H. Michael Steinberg has over 32 years experience practicing Colorado criminal law. Mr. Steinberg strives to stay current with the ever changing aspects of criminal law issues and updates resulting in his extensive knowledge of successful criminal defense as well as appellate work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, the Colorado Trial Lawyer's Association, and the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations.

Articles Posted in Police Misconduct

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Colorado Cell Phone Searches.jpgCell phones – 91% of us have them. Cell phones are a modern marvel defying most of us to com close to fully understand how they function. They are truly highly complex “mini computers” containing vast amounts of personal information that should remain private and well away from the eyes of law enforcement.

Recently the United States Supreme Court has been asked – in the case of Riley vs California – to set the standard for searches “incident to arrest” involving the seizure – but much more importantly – the search of the contents of cell phones.

A petition to the Supreme Court asks the court to clarify whether – and under what conditions – law enforcement may access the massive amounts of personal information on all of our cell phones without a search warrant.

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Colorado Miranda Rights.pngOn June 17, 2013 the United States Supreme Court – in Salinas v. Texas – took a step back from the protections accorded by the Fifth Amendment’s Right To Remain Silent.

The Facts of Salinas:

Salinas – before being placed into custody – answered questions posed by a police officer in a homicide investigation. At the time he answered the questions he was not under arrest. Among the questions was a comment by the officer about the potential ballistics match as regards casings found at the scene.

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Colorado Mirand Rights Law.jpgBy Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney – Colorado Miranda Rights Law – H. Michael Steinberg

Colorado Miranda Rights Law is sometimes not only internally complex but is ever evolving for law enforcement since the original Miranda decision so many years ago.

Understanding the application of the Miranda decision – the imposition of the advisement and issues surrounding the waiver of your Miranda rights requires a close look at the law and what constitutes a valid waiver of those rights.

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Former Greeley police officer Daniel Shepherd was found not guilty by a Colorado jury on February 8, 2012.

What makes this case so important – is that the jury looked at the “he said – she said” nature of the allegations – found both sides had lied or covered up – so they did what jurys are supposed to do – they focused on the absence of forensic evidence that would have pointed the way to the truth. This time – because of the incompetence of the police – there was none

In the words of one juror – who clearly got it right:

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In a unanimous but confusing decision issued by the United States Supreme Court last week – the justices held that a 28 day use of a GPS tracking device paced on a suspects vehicle without the benefit of a search warrant – is unconsitutional.

The confusing part? Scalia did not hold that a warrant was always necessary. Walter Dellinger, who represented the Defendant Antoine Jones at the Supreme Court, said the decision means that any use of GPS technology by law enforcement without a warrant “would be a risky undertaking.”

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote majority opinion stating that it was the attachment of the device that violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

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Recently in Mesa County Colorado on the Western slope of Colorado, the District Attorney’s office was forced to dismiss eight criminal cases in light of credibility questions surrounding a former Colorado State Trooper.

Because of the impact of the lead officer’s testimony in a DUI caae, the District Attorney’s officer is reviewing hundreds more cases that are expected to be dropped in the coming weeks.

The tropper – Donald Moseman, stepped down from the State Troopers Office in December after a departmental investigation.

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Just a quick FYI and a reminder. A new law passed in Colorado requires the police – in the absence of a legal right to search your vehicle – prior to conducting a consensual search of your effects or your vehicle of a person – to inform the person that they are being asked to voluntarily consent to a search and that they have the right to refuse.

The targeted “searchee” must provide oral or written consent.

Again this requirement does not apply to searches conducted under other valid exceptions to the wsearch arrant requirement.

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A relatively new Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Program called “Secure Communities” is having an unintended impact and should be stopped.

Several states have sought to withdraw from the program because the program “traps” unintended victims of false domestic violence arrests in its grasp.

The Program compels the recording of the fingerprints of everyone booked into local police custody — even if they have been the subject of illegal or wrongful arrests such is often the case in Colorado for misdemeanor domestic violence charges.

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A grand jury in Mesa County has indicted two Colorado state troopers in the fatal shooting of a man in his home earlier this summer.

Troopers Ivan Lawyer and Kirk Firko were indicted Thursday on counts of criminal trespass and criminal mischief. Lawyer was additionally indicted on counts of criminally negligent homicide, second-degree assault, illegal discharge of a firearm and prohibited use of a weapon.

The shooting happened after troopers were called to an accident at 7:40 p.m. July 20, near the intersection of Glade Park Road and South Broadway in Grand Junction.

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Colorado detective charged with perjury

DENVER — Fort Collins Police Lt. James Broderick, the lead detective in the Tim Masters murder investigation, was on Wednesday indicted by the Larimer County Grand Jury on eight counts of first-degree perjury, The Denver Post reports.

Broderick is accused of concealing evidence that would have helped Masters at his 1998 trial, at which he was found guilty of the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick. The conviction was overturned in 2008 when DNA evidence pointed to other suspects.