Gowen Rhoades WInograd & Silva PLLC Blog

Information and insight on today's hot legal topics.

Gowen Rhoades WInograd & Silva PLLC Blog - Information and insight on today's hot legal topics.

Maryland DNA Law Going to U.S. Supreme Court

Special thanks to Gowen Group Law Clerk John Langlois for producing this post. 

lab photo from Flickr

On November 9th, 2012 the United States Supreme Court granted review of the case of Maryland v. King to determine if collecting and analyzing the DNA of people arrested and charged with serious crimes is allowed under the Fourth Amendment. The case will be reviewed next year.

The review is in response to a ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals. That state court held that collection of DNA samples from arrestees prior to conviction violated the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable, warrantless searches. Maryland first enacted legislation establishing a DNA database in 1994. Collection of DNA samples was originally limited to individuals convicted of violent crimes or attempts at those crimes. In 2008 the law was expanded to allow collection upon arrest rather than after conviction.

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The Negative Consequences of the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights

 

In a recent post entitled ‘Why Firing a Bad Cop is Damn Near Impossible‘, Mike Riggs of Reason.com recounts the now infamous pictures of Rhode Island police officer Edward Krawetz kicking a handcuffed women in the head.

Three years later, in March of 2012, Officer Krawetz was convicted of felony battery, but his 10 year sentence was immediately suspended in lieu of anger management classes. Riggs’ article draws attention to the fact that despite the conviction and public scrutiny, Krawetz was not fired from the Lincoln Police Department, mostly thanks to the “law enforcement bill of rights.”

Both Virginia (9.1-500-507) and Maryland (3.101 – 3.113) have similar Law Enforcement Bill of Rights legislation.

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Juvenile Life Without Parole Decision by the Supreme Court

This post by Gowen Group law clerk Brenna Daugherty

 

This past week much attention has been on our nation’s highest court. While most of the attention was focused on the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Affordable Care Act, the Supreme Court also handed down a decision in Miller v. Alabama, a case involving two 14 year-old offenders convicted of murder from Arkansas and Alabama.  Both were sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.  In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Elena Kagan, the Court found that the mandatory nature of the punishment as well as preventing the sentencing authority from taking a juvenile’s ‘lessened culpability’ and ‘capacity for change’ into account, violated the Eight Amendment of the Constitution.

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