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February 2016 Archives

False Confessions and Sleep Deprivation

In more than 25% of exonerations proven by DNA evidence, the wrongfully convicted defendant had made a false confession or an incriminating statement during the police investigation. Various reasons have been put forward to explain why innocent defendants falsely confess during police interrogations. For example, a suspect with a mental disability is likely to acquiesce to and accommodate a police authority figure. Other suspects falsely confess due to statements made by police about the overwhelming amount of evidence pointing to the suspect's guilt. Exhaustion, length of interrogation, and deception by police during the interrogation have also been identified as factors that may lead to an innocent person falsely confessing to a crime she did not commit.

Scalia's legacy of defending criminal suspects' rights

Our readers have heard by now that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away recently at age 79. Scalia had served on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1986, and in that time issued numerous majority opinions, as well as a mountain of fierce dissents.

Logan's Law Controversy

Earlier this month, the Michigan Senate passed a bill aimed at updating regulations protecting animals from abuse. The bill is commonly known as "Logan's Law," a reference to a Siberian Husky that was blinded and severely burned by acid attacks. The law will prohibit convicted animal abusers from adopting animals from shelters for five years and allow shelters free access to the state's criminal record registry.

Michigan man arrested for Facebook post criticizing Gov. Snyder

A Michigan activist has been arrested for a post he made on Facebook regarding Gov. Rick Snyder’s response to the Flint water crisis. Authorities claim the man violated his probation by “threatening” the governor online, but the activist said he was calling for Snyder’s arrest.

How Breathalyzer tests fail in Michigan

The invention of the Breathalyzer and similar devices revolutionized enforcement of drunk driving laws. For the first time, police and prosecutors could say they had an objective, convenient way to measure a suspect’s blood-alcohol content in a moment. Often, the result of the breath test is the key piece of evidence against a person put on trial for DUI, comparable only to the testimony of the arresting officer.

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