Archive for the ‘Criminal law’ Category

4529478_GThere is an interesting case out of Orlando that raises questions about the use of felony murder charges by prosecutors whenever there is a fatality in the commission of a crime. Kody Roach was charged with felony murder even though he never fired a shot and the victim, Maria Fernada Godinez, 22, was actually killed by a police officer.

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4566796_GDomingo Santos, 40, and his girlfriend, Vanessa Liriano, have been charged in a novel criminal case. They are accused of stealing about 650 gallons of used cooking oil from restaurants.

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jorge-luis-azucena The Los Angeles Police Department is under fire for its treatment of a suspect in custody after Jorge Azucena died from an asthma attack. Azucena repeatedly told the officers that “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” . . . I have asthma, I have asthma.” However, LAPD officers refused to help him with one sergeant telling him “You can breathe just fine. You can talk, so you can breathe.” He died after being left lying face down on his cell floor. Roughly a year has passed but there is no reported discipline in the case.

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1408728555478_wps_9_Caius_Veiovis_unique_appeThere is an interesting debate going on in a Massachusetts courtroom over prejudicial evidence in a murder trial. No, it is not pictures of the victims or crime scene. It is the appearance of the defendant himself. You see, Caius Veiovis, 33, had himself implanted with horns and had a satanic tattoo put on his face. Now this defense counsel is understandably concerned that the jury will recoil at the very sight of him. However, there is only so much that a court can do to protect a defendant against his own appearances, particularly when he spent considerable time and money to look satanic.

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Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 8.11.57 AMThe Israeli Diamond Industry has released an interesting video on how thieves were able to switch massive diamond worth over $160,000 for a worthless zirconia. It is hardly the stuff that Ocean’s Eleven is made of, but it got the job done for these two thieves.

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james-foley-beheadingIntelligence officials in the U.S. and Britain believe that they are closer to identifying the terrorist who beheaded American journalist James Foley in the grotesque video released by the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS. The U.S. continues to follow a policy against such ransoms, though many have charged that the Obama Administration broke that policy in the controversial trade of five Taliban leaders for Bergdahl in addition to violating federal law. Europe has long rejected the policy and, according to media reports, has sent millions to fill the coffers of ISIS, which then uses the money to fill coffins around the world. France alone paid $13.2 million for four of its citizens and Islamic State is now known to have special kidnapping squads looking for Westerners. While we often discuss the financiers of terror in places like Saudi Arabia, we may have to start to look closer to home in the West.

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Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

DNA_orbit_animated_static_thumbAdvocates of allowing the convicted the opportunity to have DNA tests performed on evidence in the hope of releasing from prison innocent persons could find benefit in an En Banc ruling by the Washington Supreme Court.

In State v. Crumpton the Court created a standard lower courts court should use to decide a motion for post-conviction DNA testing and whether a court should presume DNA evidence would be favorable to the convicted individual when determining if it is likely the evidence would prove his or her innocence in order to determine if the DNA test is provided.

In 1993 petitioner Lindsey Crumpton was convicted of five counts of rape in the first degree and one count of residential burglary. He then petitioned the Superior Court to grant him a post-conviction DNA test as provided in RCW 10.73.170(3) which reads in pertinent part:

(3) The court shall grant a motion requesting DNA testing under this section if such motion is in the form required by subsection (2) of this section, and the convicted person has shown the likelihood that the DNA evidence would demonstrate innocence on a more probable than not basis

The superior court denied this motion, saying he had not shown a ‘”likelihood that the DNA evidence would demonstrate his innocence on a more probable than not basis.” An appeal to a Washington Court of Appeals ultimately denied the defendant’s motion and affirmed the Superior Court’s denial of his motion. The Washington Supreme Court reversed and remanded the motion back to the trial court to apply the new standard in determining whether such DNA testing should be granted.

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