Wrongful Conviction Data Simultaneously Encouraging Yet Dismal

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Thursday, April 18, 2019. It’s always uplifting to hear that an innocent person languishing behind bars in Missouri or elsewhere is ultimately deemed innocent of a criminal charge and released from prison. It is alarming to note, though, how many times each year exoneration occurs. It occurs a lot. Moreover, many criminal law reformers and commentators state that the number of inmates freed from American prisons each year following a tardy determination of their innocence is far lower than it should be. That is, the exoneration figure does not really reflect with …

Criminal Sentencing Reform On Display Coast To Coast

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Thursday, December 20, 2018. Just because you’ve got a big hammer in your toolbox doesn’t mean you should threaten to use it.” So says an ex-federal prosecutor commenting on the proper role of a government attorney in the charging process. That should uniformly be the filing of only charges that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The commentator and other reform-minded voices now speaking up in the criminal realm stress that charging high for political reasons or to secure leverage in a plea bargain broadly disservices the public and undermines justice. …

Appeals court: judge must guard against bias, not promote it

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Thursday, November 29, 2018. Imagine yourself as a defendant in this hypothetical. You are seated before a judge who suddenly informs you that he wouldn’t want to share a fox hole with you because you would “fold like a cheap suit.” The court then follows up that utterance with synonyms characterizing you as “lazy,” “arrogant” and “self-seeking.” He tops off that collective description by stating that you “symbolize everything that’s wrong with the world.” After hearing that assessment of your attributes and character, might you have just a …

New MO Federal Attorney Spotlights Sharp Prosecutorial Focus

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. Missouri has always been a state where alleged criminal activity is relentlessly probed and harshly prosecuted. And that is hardly about to change under the helm of Timothy A. Garrison, the recently appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. Criminal suspects in Missouri have always had an urgent need for quality defense representation when they face the resolve and resources of state and federal authorities. Comments offered by Garrison in the wake of his appointment as one of the country’s 93 federal prosecutors indicate that a …

A Compelling Need To Reform/Improve Witness ID Processes

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Thursday, July 19, 2018. Every American law school student becomes acquainted with one select quote very early in their legal studies. It comes courtesy of the illustrious Sir William Blackstone, a renowned 18th-century judge and jurist. Blackstone allegedly uttered the following words, which still resonate in an aspirational and idealistic way for criminal law attorneys across the United States: “Better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent person suffer.” Although some lock-them-up hard-on-crime enthusiasts might object to that sentiment, doesn’t it ring absolutely true from an ethical standpoint? No reasonable …

Organizations File Class Action Suit Against Gang Database

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Monday, July 9, 2018. Several organizations have banded together in a federal lawsuit against the Chicago police department over the use of a gang member database. The database compiles information about suspected gang members based on gang attire, tattoos, and other distinguishing characteristics. Many other cities use similar resources. Opponents argue that the database reinforces racial profiling. The list names 68,000 juveniles and as many as 195,000 persons of interest in total. People on the list face heightened police surveillance, civil rights infringements, threat of deportation and damaging quality of life issues Not aligned …

Inside The Interrogation Room

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. A key part of American justice is the concept of innocent until proven guilty. While this is the underlying goal of the judicial system, the process is long and complicated. Police who arrest suspects do so with different motivation than a judge or jury who determines guilt and innocence. Discussed in a recent column on the TV series The Confession Tapes, data suggests that a confession is the most effective form of evidence in finding somebody guilty. The show examines real life confessions, finding examples where innocent (and later exonerated) individuals …

Supreme Court Weighs In On Key Privacy-Interest Case

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Monday, June 25, 2018. One U.S. Supreme Court analyst prominently notes in a recent national article profiling a key ruling from last week that Americans’ privacy expectations in a certain context have long been limited. And in a most material way. Law professor and court commentator Steve Vladeck stresses that for many decades Americans have had “no expectation of privacy in any information we voluntarily share with third parties.” What that practically means is this: Law enforcers digging for incriminating evidence have routinely been able to skirt the constitutional 4th Amendment requirement …

Criminal Law Focus: Traumatic Brain Injury, Culpability

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Thursday, March 15, 2018. Criminal sentencing outcomes in Missouri and nationally have various underlying rationales. Deterrence is often cited when a prison term is meted out in a given case. So too is an inmate’s perceived potential to be rehabilitated. And then there is punishment, which is often a clear factor guiding a judge’s or jury’s determinations concerning a defendant’s future. Central to that is culpability, that is, the notion that a wrongdoer purposefully broke the law, knew there were consequences and must now pay the price. It has long been a …

SCOTUS Case Spotlights Cellphone Privacy Rights

In Violent Crimesby RSF

On behalf of Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry posted in Violent Crimes on Monday, June 12, 2017. Today you might have gone to a couple stores, maybe a bar or restaurant, a doctor’s office and a baseball game. Maybe you went to a place or two you would just as soon not identify to anyone for personal reasons, and you don’t really consider that any third party’s business. Especially that of any government official or agency. When it comes to privacy, most Americans will readily confirm that they place a high value on the concept. And they get squeamish with the thought that laws might …