Menus Subscribe Search

Legal Affairs

Recent posts

 

surveillance-face

Face to Face With More Electronic Privacy Concerns

As facial recognition on the fly becomes more and more possible, are there any uses that don’t send chills up the spines of civil libertarians?

 

SpaceX_Falcon_verticle_on_the_launch_pad

Peace Protest Kabuki Now Booked for the High Court’s Stage

How far does the writ of the military run? Only to the highway’s verge, argue professional peace protesters who will make their case before the Supreme Court.

 

drone-human-killer

Keeping a Human Finger on the Killer Robot’s Trigger

The U.N. wants to hit pause on autonomous killing machines right now—before the robotic cat is out of the bag.

 

drone-uav

Human Rights Watch’s Take on Obama’s Drone Speech Is Worth Reading

Did you miss the president’s important speech about the War on Terror? Here’s the one response you should make some time for.

 

sweatshop-bangladesh

Should We Retire the Word ‘Sweatshop’?

Sweatshops are great political targets for unions, who have incentives to drive up the price of manufacturing abroad. But better building inspectors is a rare union demand, at least compared to longer break times and higher wages.

 

pussy-riot

Here Is Pussy Riot Member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s Parole Hearing Speech. She Was Denied.

Tolokonnikova received a two-year sentence for her participation in a protest in Moscow’s main Orthodox church last year.

 

(PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK)

America’s Sea-Born Terrorism Challenge: the Panga Boat

Low-slung speedboats from Mexico are smuggling millions of dollars’ worth of marijuana along the California coast. And we can’t do a thing about it.

 

Parisians protest against the legislature's "marriage and adoption for all" draft law in January. The girl's placard reads, "I know where I come from; I wonder where we're going." (PHOTO: ANDREY MALGIN/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Expect Gay Marriages in the Courthouse, Not the Statehouse

In Europe and most of the rest of the world, gay marriage arrives via legislatures, not courts. But the U.S. is different, as always.

 

The skeletal head of a Tyrannosaurus bataar, or Tarbosaurus (PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA)

How (Not) to Smuggle a Dinosaur

The weird story of one Tyrannosaurus’ journey from Mongolia to a Manhattan courtroom

 

ZERO-articleLarge

How True is Zero Dark Thirty? A Former Operative Weighs In

Despite debates over its depiction of torture, Zero Dark Thirty became the most-watched movie in America this week, and looks to be heading for another strong weekend. How reliable the film’s portrait? Does it give an accurate picture of how the CIA anti-terrorism efforts really work? Nada Bakos, who spearheaded the CIA’s Zarqawi Operations team from 2004-2006 as a targeting officer, weighs in. Prior to the operations position, Bakos served as an analyst for the agency primarily in the Counterterrorism Center, and was a member of the team charged with defining the relationship between Iraq, al Qaeda, and 9/11.

 

(PHOTO: BRENDAN BORRELL)

Whose Body Is This?

Forensic scientists are working to identify the anonymous corpses of thousands of unlucky immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border.

 

(PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK)

We Can Do Better on Disability Rights

Opinion: A professor of disabled-rights law argues that U.S. Senate efforts to block ratification of a United Nations treaty confirming those rights is seriously wrong-headed.

 

"Cicero Denounces Catiline," a painting by Cesare Maccari

The Culture War of National Security

Drone assassinations? Guantanamo? Why civil libertarians can’t win in the fight against an expanded security state. And why we can blame Caesar.

 

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for the 1991 arson murder of his three young children. The arson evidence against him was later debunked.

A Prescription for Criminal Justice: Embrace Errors, Then Fix Them

A sampling of the many achievable reforms now being used to help avoid wrongful convictions

 

shutterstock_1306194

Don’t Undermine Victims’ Rights in Fighting Sex Trafficking

Opinion: Three legal experts who have worked with victims of human trafficking argue that Prop 35, a laudable effort on California’s ballot to address sex slavery, will actually set back existing efforts to fight the trade.

 

shutterstock_15027970-l2

Why Can’t Law Enforcement Admit They Blow It Sometimes?

Because police, detectives and forensic scientists are only human, and it’s all-too natural to be inexplicably reluctant to admit to – or even to see – some of their mistakes.

 

(PHOTO: ILYA ANDRIYANOV/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Seeking Second Chances Without DNA

DNA testing has overturned many wrongful convictions but the vast majority of criminal cases have no DNA to test. And some of those inmates’ convictions are also flawed.

 

The Right and Privilege of Post-Conviction DNA Testing

Almost half the DNA tests conducted at prisoners’ request confirm guilt. Yet many believe that the exceptions more than justify making post-conviction testing widely accessible. And what is often fair or prudent is for Death Row inmates essential.

 

shutterstock_101895556-lo

Litigating Lineups: Why the American Justice System Is Keeping a Close Eye on Witness Identification

The single biggest cause of wrongful convictions is mistaken eyewitness identification. Is there a better way to find the right perpetrator?

 

Why Fingerprints Aren’t the Proof We Thought They Were

Fingerprint matching is a vital investigative tool. But despite its legendary aura of infallibility, courtroom claims of fingerprints’ uniqueness are slowly receding.

 

Human Lie Detectors: The Death of the Dead Giveaway

Amateurs and experts alike overestimate their ability to divine truth and deception. But when criminal investigators do it, it can be very bad news for the accused.

 

Wrongful Convictions

Red Flags: Early Warnings of Wrongful Convictions

Experts find recurring themes in wrongful convictions. And while some jurisdictions are now creating in-house review units to ensure convictions are righteous, commonly repeated mistakes continue to mar cases.

 

Syringe on the Ground

Would Breaking Bad’s Czech Meth Scheme Work?

Two lessons for Walter White: European meth users are locavores, and there’s not that many of them anyway.

 

A Porn Stash and a False Confession: How to Ruin Someone’s Life in the American Justice System

John Watkins’ stash of pornography made him a look like a prime suspect for a rape in police and prosecutors’ eyes. How they wrung a confession out of him and convinced a shaky witness to ID him offers textbook examples of how to achieve a wrongful conviction.

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow us


Subscribe Now

America’s Streams Are Awash With Pesticides Banned in Europe

You may have never heard of clothianidin, but it's probably in your local river.

How Textbooks Have Changed the Face of War

War is more personal, less glorious, and more hellish in modern textbooks than in the past. But there’s still room for improvement.

NASA Could Build Entire Spacecrafts in Space Using 3-D Printers

This year NASA will experiment with 3-D printing small objects in space. That could mark the beginning of a gravity-free manufacturing revolution.

The Most Popular Ways to Share Good and Bad Personal News

Researchers rank the popularity of all of the different methods we have for telling people about our lives, from Facebook to face-to-face.

Do Not Tell Your Kids That Eating Vegetables Will Make Them Stronger

Instead, hand them over in silence. Or, market them as the most delicious snack known to mankind.

The Big One

One in two full-time American fast-food workers' families are enrolled in public assistance programs, at a cost of $7 billion per year. July/August 2014

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.