Something Little -- like a Traffic Stop -- Can Lead to a Major Arrest

A Kentucky police officer can pull you over for something minor, like a burnt out taillight or the fact that your license plate isn’t lit. These are just small issues, and the officer is putting in time and effort just for a taillight … or is he? Maybe he’s on the lookout for something more important, something bigger and better that will make him look good to his boss. A police officer is like a hunting dog looking for big game. That taillight is just a scent that gets his […]

Prison Time as Punishment Doesn’t Work

Most of those released from Kentucky prisons will be rearrested, and many of them will end up back behind bars. Our current justice system, by just about any measure, is failing society. This massive revolving door continues to consume billions of dollars and thousands of lives. Many studies and projects have tried to determine the reasons why our justice system doesn’t work and to come up with solutions. The latest comes with the help a billionaire family known for supporting conservative political causes, not for trying to help those convicted […]

Blood Pattern Evidence Is Admissible, but Is It Really Reliable?

You’ve seen it on TV and in the movies. The police and investigators are at the scene of a bloody murder. The blood appears to have been spattered on walls and the floor. The prosecution uses the blood stains to recreate the murder to establish how the victim was killed. This type of evidence may be fact or fiction, and it can be used in Kentucky courts. Bloodstain pattern analysis started when a group of scientists and forensic investigators began testifying as experts in criminal cases. They went on to […]

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 […]