Last week we discussed a proposed bill in Colorado that would greatly expand the scope of DNA collection in the state. Currently, DNA is only collected from those convicted or arrested on felony charges and it goes into the state's DNA database. But under a new proposed law, people convicted of misdemeanors would also have to provide DNA profiles for the database. This bill points to a larger debate surrounding DNA collection on a national scale.
Two high-profile cases of severe misconduct at state crime labs made headlines during 2012, raising concerns about a sector of the criminal justice system that is often ignored despite being frighteningly underregulated.
The Colorado Supreme Court recently made a significant change to rules regarding how confessions are treated in criminal proceedings. Prosecutors once needed to provide proof that a crime had occurred in addition to the confession. However, now that will not be necessary if the court finds the confession to be trustworthy.
Last week we discussed the struggle that courts across the country are facing as they try to determine what, if any, privacy protections apply to data stored on cell phones. Different courts seem unable to agree on how cell phone evidence should be treated in criminal cases and to whom that information belongs.
Many people carry their entire lives around in their phone. A cell phone can hold a person's appointments, photos, location and communications with everyone they know.