Category: Criminal law

Yes, We Have Coke & Bananas: Grocery Stores Receive 100 Pounds of Cocaine in Banana Shipments

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

The innocent days of only finding tarantulas stolen away in banana crates seemingly came to an end when several grocery stores in Washington State received shipments of bananas packed with cocaine.

Safeway stores in Bellingham, Woodinville, and Federal Way received the shipments reportedly worth over one million dollars.

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One Small Step For Crime, One Giant Leap For Criminal Kind: Astronaut Accused Of Identity Theft From Space

NASA

Criminal law took a giant leap this week with the first alleged crime in space. While “It Came From Outer Space” was originally about aliens, Summer Worden claims it was identity theft that came from space in this sequel. She has accused her former spouse Anne McClain of illegally accessing her bank accounts from the International Space Station. This would not make McClain a “space pirate” since she is on a U.S. flagged vessel, but she would be the first confirmed space criminal if convicted.

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San Francisco Declares That Convicted Felons Will Now Be Called “Returning Residents” Or “Justice-Involved Persons”

We have previously discussed how the effort to control language that has been prominent on college campuses has now spread to city and state legislation like Berkeley getting rid of “manholes” in favor of “maintanence holes.” Now San Francisco has mandated that the use of felons, offender, and criminals is no longer correct. Instead, a convicted felon will now be referred to as a “justice-involved person” or “returning resident.” A juvenile “delinquent” will now be called a “young person impacted by the juvenile justice system.”

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New York Man Allegedly Impersonates Police Officer In Pulling Over Van . . . Full Of Real Detectives

According to police, Valiery Portlock’s career as a faux police officer came to a crashing end on a street in Hicksville, Long Island when he pulled over a van only to watch as real detectives stepped out of the vehicle. What happened next was

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Line Up or Cover Up? Portland Police Alter Line Up Picture In Bank Robbery Case

In decades of criminal defense work, I have never seen a case like this one. In Portland, police suspected Tyrone Lamont Allen of robbing four banks and credit unions. However, none of the tellers reported seeing his prominent facial tattoos. In a decision that should result in serious disciplinary action, the police photoshopped out the tattoos before showing the picture in a photo line up. The witnesses then identified Allen.

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California Woman Convicted For Assault On Trump Supporters

Prosecutors said Jessica Aguilar’s jail sentence will be dropped if she completes community service.

I recently wrote about the limited coverage of violence by anti-Trump individuals and groups. A number of such cases are pending in Orange County where Trump supporters were attacked while trying to attend a rally. One conviction was recently handed down again for Jessica Aguilar, 23, of Sacramento. She slapped a man twice across the face during the March 25, 2017 rally at Bolsa Chica State Beach and was found guilty Wednesday of one misdemeanor count of battery. This is clearly a problem on both sides and it is continuing to spread, including 13 arrests in Oregon at the rallies this weekend with the seizure of various weapons.

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A$AP Rocky Found Guilty In Sweden Despite Trump Intervention

I was previously critical of the intervention of President Donald Trump in the criminal case of American rapper A$AP Rocky  Trump not only demanded that Sweden grant bond (which is not available in Sweden) but tied the continued prosecution of the rap star to the status of diplomatic relations with our long-standing ally, Sweden. Now Rocky, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, and his two friends have been found guilty of assault.

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Blaming Trump For Triggering The Recent Shootings Is More About Controlling Speech Than Violence

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the continuing recriminations following the recent massacres. The effort to blame the massacres on Trump reflect an ongoing effort to control speech by declaring certain words to be “triggering.” In this case, the meaning is literal.

Here is the column:

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Jeffrey Epstein Is Dead, But Questions Remain Very Much Alive

Jeffrey Epstein is dead. Few will likely mourn his passing but some will publicly regret it and others will privately celebrate it. The suicide comes a day after the release of documents implicating an array of powerful figures around the world. Epstein catered to friends from Bill Clinton to Prince Andrew. The timing has already caused some to question whether this was a true suicide or an effort to get rid of a man who was becoming a major threat to major players in politics and business. Close friends have already said that they believe that he was murdered. Given the low likelihood of success for Epstein, 66, in his criminal case and the prospect of spending the rest of his life in jail, a suicide attempt was likely. However, that raises the question of how a man who was once on a suicide watch could be allowed the material, let alone the opportunity, for a suicide. It appears that guards broke protocols during the night.

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“Screaming Into The Void”: Why Gun Control Is So Hard To Enact

Washington appears to be settling around background checks as the response to the latest massacres in Texas and Ohio despite the fact that such background checks would not have stopped most of the past mass shootings. What politicians will not admit to the public is that there is a very limited range of actions that Congress can take in curtailing an individual constitutional right.

Here is the column:

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“A Sense Of Remorse”: Michigan Judge Gives Husband Just 60 Days For Repeatedly Poisoning Wife’s Coffee

In one of the most bizarre sentencing decisions in recent memory, visiting Judge Anthony Viviano sentenced Brian Kozlowski, 46, to just 60 days for a crime warranting 180 months. Kozlowski’s ex-wife suspected he was poisoning her and caught him on camera spiking her coffee. She was lucky but nearly not as lucky as he was in getting this ridiculously low sentence for a 12-year felony. Vivano said that he gave him the low sentence because Kozlowski showed some remorse.

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“Army Tied My Mum’s Body To Chair And Blew It Up”: Body Donated for Alzheimer’s Research Used For Blast Testing

We have previously discussed cases involving abuses of corpses, particularly bodies donated for science or organ donation. Now there is a highly disturbing case out of Arizona where Jim Stauffer donated his mother’s body for Alzheimer’s research only to find out later that the body of Doris Stauffer was used for military testing and blown up

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Trump Rescinds Medals For Prosecutors In Gallagher Case

President Donald Trump took a highly extraordinary — and in my view a highly inappropriate — step on Wednesday in ordering the Navy to rescind the achievement medals awarded to military prosecutors in the case against Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher was accused of murder and other crimes in his killing of a teenage ISIS fighter who was his prisoner in 2017 in Iraq. It is hard not to view the President’s intervention as retaliation against prosecutors who took an unpopular case and carried out their duties despite being publicly ridiculed by the Commander in Chief. The move undermines the professionalism and independence of the military justice system.

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“Entirely Divorced” From The Facts: Court Dismisses DNC Lawsuit Against Trump

I have written previously about the often frivolous lawsuits brought by Democratic leaders that not only threaten to create bad precedent but undermine legitimate claims against President Donald Trump. One such meritless action was filed by the Democratic National Committee, an action that came perilously close to crossing the line of Rule 11 on meritless or vexatious actions. Judge John Koeltl, a Clinton appointee, was scathing in dismissing the action against key members of the Trump Administration and Wikileaks as “entirely divorced” from the facts.

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