There are a number of topics related to the criminal justice system that have drawn the attention not only of criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors, but also the media and the public. Here are just a few of the wide-ranging issues that are currently being debated in this area:
- Human Trafficking. Due in part to high profile news accounts – including that of Jeffrey Epstein, with ties to royalty and celebrities – as well as United States immigration issues, the smuggling a person for purposes of forced labor or services has become a controversial topic throughout our country. In Arizona, the offense is a class 2 felony. A.R.S. 13-1308. It has been noted that those attempting to combat human trafficking (including sex trafficking) have been hindered by the lack of reliable information on the actual extent of the problem. See our recent blog on the subject.
- Body Cameras. If you have viewed videos on social media sites relating to arrests and police activity in general, then you have undoubtedly noted that body cameras have become the rule, rather than exception. They are worn by police officers (and officers in the US Department of Justice) while on duty. The push for body cams was fueled largely by the number of fatalities and serious injuries of suspects as the result of alleged police misconduct. The great majority (perhaps 90%) of Americans are in favor of mandatory body cams for police which must remain on while on duty.
- Use of Genealogy Databases. The use of genealogical databases by the police is a controversial subject which has raised issues of privacy and alleged Fourth Amendment violations. We believe most people assume, when they subscribe to one of these sites, that their information (including DNA profile) will remain private, unless and until they authorize its release. But a few years ago, this proved to be a mistaken assumption. The Golden State Killer (so named because he murdered over a dozen people and committed dozens of rapes in the 1970’s and 1980’s) eluded identification and capture until 2018. He was finally brought to justice after the police uploaded DNA evidence from one of the crime scenes to GEDmatch, a free database of DNA files. Using the information, they were able to identify a relative of the killer, which ultimately led to his capture. Privacy issues on this subject continue to be debated.
We expect to see more of these issues arise in the criminal justice arena in 2023 and beyond.
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004