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

Motion arguing against suspicionless marijuana testing as a condition of pretrial release

This motion argues that, because the routine imposition of marijuana testing as a condition of release is at odds with the current legal, social, and scientific understanding about the risks posed by marijuana use, courts should exercise discretion and not impose a marijuana testing requirement as a pretrial condition of release unless there are specific reasons, beyond mere past […]

Amicus Brief Arguing that Descriptive Statistics Alone Satisfy Threshold for a Hearing Under California Racial Justice Act

Pages 17-24 and 32-33 collect research and argue that descriptive statistics – statistical analyses that do not control for other factors – can establish the possibility of racial bias and trigger an evidentiary hearing under the California Racial Justice Act and that regression analyses that account for potential confounding variables provide strong evidence of racial […]

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.

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, […]

Mistaken eyewitness identification expert report

This expert report collects and describes cutting edge social science describing the problems with eyewitness identifications including: the effects of poor lighting and distance (p. 5); the effects of a quick exposure and the problem of witnesses’ overestimating the length of exposure (p. 5-6); problems with cross-racial identifications (p. 6); problem if witness previously viewed […]