Criminal Law Decisions: Decided
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Torture. When you think of torture, you think of Zero Dark Thirty and CIA interrogation of suspected terrorists.

Did you ever imagining it happening in your back yard? In Chicago, former police Commander Jon Burge and his "Midnight Crew" tortured over a 100 victims over a period of almost 20 years starting in 1972. The victims, mostly African-American men, reported that Burge and his gang used electric shocks, beatings, smotherings, and simulated Russian roulette to coerce confessions. Four of Burge's victims were sentenced to death after being tortured into giving false confessions. When Illinois Governor George Ryan left office, he pardoned the four men.

Forty years after the torture started, Chicago is making reparations.

While using a drug dog to sniff for drugs is not unconstitutional, doing so after a completed traffic stop is unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court ruled, in a 6-3 opinion, that the use of a drug dog to sniff for drugs, without any reasonable suspicion, after a completed traffic stop unreasonably extended the stop.

Everybody in New Mexico must report suspected child abuse and neglect, the state's highest court has ruled.

In an opinion released Monday, New Mexico's Supreme Court clarified that the state's mandatory child-abuse reporting requirements applied to all residents of the state, not just to certain publicly employed professionals.

New Mexico already has a law requiring everybody to report child abuse. So why was this ruling necessary?

Don't post sexually explicit pictures of a minor on a revenge porn website. Even more importantly, don't ignore the lawsuit when you get sued!

Eric Chanson and Kevin Bollaert, owners of the (now-defunct) revenge porn website YouGotPosted.com, must now pay a $900,000 default judgment to a young girl whose pictures were posted on the site.

What did they do, and what is a default judgment?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has reversed the aggravated assault conviction of former Air Force Tech. Sgt. David J.A. Gutierrez for withholding his HIV diagnosis from sexual partners.

The court cited medical experts who explained there is a 1 in 500 chance of contracting HIV through unprotected heterosexual sex. That's insufficiently likely to inflict grievous bodily harm to support the aggravated assault charge, the court held.

But the court upheld a lesser assault conviction for Gutierrez based on his former sexual partners' not giving informed consent to sexual activity because he hadn't told them about his HIV status.

For the first time in years, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the lethal injection method of execution is constitutional. The decision to hear the case comes shortly after one Oklahoma state prisoner out of four to file the case was already executed.

At least that won't happen to the other three petitioning prisoners: The High Court granted a stay of their executions until the justices make a ruling.

Does this spell the end of the death penalty? And what is "midazolam," anyway?

This has been a big year for landmark decisions and settlements, and FindLaw's Decided was there to cover all of 2014's big legal moments.

There were Supreme Court decisions and denials, companies settling over less than honest business practices, and even a reminder on how social media can screw up a perfectly good legal agreement.

Here's to 2014, and here's the Top 10 cases you loved most from this year:

Ohio Sup. Ct. Upholds Cities' Traffic-Camera Tickets, Appeals

The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the use of traffic cameras by state municipalities as well as the administrative procedure for hearing appeals by those ticketed.

The ruling was split, with three of the court's seven justices dissenting, reports The Plain Dealer. And the decision comes as legislation requiring a police officer be present at every traffic camera was passed in the Ohio legislature last week. That bill would effectively end the use of the cameras in much of the state.

What led to the court's decision?

Police officers may stop a vehicle based on a misunderstanding of traffic laws without violating the civil rights, the Supreme Court has ruled.

In its 8-1 ruling on Monday, the High Court found that even though a North Carolina police officer misunderstood a state traffic law regarding brake lights, the mistake was reasonable, and thus the search that followed was not illegal. The driver, Nicholas B. Heien, consented to the search of his car following the stop, which yielded a baggie of cocaine.

So why did the Court rule for a search based on a good-faith mistake in Heien v. North Carolina?

The Georgia Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it was constitutional for private probation companies to monitor offenders but ruled it was illegal to extend sentences once imposed.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the state's High Court found that private probation supervision companies like Sentinel Offender Services were allowed to supervise misdemeanor probationers, but they couldn't extend their sentences. This ruling may impact the $40 million in supervision fees private companies collect from low-level offenders.

What are the details of this Georgia Supreme Court ruling?