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Under investigation or charged with a crime? Avoid social media

Family law attorneys have been telling their clients to stay away from social media during the divorce proceedings for many years now, since nothing is ever really as private as you believe. They warn their clients that their posts and pictures could come back to haunt them in courtroom battles for property or custody of their children.

It would only make sense, then, that criminal defense attorneys would provide the same cautions to their clients, especially since individuals under investigation by law enforcement or facing criminal charges often have much more at stake, including their freedom. Let's delve into how social media could impact your case.

Even in the border zone, searches and seizures must be reasonable

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable government searches and seizures. The general rule is that the government needs a warrant, or an exception to the warrant requirement, for a search or seizure to be constitutional. However, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that no warrant or even probable cause is required for customs officers to search at the U.S. border or 100 miles into the interior in what is called the "border zone." The border zone includes Houston, San Antonio and even New Braunfels.

Does that mean the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply in the border zone? Do the residents of Houston or San Antonio have fewer constitutional rights than other Americans? No, according to a recent opinion by a federal judge.

A traumatic brain injury can permanently affect cognition

You never wanted to find yourself in a situation where your life was changed in a negative way. Unfortunately, you cannot predict the effects that you will face from a variety of scenarios, and if you are involved in an accident, you could suffer a serious injury that changes your life forever.

A traumatic brain injury is a major injury that can cause permanent changes. You may have suffered this type of harm from a car accident, or you could have slipped and fallen, hitting your head on an object or the ground. Of course, several other scenarios could easily result in this type of injury as well. Nonetheless, you now find yourself experiencing changes that you never expected.

New FBI data shows continued decline in crime rates in most areas

Each year, the FBI releases its Uniform Crime Reports for the previous year, which are based on data provided by local law enforcement agencies. These reports give us crucial information about what types of crimes, and how many, have been reported to police. Similar reports are issued by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which gauge how many crimes were actually committed, even if they weren't reported. These are the two main sources used to determine America's crime rate.

The crime rate is important in criminal justice because a high rate of crime, especially violent crime, is often used rhetorically to call for tougher laws, increased enforcement and harsher penalties for criminal defendants. Yet these "tough on crime" initiatives have arguably contributed to our nation's mass incarceration crisis and other problems. Therefore, it's crucial for citizens to have an accurate sense of how much crime we experience in the U.S.

Researchers regrow some cells in mice with spinal injuries

When doctors refer to a "complete spinal cord injury," they mean that there has been a total severance of the spinal cord at some point in the neck or back. The gap prevents the brain from communicating with any part of the body connected below it. Unfortunately, these injuries have long been considered intractable, with no way to restore the communication and an extremely limited chance for improvement in the patient.

Now, however, researchers have found a three-part cocktail that can coax one type of spinal nerve to grow across the gap of a complete spinal cord injury in rodents. The nerves were then able to take on electrical communication from the brain, although physical therapy would still be needed to for the patient's body to re-learn how to use the newly-healed spine.

Recovering from a traumatic brain injury takes time

Any time you have ridden any type of open-air vehicle like a bicycle, motorcycle or ATV, you likely wore a helmet because you understood the importance of protecting your head and brain from injury. It may never have crossed your mind to wear a helmet inside a car or truck because the outer body of the vehicle would offer protection. However, you may have learned the hard way that you can suffer a serious brain injury even inside a car.

If another driver caused an accident that involved your vehicle, you may have hit your head on various parts of the vehicle or perhaps even been struck by debris. In any case, you now have a long road ahead working to recover from your brain injury.

Dallas County is running 15-second, closed-door bail hearings

At the Dallas County jail, about 5,000 people are held behind bars every day. So far this year, only 23 percent have been able to post bail, leaving most trapped in pretrial detention. After days or weeks in jail, with their housing and jobs often lost, most end up pleading guilty regardless of their actual guilt.

Pretrial detention due merely to inability to make bail is a problem across the United States. As you may recall, in February the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals found Harris County's bail system unconstitutional.

Texas ranks high for safe drivers, but more needs to be done

Allstate has just released its 14th annual America's Best Drivers Report, which ranks the 200 largest U.S. cities on the frequency of car crashes. The rankings, which are based on Allstate claims data, also calculate how the likelihood of each city's residents to be in car crashes compared the average U.S. driver. American drivers, on average, are in a car crash every ten years or so.

The top-ranked city was Brownsville, where residents are 26.3 percent less likely to be in a car crash than the national average, meaning that a Brownsville resident is likely to be involved in a collision about once every 13.6 years.

Your social media postings can hurt your criminal defense

Most people in Texas have access to a phone or other electronic device that allows them to post pictures, videos and their thoughts online. Social media has taken the world over and it is not something that will be going away. If you choose to post to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, please know if you are accused of committing a crime, what you post could hurt your criminal defense.

In 2017, a judge who served on the Supreme Court in another state shared his thoughts about social media and its effect on court cases. He basically said if you want to post about your life, fine, but if you post something that incriminates you or allow someone to post something that paints you in a bad light, too bad. If it makes you look guilty, the court may find you guilty.

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