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Criminal Defense Archives

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.

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.

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.

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.

Texas commission: 1985 blood spatter expert was 'entirely wrong'

The Texas Forensic Science Commission, a national leader in forensic science reform, has called the blood-spatter evidence in a 1985 Bosque County murder case "not accurate or scientifically supported" and even "entirely wrong." The findings and may lead to a new trial for 77-year old Joe B. who, after 30+ years in prison, is in declining health.

Justices: Police need warrants to obtain cellphone location data

In what was considered a major victory for personal privacy advocates, the U.S. Supreme court has restricted law enforcement's ability to use cellphone location data in the course of criminal investigations. A 1979 precedent had given some the impression that this data could be obtained using a mere court order. The recent ruling makes clear that police ordinarily need a warrant for the information.

Supreme Court: Warrant required when police search your driveway

The Supreme Court has long ruled that homes and their associated premises deserve special protection from overzealous law enforcement searches. While police are generally required by the Fourth Amendment to get warrants before conducting searches, there are a wide variety of exceptions to that rule. When it comes to the home and what the courts call the home's "curtilage," however, courts scrutinize those exceptions carefully.

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