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July 28, 2017 By Jeff King

  • Juror Use of Internet, Social Media Poses Challenges for Courts The Internet is a veritable fountain of information, used by millions of Americans every day. In an era dominated by smart phones, social media and slew of mobile devices that give instant access to the World Wide Web, the courts are facing uphill challenges when this information technology is used by jurors. This is because jurors are not allowed to seek out information on plaintiffs, defendants, alleged wrongdoings and other case-relevant data outside of the courtroom. Panel members are instructed to refrain from conducting outside research for fear that it could introduce bias before and during deliberations.   Jurors are supposed to ...
  • A Record Number of Pardons and Clemencies The White House recently announced that the President extended over 100 clemencies to recipients serving time in prison. To date, the President has used this power to reduce the sentences of 673 people. This amounts to more than the past ten presidents combined. Of course this is a ray of hope for those serving time but, given how many people are in the system, the chances of actually being pardoned are still slim.   The power of the President to pardon the crimes and commute the sentences of prisoners is found in the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 2, Clause i, empowers ...
  • Effective Assistance of Counsel Everyone accused of a crime in the United States is guaranteed the right to have effective assistance of counsel to fight the charges. This right was first memorialized in the landmark case of Gideon v. Wainwright in 1963. In that case, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires the state to provide counsel in cases where a defendant cannot afford to hire one. While each person is guaranteed the right to ‘effective assistance of counsel’ in criminal cases, this does not mean successful or the best counsel. Nowhere was this ...
  • Back to the Basics – Sex Offender Registration Requirements in Texas Recently, the Texas Department of Public Safety raised the reward for information about one of Texas’s Most Wanted Sex Offenders to $8,000 provided the tip that leads to the arrest comes during the month of August. Each month, the state of Texas features one offender from the state’s Most Wanted Program in the hopes that an increased award and focus will lead to the capture of the offender. This particular individual is wanted for probation violation and failure to meet Texas’s registration requirements for sex offenders. Many individuals in Texas who are convicted of a sex crime are also required ...
  • Defending Against Synthetic Marijuana Charges The count down has begun on an all-out ban of synthetic marijuana products in Texas. In the last few weeks, four Houston stores have been shut down and twenty other stores have been issued restraining orders in an effort to fight an increasing epidemic of synthetic marijuana in the Houston area. In an effort to combat the rising numbers of marijuana charges in the area, Houston law enforcement has teamed up with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The term “synthetic marijuana” refers to a variety of chemicals that are either sprayed onto plant material intended to be smoked or sold ...

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