Friday, January 31, 2014

Phantom Tipsters: Oral Arguments in Navarette v. California

In this day and age is it still possible to make anonymous phone calls?  With the advent of caller identification on most phones, at the very least, one’s phone number is typically known to the person he is calling.  However, through the use of blocking one’s number or using an anonymous flip phone, it is still possible to remain anonymous when calling another person.  Further, it could be argued that simply knowing someone’s phone number does not give you any identifying information about that person.  This particular issue of how to handle anonymous tips given to the police was debated on January 21, 2014 and will be decided by the United States Supreme Court through the case Navarette v. California.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let’s Get Maryland Marijuana Reform Rolling

   State with legal medical cannabis.
   State with decriminalized cannabis possession laws.*
   State with both medical and decriminalization laws.
   State with legalized cannabis.
Two recent studies by the ACLU and PewResearch Center suggest that marijuana laws are not being reformed as the public demands.  In fact, the studies suggest just the opposite: that marijuana laws are being enforced more than ever before, in a time where legalization is becoming favored by citizens.  But what can we, as citizens who frequently feel powerless to change the laws of the State, do to expedite such reform?

Friday, January 24, 2014

“Ban the Box” Laws Seek to Give Returning Citizens a Second Chance

Meet John Doe.  He has just returned home from serving time in prison for a criminal offense that occurred during his youth.  He has learned a lot and he is ready to prove it to his family and community.  He is ready to start over, obtain employment, and financial stability.  He applies for jobs that he is qualified for and honestly discloses his conviction when asked on hiring forms.  Still, he cannot get a break; not even an interview.  Almost always his application is tossed aside when employers realize that he has a criminal history.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Drug Courts as an Alternative to Incarceration in Light of the U.S.’s Shifting Marijuana Policy

I.               Marijuana Policy in the United States Today

November 6, 2012, marked a shift in drug policy in the United States, for while many voters took to the polls to elect a variety of political figures, voters in the states of Colorado and Washington passed two voter initiatives which marked a shift in drug policy in the United States.  At the beginning of  January 2014 recreational use marijuana dispensaries opened up in Colorado—Washington State’s dispensaries are not fully set up yet and may take until June—with people traveling from as far as Ohio to purchase some of the United States’ first legally sold recreational marijuana.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Supreme Court Watch

The following are recent Supreme Court cases and opinions relating to criminal law discussed and analyzed.  We break down the cases with specific analysis for the affect on practitioners.  This page will be updated as opinions are published.