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January 2020 Archives

Miranda warnings protect defendants' rights

People in California may know that police are supposed to read them their rights in the case of an arrest, but they may not be aware of just how significant these Miranda rights can be. The standard warning was developed after a 1966 Supreme Court case that determined that people arrested by police must be informed of their rights against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment at the time they are taken into custody. While the warnings are well-known, partially because they are frequently featured on police TV shows, they provide a concise summary of constitutional protections afforded to those charged with a crime.

How police gather evidence against you

If you are facing charges for a violent crime or serious drug offense, your rights are center stage. The process of investigating a crime involves many steps and the exchange of information and evidence through many hands. Even the most conscientious police detective or lab technician can overlook a detail, make a mistake or jump to a conclusion that places your future in jeopardy. 

The rise of post-conviction DNA testing

Criminal defendants in California and around the country are often found guilty because of deoxyribonucleic acid analysis, but DNA can also be used to exonerate the wrongfully convicted. The accuracy of DNA testing became widely understood in the 1980s and 1990s when individuals who had spent decades behind bars began to be released. They were freed after tissue samples collected at crime scenes proved that other people committed the crimes they were incarcerated for. Newer techniques like cell-free fetal testing are even more reliable.

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