Articles Tagged with criminal defense technology

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”

If you have seen the movie “Minority Report” starring Tom Cruise, you are familiar with some of the scary and seemingly futuristic ways that technology could come to influence the criminal justice system. Though we are not in danger of implementing some of the most terrifying ideas found in the movie, it is undoubtedly true that technological advancements are playing a greater and greater role in courthouses all across the country. We must all begin to grapple with these changes and decide how far we are comfortable letting computers and artificial intelligence shape our justice system.

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Charlotte DWI Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”

It’s something you may never have thought about: what impact does slow motion video have on your perception of an event? Your first reaction may be, nothing. After all, slow motion is just a helpful way of understanding what happened without losing details in a blur of activity. Though that sounds like a reasonable response, researchers indicate it isn’t true. A recent study showed that watching footage in slow motion can skew the viewer’s perception of the event, allowing them to infer intention where they might not have otherwise.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Am I allowed to videotape an interaction with police? Can they make me stop filming?”

North Carolina now joins the ranks of other states attempting to block the release of potentially inflammatory body camera footage. Earlier this month the governor, Pat McCrory, signed a bill into law that prevents law enforcement recordings, either from body cameras or dashboard cameras, from being released, except with very narrow exceptions. Though some officers have cheered the news, many other groups, including the ACLU and the state’s attorney general have offered criticism, saying the new law makes it harder to hold law enforcement accountable in the event of the use of excessive force.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

In general, a person’s privacy rights extend as is “reasonable.” Persons do not, for instance, have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they walk on a public street. They may be photographed and recorded in a variety of settings and formats, and their words and behavior can be freely observed, noted and memorialized.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

 

In a meeting last month, the Santa Clara County, California supervisors voted 4 to 1 to authorize the expenditure of $500,000 on a product they had never seen. They did not know how the product worked, nor were they even sure of its brand name. The supervisors were required to enter into a nondisclosure agreement to even purchase and use the device.

Surveillance equipment Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Mecklenburg DWI AttorneyBut they would not be using the rectangular device—“small enough to fit into a suitcase, that intercepts a cellphone signal by acting like a cellphone tower,” according to the New York Times. The Santa Clara County Sheriff—Laurie Smith—would be using the device to track down terrorists and missing persons, she said. She could offer no details on technical specifications to the Times and said she had not seen a product demonstration.

Cell-site stimulators—called various names including StingRay or KingFish—capture texts, emails and other data “from all wireless devices in the immediate area” of a device. According to a 2011 Federal Bureau of Investigators affidavit, the device captures data from all devices in an area—even those of bystanders not targeted for investigation. That information is purged, the F.B.I. said, in order to ensure privacy rights, according to the Times.

For now, law-enforcement agencies and their technology suppliers have insisted on a veil of secrecy about the devices, saying disclosure “would let criminals, including terrorists, ‘thwart the use of this technology,’” according to the Times.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I need to hire an attorney if I have been falsely accused?”

 

The shooting death of teen Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer—and the subsequent protesting, rioting and looting—has many Charlotteans asking “Could that happen here?”

Police body camera Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer North Carolina DWI AttorneyNAACP Charlotte President Kojo Nantambu said during a Thursday press conference that Charlotte, like Ferguson, is a hotbed of racial hostility. “NAACP” stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “Police are supposed to be protecting us,” Nantambu said, “but they are killing us instead.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. echoed Nantambu’s sentiments in a USA Today editorial, writing that anywhere Americans look, “There’s a Ferguson near you.”

Like the Brown case, the killing in Charlotte last year of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell made headlines around the world. Ferrell was shot to death by CMPD Officer Randall Kerrick after a car crash. Both Brown and Ferrell were unarmed at the time of their shooting deaths. In the Ferrell case—unlike in the Brown case—Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police quickly named Kerrick as the officer who fired the shots that killed Ferrell. After an investigation, Kerrick was charged with voluntary manslaughter.

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