Criminal Defense Blog

Tax Break Proposal for SF Firms Hiring Ex-Felons

Noting that “ex-felons are among the most challenged populations” in getting work, San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi announced he will be proposing legislation to encourage businesses to give this population a chance. Under the legislation, a San Francisco business would be entitled to a tax break for every ex-felon it hires. This would stimulate businesses […]

Harsh Sentencing Laws Give Power to Prosecutors

Want to go to trial? Think again. If you take this deal, you get two years in prison. If you go to trial and lose, you get twenty. A recent article in the New York Times, Sentencing Shift Gives New Leverage to Prosecutors, discusses how tough mandatory minimum sentencing laws have empowered prosecutors to obtain […]

It’s October 1st and time for Realignment

I’ve written in the past about the Public Safety Realignment Act in California. It shifts much of the responsibility over incarceration from the State to the counties and is intended to relieve the overburdened State prison system. The act took effect today and here are some of the changes: Starting today – subject to certain […]

Troy Davis and the Death Penalty

At 11:08 PM on Wednesday, the State of Georgia executed Troy Davis for the killing of an off-duty officer despite serious questions about his guilt. Numerous witnesses have recanted their testimony. The prosecution was never based on anything more than the testimony of witnesses. We now know that those witnesses were exposed to incredible pressure […]

Overcrowded Prisons and California Justice Realignment

In order to remedy overcrowded prisons and reduce the economic burdens associated with the current system of punishing offenders, California enacted the Public Safety Realignment Act which will go into effect on October 1, 2011. “Realignment” will affect everyone, from judges to parole officers to anyone who has a criminal case. As of October 1st […]

Not Prosecuting Strauss-Kahn

This week, the DA in Manhattan dismissed all criminal charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF and French politician who enjoyed international notoriety when he was arrested this May on an Air France jet for allegedly sexually assaulting a Manhattan hotel housekeeper. The decision to dismiss the charges comes as no surprise. Glaring […]

They’ve fingerprinted me… my DNA too?

“The question this case presents is the extent to which technology can be permitted to diminish the privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.” So writes a California appellate court, in invalidating the part of the California DNA Act which requires automatic DNA testing of people arrested for felony offenses. Under Proposition 69 – an amendment […]

Wrongful Convictions and Snitching Cellmates

Yesterday, Governor Brown signed into law legislation that will protect innocent people from getting wrongfully convicted based on the say-so of jailhouse informants. The claims of jailhouse informants that a defendant confessed to them are notoriously unreliable. Why? The informant, an inmate himself, will often do anything or say anything in order to get a […]

Roger Clemens Doping Case Results in Mistrial

The doping trial of retired pro baseball pitcher Roger Clemens came to an abrupt and unceremonious end this week. Federal District Court Judge Reggie Walton declared a mistrial and excused the jury because the government repeatedly presented evidence that was inadmissible. First, in opening statements, the government lawyer referred to steroid use among Roger Clemens’ […]

I wrote last month about the bill to appeal the California death penalty proposed by Oakland State Senator Loni Hancock. Well, two unlikely proponents have just indicated their support for the bill. – Don Heller, the author of the 1978 legislation to expand the death penalty in California, and Jeanne Woodford, formerly the Director of […]