Wednesday, October 31, 2012

KY SC Sept 20 - Probationer’s testimony at revocation hearings related to new charges.

Gerald Barker v. Commonwealth, 2010-SC-000116-DG, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Ky. 2012)


Commonwealth v. Ryan Jones, 2010-SC-000123-DG,  ___ S.W.3d ___ (Ky. 2012)

Opinion by Chief Justice Minton.  To be published.

Probationer’s testimony at revocation hearings related to new charges.

Court considered whether a trial court may proceed to hold evidentiary hearings to revoke or modify probation when the grounds for revocation or modification are new, unresolved criminal charges against the probationer.  The Court held: 1) The trial court is not required to delay probation revocation or modification hearings awaiting resolution of the criminal charges that arise during the probationary period, 2)  when the probationer is faced with probation revocation or modification and a criminal trial based upon the same conduct that forms the basis of new criminal charges, the probationer’s testimony at the probation revocation hearing is protected from use at any later criminal trial in Kentucky, 3) the trial court must advise the probationer that any testimony the probationer gives in probation revocation hearings that relates to the facts underlying the new charges cannot be used as substantive evidence in the trial of the new charges, and 4)  the probationer’s testimony at the revocation hearing can be used for impeachment purposes or rebuttal evidence in the trial of the new charges, and the trial court shall so advise the probationer before the probationer testifies at the revocation hearings.  These rules are designed to protect probationers’ due process rights at revocation hearings and their rights against self-incrimination in future criminal proceedings.

Contributed by Brandon Jewell

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

KY SC Sept 20 - Wilson - Ex parte communications.

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Commonwealth v. Michael L. Wilson, 2011-SC-000157-CL, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Ky. 2012).

Opinion CERTIFYING THE LAW by Justice Cunningham.  To be Published.

Ex parte communications.

Question presented was: Does Kentucky law authorize an ex parte motion by a criminal defendant to vacate or set aside a warrant for his or her arrest with no notice or opportunity for the Commonwealth to be heard?  The answer is no. 

A warrant was issued for Wilson on charges of assault.  Wilson’s attorney made an ex parte request to a judge to set the warrant aside and issue a summons instead because the victim recanted.  The request was granted.  Eventually Wilson pled guilty.  Because such ex parte communication by defense attorneys with judges is common practice in district court, the Supreme Court accepted the request for certification of the law.  The Court stated that Rule 4.300, Canon 3B(7) prohibits ex parte contact in these circumstances:  “[w]ith regard to a pending or impending proceeding, a judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications with attorneys and shall not initiate, encourage or consider ex parte communications with parties…”

Contributed by Brandon Jewell


Thursday, October 25, 2012

NACDL Launches Publicly Available Restoration of Rights Database

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as a resource for its members and as a service to the public, a collection of individual downloadable documents that profile the law and practice in each U.S. jurisdiction relating to relief from the collateral consequences of conviction.  The 54 jurisdictional profiles include provisions on loss and restoration of civil rights and firearms privileges, legal mechanisms for overcoming or mitigating collateral consequences, and provisions addressing non-discrimination in employment and licensing. In addition to the full profiles, there is a set of charts covering all 50 states (plus territories and the federal system) that provide a side-by-side comparison and make it possible to see national patterns in restoration laws and policies. The information covered by the charts is summarized on the page for each jurisdiction.
Nation-Wide Database
Kentucky's Listing
See the comparison charts

Monday, October 22, 2012

Using Adolescent Brain Research to Inform Policy: A Guide for Juvenile Justice Advocates - National Juvenile Justice Network

Research has revealed profound differences in the way that adolescents and adults use their brains. Much has been made of this research in policy arenas on behalf of youth in the justice system; however, its use raises questions about respect for our youth allies and implications for alternate policy agendas. This paper, recently updated, explores the key issues and makes recommendations.

 Download the policy paper, "Using Adolescent Brain Research to Inform Policy: a Guide for Juvenile Justice Advocates."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

JPI Reports on Bail

The Justice Policy Institute published three reports on the U.S. bail system in an effort to raise public awareness on an issue that is not often highlighted -- and one that most people do not fully understand. The intricacies of the U.S. bail system are complex from the point of arrest to the insurance agencies that oversee bail bond companies.

During the month of September 2012, JPI published Bail Fail, For Better or for Profit and Bailing on Baltimore, three reports that analyzed the current system of bail and its impacts on the community at large.

Bail Fail: Why the U.S. Should End the Practice of Using Money for Bail
Click here for Bail Fail fact sheet



To download the High Price of Bail infographic, (PDF)click here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

On Nova - Forensics on Trial

Airing October 17 - Check your local listings

Program Description

There is a startling gap between the glamorous television world of “CSI” and the gritty reality of the forensic crime lab. With few established scientific standards, no central oversight, and poor regulation of examiners, forensics in the U.S. is in a state of crisis. In "Forensics on Trial", NOVA investigates how modern forensics, including the analysis of fingerprints, bite marks, ballistics, hair, and tool marks, can send innocent men and women to prison—and sometimes even to death row. Shockingly, of more than 250 inmates exonerated by DNA testing over the last decade, more than 50 percent of the wrongful convictions stemmed from invalid or improperly handled forensic science. With the help of vivid recreations of actual trials and cases, NOVA will investigate today’s shaky state of crime science as well as cutting-edge solutions that could help investigators put the real criminals behind bars.

NOVA page on the show