We see it in movies and police dramas all the time: someone confessing to a crime they did not commit in order to protect someone they care about. But while many people believe that no one would ever risk a false confession for someone else's sake, a case out of another state is proving that it does happen in real life sometimes.
Some of you may have heard the term statute of limitations used in reference to personal injury cases but did you know that there are criminal statutes of limitations as well? Much like tort law statutes of limitations, which put a time limit on when compensation can be sought from a negligent party, criminal statutes of limitations prevent prosecutors from charging someone with a crime after a specified number of years have passed.
We all know that the possession and subsequent use of prohibited drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines is illegal and can result in criminal charges. But in some states, the use of such drugs may result in additional criminal charges if the user is pregnant. It’s because of a new law out of another state that we bring up this issue with our California readers in hopes of sparking a conversation about how far the law can go before it is considered overreaching.
Did you know that colleges and universities across the United States are required by federal law to follow up on reports of sexual assault? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. Neither did more than 40 percent of schools across the nation, says a congressional subcommittee.
Depending on how California residents vote on the 2014 ballot this November, good news could be coming to people who are or have faced criminal charges for certain nonviolent crimes. That’s because the new ballot measure, if passed, would convert some crimes that were previously considered felonies into misdemeanors instead.
California legislators recently proposed a bill that could toughen penalties for juveniles charged with sharing images of a sexual nature to harass others under the age of 18. Minors charged with a similar offense under current law could be charged with distributing child pornography. However, one attorney who drafted the proposed legislation was hoping to address what is referred to as the bullying nature of sharing these images.
"It's really damaging ... putting handcuffs on a child at 12, 13 or 14 years old," the head of a gang diversion program told reporters. "Even for something like jumping a turnstile, those acts have ripple effects that can be catastrophic."
Tween girls post photos of themselves on Facebook every time they're doing, well, anything. Your co-worker posts a new picture of himself on Instagram every time he's at the gym. Love them or hate them, "selfies" are everywhere. Generally, they're harmless, albeit mildly annoying. A recent situation in Oakland, however, shows that sometimes selfies can get you into trouble.
Sometimes prosecutors demonstrate a somewhat over-abundance of vigilance when making the decision to prosecute an alleged sex crime. Unfortunately, that sometimes means attempting to put someone behind bars for perfectly ordinary behavior. Luckily, a San Francisco Superior Court jury acted just as one might hope -- as an appropriate check on prosecutorial excess.
This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is holding a rare re-hearing on the constitutionality of collecting the DNA profiles of arrestees into databases intended to solve future crimes. The appellate court has heard the case before but decided to rehear it in light of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on a similar Maryland law this June.