police misconduct

Unanswered Questions Surrounding the Shooting of an Unarmed Teen by a Ferguson Police Officer Leads to Public Unrest

The fatal shooting of an unarmed African American teen in Ferguson, Mo. by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson Saturday, August 9, has given rise to an FBI civil rights investigation, protests and local rioting. The cause of the altercation between Michael Brown, 18, and Wilson, whose identity wasn’t released for weeks after the incident, remains unclear as witnesses to the event tell one story and law enforcement another. Dorian Johnson, 22, told CNN that he and Brown were walking to a family member’s home when police yelled at them to get out of the street. As the two explained that […]

Crime Labs Come Under Fire Nationwide for Questionable Tactics

In the criminal justice system, there is a skewed – but high – incentive for forensic scientists to get a conviction, whether it is a valid one or not. Crime and forensic labs are being paid fees per conviction, creating a higher possibility of bias. Crime labs conduct tests such as toxicology, fingerprint analysis, DNA evidence analysis, ballistics and hair microscopy. How confident would you be if you found out the lab conducting your toxicology test got paid only if you were convicted? Throughout the country, there have been thousands of falsely convicted individuals due to forensic lab mistakes, all […]

Know Your Rights When Police Misconduct Strikes

With numerous police misconduct and brutality cases throughout Arizona and the U.S., citizens should know when they are being taken advantage of by the law. A Phoenix police officer with a history of misconduct resigned amid an investigation after he was arrested recently for criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a minor. This was not the first time former officer Justin LaClere has drawn negative attention to himself. In 2010, he pulled over a Valley woman for dim headlights, pulled her out of her car at gunpoint and placed her in handcuffs for a DUI that she stated was […]

Milke Case: Is Double Jeopardy a Factor?

The defense attorney of Debra Milke, a woman who has served 23 years in prison for the death of her son and was released from death row last year, claims that retrying Milke in court because of the prosecution’s withholding of evidence in the initial trial would violate her Fifth Amendment rights. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Milke’s case when it was found that the state did not turn over evidence of misconduct by their key witness, Armando Saldate Jr., in the emotionally-charged 1990 trial. The evidence would have allowed the defense to question the witness’s credibility. […]

Missouri Man Released After Spending Nearly a Decade Behind Bars

Ryan Ferguson, a 29-year-old Missouri man, was released from prison in November after the Missouri attorney general chose not to retry him for the slaying of Columbia Daily Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt in 2001. Ferguson, only 17 at the time of the murder, was given a 40-year sentence after being implicated by friend, Chuck Erickson. He was released after Erickson admitted he and an eyewitness lied in court. Ferguson’s conviction was overturned after an appeals court ruled his trial was unfair due to the prosecution withholding evidence, according to CNN. After spending nearly a decade behind bars, Ferguson was […]

Ex-Phoenix Police Officer Gets New Trial After Judge Denies Request to Throw Out Assault Verdict

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville denied former Phoenix police officer Richard Chrisman’s request to have his aggravated assault charge thrown out on Nov. 13. In 2010, Chrisman was charged with murder and animal cruelty after he responded to a domestic violence call and it ended with the death of 29-year-old Daniel Rodriguez, in a south Phoenix trailer according to the Huffington Post. The Arizona Republic reported in November that Chrisman and his defense attorney Craig Mehrens once again sat in Granville’s courtroom in an effort to get the aggravated assault charge thrown out due to misconduct committed by […]

Tempe Police Officer Resigns After Criminal Investigation

Jessica Dever-Jakusz, a Tempe police officer, resigned earlier this month because of her involvement in a criminal investigation for hindering prosecution. Dever-Jakusz was a part of the show “Job Swap”, where she went to Switzerland for a week to patrol driving violations of citizens in Zurich. She received national attention for her participation in the show and her colleagues told CBS 5 that she was a “well-liked, well-respected officer.” The allegations surrounding Dever-Jakusz have been handed down to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. The investigation stemmed from allegations that Dever-Jakusz had slept with a drug dealer she was trailing. Before […]