No One Should Be Above the Law, Including Police Officers

Police officers perform a critical role in society. Without proper law enforcement, chaos would be widespread and people would take the law into their own hands. The police and law enforcement are important to Indiana, but officers who break the law and violate constitutional rights need to be accountable. Without this, society could descend into a different kind of chaos — one where law enforcement officers decide what the law is and how it should be enforced and who act as judge and jury. If a law enforcement officer violates a person’s constitutional rights, the victim may have recourse through federal and state laws. A primary reason civil rights laws exist is to protect citizens from abuses by government, including[…..]

Indiana Criminal Defense Attorney

Indiana criminal defense attorneys can’t take at face value prosecution claims and evidence supposedly found during an investigation. They have to be verified for their accuracy, that they’re genuine and the source of the evidence or claim is legitimate. We need to know whether evidence has been fabricated or obtained illegally and whether evidence pointing to another suspect has been ignored. If so, it may result in charges being dropped by the prosecution or a jury finding of not guilty. Much of this depends on relying on prosecutors to act in good faith and honesty, but unfortunately that’s not always true. Human Rights Watch accuses the federal government of secretly supplying evidence to local police and prosecutors to help them[…..]

If you get into an accident or your car becomes disabled in a rural area in Indiana or Kentucky where you can’t get help and may be stuck for a while, an emergency kit could be a big help in keeping you safe and sane. We rarely plan ahead for emergencies because we just don’t like to think about them, but you may be able to prevent serious problems if you prepare for them. The state government of Wisconsin, a place familiar with winter weather, has these suggestions for an emergency car kit: Shovel Windshield scraper and small broom Flashlight and extra batteries Battery-powered radio Water Snack food, including energy bars, raisins and mini candy bars Matches and small candles[…..]

Spyware and apps to track the location of smartphones are readily available, but if you’re getting a divorce there’s no good reason to use them. Even if you think your spouse is cheating on you, Indiana law allows for no-fault divorces, so there’s no legal need to prove a spouse is unfaithful. The use of spyware (software that allows you to track what a person is doing on a computer or smartphone and where they’re located) is illegal under Indiana law. Even if you download one of these programs and are able to keep it a secret from your spouse, no matter what blockbuster evidence of cheating you think you might find, it either won’t be relevant or, because the[…..]

How should Kentucky sentence low-level drug dealers, thieves and others found guilty of non-violent crimes? Should they be locked up, securely separated from the public (at least until they’re paroled or released) or should there be another, better, less expensive and effective way to hold these people accountable while making it less likely they’ll commit another crime after their sentences are over? A report released in December by Kentucky’s Justice Reinvestment Workgroup makes 22 recommendations that might be the basis of new legislation which could help reduce the rising prison population. There are so many “hot button” issues involved that the report’s creators admit they have a hard time agreeing on all the findings, reports WDRB. The report paints a[…..]

With age and experience should come wisdom. Sometimes that wisdom results in the decision to end a non-functional Indiana marriage and start a new and better life. The Pew Research Center reports that although divorce is less common for younger adults, “gray divorce” is increasing in the U.S. The divorce rate for those fifty and older has roughly doubled, and for those 65 and older that rate has about tripled, since the 1990’s. The divorce rate is not uniform across age groups. In 2015, 21 adults aged 40 to 49 divorced per 1,000 married persons in that age range, up slightly from 18 in 1990. The divorce rate for those 25 to 39 decreased from 30 persons per 1,000 married[…..]

More than one in 20 people in Indiana admit having engaged in non-medical use of opioid pain relievers. And with similar percentages of Kentucky’s citizens in the same sad predicament, federal, state and local law enforcement is aggressively attacking this social and legal tragedy nationwide. Eighteen states have adopted comprehensive mandates in the past four years requiring doctors who prescribe opioids – oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax and others – and other controlled substances to check databases to learn whether their patients are addicts who get these drugs elsewhere. Prescribers – mainly physicians – can see which drugs their patients are obtaining and whether they are going to other prescribers to obtain opioids. And even though opioid abusers often cross state lines[…..]

We all respond to incentives. If we do a good job, we might get a raise, or maybe just some praise. Positive reinforcement results in people doing more of the same thing. The same may be true of Indiana law enforcement, who may be chasing dollars of those accused of being involved in the illegal drug trade, whether or not they’re arrested and convicted. Federal and state civil forfeiture laws allow police to seize, keep or sell up to 80% of property they claim is involved in a crime. Property owners need not be arrested or convicted of a crime for their cash, car or real estate to be taken away by law enforcement agencies. These laws were originally supposed[…..]

DNA testing has a reputation for producing concrete evidence that a person committed a crime, or at least was at a crime scene. But too much confidence in genetic testing may be resulting in innocent people being convicted or pleading guilty to Indiana crimes they didn’t commit, in order to avoid the risks of going to trial. The technology of DNA testing may not be mature enough to accurately and reliably do the job prosecutors and police are asking it to do. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has started a new study of some kinds of DNA analysis used by police labs in criminal prosecutions, reports McNeely Stephensonhas faithfully served the people and communities of Indiana for[…..]

Civil Litigation

For as long as there has been law enforcement in Indiana and Kentucky, innocent people have gotten caught up in ProPublica found at least ten instances in the last nineteen years where defendants with viable innocence claims agreed to Alford pleas (maintaining their innocence but admitting there’s enough evidence to convict) or deals where it was agreed that time already served in prison was enough punishment. In these cases, new evidence was found showing the defendant was innocent and it was persuasive enough to justify new trials or evidentiary hearings. The benefit of these types of deals for the defendant is being released from custody. The downside is that these innocent people are stigmatized; they have a conviction on their[…..]