Entries by Jim Burdick

Department of Justice FINALLY Requires (Most) In-Custody Intgerrogations to be Recorded. Finally!

Finally the Department of Justice does the right thing and (sort of) requires agents to record all in-custody suspect interrogations.  There are still lots of absurd exceptions (only if the interrogation is in a “secured” police building — so if they’re in the car on the way, not obligations — I can see some unscrupulous agents exploiting […]

United States Fifth Circuit – Mostly Texas Judges, of Course – Take the Word of Police Automatically, According to the United States Supreme Court

It’s rare for the United States Supreme Court, with 5 ultra conservative justices, to ever side against police or prosecutors.  But some right-wing judges take that history as a license to go even further out from reality to help police to the detriment of regular citizens. Finally, even our conservative Supreme Court had to say, “Stop!  You’ve gone too far.”  This […]

Real Life Crime Labs Not At All Like TV

The crime lab procedural has been among the most popular genres at least since “CSI” debuted in 2000, and devotees of blood-spatter patterns and advanced DNA analysis have no shortage of programming to choose from. There’s “Person of Interest,” “The Good Wife,” “Blacklist,” “Castle,” and “The Mentalist.” All are in the top 20 best-rated shows […]

Even a Misdemeanor Can Cause Real Problems

Many people think that a misdemeanor conviction is “no big thing.”  In truth, in the federal system, there are very few misdemeanor convictions, usually exclusively obtained through very diligent plea bargaining.  When facing serious felonies with all the potential collateral consequences (beyond prison even), getting a misdemeanor plea bargain is often the very best way out.  […]

NACDL in the Forefront of Clemency Action

I’ve always been very proud to be a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (“NACDL”) and never more so than these days when the organization is poised to help process huge numbers of clemency applications for non-violent offenders serving Draconian prison sentences.  As the NACDL press release explained: “On January 30, 2014, […]