Aug/22/15 14:40 CategoriesConfessons
A friend just sent me a 2013 New Yorker article on the Reid Method of Interrogation called “The Interview: Do Police Interrogation Techniques Produce False Confessions?” I think I read it when it came out, but it was definitely worth a second read. In doing a little research on the subject, I also noticed that more media outlets are running with the story this including this article from the New York Times, this one from Psychology Today, and this one from PBS. The Reid Method of interrogation has been directly tied to wrongful convictions of individuals such as the Central Park Jogger case, and more. Despite all these criticism, it amazes me how much emphasis people put on confessions. More disconcerting in this tendency of many judges to bar expert testimony about the problems with false confession.
For a more academic analysis of what’s wrong with the Reid method, please review this article. This article is somewhat dated but excellent. It is written by two of the nation’s top experts.
In much anticipated ruling, the Michigan Supreme Court has struck down the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines on Sixth Amendment grounds. For the last decade, the Court has been steadfastly refusing to consider this issue. On July 29, 2015, the Court finally invalidated the mandatory nature of the guidelines. The Michigan Sentencing Guidelines will now be treated as advisory in the same way that the federal guidelines are treated as voluntary. People v Lockridge, Supreme Court No. 149073.
Aug/01/15 00:30 CategoriesVagueness
Individuals with a prior criminal record can have face fifteen year minimum sentences if they commit a new offense while possessing a firearm. These penalties are often harsh and unyielding. In Johnson v United States, the Supreme Court struck down the residual clause which made individuals guilty of violating this offense for having prior offenses which had a general element of violence. Under the modified categorical approach adopted by the court in past decisions, the focus is not on the specific offense, but the elements of the offense generally. Whether a particular offense qualified as a violent offense under the ACA was a point on which many legal minds often quibbled. Reversing a 2011 ruling, Justice Scalia writing for the Court found that the so-called residual clause constituted cruel or unusual punishment. Johnson v United States, No. 13-7120.