Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney BLOG

Judge Denies Sandusky Appeal, Orders Victims’ Identities to Be Revealed For Trial

Posted on June 15, 2012 by Christine Harris

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected a request to delay the trial of former Penn State University assistant football coach, Jerry Sandusky, according to Fox News. Sandusky is facing child sexual assault charges after allegedly abusing 10 boys over a 15-year period while he was a coach at Penn State. As jury selection was set to begin, Sandusky’s attorneys requested a continuance, which was denied. A judge also ruled that the victims are prohibited from using pseudonyms and must use their real identities at trial. “Sex offenders continue their behaviors until they are caught and stopped, and the only way that we know who those people are is when victims are brave enough to come forward and tell us,” said Kristen Houser, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. Rape victims and children’s identities are often sealed during the course of trial to protect the victims’ privacy under rape shield laws,…
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NY Governor Proposes Decriminalizing Possession of Marijuana

Posted on June 13, 2012 by Christine Harris

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the proposal of new legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to Reuters. The New York Police Departments’ ‘stop and frisk’ policy has been the subject of recent controversy; many people consider it to be a violation of constitutional rights. Possession of small amounts of marijuana in New York is currently a misdemeanor. Currently, persons found to be holding less than 25 grams of marijuana are supposed to be issued a non-criminal violation ticket—much like a traffic ticket. But if the person is “openly displaying” the drug, the result is a misdemeanor charge and the person is usually arrested. Recently, officers in New York have been searching individuals and arresting them for marijuana they were not publicly displaying. This new legislation seems like a reasonable step—most people possessing small amounts of marijuana do not pose a threat to society. Misdemeanor…
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Study Unveils Startling Statistics on Wrongful Convictions

Posted on June 11, 2012 by Christine Harris

A study released by the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School reveals many eye-opening statistics on wrongful convictions and exonerations. As more convictions are overturned and innocent citizens exonerated, it makes you wonder how many more people are still wrongfully imprisoned in the United States. According to reports, there have been 873 exonerations in the United States since 1989. The same report cited 1,170 cases in which police framed innocent persons since 1995, usually for drug and gun charges. Here are some other shocking statistics revealed in the report: Approximately 90 percent of exonerated persons are male. 50 percent of exonerated persons are African-American and 11 percent are Latino. Approximately 50 percent of the exonerated persons were convicted on homicide charges; one third were for sexual assaults. 101 persons had been sentenced to death. The average wrongfully convicted person spent 11.9 years…
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