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November 2019 Archives

Prosecution not asking for death penalty in murder case

A guilty verdict from a jury has resolved a cold murder case that had been on the books in California since 1980. The city's district attorney's office chose not to request the death penalty for the 60-year-old man convicted of raping and murdering a 36-year-old woman in her Silver Lake apartment.

Unconscious bias may affect criminal penalties

Experts in California and around the country have raised concerns about the potential effects of unconscious bias in the courtroom. Widely studied by a range of researchers in the natural and social sciences, unconscious bias is an example of discriminatory treatment that results not from conscious thought but from unconscious brain responses. Thus, people may believe themselves to be non-racist or even anti-racist, but they may still be more likely to judge people of color more harshly. When judges express unconscious bias, the result can lead to damaging inequities in the criminal justice system.

Studies reveal flaws in forensic science

Juries in California and around the country tend to find evidence provided by forensic experts to be extremely compelling, and criminal defendants are often convicted based largely on their testimony. Juries may be surprised to learn that the science supporting criminal forensic procedures is far from perfect. A team of researchers from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences looked into the way forensic evidence is gathered and processed in the United States, and they discovered problems with virtually every technique they scrutinized.

US Supreme Court ruling could affect California DUI cases

Like most other California residents, you are probably aware that you have certain rights when it comes to searches and seizures by police. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires law enforcement officials to follow certain rules before conducting searches and seizures, even as they apply to a DUI stop.

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