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2013 NDAA Summer
Board, Conference & Committee Meetings
and Board Meeting
July 11-13, 2013
BoD/Committee Meetings Agenda
July 13-16, 2013
San Diego, California
Omni San Diego Hotel
Please note that this reflects a change in our regular summer conference schedule. We begin and end one day earlier than usual.
Summer Conference Agenda
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Victims' Rights Amendment Information
At the meeting last month at Hilton Head, the Board voted unanimously to support the proposed United States Constitutional Amendment to embody Victims’ Rights into the US Constitution. At that time we urged those present to contact their congressional delegation urging them to “sign on” as co-sponsors. We believe that if we can get 100 co-sponsors it will get a vote on the House floor.
The NDAA Victims’ Committee took on the task of getting this information out to you. Short delay, but here it is.
Victims deserve this and I’m proud that NDAA is taking a strong lead in this proposal.
Let me know if you have any questions,
- Supreme Court: For right to remain silent, a suspect must speak
- Viewpoints: DNA tests are vital for solving crimes, just like fingerprints (California)
- Alabama one of 26 states to allow police to use photo-databases to find suspects
- State photo-ID databases become troves for police (U.S.)
- Bail reform plan seeks to standardize fees (Delaware)
- Gov. Rick Scott signs bill to speed up executions in Florida
- Sea change in criminal jurisprudence becomes law (Louisiana)
- Sex abuse stats skewed by law (New York)
- Sexual offender laws to be reviewed (Iowa)
Clip Synopses and Links
The Christian Science Monitor
Supreme Court: For right to remain silent, a suspect must speak
Prosecutors can use a suspect’s silence during informal police questioning as evidence of guilt at a subsequent trial, the US Supreme Court said on Monday.
In a case with important implications for individuals at the early stages of a police investigation, the high court said that a suspect must verbally invoke his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent to prevent police and prosecutors from using any resulting silence and incriminating body language as evidence of guilt during a jury trial.
“The Fifth Amendment guarantees that no one may be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; it does not establish an unqualified right to remain silent,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court.
The high court split 5 to 4 on the issue, with the court’s five-member conservative wing rejecting a claim to the Fifth Amendment privilege in the case under scrutiny and the four-member liberal wing supporting such a claim.
The Sacramento Bee
Viewpoints: DNA tests are vital for solving crimes, just like fingerprints (California)
When the Supreme Court decided on Monday, in Maryland v. King, that persons arrested but not yet convicted for serious crimes could be required to give a DNA sample, some reacted with concern. Justice Antonin Scalia filed an angry dissent.
DNA sampling is the modern fingerprint.
The similarity between arrest DNA sampling and fingerprinting is so obvious that Justice Scalia spent much of his melodramatic opinion trying to undermine the analogy. He insists fingerprints are taken more for identification than crime investigation, ignoring the FBI’s statement that one of the purposes for its national fingerprint database is to solve and prevent crime. Nationwide, the FBI system matches crime scene fingerprints to its database of arrest fingerprints 50,000 times every year.
The Fourth Amendment protects against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” How is crime solving with arrest DNA samples more unreasonable than doing the same with arrest fingerprints, or mugshots?
A DNA sample provides more accurate identification than photographs, fingerprints, or any other system, without any greater intrusion. It is less of a physical imposition than taking fingerprints, requires less time, and causes no pain. A cotton swab (or a device similar to a Popsicle stick) is rubbed on the inside of the cheek for a few seconds, collecting cells that slough off naturally. One police training video shows the process taking eight seconds – far less time than dentists recommend you spend brushing your teeth. Private companies market DNA tests for family or genealogy research with videos of children smiling during cheek swab sampling.
We accept that arrested persons booked in jail are subject to a variety of privacy invasions – not just fingerprinting and photographing, but also disrobing and strip searching, far more intrusive and demeaning than a few seconds with a cotton swab.
Opponents claim that with a DNA sample, you are giving over not just identity, but your whole genetic makeup – private information about inherited traits, diseases and so on. But arrest DNA samples are only tested for 13 specific genes with no known biological purpose or effect. DNA collection laws make it a crime to use the sample for any other purpose.
In spite of these protections, some fret there might still be misuse of the DNA data. Yet no responsible person suggests that we take away all guns from police officers because of the rare incidents when they are misused.
In over 15 years of arrestee DNA sampling, extending now to 28 states, with more than 1.4 million samples taken, opponents cannot cite a single documented case of misuse of the data.
So is the minor intrusion of arrest DNA sampling worth it? Ask seven women in the Tacoma area, victims of serial rapist Anthony Dias. In July 2005, Dias was arrested on suspicion a felony, then released on bail. One month later he committed his first rape. If a DNA sample had been on file from the July arrest, he could have been identified as a rapist with that August attack, and arrested at that point. But Washington had no arrest DNA collection law, so no DNA sample was on file. For more than two months, Dias continued, entering homes and raping more victims, the last a pair of sisters, 13 and 15 years old, attacked while their mother was tied up, unable to help.
Consider a study conducted by the city of Chicago in 2005, analyzing the records of eight felons during a time when Illinois did not have arrest DNA sampling. The study found that if there had been arrest DNA sampling for those eight offenders, 60 violent crimes, including 22 murders and 30 rapes, could have been prevented.
DNA saves victims and saves lives. A few painless seconds with a cotton swab are worth it.
Jan Scully is the Sacramento County district attorney.
Alabama one of 26 states to allow police to use photo-databases to find suspects
More than 4 million faces are on file in the state of Alabama’s searchable photo database, which, more frequently, is being used by law enforcement to identify suspects in criminal investigations, according to a story in The Washington Post.
Alabama is one of 26 states that allow police to search or request searches from a database that holds driver’s license photos. Eleven states and the District of Columbia generally do not allow law enforcement to search their databases; 13 states, including Mississippi and Louisiana, do not have databases for driver’s license photos.
According to the story, the facial recognition technology used to search for suspects can produce investigative leads, not necessarily positive identifications of suspects, accomplices or bystanders. But, the story points out, software is being developed that would allow a real-time system that in the future would produce the names of large groups of people in the time it takes them to walk by a video camera. Something similar can be done now in specific small-sample situations.
In addition to driver’s license photos, the story points out, the state databases include photos of people getting other types of ids.
Facial recognition systems can be deployed remotely, without subjects knowing they have been photographed, and that has caused some to question whether the practice violates a person’s right to privacy.
State photo-ID databases become troves for police (U.S.)
The faces of more than 120 million people are in searchable photo databases that state officials assembled to prevent driver’s-license fraud but that increasingly are used by police to identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders in a wide range of criminal investigations.
The facial databases have grown rapidly in recent years and generally operate with few legal safeguards beyond the requirement that searches are conducted for “law enforcement purposes.” Amid rising concern about the National Security Agency’s high-tech surveillance aimed at foreigners, it is these state-level facial-recognition programs that more typically involve American citizens.
The most widely used systems were honed on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq as soldiers sought to identify insurgents. The increasingly widespread deployment of the technology in the United States has helped police find murderers, bank robbers and drug dealers, many of whom leave behind images on surveillance videos or social-media sites that can be compared against official photo databases.
But law enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities.
Bail reform plan seeks to standardize fees (Delaware)
Testifying at a legislative hearing last month, Magistrate James Tull complained that when setting bail he never knows how much it will cost the defendant to buy his freedom until trial.
That’s because some bail companies charge defendants as little as 3 percent up front, and as little as 5 percent total to post secured bond. While most charge 10 percent up front, the difference can be substantial.
Getting free on $22,000 secured bail – the state’s average for first-degree robbery, a Class B felony – can cost from $660 up front to $2,200. The cut-rate fees make it easier for some violent criminals to return to the streets in a state where a recent News Journal investigation found that magistrates typically set bail at the lower end of suggested guidelines.
“I don’t set bail. Private industry sets bail,” Tull said. “How can we allow private industry to set bail? I suspect there is perhaps a customer relationship between the bonding industry and their most lucrative customers.”
A bill similar to one that nearly became law last year would standardize rates.
Tampa Bay Times
Gov. Rick Scott signs bill to speed up executions in Florida
Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law Friday aimed at accelerating the pace of the death penalty process in Florida, which could make the governor the most active executioner in modern state history.
The measure, dubbed “The Timely Justice Act” by its proponents, requires governors to sign death warrants 30 days after the Florida Supreme Court certifies that an inmate has exhausted all legal appeals. Once a death warrant is signed, the new law requires the state to execute the defendant within six months.
The bill, which passed the House 84-34 and was approved by the Senate 28-10, allows the governor to control the execution schedule slightly because it requires him to sign a death warrant after the required clemency review is completed and only the governor may order the clemency investigation. Scott’s office told lawmakers that because at least 13 of the 404 inmates on death row have exhausted their appeals, his office has already started the clock on the clemency review.
Sea change in criminal jurisprudence becomes law (Louisiana)
Gov. Bobby Jindal signed legislation designed to reduce “Perry Mason moments” and Louisiana’s high rate of wrongful convictions.
Both prosecutors and defense lawyers say House Bill 371 is a historic sea change in the way criminal trials are handled in Louisiana.
Yet, legislative committees heard from no witnesses, asked few questions and held no debates before both chambers approved the legislation in a matter of minutes.
“This is the biggest change in criminal law Louisiana has made in decades,” said George Steimel, lobbyist for the Baton Rouge-based Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
“It really is a big deal,” said Pete Adams, executive director of the Louisiana District Attorney Association, based in Baton Rouge.
But Adams and his counterparts in the criminal defense bar, usually opponents, agreed on the terms at the beginning of the session, then kept it quiet.
“A lot of attention would bring out folks on fringes,” Adams said.
The idea behind HB371 is to provide uniformity and a similar procedure so that a person accused of a crime in a rural north Louisiana parish is treated the same as a defendant in an urban south Louisiana parish, said Lopinto, chairman of the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice.
Lopinto’s bill is similar to legislation being pushed around the country by the American Bar Association on the heels of several high court decisions during the past decade, including one from New Orleans, and many bar journal articles advocating for open files discovery.
Sex abuse stats skewed by law (New York)
There’s good news and bad news for New York in a recent report on the prevalence of sexual abuse in America’s juvenile detention facilities.
Not one teenager surveyed in a U.S. Department of Justice study said they were sexually assaulted or raped during the past year of their detention in a New York facility, a fact mentioned in numerous media.
The bad news: It’s a meaningless statistic because state officials, citing privacy, hindered federal officials trying to survey youths raped in prisons here.
Compared with the 9.5 percent of young inmates surveyed who reported being sexually abused nationwide, New York’s 0 percent score does appear good. However, out of 460 juvenile inmates chosen for sampling in New York, only 57 were successfully interviewed, a 12.4 percent response rate, which was the lowest in the country. Federal statisticians were left without enough data to make an estimate about the prevalence of sexual abuse in New York’s juvenile facilities.
Des Moines Register
Sexual offender laws to be reviewed (Iowa)
Just days after the discovery of Kathlynn Shepard’s remains brought Iowa’s latest child abduction probe to its tragic conclusion, state lawmakers already are exploring legislation aimed at preventing similar cases in the future.
But just what the state should do remains uncertain, and will be the subject of ample study in the months to come, legislators said.
Kathlynn Shepard, 15, of Dayton was abducted along with a classmate on the way home from school last month by Michael Klunder, a registered sex offender who had spent almost 20 years in prison for assaulting a young woman and kidnapping two children.
Since the crime and the recovery of her body, the girl’s parents have spoken out for tougher laws against violent criminals, pledging to lobby the Legislature for stricter sentencing guidelines for sex offenders, mandatory sentences, limited plea bargains and an end to the practice of reducing prison time for good behavior.