Category Archives: Cop Watch

Stingray Use by Feds and Local Police is Growing: Are You Being Monitored?

Police officers and law enforcement agencies are limited by the federal constitution as well as federal and state laws in what they can do. They are not supposed to snoop on citizens or eavesdrop on people unless they’ve got specific legal authorization to do so. . . The problem is — as any experienced criminal…

Police Who Lie On the Witness Stand: Did You Know Prosecutors Keep Lists of Their Names?

It wasn’t until 1963 that the U.S. Supreme Court forced prosecutors to do the right thing and share all the facts about a case with defense lawyers before they tried someone for a serious crime and tried to get a conviction. In the case of Brady v. Maryland, John Brady had been convicted of murder…

False Arrests From Flawed Cocaine Detection Kit: the NIK 6500 is Bad News for Texas

Cocaine possession is a serious felony and law enforcement in North Texas takes this crime very seriously.  In the past, it took awhile for police to charge someone officially with having cocaine because it took some time for the lab to verify that the white powder taken into evidence was indeed an illegal, controlled substance….

Texas Police Excessive Force: Concern Isn’t Just the Police Officer, It’s the Entire Police Department

For the past two nights, there has been rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the grand jury determination not to bring charges against a police officer who used lethal force. That’s Missouri; what about police and lethal force here in Dallas and North Texas? Good question. 1. Dallas Web Site: Police Department’s Lethal…

Dallas County Opens Digital Crime Lab: DA Snoops Your Cell Phone

There was an important news update out of Craig Watkins’ office that may have been overshadowed yesterday, what with all the November 2014 Election coverage and the scoop that Watkins lost his job to Republican challenger Susan Hawk. After all, there’s lots to ponder in Dallas criminal justice circles about what Hawk’s transition into the…

Will Media Coverage Finally Stop Government From Grabbing Your Property in Forfeiture?

 Finally, the public is waking up to the wrong that is civil forfeiture laws – something that we’ve been monitoring here since April 2010. There’s still lots to be done, but there is reason to be optimistic that the government’s ability to grab your property without any criminal wrongdoing even being alleged on your part…

The Mike Brown Law: Will Police Be Required to Wear Body Cameras?

As the events in Ferguson, Missouri, continue to unfold, a proposed new law is being advanced for all law enforcement in this country, the “Mike Brown Law.” It would require all police officers to wear a camera as part of their uniform, so all their actions on the job would be recorded. The campaign for…

Seal Broken by Judge Today and Now We Know How The Police Are Eavesdropping on Public With Stingray Devices

For a long while, criminal defense lawyers along with civil rights activists as well as citizens who have been arrested by law enforcement in Police Departments all over the country have known that police have been using new technology to eavesdrop on phone calls and text messages. That’s not news. It’s been a real big…

The Forfeiture Epidemic: When the Government Just Takes Your Property and Keeps It

Many people here in Dallas and around the State of Texas naively assume that their property is theirs, protected by state laws and the federal Constitution from being taken from them without legal due process. They are wrong. There are laws on the books, passed by the Texas Legislature and the U.S. Congress, that allow…

Police Brutality in Texas? Robert Tolan Wins as 1983 Excessive Force Case Returned to Trial by US Supreme Court

Robert Tolan fights for justice.  How many other Texans have 1983 excessive force cases against police officers that they are afraid to file? Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court reversed the decision of our own Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appellate court that grades the papers of federal criminal trial courts…