SCOTUS Effectively Guts Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Claims: Shinn v. Ramirez On Monday, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion effectively overruling past precedent regarding evidentiary hearings to establish ineffective assistance of counsel claims in Shinn v. Ramirez. Two defendants Ramirez and Jones were convicted of capital murder in Arizona state court and sentenced…

Testimony Over Video Does Not Violate Confrontation Clause Recently, the Minnesota Court of Appeals addressed whether a police officer testifying via video violated a defendant’s right to confrontation in State v. Tate. The court ultimately said it did not violate the defendant’s constitutional rights and allowed the testimony to be admitted into evidence. During the…

Minnesota Supreme Court Narrows Scope of Third-Degree Murder: State v. Noor On Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court narrowed the prosecution’s scope of third-degree murder cases in State v. Noor. This is a highly publicized case throughout Minnesota and the nation. Noor, a Minneapolis cop at the time, was riding in the passenger seat of a…

Crime Lab Testing Not Required to Find Probable Cause: MN Fifth Degree Possession Recently, the Minnesota Court of Appeals determined that the prosecution does not need to have a definitive scientific test establishing a criminal level of THC to survive a probable cause challenge in a fifth degree possession case. In most drug possession cases…

On Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed a driver’s license revocation from one of our very own cases in LaClair v. Commissioner of Public Safety.  In ruling in our favor, the court of appeals touched on a popular topic: when is law enforcement allowed to enter private property? Constitutionally protected areas, such as a…

High Percentage of False Positives in Bite Mark Evidence  Forensic odontologists who analyze bite mark evidence rely on two foundational premises. The first is that human skin is a suitable medium to capture data from, which as we discussed in our last post, is not true due to the elasticity of the skin. The second…

More than 131 million adults are on prescription medication in the United States. That is 66%, or two-thirds, of adults walking around while some amount of prescription medication in their bodies. Back pain, arthritis, mental health, digestive issues, are only a fraction of the reasons why some people take medication. A health professional prescribes it…

The Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant’s right to confront their accusers. If a person exercises their constitutional right to trial, then the prosecution must present the defendant’s accusers and subject them to cross examination by the defense. The Confrontation Clause demands this. However, with every great constitutional protection, there are exceptions. If the prosecution has statements it…

Track the phone, track the person. As cell phones have become a vital organ to many, the ability to locate a phone allows law enforcement to place a person in a specific area. It is impossible for the Fourth Amendment to keep up with the technology explosion in real time. But eventually, case by case,…

When someone is wrongfully convicted, the judicial system failed. The shockwave from a botched case is endless. The impact reaches everyone involved: prosecutor, defense lawyer, judge, corrections officials, victim, family and friends of the accused, friends and family of the victim, and the public at large. But, most importantly, those erroneously convicted are hit the…

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