of mental illness as a factor in criminal cases, and potential ways to resolve cases in light of mental illness. As we mentioned, the criminal system in Maryland can and does make use of programs aimed at addressing some of the special needs of offenders with mental illnesses.

Keep Your BAC In Check During The Baltimore Craft Beer Festival

The seasons are changing, and Oktoberfest and Halloween are upon us. It's also the time of year when many craft beer celebrations are held in Baltimore and throughout the state - this Saturday is the annual Baltimore Craft Beer Festival.

When mental illness is a factor in criminal defense, P.1

It is no secret that prisons in the United States are filled with people who struggle with various mental illnesses. In a way, this is unfortunate. It isn’t necessarily that those with mental illnesses should never be incarcerated. Truly, in a certain percentage of cases, imprisonment may be the most sensible option for mentally ill offenders.

Baltimore Police Department wrapped up in stop-and-frisk debacle, P.2

In our last post, we mentioned the recent news that documentation of a stop-and-frisk cited as a model example by Commisioner Anthony Batts back in 2013 is now missing. As we noted, there is currently an internal investigation to determine what happened to records of that accident.

Baltimore Police Department wrapped up in stop-and-frisk debacle

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about the use of the “stop-and-frisk” investigative tactic here in Baltimore, and the fact that Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts had committed to retrain officers in the proper use of the policing strategy. The aim of the retraining, it was said, is to ensure that officers are aware of the necessity of having a sufficient reason to stop suspects.

Work with experienced counsel to navigate license suspension hearing process

We’ve been reflecting in our last couple posts on alcohol testing, test refusal, license suspension and license suspension hearings in our last couple posts. Those facing a license suspension should, as we noted, understand their right to request a hearing and act as quickly as possible in making that request.

Requesting a license suspension hearing after drunken driving arrest

In our last post, we began speaking about alcohol testing and the ability of drunk drivers to refuse such testing. As far as whether it is ever wise to refuse testing, it is important to remember that the consequence for failing to submit is that one’s driver’s license will be confiscated.

Be aware of consequences of refusing alcohol testing

When an individual is pulled over by a police officer on suspicion of drunken driving, he or she can expect to be scrutinized for signs of intoxication. In addition to observing a driver’s manner of operating the vehicle, his or her demeanor and presentation upon being pulled over, and looking for any immediately visible signs inside the vehicle that the driver is intoxicated, there are also tests that officers will perform.

Changes hopefully coming to use of stop-and-frisk in Baltimore

One common form of investigative search used a lot here in Baltimore in the stop-and-frisk, or Terry stop, which involves a brief detention and pat-down of the suspect’s person. The use of the stop-and-frisk here in Baltimore is significant—422 stops were made between August 2012 and July 2013 among 3,000 city police. Because of abuses in the use of this investigative tactic, changes are needed in its use.

Looking at the investigative tactic of stop-and-frisk P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about the importance of exploring the legality of police searches and seizures when building a criminal defense case. We also pointed out the difference between probable cause and reasonable suspicion, and the fact that the latter involves a lesser legal standard.