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Recently in Criminal Procedure Category

A victim of domestic violence should generally try to involve law enforcement at the earliest possible time after an incident, assuming police didn't arrive during the incident. The sooner a victim can file a police report, the higher the likelihood that police will investigate, which increases the chances of a city, or state, district attorney prosecuting the matter criminally.

Most states provide that criminal offenses of varying severity can only be prosecuted within a certain window of time, known as a statute of limitations. Although, in some states, certain serious offenses like rape or muder will not be subject to a statute of limitations. In New York, for example, a domestic violence case could have a statute of limitations ranging from one to three years (depending on the severity of the charges).

Criminal investigations often have several distinct stages, starting from the report or discovery of a crime and ending with an acquittal or conviction. And for federal criminal investigations, a key stage in the process is the grand jury and indictment.

Designed as a check on the government's prosecutorial power, many have criticized grand juries for "rubber stamping" whatever charges a prosecutor submits, hence the saying that a grand jury would "indict a ham sandwich" if you wanted them to. So how does a grand jury get the information and evidence that supports an indictment? A grand jury subpoena.

A new report from the Idaho State Police paints a pretty bleak picture of the state's efforts to prosecute rape: just four percent of reported rapes in Idaho result in the accused being convicted of a sex crime. Only 24 percent of reported sex offenses statewide resulted in an arrest (compared to 50 percent of alleged other violent crimes), and rape charges were the most likely to be amended or modified to lesser offenses.

How do the Gem State's numbers compare to nationwide rape prosecution statistics? And what are the obstacles between rape reports and sex crime convictions?

Children are precious. There's no doubt about that. However, even the most precious children are capable of committing the most heinous crimes. And while parents may be willing to do nearly anything to protect their children, police do not necessarily have to allow parents to be present during an interrogation. The best thing a parent can do for a child facing a police investigation or criminal charges is hire a qualified juvenile justice attorney.

In fact, when conducting certain investigations, such as those involving abuse, or neglect, by a parent, officers may need to question a child privately to avoid parental coercion. While parents can tell their child to refuse to speak with police investigating a crime, refusing investigators from Child Protective Services might result in some serious consequences.

A judge in Florida ruled that the state's updated self-defense law, still known as the stand your ground law, violates individuals' constitutional rights. Surprisingly, it's not due to the principles behind the law, but rather the judicial procedures required by the update.

However, unlike the powers vested with a federal district court judge to block laws from being enforced state- or nation-wide, as recently seen in the travel ban cases, the Florida state court judge's ruling is not binding on other courts. That means that in a courtroom right next door, another judge could continue to enforce the updated stand your ground law.

Getting away from the daily grind, dropping the regular routine, and just getting in some rest and relaxation is not just fantastic, it's necessary. However, just because you're on vacation, that doesn't mean the law doesn't apply. Get loose, get wild, but don't forget, crime has consequences and can end a vacation.

When you're travelling to a different state, or city, or even a national park a few miles from home, it can be helpful to know if there are any major differences in the law. After all, ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. Though some of the wackier laws can just be ignored.

If you've watched just about any mob movie in the last 30 years or so, you've heard the phrase "witness protection program." It either involves a former gangster going in (like the end of Goodfellas) or comically navigating his new life (like My Blue Heaven). There are all kinds of conditions like changing names and moving to the suburbs, and always the risk of whomever the gangster is testifying against hunting them down.

But how does witness protection actually work? Here's a look.

Parents do their best to keep their kids out of trouble. Sadly, the best isn't always good enough. For a multitude of reasons, children can turn to rebellious, illegal activities during their teenage years, even going so far as to join gangs.

If those gangs are engaged in criminal activity, parents should rightly be concerned, not only for their teens' criminal liability but for their own. Here's what you need to know.

Drug addiction can be tragic, and can take a personal toll on addicts and their families. And when the addiction spills over into the criminal realm, it can impact their communities as well. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, almost a quarter of prisoners incarcerated on property and drug crimes say they committed their current offense to obtain money for drugs.

Here are some of the most common crimes drug addicts commit, aside from the general, addiction-funding property crimes:

Dear diary,

Today I learned that you could one day stab me in the back.

There's no doubt that writing about your problems, like talking about them, is therapeutic. However, you may want to think about drawing the line when it comes to confessing crimes to your diary.

While you don't have to worry about your diary calling the police to report you, if you are arrested and your diary is discovered during a valid search, it can be used against you as evidence in court. Also, as one teen recently learned, if you live with roommates, or family, there's likely to be no Fourth Amendment protection against your privacy being invaded if one of them reads your diary and reports you to law enforcement.