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Recently in Criminal Procedure Category

All civil lawsuits have statutes of limitation -- time limits after which you can longer sue. These statutes can vary depending on the type of offense and the state, but all are designed to have parties litigate an issue while evidence and memories are still fresh.

This can be tough when dealing with certain offenses like sexual assault, especially when the victim is a child at the time. Children can be too fearful to report sexual assault until they are older, and by then, the statute of limitations on their ability to sue their attacker may have tolled. New York has some of the nation's most restrictive statutes of limitations when it comes to child sex assault lawsuits, but the state is trying to change that.

For the most part, public defenders are to be admired -- they work long hours at a largely thankless job with very little resources. But, as with any other profession, not all public defenders are great at what they do, they may not agree with every defendant they represent, and even a good public defender can have a bad day.

So if you're not happy with your public defender, what can you do about it?

Descriptions of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's behavior have ranged from rape and serial sexual assault to sexual harassment and "workplace misconduct." Good Morning America called his behavior "gross," and the New York Attorney General opened a civil rights investigation into his former production company.

And now you can add sex trafficking to the list of descriptions. A British actress is suing Weinstein, claiming his assault on her in a French hotel room falls under the legal description of sex trafficking.

We all get in the gift-giving mood around the holidays, and what better gift than that of a good high?

Just kidding. Love is the greatest gift of all, followed closely by a really great bong. No, weed isn't legal in all 50 states (yet), but drug paraphernalia isn't actual drugs, so having it or giving it to someone else shouldn't be against the law, right? So is it illegal to give the gift of drug paraphernalia this holiday season?

The American bail system has come under an increasing amount of scrutiny lately. Of course we don't want potentially dangerous criminals in public and we want to make sure defendants stick around for their criminal trials. But too often innocent people languish in jail for no reason other than they cannot afford their bail. Even the Department of Justice argued that pre-trial bail schedules that imprison poor people for not being able to afford bail are unconstitutional.

So if you think your bail is too high, or you're facing jail time just because you can't afford your bail, can you get a judge to reduce it?

We've all thought it at one point -- if I get in trouble, I'll blame it on someone else. As children, we were pointing our fingers at siblings. A little older and everything was that one friend's idea. And plenty of people have thought that giving the police a fake name could throw them off you trail and keep you out of trouble. (Even cops think about trying to cover their tracks with a fake name.)

It rarely works. Most officers are smart enough to spot the lie, and they also have databases to verify identification. And giving false identifying information to police can get you into even more trouble. Here's how:

We tend to get most of our legal information, especially in the criminal context, from television and movies, with the odd, sensationalized news story thrown in. And that's true when it comes to criminal appeals as well: prisoners on death row can delay their execution for years on appeal; good convictions get tossed out on a technicality, bad convictions get overturned after an innocent person spends decades in prison; DNA evidence exonerates someone sentenced to die.

But the appeals process isn't quite as simple as saying, "I didn't like the verdict." Nor is it as interminable as many think. Here's what you need to know about criminal appeals.

Back in the day, water bottles were a good way for college kids to hide vodka. Michael Vick once tried to sneak marijuana past airport security using a modified water bottle. And now that everyone's favorite water bottle is double-walled stainless steel, there's no telling what's inside.

But does that give cops the right to search your water bottle? The answer, as always: it depends.

There's little doubt that police will use the latest and greatest technology to track down suspected criminals. One such technology is a cell-site simulator -- often referred to as a Stingray, based on a leading brand.

There's also little doubt that law enforcement tends to use these technologies first, and then worry about whether it was legal later. And Stingray use has become quite controversial, due to its widespread use and later questions regarding its legality. Here's a look at Stingray technology and some recent court rulings on the matter.

Probation can be a pain. Between the restrictive conditions and the aggressive probation officers, it seems like you're set up to fail. And if you're accused of violating your probation, things can get even worse.

While probation officers have the discretion to simply issue a warning for an alleged probation violation, they are generally more likely to request a court hearing to determine if there was a violation and, if so, what the punishment will be. So what exactly happens at the hearing and how can you prepare?