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<p>Photo: Mark W. Clark</p>

The 5 Biggest Search-and-Seizure Myths  

November 11, 2014

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court made the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule binding on the states in the 1961 decision in Mapp v. Ohio, thousands of published decisions from state and federal courts have applied the exclusionary rule to thousands of searches and seizures. It's no wonder the 50-year tidal wave of exclusionary decisions has left confusion and misunderstanding in its wake. Here are five areas of the law that seem to suffer the most in translation.

Self-Defense Homicide: Whose Truth are We Seeking?  

November 7, 2014

Most lawyers hate surprises. Experienced trial attorneys are like producers of multi-act plays. We script out lines of inquiry, carefully order the exhibits we will use, and prepare for every foreseeable contingency. Yet far too often, those of us who represent or work with law enforcement are surprised by a critical piece of evidence that was not carefully assessed or a witness who was recently discovered that we did not plan for and had not interviewed or deposed.

<p>Photo: Ron Martinelli</p>

Investigating Self-Defense Homicides  

November 7, 2014

Contemporary laws pertaining to self-defense such as "Stand Your Ground" and the "Castle Doctrine" represent significant changes to the civil rights of Americans when it comes to defending themselves and others with deadly force. As a result, we have seen extraordinary changes in our criminal justice system. However, such laws are not without their controversy.

It's Not About the Dogs  

November 6, 2014

The point here is that when a police officer shoots and kills a dog, the reaction of the community is not really about the dog. It's about the owner's emotional loss.

<p>Just because a dog looks like a pit bull does not mean it is &quot;vicious&quot; or even &quot;aggressive. You can only judge the animal as a threat by its actions. (Photo: National Canine Research Council)</p>

The Plight of the "Pit Bull"  

November 4, 2014

“My heart goes out to these dogs,” says trainer Brian Kilcommons, who is often called to assess the aggressiveness and socialization of pits. “These dogs are so maligned. They are tortured. They are fought. I cannot tell you how many of these dogs I have trained that make phenomenal pets.”

<p>This dog is behind a fence, which is good. Now to keep it safe, the owner should call it into the house until the officer has left. (Photo: National Canine Research Council)</p>

Dog Owners Can Prevent Violent Encounters Between Police and Their Pets  

November 4, 2014

While the mainstream media and many angry dog owners believe the sole responsibility for these tragedies should fall on the officer who pulled the trigger. Often times, the pet owners made mistakes or were even irresponsible in controlling and training their animals.

<p>Chicago officer demonstrate how to use a TASER on a dog. Note the cant of the device, so that the prongs spread horizontally on the animal&#39;s body. (Photo: National Canine Research Council)</p>

A Use-of-Force Continuum for Dealing with Dogs  

November 4, 2014

If the owner or another person known to the dog is not available, you may be able to gain the dog’s acceptance by softening your approach. Dog experts recommend you stop moving toward the dog, assume a bladed stance sideways to the dog, and avoid eye contact, while talking to him in a strong, reassuring tone. This may have a calming effect that will allow you to safely conduct your business and leave.

Sued for Shooting a Dog  

November 4, 2014

Your biggest fear in a dog shooting lawsuit is punitive damages. While compensatory damages are likely to be covered by your employer, punitive damages are probably coming out of your pocket.

<p>Photo: ScottEVest</p>

Product Test: ScottEVest Brad Thor Alpha Jacket  

October 31, 2014

On the outside, the Brad Thor Alpha is a very sleek and stylish medium-weight jacket. Now for the fun part. The Alpha features 35 different pockets. That isn't including the zippered sleeves and side panels for access to belt-mounted gear.

<p>Photo: Mark W. Clark</p>

Can Police Stop Killing Dogs?  

October 29, 2014

As with other police encounters involving civilians and what the public perceives as bad outcomes, many dog shooting incidents are captured on video and posted on the Internet. Some officers have even been fired for shooting dogs.

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