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Full-Text Articles in Evidence

Promise-Induced False Confessions: Lessons From Promises In Another Context, Margaux Joselow Jun 2019

Promise-Induced False Confessions: Lessons From Promises In Another Context, Margaux Joselow

Boston College Law Review

People are generally skeptical that someone would falsely confess to a crime he or she did not commit. Nonetheless, a myriad of convicts exonerated by DNA and the rapidly emerging scientific literature on the subject calls into question this long-standing belief. Scholars in the field now recognize that personal and situational risk factors, including promises of leniency, heighten the risk of a false confession. Promises of leniency have been shown to be particularly coercive in interrogations and to produce unusually persuasive testimony in the courtroom. Due to a failure to recognize the power behind these promises, our justice system does ...


Bare Necessity: Simplifying The Standard For Admitting Showup Identifications, J.P. Christian Milde Jun 2019

Bare Necessity: Simplifying The Standard For Admitting Showup Identifications, J.P. Christian Milde

Boston College Law Review

In 1967, the Supreme Court held that admitting the results of an unnecessarily suggestive police identification procedure could violate a defendant’s right to due process. Over the next decade, several rulings narrowed and clarified the standard into the Brathwaite test, which remains in use today. This test allows the admission of identifications obtained through unnecessarily suggestive procedures if a court finds the identification to nonetheless be reliable. Applying the test requires courts to rule on a procedure’s necessity, its suggestiveness, and the resulting identification’s reliability. Making these determinations forces courts to grapple with intertwined questions of law ...


Remedying Wrongful Convictions Through Dna Testing: Expanding Post-Conviction Litigants’ Access To Dna Database Searches To Prove Innocence, Kayleigh E. Mcglynn Feb 2019

Remedying Wrongful Convictions Through Dna Testing: Expanding Post-Conviction Litigants’ Access To Dna Database Searches To Prove Innocence, Kayleigh E. Mcglynn

Boston College Law Review

Forensic science is used as evidence in criminal cases regularly. Recently, however, scientists have criticized several commonly used forensic methods that are unreliable, scientifically invalid, and have contributed to wrongful convictions. In contrast, DNA testing, which is reliable and valid, is a powerful resource for exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals. Congress and all fifty states have enacted statutes providing access to post-conviction DNA testing. Only nine states, however, have enacted statutes granting post-conviction litigants access to another important resource—law enforcement DNA database searches. Even though Congress amended the federal post-conviction DNA testing statute to provide access to DNA database searches ...


The Grand Jury: A Shield Of A Different Sort, R. Michael Cassidy, Julian A. Cook Iii Jun 2017

The Grand Jury: A Shield Of A Different Sort, R. Michael Cassidy, Julian A. Cook Iii

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

According to the Washington Post, 991 people were shot to death by police officers in the United States during calendar year 2015, and 957 people were fatally shot in 2016. A disproportionate percentage of the citizens killed in these police-civilian encounters were black. Events in Ferguson, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Charlotte, North Carolina; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Staten Island, New York - to name but a few affected cities - have now exposed deep distrust between communities of color and law enforcement. Greater transparency is necessary to begin to heal this culture of distrust and to inform the debate going forward about police ...


Constitutional Law And The Role Of Scientific Evidence: The Transformative Potential Of Doe V. Snyder, Melissa Hamilton Feb 2017

Constitutional Law And The Role Of Scientific Evidence: The Transformative Potential Of Doe V. Snyder, Melissa Hamilton

Boston College Law Review

In late 2016, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s concluded in Does #1–5 v. Snyder that Michigan’s sex offender registry and residency restriction law constituted an ex post facto punishment in violation of the constitution. In its decision, the Sixth Circuit engaged with scientific evidence that refutes moralized judgments about sex offenders, specifically that they pose a unique and substantial risk of recidivism. This Essay is intended to highlight the importance of Snyder as an example of the appropriate use of scientific studies in constitutional law.


Rape Law Gatekeeping, Corey Rayburn Yung Jan 2017

Rape Law Gatekeeping, Corey Rayburn Yung

Boston College Law Review

Police across the United States regularly act as hostile gatekeepers who prevent rape complaints from advancing through the criminal justice system by fervently policing the culturally disputed concept of “rape.” Victims are regularly disbelieved, rape kits are discarded without investigation, and, as a result, rapists remain free. The substantial empirical evidence and stories from victims across the United States demonstrate that any success in decreasing sexual violence hinges on removing the numerous police-imposed obstacles inhibiting investigation and adjudication in rape cases, beginning with substantial reform of police practices. An examination of modern cases and the historical record indicates that the ...


"Virtual Certainty" In A Digital World: The Sixth Circuit's Application Of The Private Search Doctrine To Digital Storage Devices In United States V. Lichtenberger, Stephen Labrecque Apr 2016

"Virtual Certainty" In A Digital World: The Sixth Circuit's Application Of The Private Search Doctrine To Digital Storage Devices In United States V. Lichtenberger, Stephen Labrecque

Boston College Law Review

In 2015 in United States v. Lichtenberger, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that police violated the Fourth Amendment by exceeding the scope of a private search of computer files. This decision deviated from holdings of the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Seventh Circuits, which held that under the private search doctrine, police could more thoroughly search digital devices that were previously searched by a private party. The Sixth Circuit created a circuit split by failing to apply the closed container approach to the digital storage devices in Lichtenberger. This Comment ...


Small Cells, Big Problems: The Increasing Precision Of Cell Site Location Information And The Need For Fourth Amendment Protections, Robert M. Bloom, William T. Clark Jan 2016

Small Cells, Big Problems: The Increasing Precision Of Cell Site Location Information And The Need For Fourth Amendment Protections, Robert M. Bloom, William T. Clark

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The past fifty years has witnessed an evolution in technology advancement in police surveillance. Today, one of the essential tools of police surveillance is something most Americans carry with them in their pockets every day, the cell phone. Cell phones not only contain a huge repository of personal data, they also provide continuous surveillance of a person’s movement known as cell site location information (CSLI).

In 1986, Congress sought to provide some privacy protections to CSLI in the Stored Communication Act. Although this solution may have struck the proper balance in an age when cell phones were a mere ...


Free, But Still Behind Bars: Reading The Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act To Allow Any Person Convicted Of A Crime To Raise A Claim Of Actual Innocence, Hugh M. Mundy Apr 2015

Free, But Still Behind Bars: Reading The Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act To Allow Any Person Convicted Of A Crime To Raise A Claim Of Actual Innocence, Hugh M. Mundy

Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice

As the number of wrongfully convicted prisoners who are subsequently exonerated continues to rise, the importance of access to post-conviction relief also increases. Under the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act, this access is restricted to petitioners who are currently imprisoned or otherwise facing a restraint on their liberty. Persons convicted of a crime who have completed their sentence are barred from pursuing post-conviction relief under the Act, regardless of the existence of exculpatory evidence that supports their innocence. Removing this procedural roadblock and interpreting the Act broadly to allow any person convicted of a crime to raise a claim of actual ...


The Need For Additional Safeguards Against Racist Police Practices: A Call For Change To Massachusetts & Illinois Wiretapping Laws, Andrew Martinez Whitson Apr 2014

The Need For Additional Safeguards Against Racist Police Practices: A Call For Change To Massachusetts & Illinois Wiretapping Laws, Andrew Martinez Whitson

Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice

Police misconduct is still prevalent throughout the United States. Unfortunately for members of minority communities, this misconduct often comes in the form of racially discriminatory police practices. In many cases, such practices are deeply rooted in the police department’s culture. It is imperative that all citizens are equipped with every possible safeguard from such abuse at the hands of the police. In Massachusetts and Illinois, however, wiretapping and eavesdropping laws prevent people from employing one such safeguard that has proven to help change unconstitutional police practices. The safeguard that those laws criminalize is the ability to surreptitiously record on-duty ...


Impeachment By Unreliable Conviction, Anna Roberts Mar 2014

Impeachment By Unreliable Conviction, Anna Roberts

Boston College Law Review

This Article offers a new critique of Federal Rule of Evidence 609, which permits impeachment of criminal defendants by means of their prior criminal convictions. In admitting convictions as impeachment evidence, courts are wrongly assuming that such convictions are necessarily reliable indicators of relative culpability. Courts assume that convictions are the product of a fair fight, that they demonstrate relative culpability, and that they connote moral culpability. But current prosecutorial practice and other data undermine each of these assumptions. Accordingly, this Article proposes that before a conviction is used for impeachment, there should be an assessment of the extent to ...


A Step In The Wrong Direction: The Ninth Circuit Requires Reasonable Suspicion For Forensic Examinations Of Electronic Storage Devices During Border Searches In United States V. Cotterman, Michael Creta Feb 2014

A Step In The Wrong Direction: The Ninth Circuit Requires Reasonable Suspicion For Forensic Examinations Of Electronic Storage Devices During Border Searches In United States V. Cotterman, Michael Creta

Boston College Law Review

On March 8, 2013, in United States v. Cotterman, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit—sitting en banc—held that U.S. border agents must have a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity before conducting a forensic search of an electronic storage device at the border. In reaching this conclusion, the court narrowed existing federal appeals court precedents, which held that manual searches of electronic storage devices do not require any suspicion. This Comment argues that a reasonable suspicion requirement is illogical, harmful to national security, and administratively impractical. Instead, strengthening existing federal regulations is a better ...


The Search For A Limited Search: The First Circuit Denies The Search Of Cell Phones Incident To Arrest In United States V. Wurie, Evan O'Connor Feb 2014

The Search For A Limited Search: The First Circuit Denies The Search Of Cell Phones Incident To Arrest In United States V. Wurie, Evan O'Connor

Boston College Law Review

On May 17, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in United States v. Wurie held that the warrantless search of a cell phone was not justified by the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment and was thus an illegal search. In doing so, the court declined to agree with other federal appeals court solutions regarding this issue; most notably, the Fifth Circuit’s 2007 decision in United States v. Finley and the Seventh Circuit’s 2012 decision in United States v. Flores-Lopez. This Comment argues that the approaches taken by courts on both sides of ...


A Murky Doctrine Gets A Little Pushback: The Fourth Circuit's Rebuff Of Guilty Pleas In United States V. Fisher, Eric Hawkins Feb 2014

A Murky Doctrine Gets A Little Pushback: The Fourth Circuit's Rebuff Of Guilty Pleas In United States V. Fisher, Eric Hawkins

Boston College Law Review

On April 1, 2013, in United States v. Fisher, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit vacated a defendant’s guilty plea post-sentencing because of an officer’s impermissible conduct during the preceding investigation. In doing so, the court expanded on the “voluntariness” prerequisite outlined in the seminal 1970 U.S. Supreme Court case of Brady v. United States that governs the guilty plea process in federal court. This Comment argues that this was a prudent expansion given the troubling nature of guilty pleas in general. This Comment outlines the basic contours of guilty pleas in the ...


The Statistical Evidence Of Racial Profiling In Traffic Stops And Searches: Rethinking The Use Of Statistics To Prove Discriminatory Intent, Melissa Whitney Jan 2008

The Statistical Evidence Of Racial Profiling In Traffic Stops And Searches: Rethinking The Use Of Statistics To Prove Discriminatory Intent, Melissa Whitney

Boston College Law Review

This Note summarizes and synthesizes developments in statistical analyses of racial profiling data and the legal response to the use of such methods in civil rights cases. Researchers have developed new strategies specifically designed to measure statistical associations between a driver's race and the frequency of vehicle stops and searches. Courts' responses to the use of the statistical evidence derived from these methods are varied. This Note argues that modern developments in data collection and statistical methodology to detect racial profiling support a legal rule that strong statistical associations in well-developed studies should constituteprima facie evidence sufficient to prove ...


Lessons From The Pupil: A Canadian Solution To The American Exclusionary Rule Debate, James Stribopoulos Dec 1999

Lessons From The Pupil: A Canadian Solution To The American Exclusionary Rule Debate, James Stribopoulos

Boston College International and Comparative Law Review

No abstract provided.


The Good Faith Exception To The Exclusionary Rule: United States V. Leon And Massachusetts V. Sheppard, Marc W. Mcdonald May 1986

The Good Faith Exception To The Exclusionary Rule: United States V. Leon And Massachusetts V. Sheppard, Marc W. Mcdonald

Boston College Law Review

No abstract provided.