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Facial Recognition Tech: Challenges for Criminal Defense & Civil Liberties

The Board of Supervisors in San Francisco broke modern surveillance ground a couple of weeks ago by banning facial recognition technology from use by city departments, including law enforcement. The city regulations additionally require all city departments to disclose what surveillance methods they currently use, and to get approval from the Board of Supervisors for…
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What is Honest Services Fraud?

With the current news cycle covering the “college admissions scandal” a somewhat obscure term has been introduced into our collective water cooler chat in recent months: honest services fraud. Let’s take a look at what honest services is and a bit about what the fraud charges in these cases mean. In March of this year,…
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Supreme Court Restrains Property Seizure: Civil Forfeiture

In a unanimous decision the justices of the United States Supreme Court have set some boundaries around the practice of “civil forfeiture” by state and local law enforcement.  While the ruling provides some guidance, it left the specifics to lower courts to decide. Civil forfeiture is the practice by law enforcement agencies of taking and…
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Deepfakes: Criminalizing Forged Videos

New legislation criminalizing deepfakes has been introduced in the U.S.Senate. Video and audio recordings are widely relied on as “proof” that something happened or as a way to document the way something unfolded.  Investigators, law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and juries routinely rely on digital recordings to evaluate an event and reveal the “truth.”   Our…
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DUI Ignition-Interlock Device Becomes Mandatory in 2019

What was a pilot program in only four California counties up until the calendar turned over to 2019 is now a statewide DUI program.  Californians convicted of a DUI as of January 1 will almost certainly be required to install an ignition-interlock device (IID) on their car for at least six months. Since 2010 there…
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Bump Stocks and Other Gun Laws for 2019 You Need to Know

Bump stocks have essentially been illegal in California since 1990.  Any person who possesses, manufactures, imports into California, offers a bump stock for sale or gives or lends one, is committing a crime in the state.  But in September of 2018, the language of the existing law around bump stocks was expanded to specifically include…
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More Visibility into Police Misconduct Records Coming in California

According to the Washington Post’s Fatal Force database, police shot and killed 162 people in California in 2017, and 99 so far in 2018. Under existing California law, police records of such incidents are largely unavailable to the public. The language in existing California law is broad allowing these police incident records to be classified…
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The Difference Between a Hate Incident and a Hate Crime

According to the most recent FBI statistics hate crimes are up 17% nationwide. Orange County is reporting a 16% increase for 2017. Hate crimes have increased in each year over the last three years. Over that three-year period hate crimes have increased by 44% statewide in California. Hate incidents and crimes in Orange County range…
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Cash Bail Eliminated in California

In a recent slate of bill signings by the governor, Californians will no longer have a system of cash bail as collateral to get out of jail while awaiting trial. The passage of the bill is probably one of the top three criminal justice topics of the year. California is the first state to abolish…
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New California Criminal Laws Coming in 2019

As Jerry Brown wraps up his tenure as governor of California, his last legislative signing session included some new criminal laws. These new criminal laws will have an impact on those who get arrested, on young offenders, those charged with murder, and those charged with marijuana offenses before marijuana was legalized. Perhaps the most widely…
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