Category: Criminal law

Massachusetts Authorities Search For Shopper Who Sprayed Walmart Cashier In Eyes With Lysol

It always seems that crisis brings out the best and worst in people. It does not really change people. It tends to magnify what is good and what is bad. This is a story of the latter. Police are looking for his woman after she allegedly sprayed a Walmart cashier in the eyes with Lysol after being told that there was a limit on the number of cans that could be purchased during the pandemic. Police in Leicester put out this picture for the woman who could find herself in the can instead.

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Why Calls For A “National Quarantine” May Be More Rhetorical Than Legal

Below is my column in the Hill on how the calls for a “national quarantine” ignore both the historical and legal foundations for such orders. While the President can reduce travel at transportation hubs and certainly call for a national quarantine as “an aspirational” matter, the legal authority to enforce a national quarantine is far from obvious.

Here is the column:

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Texas Case Could Produce One Of The First Corona Hate Crime Charges

Jose L. Gomez, 19, was charged with three counts of attempted capital murder and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. (Midland County Sheriff's Office)

Jose L. Gomez, 19, may have the dubious distinction of being the first person charged and convicted of a Corona hate crime. Gomez is accused of stabbing three members of a family of four inside a Sam’s Club. The family is Asian and police say that he was trying to stop them from spreading the virus. His victims included a 2-year-old and 6-year-old child. While other anti-Asian hate crimes have been reported in the pandemic, this one could result in an early plea or conviction.

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“Eddie Isn’t With Us At This Time”: Engineer Charged With Train Wrecking In Alleged Attack On The USNS Mercy

There are many surreal aspects to this pandemic but Eduardo Moreno is still something of a stand out. The California engineer attempted to ram his locomotive into the USNS Mercy because he was suspicious of its real purpose in Los Angeles. His effort took the train off the rails and across a remarkable distance before stopping short of the ship. The family has started a GoFundMe page that cryptically says “Eddie is not hurt physically but isn’t with us at this time.” The case has resulted in a relatively rare federal charge of training wrecking. By handing Moreno over to the federal prosecutors, state authorities minimized his defense options and maximized the potential sentencing.

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That’s Not A Sword . . . THIS Is A Sword: Robber Pulls Sword So Store Clerk Pulls Bigger Sword

This is something one certainly does not see everyday. In Pittsburgh, a man pulled a sword on a store clerk but ran from the store after the clerk pulled an even bigger sword on the robber. The only thing missing was Doug Marcaida saying “It will cut . . . It will kill.”

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Laying Hands On Religious Super-Spreaders: Florida Police Arrest Megachurch Pastor

We recently discussed defiant ministers who have refused to end large-scale services like Pastor Tony Spell in Louisiana. Now Florida police have criminally charged Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne of The River at Tampa Bay Church for defying pandemic orders with a mass service.

Fox 29 reports that law enforcement tried to dissuade Howard-Browne but the minister refused to yield and exposed his congregation and their neighbors to spreading the virus. He is charged with “unlawful assembly” and “violation of public health emergency order.”

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No, Sen. Burr Is Not Likely To Be Charged With Insider Trading (and Even Less Likely To Be Convicted)

The FBI has reportedly begun an investigation into the stock sales of Sen. Richard Burr before the crisis over the coronavirus. As I discussed in my recent column, such prosecutions are exceptionally difficult to bring by design. Like ethics investigations, these investigations often serve to simply “clear” a politician who is allowed under lax ethical rules to trade in areas of their legislative and committee work. The only real reform is not investigations but either a ban on stock ownership or, more appropriately, a requirement of a blind trust (with criminal penalties for steering trades). Moreover, if he were to be charged, I would likely be the first to object to a prosecution for trades that Congress has kept lawful for decades despite some of our calls for reform. [This article was updated]

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Maryland Man Arrested For Violating Order Against Large Gatherings

Shawn Marshall Myers, 41, has been arrested for violating the order of Gov. Larry Hogan in hosting roughly 60 people at a bonfire last Friday night. Myers defied the order to keep any gathering to 10 people or less.

While Meyers might not have coronavirus, he might not be on the top of the list of most people as someone to party with at any time. He is a registered sex offender.

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Fahgettaboudit: Cuomo Threatens Lawsuit Against Rhode Island For Stopping New Yorkers

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is threatening to sue Rhode Island for its effort to stop cars with New York license plates to be sure that New Yorkers quarantine for two weeks. This includes police going door-to-door. Apparently, the image of some guy with a bell crying “bring out your New Yorkers” in the streets is not appealing to Cuomo. Yet, this could present a knotty legal issue.

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Pennsylvania Woman Charged With Terroristic Threats After Coughing Incident In Store

Pennsylvania prosecutors have charged Margaret Cirko, 35, who recently coughed and spit on produce at a store — resulting in Gerrity’s Supermarket throwing out $35,000 of fruits and vegetables. We are seeing the expanding use of terrorism charges against such pranks and displays. The Justice Department is now joining local prosecutors in pledging to bring more terrorism charges against pranksters and intentional spreaders of the virus. However, these cases raise concerns over such charges and the complexity of some of these cases.

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Scottish Man Sentenced To Five Years After Killing Armed Burglar In His Home

We have previously discussed the use of lethal force to protect one’s home or business both in terms of the common law and “castle doctrine” laws. It is rare for jurors to convict homeowners who wound or kill armed robbers or burglar. However, in Glasgow, Patrick Phinn, 49, has been sentenced to five years for stabbing to death Ronald Pattison, who broke into his home and threatened Phinn and his partner.

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Missouri Man Charged With Terroristic Threats For Licking Walmart Products

We recently discussed the bizarre trend of teenagers coughing on fruits and vegetables at stores — and efforts of the police to find the culprits shown on social media. In the prior blog, I raised the possibility of prosecutors charging such pranksters with terroristic threats. Now, in Missouri, Cody Pfister, 26, has been arrested and charged with making terrorist threats due to his taking and posting video of himself licking products in a store.

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Spelling Disaster: Louisiana Asks For Disaster Declaration As Louisiana Pastor Defies Authority With 1000 Person Service

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has asked for a federal declaration of disaster in Louisiana where he claims numbers of coronavirus are rising faster than anywhere in the world. The state previously banned groups greater than 50 and has now called on all citizens to shelter at home. That is clearly not resonating with Pastor Tony Spell who defied authorities (and widespread pleas) by holding services with 1000 followers of his Life Tabernacle Church in Baton Rouge. Spell, who has claimed to cure such things as AIDS and cancer at such services, insisted that this is a “politically motivated” effort and promised to hold additional such services.

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Florida Man Could Face Five Years For Stealing 66 Rolls Of Toilet Paper

It is truly a crime for our times. In Orlando, Florida, Angel Hernandezcinto, 31, has been arrested for allegedly stealing 66 rolls of toilet paper from a hotel — something that could constitute a bizarre new form of a crime of passion in the coronavirus pandemic. However, the rolls are valued at 99 cents each, meaning that this master crime amounted to around $65. Yet, it could be punished with up to five years in prison. Another Florida man is being held on $5000 bond for stealing a single roll of toilet paper.

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Tucson Police Search For Man Who Stole Corona Testing Kits

We have seen thefts of toilet paper and other items during the coronavirus outbreak. However, Tuscan police are looking for this man who stole dozens of testing kits from the El Rio Health Center.

The Hispanic male posed as a delivery driver to enter the clinic and walked out with the tests.

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