One of the bedrock principles of our criminal justice system is that the accused is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The collection of constitutional protections afforded to the accused is supposed to make the process fair criminal defendants. After all, it is not uncommon for criminal defendants to be falsely or even negligently accused of crimes, especially due to false eyewitness accounts.
Under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, private citizens are supposed to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by police. This essentially means that law enforcement must have a warrant signed by an impartial judge before initiating searches of areas that a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Shortly after the sentencing of Dr. Larry Nassar for his conduct involving young gymnasts during his tenure with USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, speculation was rampant as to who else may be responsible for enabling Nassar to operate undeterred for so long. Some suspected that current and/or former MSU officials could be held accountable in the same manner that others were held responsible in the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State University.
Spring time is a time for new beginnings throughout Michigan. Snow is melting, college basketball tournaments take center stage, and St. Patrick’s Day is a popular holiday. Events and celebrations commemorating Irish heritage are very popular among Michiganders.
It is not uncommon for criminal investigations to be conducted through a state-based crime lab. But given their cost limitations and capacity issues, some crime labs may have backlogs that may delay test results and give rise to other logistical issues. As such, more law enforcement agencies are relying on private crime labs established by corporate entities.
One of the most common misconceptions about the use of marijuana is that it is likely to impair a driver in the same way that alcohol does. Essentially, if someone has smoked a marijuana cigarette and then gets behind the wheel, he or she will be just as impaired (if not more) than someone who has had a few too many drinks.
It has been nearly 10 years since voters approved the Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative, and licensed dispensaries have helped those who deal with chronic pain and related maladies find a way to cope that departs from traditional opioids and other painkillers. But even with legalized marijuana, users may still find themselves running afoul of the law.
Felony charges are not created in a vacuum. They sometimes are created through searches that are not exactly illegal, but are conducted largely because a suspect does not know their rights under federal law, thus allowing law enforcement officers to discover evidence they might not have if a person’s constitutional rights were respected.
At this time of year, crimes are not commonly a newsworthy topic, especially if it does not deal with drunk driving or overzealous New Year’s reveling. But it should, especially when prison reform is one of the most complicated topics legislators and law enforcement must deal with.
The holiday season is known for holiday parties just as much as they are for gift-giving and family dinners. Between office holiday parties and college students coming home for winter break, there are likely to be more people on the road who may be under the influence of alcohol. Because of this possibility, there are likely to be more drunk driving patrols.