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Waukesha Criminal Defense Law Blog

Is eyewitness testimony reliable in a criminal case?

Since 1989, at least 317 people have been exonerated in the U.S. as a result of post-trial DNA evidence, according to the Innocence Project. The majority of these innocent prisoners were wrongfully convicted due to eyewitness misidentifications and false testimonies. While some studies argue that the human memory is to blame for wrongful accounts of a criminal event, others believe that the eyewitness identification process may lead witnesses to name an innocent person as the criminal.

Research by Loftus and Ketcham shows that many people believe that the human memory is infallible and that a person who witnesses a crime will have detailed information stored away in their long-term memory. However, evidence shows that a person’s long-term memory is susceptible to suggestion. People can add details to their memories or adjust their idea of what happened during a situation to fit a preconceived notion. Specific bits of information can be literally erased from the mind as well. This leaves a person’s account of what happened during a crime extremely unreliable in most cases. 

Lack of probable cause leads to dismissed rape case

When it comes to allegations of rape, it is often a case of one person’s word against the other person’s account of what happened. Certain factors, including the reliability of the parties involved and the credibility of the story, may affect the final outcome of the case. Some rape cases may be extremely hard to judge because of the severe emotional trauma involved and the often absent witnesses from the case. Other cases may be easier to solve.

A woman who claimed to have been drugged and raped by a former Detroit Tigers pitcher was unsuccessful at proving her story to the judge during a probable cause hearing. He dismissed the charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct due to the woman’s inability to provide a reliable account of what happened the night of the incident. 

Juveniles who have been charged with drug crimes

A juvenile who is facing charges involving drugs may find dealing with the situation quite overwhelming. Not only can a drug crime conviction make it hard for a teenager to obtain school funding, but it may lead to fines, community service and even jail time. If a car or home is implicated in a felony drug crime of distribution or manufacture, the court may choose to seize that property as well. Under Wisconsin law, parents of convicted drug offenders may be responsible for paying a maximum amount of $10,000 for any damages that were caused by the child. Here at Craig Kuhary, Attorney at Law, we see the impact that a drug charge can have on a juvenile and his or her family.

There are several different types of juvenile drug crimes, depending on the severity and nature of the misconduct. These include:

Smoke shop owner sentenced to prison for selling synthetic drugs

Synthetic drugs have taken many states in the U.S. by storm. When taken, these chemically laced substances mimic the effects of cocaine and marijuana. Often referred to as bath salts or spice, various forms of synthetic drugs are legal in some states and sold over-the-counter in convenience stores and tobacco shops. In 2011, Wisconsin enacted a law making the two major forms of synthetic drugs, synthetic cannabinoids and substituted cathinones, illegal in the state.

A Duluth smoke shop owner was allegedly unaware of Minnesota’s ban on the sale of synthetic drugs when he was arrested and charged with 51 counts stemming from the sale of the illegal substances. The man claimed that statements made by the DEA had led him to believe the substances were still legal in the state. Law enforcement claims that the man was given multiple warnings to stop selling synthetic substances because he was in violation of the law.

Are breath tests accurate in determining intoxication?

People who have been pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol may have taken a breath test. This handheld device is used to determine whether the driver is intoxicated by measuring the amount of alcohol present in their breath; however, studies show that these tests may not always give accurate results.

Credible studies conducted by LaBianca, Simpson, Thompson et.al compared the BAC results that are indirectly obtained from a Breathalyzer test machine to the BAC results acquired through a blood test. They found a 50 percent margin of error in the Breathalyzer device’s ability to convert the alcohol content found in a breath sample to the actual amount of alcohol present in the blood. A 0.1 percent BAC reading given on a Breathalyzer device may translate to an actual BAC level of anywhere between 0.05 and 0.15 percent. Since the legal BAC limit in Wisconsin is 0.08 percent, some drivers may be wrongfully arrested on suspicion of DUI.

Wisconsin governor passes three domestic violence laws earlier this year

People who are involved in a domestic relationship may have a verbal fight once and awhile. In fact, it is fairly common for couples to bicker with one another. However, when the altercation turns physical, someone may be arrested on domestic violence charges. Earlier this year, the Governor of Wisconsin approved three bills that will ultimately strengthen laws involving domestic violence, according to a report published in Twincities.com.

According to the National Institute of Justice, Wisconsin has a mandatory arrest statute for people who are suspected of committing a domestic violence crime; however, it is up to the discretion of the responding officer to make that determination. One bill that was signed into law requires law enforcement to submit a report if they fail to arrest anyone after responding to a domestic violence incident.

Social media post led to the arrest of a 19-year-old felon in VA

There is no question that social media has a significant influence on the lives of millions of Americans, including Wisconsin residents. In fact, a study performed by the Pew Research Project found that as of January 2014, 89 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 years old use social networking sites on a regular basis. Young people can update their status and share pictures with a captive audience from around the world. Law enforcement agencies across the country have found that searching a suspect’s Facebook page may yield crucial information, which may be used in a juvenile crime court case.

In Virginia, it is illegal for a convicted felon to possess ammunition and firearms. However, one Virginia teenager posted an image of himself on Facebook that resulted in law enforcement officers knocking on his door. The picture showed the young, 19-year-old boy holding a 30-round magazine in each hand. One of the magazines clearly contains a bullet.

Wisconsin one of 12 states that criminalizes revenge porn

It is fairly common in the United States for couples to share intimate secrets, photographs and videos with one another during a relationship. However, when and if the relationship should come to an emotional end, those pictures and videos may become publicized on the internet. It is called revenge porn and it is illegal in Wisconsin and several other states. People who release intimate pictures over the internet as a way to gain revenge over another person after a breakup may find themselves facing charges of nonconsensual posting of pornography.

In this age of social media and advanced internet technology, it has become more and more common to find pornographic images and videos posted online with the intent to embarrass and hurt another person. Several websites have taken advantage of this phenomenon and cater specifically to those wishing to post these images and videos.

Phoenix Suns player vows to change his life after receiving DUI

Many people in America enjoy gathering to watch their favorite sports team. Whether it is basketball, football, baseball or soccer, many Wisconsin residents idolize these amazing athletes and look up to them as significant role models. Although some athletes may gain media attention for being involved in a negative situation, the story may become an important learning experience for both the athlete and their fans.

One such basketball player for the Phoenix Suns was recently pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol. Despite the DUI charges, the president of the Phoenix Suns resigned the star player for a contract that will pay out $16 million over the next three years. He released a statement saying that the organization supports and accepts the player’s decision to make the changes necessary to better his life.

Understanding Wisconsin's DUI policies

Although some Wisconsin residents may feel perfectly capable of driving after having one or two alcoholic beverages with dinner, they may face certain penalties if charged with drunk driving. In Wisconsin, motorists who drive with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or above are considered intoxicated and can be arrested for a DUI, as reported by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

According to the Wisconsin State Bar, Wisconsin is the only state that does not criminalize a person’s first DUI offense. In 2009, the state made changes to their impaired driving legislation, which led to stricter consequences for repeat DUI offenders. Some of these changes include:

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Craig Kuhary - Walden, Schuster & Vaklyes
707 West Moreland Boulevard, Suite 9
Waukesha WI 53188

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