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Before John Oliver skewered the practice of civil forfeiture last year, many people didn't know it existed. And many still may not. But for the first time, the dollar value of assets seized by law enforcement has surpassed the amount of property lost to burglaries.

So how does civil forfeiture work and how did it become more costly than home robbery? Here's some insight in to the police practice and the most recent numbers.

8 Crime Victim Rights You Should Know ... Plus the Caveats

In criminal law there is, rightly, much concern about the rights of the accused. These rights are designed to ensure that only the guilty are convicted. But victims have rights, too.

The Crime Victims' Rights Act provides 8 explicit prerogatives that belong to victims. The terms are defined in the federal code, and posted on the Department of Justice's website. The section explains the procedures for ensuring that victims' rights are not trampled.

What Does 'Chain of Custody' Mean?

The term 'chain of custody' refers to the protocol for handling physical proof that will be introduced in a courtroom, ensuring evidence complies with the rules of criminal procedure. Basically, there are rules for managing different types of evidence and keeping it reliable, and this is the set that applies to the admissibility of material things.

Cases are proven using evidence, and chain of custody dictates how the proofs are collected, stored, and displayed in court. Evidence that has not been documented properly and preserved according to the rules can be excluded from a case. So, in a murder say, if the cops find the silver bullet but handle the evidence it all wrong, the defense can file a motion and that proof is gone.

Estimates indicate over half a million people in the United States are homeless. And while that figure may be declining, states still struggle to find a solution to homelessness. While some states have extended hate crime protections to the homeless and created mobile "homeless courts" others have enacted anti-panhandling laws to criminalize begging.

So are anti-panhandling statutes legal? And if so, what exactly do they prohibit? Here's a roundup of various anti-panhandling laws:

Part of the reason we gravitate to shows like "Dexter" and "CSI" is the problem-solving element -- we want to figure out whodunnit, hopefully before the show does. We also love these shows because they show off all the fancy technology and science behind crime solving -- it's like Sherlock Holmes came alive in the 21st century.

But did Holmes ever get it wrong? We are often so wowed by the "CSI effect" we fail to question if the science behind the gotcha evidence is sound. And to be fair, we're not scientists, so what position are we in to second-guess the experts? But more and more questions are being raised about real-world forensic evidence and the crime labs that process and interpret that evidence. So just how reliable is forensic evidence, anyway?

Last year, Tennessee became the first state to explicitly criminalize drug use during a pregnancy. Since then, around 100 women in the state have been prosecuted under the new law, though most receive drug treatment rather than prison time.

While Tennessee's criminal statute may be unique, many states punish expecting mothers who do drugs while pregnant; and the penalties range from criminal conviction, to psychiatric commitment.

Curfew Laws for Adults

When you were a kid, curfew was when it got dark outside. As a teenager, it was before midnight. But now that you're an adult, can anyone tell you what time you have to be home?

As it turns out, there could be some curfew laws that apply to adults. State and local governments may institute emergency curfews, municipalities can have business curfew ordinances, and some apartment complexes have been trying to enforce curfews on tenants. Here's how curfew laws for adults work.

Racial Bias in Jury Selection Is Under Supreme Court Scrutiny Again

Justice may be blind. But prosecutors are not. This week, the Supreme Court is considering racial bias in jury selection in Foster v. Chatman. The case is being called "an egregious example" of a rampant problem, according to a former prosecutor writing in the New York Times.

Prosecutors continue to exclude black jurors from juries almost 40 years after a landmark case, Batson v. Kentucky, made clear that the practice is illegal. Only now prosecutors use allegedly race-neutral reasons to justify the exclusions from criminal trials. This practice is problematic for everyone, explains Larry Thompson, who penned the Times opinion piece.

Florida is famous for, among other things, its expansive Sunshine Laws, some of the most permissive in the country when it comes to access to public records. That's why you get so many amazing mugshots to go with those weird Florida Man stories.

But these are just people who've been arrested. What if they didn't do it? What if they're never convicted of a crime, and their mugshots are now up on the Internet forever? How is it legal for states and police departments (and private companies) to publish mugshots before a person is declared guilty?

Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to an attorney, but does the Constitution mandate that the attorney be good? What if your attorney doesn't give you enough information, or gives you incorrect information? Or what if he or she is really bad at trial work?

Not every guilty verdict means the criminal defense attorney screwed up, but there are some cases where a lawyer's contribution to the defense (or lack thereof) is inadequate under the law. Here's what you can do about it: