A Project of the University of Michigan Law School and the MDefenders Program

Petition for Relief under Racial Justice Act

This motion incorporates studies of implicit bias and racially discriminatory policing in San Diego. Studies referenced describe disparities in how police speak to drivers of different races as well as disparities in post-stop outcomes.

Amicus Brief to Exclude Drug Recognition Expert

Pages 1-4 discuss the history and development of the DRE program; pages 6-10 explain how the DRE test fails Rule of Evidence 702 because it does not assist the trier of fact to understand a fact in issue and the officers who testify about it are not qualified in the relevant field of knowledge; and […]

Marijuana Smell Alone Should Not Justify A Search

Based on six years of data of police stops in Philadelphia based on the smell of marijuana, this brief overviews how its use as a justification for a search has vastly increased the number of searches conducted, but less than 20% of the searches relying on the presence of marijuana actually discovered contraband. The brief […]

Affidavit of Expert in Facial Recognition Technology

This document was filed in support of a motion to compel discovery of the underlying source code, parameters, error rates, input data, results, reports, analyst, and confidence scores of the Facial Recognition program used in a criminal case. The expert explains the steps involved in a facial recognition search and areas where subjective human decisions […]

Amicus Brief – Court should consider race in a “reasonable person” analysis

Incorporating statistical evidence of racial disparities in police stops and police violence, this brief argues that “what constitutes “suspicious” or “abnormal” behavior for Fourth Amendment purposes must take into account the realities of racism and police violence experienced by communities of color” and that any totality of the circumstances analysis must consider “the fraught, frightening, […]