FindLaw Blotter - The Findlaw Crime and Criminals Blog

FindLaw Blotter - Crime Blog - Crime News - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog


We all have our favorite TV cop shows, but these fictional men and women in blue always seem to get the law wrong. If the increasing reports of police misconduct and brutality are any indication, maybe art is imitating life.

So for the benefit of real-life cops and real-life TV viewers, we present the five things that TV cops always manage to get wrong:

Police reports contain important legal information for any criminal case, and they can help both victims and defendants find justice.

They go by many names -- such as offense report, incident report, or police report -- but they all serve the same purpose. These reports memorialize an officer's actions in investigating a crime and in making an arrest.

Here are the basics on how to obtain a police report:

Not being able to vote as a convicted felon may seem harsh, but the practice of disenfranchisement varies widely, depending on where you live.

Each state has the power to regulate the ability of convicted felons to vote, and they don't all agree on whether (or even how long) a felon should lose the right to vote.

So when and where do convicted felons have voting rights?

If you've heard about an upcoming DUI "No Refusal" Weekend but weren't exactly sure what that meant, don't feel too out of the loop. There have been quite a few questions about "No Refusal" Weekends on our FindLaw Answers DUI & DWI Forum.

As the Austin American-Statesman reports, law enforcement agencies in Texas are planning on making the upcoming Labor Day weekend a "No Refusal" Weekend. And with Texas being just one of a number of states making a push for "no refusal" drunken driving stops, it's a good time to learn more about this program, supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

So what exactly is a DUI "No Refusal" Weekend?

The so-called "affluenza" DWI teen's father didn't provide much of a good example this week after he was arrested for allegedly impersonating a cop.

Frederick Anthony Couch, father of Ethan Couch, the boy responsible for killing four people during a drunken driving incident, was arrested Tuesday after being accused of telling real police officers that he was Texas law enforcement, Reuters reports. The elder Couch is out on bail while his son is still on probation for his "affluenza" DWI.

What do these charges mean for the "affluenza" teen's father?

St. Louis County prosecutors will begin presenting evidence to a grand jury this week in connection with the fatal officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The grand jury will be tasked with evaluating testimony and evidence regarding the unarmed 18-year-old's death and will consider criminal charges against those responsible. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, assistant St. Louis County prosecutors Kathi Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley have been selected to present the case to the jurors.

As the grand jury process begins, here are three legal facts to keep in mind:

What Is Jury Nullification?

Jury nullification is a legal phenomenon in which jurors choose to acquit a defendant despite the facts and law presented to them supporting conviction. The practice is often cited as a boon for juries who wish to free sympathetic defendants and block unjust enforcement or unjust laws.

Do juries have the right to nullification, and is there any recourse for refusing to convict a defendant?

Sometimes, the only choice a family member or friend of someone suffering a mental health emergency may have is to call 911. Unfortunately, encounters between police and those suffering from mental illness have resulted in the injury or death of the person suffering the crisis.

In a case from earlier this year, a California woman was shot and killed by police after her family called 911 to report she hadn't taken her medication and was acting out, according to The Daily Journal. The officer was cleared of wrongdoing after an investigation found he was justified in using lethal force.

If you're dealing with a mental health emergency, what should you know about calling 911? Here are five things to keep in mind:

Police are often harshly criticized for their lethal use of firearms, giving many reason to wonder: Why don't police shoot to wound?

That was CNN's Wolf Blitzer's question to legal scholar Jeffrey Toobin when discussing the shooting death of Ferguson, Missouri, teenager Michael Brown. "Why can't they shoot a warning shot?... Why can't they shoot to injure?" Blitzer queried.

To answer Blitzer's (and your) questions, here's a general overview of why police don't shoot to wound:

You probably know that an autopsy is an examination performed on a body after death, usually to determine the cause of death.

But with the autopsy of Ferguson, Missouri, police-shooting victim Michael Brown making news (Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a federal autopsy in addition to the state-performed autopsy and a private autopsy requested by Brown's family, reports Reuters), there are a few aspects of autopsies you may not be familiar with.

Here are five legal facts about autopsies: