Death of Two-Year-Old Renews Calls for Criminal Charges for Negligently Stored Firearms

So far this year in Kentucky, two children have been killed and five injured by firearms that weren’t securely stored, reports the Louisville Courier Journal. Most recently, two-year-old Montreal Dunn from Louisville shot himself and died in what has been ruled an accidental death. In response to this shooting, State Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville is pushing legislation to require guns to be securely locked in a box or container, by a device or carried by an adult. Not doing so in the presence of children would be a misdemeanor. […]

Penny Wise and Safety Foolish: Understaffing at Federal Prisons

When the government takes you into custody, they are responsible for your safety and well-being. Whether it’s local, Kentucky or federal law enforcement it’s against the law to simply lock you up and make you fend for yourself because government doesn’t want to spend money on appropriate staffing levels. If you or a loved one is being held in a federal facility, the story told in the New York Times recently should sound familiar. It reports on what was an average day at a federal prison in Big Spring, Texas. […]

Are Your Digital Devices Gathering Evidence for the Police?

We are surrounded by digital devices that we use every day. We can’t be without our smartphones. GPS guides us to where we want to go. If we want information about something, we search for answers on Google or just call out to our digital assistant. Without realizing, it we leave a trail of digital information — whether that’s what we said, where we were, what we were doing and even what we were thinking about or planning to do. Kentucky law enforcement may get access to this information whether […]

The Benefits of Releasing Inmates Who Shouldn’t Be in Jail

To conspiracy theorists and fans of the paranormal, the Philadelphia Experiment was an effort by the U.S. Navy during World War II that went terribly wrong. Instead of a newly constructed destroyer disappearing from radar, the ship located off the Philadelphia Navy yard vanished entirely, was teleported off Virginia, then back to Philadelphia, leaving some sailors seriously burned and injured. This never actually happened, but there’s a real life experiment in Philadelphia that deserves the attention of those who care about society and the criminal justice system. There are too […]

You Leave a Trail of DNA Wherever You Go. What Happens If It’s Found on a Murder Victim?

DNA evidence is considered by some to be the gold standard for criminal cases. DNA is the unique, genetic information each one of us carries. But we not only carry it, we shed it with our hair, sweat or dead skin. If one person gets it from you, it can pass to an object or another person. A California murder case discussed by the Marshall Project illustrates the problem. Lukis Anderson was in custody for six months before being released, held on suspicion of taking part of a break-in and […]

What You Can Do to End Child Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. It’s something everyone should be aware of at all times. If you witness a child being abused, you’re not powerless. You may see it happening and know it’s wrong, but may be conflicted about what you should do. Is the perpetrator a friend? Family member? Stranger? What should you do if you’re the one abusing a child? It’s common for people witnessing someone being abused to just turn away and keep on walking. An experiment in a public park involved the staged abuse of […]

Wrongful Convictions Leave Perpetrators on the Street

When you see the news of someone being released from jail after being wrongfully convicted, it’s only natural to sympathize with the person. He or she may have been imprisoned for years, perhaps decades — time that’s lost forever. Maybe what we should also consider is the fact that the person who actually committed the crime may still be out in society committing more crimes. The Marshall Project tells the story of Jennifer Thompson who was sexually assaulted in 1984. She later picked Ronald Cotton out of a police lineup, […]

Junk Science Sends Innocent People to Jail

We’d like to think that if a Kentucky jury convicts a defendant it’s because of the facts of the case (backed by cold, hard science) and the verdict was fairly decided by its members. Though that may be the hope, the reality is that sometimes juries rely on theories, labelled as science but often long debunked, which end up putting someone behind bars. Exhibit A for this problem is shaken baby syndrome (SBS). SBS became a popular diagnosis in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Forensic pathologists and child advocates […]