How far can law enforcement dig into your search history? Changes to existing laws may soon permit a deeper dive than is currently allowed.
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Georgia death row inmate Timothy Tyrone Foster. In a 7-1 decision, the High Court ruled that the prosecution in Foster's case had illegally discriminated against potential jurors based on race.
Recent state court decisions and amendments to the laws surrounding the constitutionality of death penalty sentencing practices in Florida are being challenged by judges in multiple cases. In the most recent development, a Miami-Dade judge found the death penalty to be unconstitutional based on the fact that it does not require unanimity of the jury. Florida Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch put it this way: "A decedent cannot be more or less dead. An expectant mother cannot be more or less pregnant. And a jury cannot be more or less unanimous. Every verdict in every criminal case in Florida requires the concurrence, not of some, not of most, but of all jurors - every single one of them."
Everyone has heard of the Breathalyzer, the device which determines a driver's blood-alcohol level, but new on the driver's stage we have what is known as the "Textalyzer", a tool invented to keep people from texting and driving. Although the invention is still in its early stages, states are beginning to adopt the new technology as a way to prevent traffic accidents and provide incriminating proof of texting while driving should an accident occur.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court considered the fourth amendment implications of the administration of breathalyzer tests for suspected drunk drivers. While it is true that in all 50 states there are laws which allow a person's driver's license to be revoked if they refuse a breathalyzer, some states, along with the federal government, have additional laws. These laws include criminal punishment and even jail terms for a person who refuses to take a breathalyzer test.
Late last month, the Supreme Court battled it out over the legality of the government freezing money unconnected to a crime. Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the case was a simple one, that the government can confiscate "a robber's loot, a drug seller's cocaine, a burglar's tools, or other property associated with the planning, implementing, or concealing of a crime." However, there is one thing it cannot do and it is this: freeze money or other assets unconnected to the crime.
Surprise! You've got a misdemeanor on your record. How could this possibly happen without prior knowledge? Well, in Florida, up until recently, it was in fact possible.
A twelve-year-old girl in Fairfax, VA is facing charges in juvenile court after posting a series of emojis in an Instagram post that implied a threat to her school. Emojis, the small pictures used to punctuate texts and social media posts, are a hallmark of smartphone communication. And, like many aspects of digital communication, they are a source of confusion in the courts.
Should Apple make a way for law enforcement to access their iPhones? That question continues to play out in the courts, and could have a far-reaching effect on technology and privacy laws in the United States.
Recently, an anonymous jury was used in the high profile case of William Porter. Porter was the first of the Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray to stand trial. While there is precedent for using anonymous juries in certain instances, the practice has seen an uptick in recent years.