Justices Approve Strip-Searches for Any Arrest

Adam Liptak, correspondent for the NY Times wrote on April 2, 2012:

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs, but also public health and information about gang affiliations.

“Every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed,” Justice Kennedy wrote, adding that about 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails.

The procedures endorsed by the majority are forbidden by statute in at least 10 states and are at odds with the policies of federal authorities. According to a supporting brief filed by the American Bar Association, international human rights treaties also ban the procedures.

Read the entire story.

Being arrested is no picnic, and dealing with an arrest without an attorney can have serious consequences.  The Lawyer Referral Service of the New Hampshire Bar Association can connect you with an attorney  skilled with handling criminal matters.   All attorneys must meet specific education and experience criteria before receiving referrals from LRS in felony criminal matters.  Call LRS at 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

Eyewitness Misidentification Main Reason for Wrongful Conviction

Partially due to the DNA exoneration of hundreds of convicts in recent decades, there has been increasing concern over the reliability of eyewitness identification in criminal cases.

The Innocence Project, a nonprofit group dedicated to freeing the wrongfully convicted through DNA testing and to criminal justice system reform, has helped win freedom for nearly 300 prisoners in 35 states — including 17 who spent time on death rows — in its 20 years of existence.

In 75 percent of those cases, the leading factor in their convictions was witness identification; in 36 percent of those cases, convictions were in part based on an identification made by more than one person, said Karen Newirth, eyewitness identification litigation fellow at the Innocence Project.

Read the entire story by Miranda Leitsinger at msnbc.com

If you have been accused of a crime, a competent and experienced attorney can make all the difference.  LRS attorneys must meet certain education and experience standards in order to receive referrals for felony matters.  Call LRS today at 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.

 

Bill Would Eliminate Sobriety Checkpoints

Sobriety checkpoints used to catch drunk drivers, organized by NH police departments would be eliminated by NH House Bill 1452.  A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 2 at 11 am., as reported by Matthew Spolar of the Concord Monitor.

“My concern is we’re giving up our right to travel freely,” said Republican Rep. George Lambert of Litchfield, a co-sponsor of the bill. “It allows (the police) to do all kinds of investigations for which they did not have original probable cause.”

Lambert and Rep. Seth Cohn of Canterbury, also a freshman Republican, see the checkpoints as running counter to the Fourth Amendment’s barring of unreasonable search and seizures. Cohn said the checkpoints give law enforcement “carte blanche to stop people ostensibly for sobriety.”

Read the full story.

Whether you are arrested at a check point or you’re pulled over on the road, you should not face a DUI on your own.  A lawyer can make a difference!  Call the Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association for a referral to a competent attorney who specifically handles DUI cases.  603-229-0002 or request an online referral

Supreme Court Rules on GPS Tracking By Police

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that police need a warrant if they wish to use a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s vehicle.

National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg explained to Paul Brown:

“At issue here is the case of Antoine Jones, a Washington, D.C. night club owner. Police put a GPS tracking device on his car for 30 days. That helped authorities find a stash of money and drugs.”

“The Supreme Court decided today that placing a GPS device on a vehicle constitutes a search, so they need a warrant. The AP reports that Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the court’s main opinion.”

 
Read the complete story.

If you believe your civil rights have been violated, call the NH Lawyer Referral Service at 603-229-0002 for a referral to an attorney who specifically handles constitutional law.  You may also request a referral online.

Do You Know Your Rights?

Should you refuse a request from a police officer to search your car?  How should you refuse a search request?  When do you have to show ID?  Is a police officer allowed to lie to you? 

For answers to these and other questions  in the form of short video reenactments and basic FAQs, visit http://flexyourrights.org/, a non-profit whose mission it is to educate the public on how the basic Bill of Rights protections apply during encounters with law enforcement.