Archive for the ‘Criminal law’ Category

180px-Creation_of_the_Sun_and_Moon_face_detailarticle-2700967-1FDCEF1900000578-380_306x418Sometimes saying “God is my co-pilot” is more than an aspirational bumper sticker. Prionda Hill, 25, insists that she took it seriously when she said that God told her that he would drive her 2006 Pontiac Grand Prix. Either God is another elderly driver past his prime or he wanted to do in Anthony Oliveri, 47, because he immediately ran the car off the road and slammed into Oliveri on his 2001 Harley-Davidson.

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6379cc40-1106-11e4-bcb6-efa0f914c309_shoplifted-dress-illinoisDanielle Saxton clearly wanted to look hot and she succeeded. The 27-year-old Illinois woman was arrested after she posted pictures on Facebook showing herself in a shoplifted dress. The multicolored leopard print dress with a black waistband was stolen from Morties, a store located in West Frankfort where Saxton resides. Saxton added the caption “Love my dress.” She was not alone.

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JeffreyAndersonMugShot-279x300There is a disturbing child pornography case out of Nebraska that also raises some challenging legal questions. Jeffrey Anderson, who entered a conditional guilty plea for one count of distributing child pornography, after digitally editing a photo of a naked adult woman having sex and replaced the face with that of an 11-year-old girl. He then sent the girl the photo with the caption “This is what we will do.” The Eighth Circuit upheld his 10-year sentence in rejected the conditional challenge to the charge.

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1405809806000-Dan-MarkelFlorida State law professor and leading blogger legal Dan Markel died on Friday from an apparent gunshot wound at his home. Markel, 41, was a popular professor at Florida State University College of Law and the founder of Prawfsblawg, a popular legal blog. All such deaths without witnesses (called “unattended incidents”) are investigated as possible homicides. UPDATE: The police are saying that Markel was “targeted’ and murdered.

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latrez-cummingsjpg-094c83ec448d23fcfeatured_Steve_Utash_12395The public is shocked by the decision of Detroit Third Judicial Circuit Judge James Callahan who gave Latrez Cummings, 19, just six months for his participation in the savage beating of Steve Utash, 54, who hit a 10-year-old boy with his vehicle and then jumped out to try to aid the boy. Cummings then set upon him and beat him almost to death — leaving him with brain damage. His survival was not expected and doctors had to induce a coma to keep him alive. In a mob attack that came close to murder, Callahan decided a six-month sentence was sufficient for Cummings who is a gang member.

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220px-The_ProcuressThe criminalization of prostitution has always been an anomaly in the law when compared to sex on camera for the adult entertainment industry. Libertarians question why consenting adults should not be able to agree to such arrangements since they can have as many lovers for free as a form of protected conduct. For those who have argued for legalization of prostitution, a recent study by Baylor University’s Scott Cunningham and Manisha Shah of the University of California, Los Angeles may give them something of a boost. The study found that, for the years when prostitution was effectively legal in Rhode Island (but not street walking), both public health and public safety substantially improved with a drop in rape and a drop in the rate of gonorrhea among women.

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Badge_of_the_Riverside_County_Sheriff's_DepartmentThe video below has been released in a lawsuit over a highly disturbing case where a Riverside undercover officer befriended a 17-year-old boy with autism and convinced him to buy pot for him. They then arrested him and added him to their list of drug war statistics. Before the arrest, in addition to autism, their son had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Tourette syndrome and anxiety disorders.

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libertyFor years, we have lamented the wholesale attack on free speech in France from ever-expanding hate speech ruling to stripping away anonymity on the Internet to censorship of expression to criminalizing historical claims (though the last move was later reversed). The erosion of such protection has never been so evident as with the ruling against blogger Caroline Doudet. A French judge has issued an emergency ruling forcing that one of the titles of a blog restaurant critique be changed to reduce its prominence on Google and for Doudet to pay damages. It is an absurd ruling and frightening in its implications for free speech. France appears to have dived headlong into speech regulation and censorship.

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Carmine+Cervellino1200800px-Watermelon_slicesThere is a curious charge in a case in Connecticut where Carmine Cervellino has been arrested for criminal threats for carving a watermelon in an allegedly aggressive way.

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chi-mugs-ronald-r-searl-20140711This extremely jovial mug shot of Donald R. Searl was shot after his arrest for . . . you guessed it . . . Driving under the influence.

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220px-John_Swallow220px-Mark_ShurtleffWe have been following the investigation of former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff. When I first met Mark Shurtleff, he was Utah Attorney General leading the case against my clients, the Brown family in the Sister Wives case. After years of abusive investigations and public statements, we challenged the state criminalization of polygamy and Shurtleff fought to defend the law. He was then replaced in the case by Swallow. Now both have been arrested and taken into custody. For the Browns who were threatened with arrest and the loss of their children, it must be a truly ironic moment.

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Gomery, Clarence MugFormer prosecutor Clarence Gomery is in jail after a court imposed a $5 million bond for his release pending trial on charges that he tried to arrange to have attorney Christopher Cooke killed in a murder-for-hire scheme. The bad blood with Cooke is believed to stem from his representation of Gomery’s former business client in a heated litigation.

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Adam SowdersHenry Goedrich MageeWe have previously discussed our concerns over the seemingly exponential increase in “no knock” raids in the country where police give no warning before raiding a home. (here and here and here and here and here and here). Now in a remarkable ruling, a Texas grand jury has refused to indict Goedrich Magee, 20, who shot and killed a law enforcement officer, Burleson County Sgt. Adam Sowders, 31, during a no knock entrance into his home. Magee said that he thought he was being robbed and acted to protect his pregnant girlfriend and children. The grand jury “no billed” the case in February.

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chiefweb11USA_-_NORTH_CAROLINA_-_City_of_Durham_police_departmentWe have followed the scandals in Durham involving its police chief and former district attorneys. Now Durham police officers have been shown to have lied about non-existent 911 calls to enter the homes of citizens without a warrant. Despite this illegal tactic that was admitted on the stand, no officers have been fired. Instead, Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez (left) has sent out a memo. You may recall Lopez who earlier reportedly said that a public defender deserved to be shot.

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150px-Target_logo.svgThere is a disturbing case out of the Leesburg Virginia (near my home) where Dallas Northington, an eight-year employee of Target, has been fired as he reportedly caught a Fairfax County sheriff’s deputy shoplifting. He filed a report and was told that both his manager and the investigator recognized the culprit on a videotape. However, when he returned to work, he was canned by Target. In the meantime, despite the alleged identification and two color videotapes of the shoplifting, the police have yet to charge the officer (who reportedly left the force).

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