Criminal Law Articles

Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide
discussing legal aspects related to Criminal Law.




Reinstating a Suspended Driver’s License

When you are convicted of a crime and your license is suspended, this can have a large negative outcome on your life. Having your license reinstated as quickly as possible is the best choice and by following through with the right procedures you may increase your likelihood of achieving just that.

Criminal Defense Basics

Our criminal justice system is complex, both conceptually and procedurally. To ensure the fairness of the proceedings, each court system has its own rules of criminal procedure that govern the actions of all players: police, defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges and juries. The US Constitution requires that criminal defendants be accorded due process of law in all proceedings against them.

Why You Should Have a Conviction Expunged

An expungement is the legal process of seeking to have a past criminal conviction wiped out making it unable to be viewed by those inquiring into your past background. There are many reasons that this can benefit people from all walks of life that have been sentenced.

DUI Checkpoint in PA Requires Police Intervention

The decision to conduct a DUI checkpoint near a major highway on-ramp during the annual Musikfest festival in Northampton County, PA has been questioned by police officials. The DUI checkpoint was conducted by local PA township police on the night of August 4, during the first weekend of Musikfest. Musikfest is an annual music festival that has been held each August in Bethlehem, PA since 1984.

What is Receiving Stolen Property (Penal Code § 496)?

Receiving stolen property happens when someone purchases or obtains possession of an item that was acquired by the seller or “giver” by theft (i.e. burglary, embezzlement, shoplifting, robbery), fraud or any other unlawful means. Our office has seen this charge arise from purchases allegedly from pawn shops, garage sales and swap meets.

Do Warrants Expire?

Our office often receives phone calls from folks aware that “a warrant was issued” and they are anxious to know what do to next, as they fear police may execute it on them at any time. Our first reaction to such a question is to clarify what type of warrant (arrest, bench, search or complaint) is involved and second, how they became aware of the warrant.

When One Admits to Having Marijuana, A Search is Legal When an Arrest Follows

A search conducted without prior approval by a judge (in the form of a warrant) is unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with the exception of a few situations. Such exceptions arise quite frequently in day-to-day police investigations. Arizona v. Gant (2009) 556 U.S. 332, 338.

Helping You Understand What Can Happen if You Issue a Bad Check

Actually, the penalties for writing a bad check in New York State can be severe. Everyone knows you are not supposed to write bad checks. Even if you do so intentionally or repeatedly, you won’t be treated like you robbed someone on the street or in a home, right? Actually, the penalties for writing a bad check in New York State can be severe.

Carrying a Gun Illegally in a Vehicle

If you have been caught with an illegally possessed gun in your car or truck, you haven’t really done much wrong and your legal problems aren’t too serious, right? Actually, the charge of criminal possession of a weapon in New York State is a serious charge. Depending on the circumstances of the arrest, the charge may be a class C or D felony or a fourth degree misdemeanor, with legal penalties ranging from one to 15 years in jail.

How Are Sentencing Guidelines Used in Criminal Cases in Virginia?

Virginia uses sentencing guidelines during sentencing for felony charges. After someone is convicted of a felony in Virginia, whether it be after entering a guilty plea or a trial, the Circuit Court judge will order a presentence report. A presentence report is prepared by a probation officer and includes various background, family, and employment information about the defendant. One of the items included in the presentence report is a calculation of sentencing guidelines.

Raleigh DUI Accidents and the Law

Facing a traffic ticket for reckless driving or speeding can be unsettling. In North Carolina, a particular DUI case captured the attention of national media. It involved a drunk plastic surgeon driving his Mercedes 90 mph in a 45 mph zone and slamming into a car driven by a member of the Carolina Ballet. The accident killed the young woman and the doctor went to jail.

Background Checks Can Lead to Liability in Wisconsin

Not handling the background check process correctly or misusing the information contained within the background check, also called a consumer report, can lead to liability for employers. Some potential background check pitfalls employers could face include:

Effect of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Convictions in the United States on Canada Immigration

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol (DUI), impaired driving and similar US convictions, have many consequences for an individual, including a possible criminal record in the United States. Those who are not US citizens, also have to be concerned about possible US immigration consequences of their DUI criminal conviction.

What is Grand Theft Auto?

Grand theft auto, also referred to as “GTA,” vehicle theft and / or just auto theft, is the unauthorized taking of another’s car with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the car. It may be by force, trick or false pretenses. Sometimes, the suspect takes the car to a “chop shop” to have the car disassembled for money or the suspect intentionally fails to return a rental car.

Know Your Rights for Criminal Defense

If you are facing criminal defense charges, it is important to know that you have constitutional rights. The legal system was designed to ensure that people are innocent until proven guilty. Knowing what your rights are is one way to ensure that you are being treated fairly. Here are some of your rights that are guaranteed by federal law.

Could the Complexity of White Collar Crimes Help Defendants?

For people charged with white collar crimes, the challenges local governments face in investigating and prosecuting white collar crimes can be an opportunity for a strong defense. Simplify the issue. That’s the advice often given to prosecutors who must try white collar criminal charges before a jury. White collar crimes often involve complex concepts and evidence.

Florida Retains Title as Nation’s Mortgage Fraud Capital

Florida is one of five states to rank in the top ten in Mortgage Fraud Index measures for incidents of fraud for both investigations in 2011 and loans originated in 2011. Michigan, California, Illinois and New York are the others. The dismal housing market in Florida is showing signs of new life, but the improvements have had little impact on the state’s mortgage fraud rates according to a recent report.

What is Joyriding?

Joyriding is a temporary taking of a car or motorcycle (Vehicle Code § 10851), bicycle (Penal Code § 499b(a)), or boat (Penal Code § 499b(b)), without the owner’s permission. The taking is generally thought to be for enjoyment only and is often committed by juvenile males. When the use of the vehicle, bike or boat is no longer enjoyable, the user returns or intends to return the item to the owner. Sometimes, the vehicle, bike or boat runs out of gas before it can be returned.

Witness Intimidation Can Make Admissible Otherwise Inadmissible Hearsay

It is common in domestic violence cases, as well as certain theft cases and certainly gang-related cases, that the unavailability of a witness for trial can mean a dismissal or defense verdict. For example, when a wife or girlfriend is the only witness to defendant’s conduct and she cannot or will not appear at trial, the prosecution may dismiss the case. Our office has experienced this many times on first day of trial, to our client’s relief.

Atlanta Divorce Lawyers Anticipate Change in Alimony Laws

The Atlanta divorce lawyers at the Margolis Legal Group understand how painful divorce is for couples, and the division of a life together can lead to unexpected problems, especially since some divorce laws address outdated standards from the past. However, as other states enact new laws that reflect today’s lifestyle, Atlanta divorce attorneys predict that Georgia may follow suit.

Move Over Law in Force August 5th, 2012 in Canada

New measures on road safety will come into force in Quebec this Sunday August 5th, 2012. This new legislation will take place under articles 406.1 and 311.1 of the Highway Safety Code (R.S.Q., chapter C 24.2). These new measures are already in place in seven Canadian provinces and most of the United States.

States Struggle to Establish Drugged Driving Laws

Although Maryland is not currently one of the states looking to pass a marijuana-specific drugged driving law, there are similar laws under review in other states, and it’s likely only a matter of time before the debate makes its way to the Maryland state legislature.

Gray Area on “Possessing” vs. “Viewing” Creates Porn Ambiguity

We’re at the beginning of the debate on what’s legal and illegal when it comes to computers and pornography. Recent cases suggest that it’s only a matter of time before the state legislatures are forced to take a closer look at how the law impacts our activities online.

What is Unemployment Insurance Fraud?

Unemployment insurance fraud is the receipt of unemployment benefits to which one is not entitled, or assisting one in such receipt. It is a particularly prevalent crime in today’s tough economy with numerous underemployed workers. Workers who may have been unemployed for some period of time, only find work at lower pay than expected, continue to receive unemployment benefits when they are simultaneously receiving pay.

The False Claims Act – Application of the Lincoln Law to the Health Care Industry

  By Ruder Ware
The False Claims Act was originally focused on the defense industry during the Civil War. It was later expanded during the defense industry scandals of the 1980s. Now, the law is being applied liberally in the health care industry with very severe potential consequences for health care providers.

Medical Director Compensation and Compliance

  By Ruder Ware
Compensation to medical directors has become a 'hot-button" compliance issue. If not properly structured and monitored, a medical director arrangement can become a major compliance problem. Health care attorney John Fisher discussed some of the recent cases addressing medical director compensation and what they mean to health care providers.

Medical Director Compensation and Compliance

  By Ruder Ware
Compensation to medical directors has become a 'hot-button" compliance issue. If not properly structured and monitored, a medical director arrangement can become a major compliance problem. Health care attorney John Fisher discussed some of the recent cases addressing medical director compensation and what they mean to health care providers.

Abduction Cases Are Not Always Tied Neatly With a Bow

Abduction, or kidnapping, can be charged for many common situations that don’t require being tied up and held against their will. The Virginia Code defines abduction as the unauthorized holding or transporting of someone against their will by force, threat, intimidation, or deception.

Driving Without a Valid License (VC § 12500(a)) or on a Suspended or Revoked License (VC § 14601)

One of the more common offenses our clients face, usually in conjunction with other offenses such as DUI or speeding, is without a valid license, a violation of California Vehicle Code § 12500(a), or driving on a suspended or revoked license, a violation of Vehicle Code § 14601.

Overview of New Jersey's Juvenile Justice System

What follows is a brief overview of the juvenile justice system in New Jersey. The juvenile court system in New Jersey is very different from the adult court system. In juvenile court, the defendant (a juvenile under the age of 18) has had a formal complaint signed against him or her and is being charged with "delinquency."

Fatal Day Care Accident Leads to Multiple Lawsuits

Child care injuries are alarmingly common and the harm may result from a variety of sources. However, all day care accidents typically involve employee negligence or recklessness. Just weeks ago, a day care van filled with children veered wildly toward oncoming traffic before leaving the road and crashing into a tree. The accident injured 15 passengers — 14 of them children — and killed a 31-year-old woman.

What Are the Limits of a “Protective Sweep” Search Without a Warrant?

It is well-established law that warrantless searches of a home are “presumptively unreasonable” under the Fourth Amendment. Payton v. New York (1980) 445 U.S. 573, 586. However, it is also well-established law that law enforcement arresting someone in a house may perform a quick and limited “protective sweep,” warrantless search for their own safety when there is a reasonable suspicion that the house may contain a dangerous person.

Do Not Boat and Drink

As the summer winds down, it is important to stay safe on the water. Remember to follow the law and do not drink alcohol and operate a vessel, because just like driving under the influence, boating under the influence is illegal. Individuals are not allowed to operate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Decrease in Excessive Speeding Tickets in Quebec, Canada

The relentlessness with which the authorities fight excessive speeding and their ubiquity on the roads of Quebec seem to have paid off. The number of excessive speeding tickets has seen a sharp decrease from 17,844 cases in 2008 to 7,400 cases in 2011. As of July 19, 2012 only 1,581 tickets have been issued.

What Are Illegal Tinted Windows (Vehicle § 26708.5)?

Our office has heard many clients report that they were pulled over because the police officer told them they had illegal tinted windows. The client usually suggests that the police officers had a hunch that our client was DUI, on probation, had drugs in the car or was wanted for an unsolved crime. The tinted windows, in other words, were just a pretext for the police to set up our client for a search, an arrest and much bigger charges than just illegal tinted windows.

The San Jose Police and DUI Charges

There is not a day that passes that the San Jose Police does not arrest and charge individuals on a DUI or DUI-related charge, whether on the 101 or on city streets. There is a high level of alert for drivers who are operating their vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Difference between Juvenile and Adult Arrests

Adults and juveniles facing criminal charges in Miami are subject to different arrest procedures. Criminal defense attorneys understand the subtle nuances of the law and will protect your right to a fair trial. Adult and juvenile arrest procedures differ in Florida. When a child is facing criminal charges in Miami, the juvenile justice system exists to punish and rehabilitate young offenders.

Avoid Long-Term Consequences of DUI Conviction

The money and time that must be paid when someone is convicted of a DUI is substantial. This is why you need a strong criminal defense attorney in Miami to help win your case and clear your record. A DUI conviction in Florida may have long-term consequences affecting your finances, career, personal life as well as your freedom.

What is Forgery?

There are four types of conduct that can be prosecuted as forgery under Penal Code § 470. Each is considered a serious crime and a crime of moral turpitude that can have immigration consequences. First, one can be prosecuted for signing someone else’s name without that person’s authorization. The most common context of this is trying to cash someone else’s check to you by signing the account holder’s signature on the check.

Pleading to Impaired Driving in Utah

After a DUI arrest in Utah, you may be able to enter a plea to the reduced charge of impaired driving, but only under the circumstances described here. In Utah, impaired driving is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail[1] and a fine of up to $1000.00.[2] For many reasons that we will discuss below, impaired driving pleas are offered as a lesser, reduced charge (compared to a DUI.)

DUI Roadblocks

Utah has laws that define what a lawful DUI Checkpoint or Roadblock is, and when a DUI checkpoint exceeds the legal boundaries defined in the Utah Constitution. How to determine the legality of a DUI Checkpoint or Roadblock. The Utah and Federal Constitutions take the position that in the absence of reasonable suspicion, drivers have the right to be left alone.

First Degree Residential Burglary is a Crime of Violence Under Immigration Laws

In 2007, Ramiro Ramos-Medina was convicted after a jury trial of First Degree Residential Burglary, a violation of Penal Code § 459. The judge sentenced him to two years in state prison. Mr. Medina was not a U.S. citizen. Immigration officers told him that his conviction was a “crime of violence” under 8 U.S.C. § 16(b) and thus, an “aggravated felony” under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43) and § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii).

What if I am Unsatisfied with my Current Attorney?

It is critical for all defendants to have a solid relationship with their legal counsel. If you don’t, then it may be time to get a new lawyer. No attorney-client relationship is stronger than the one between an individual charged with a crime and their criminal defense lawyer. That is because the stakes are so high. Your very freedom is often on the line when charged with a crime—that is on top of various financial penalties and other long-term ramifications.

No Background Check Authorization, No Background Check for You!

For Wisconsin employers, a common question is "what happens if the job applicant refuses to sign the background check authorization form?" The obvious answer is, the employer cannot run a background check on the potential employee without a signed background check authorization form.

Myths About Child Abuse

Turn on the TV and it is not hard to hear about the child molestation accusations that were made against Jerry Sandusky in the last two months. If you are like me it is difficult to wrap your mind around the possibility of a coach molesting children, especially someone in a mentoring role.

Federal Medicaid Fraud Audit Program Has Negative Returns

A recent report from a government watchdog group shows that a federal Medicaid audit program designed to curtail some of the $60 billion a year lost to Medicaid fraud has actually cost more money than it saved.

What to Expect in a DUI Case

Have you been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Facing any kind of criminal allegation is intimidating, frustrating and overwhelming. If you or a loved has been arrested, you probably want to know about the DUI process.

What is Passing Bad Checks (Penal Code § 476(a))

Passing a bad check is tendering a check for goods or service, from a bank account that has insufficient funds to pay the full amount of the check. It happens every day, to the tune of millions of dollars in California alone. Even attempting to tender a check with insufficient funds is a crime. The payee does not need to receive the check and attempt to cash or deposit it.

Appoint Best Lawyer to Defend Drug Trafficking Charge Even if it is False

Drug trafficking charges are really serious. It can lead to imprisonment, harassments, fines and other social convictions. You can get involved in such a charge without your knowledge. If such is the case you need to appoint an experienced lawyer who will assist you to be free from this charge.

What is Embezzlement (Penal Code § 503)?

The mention of embezzlement conjures up images of an untrustworthy accountant methodically stealing small amounts of cash over a long period of time, adding up to thousands of dollars, or an employee at a cash register dropping a few dollars here and there into his or her pants pockets. Sadly it seems the most common type of embezzlement recently is by caretakers stealing from an elderly person.

Differences Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony in Las Vegas

People are often confused about the differences between misdemeanors and felony charges in Las Vegas. This little article will overview some of the basic differences between the two and the associated penalties for a person charged with these offenses.

Are Criminal Threats Protected Speech Under the First Amendment? Appeals Court Say No.

At about 2:00 a.m. on January 26, 2010, Margarito Iboa had a fire going on in his backyard. The Lancaster Fire Department arrived at his house. While firefighters attempted to extinguish the fire, coming from a 10 to 12 floor high mound of trash, Iboa yelled expletives at them and moved fire hoses a round, apparently in an attempt to disrupt their work.

Audits Targeting Medicaid Abuse Fall Short

A recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress found that a federal program designed to combat Medicaid fraud has resulted in cost greater than the amount of fraud the program identified.

Marijuana Law in Texas (Punishments for Sale and Possession Provided)

This article provides an overview of marijuana law in San Antonio and all other counties of Texas. Many people in San Antonio are charged with the Possession of Marijuana. The Texas Penal Code sets out the following law on Marijuana (the possession of it, and the sale of it):

Getting a Temporary License after a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in San Antonio

This article discusses what a person can do in order to legally drive after getting a license suspended in San Antonio, Texas. We estimate that approximately 45,000 people in Bexar County, Texas get their license suspended every year due to being charged with, or convicted of a DWI, DUI or other drug offense. In Texas, the law enables DPS to suspend the license when a person is arrested or convicted of Driving While intoxicated.

Can a DUI Lawyer in Seattle Help Me if I Refused a BAC Test?

In Seattle, it is possible to be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and to face criminal sanctions based on your refusal to take a blood alcohol test. A blood alcohol test, or a BAC test, is a test to determine if you are driving when over the legal limit. If you refuse this test, you need to call a DUI lawyer Seattle right away since you refusal can have serious consequences.

Protecting Cyprus Ships against Acts of Piracy and other Unlawful Acts

Cyprus laws allows for the provision of private security services on board Cyprus ships for the purpose of protecting them and their crew and cargo from unlawful acts in sea, particularly acts of piracy in high risk seas.

Government Medicaid Audits Cost 5 Times What They Recover

In 2008, the federal government launched a Medicaid audit program designed to curtail the estimated $60 billion a year that Medicaid loses to fraudulent claims and overpayments. Since its inception, the program has performed about 1,550 audits, resulting in the identification of about $20 million worth of Medicaid overpayments and fraud.

Fraud Continues to Plague Medicaid System

Medicaid, the joint state and federal health insurance program designed to provide health care to the poor, needy, disabled, and elderly, loses billions of dollars in losses every year. Soon, that number may soon increase when the Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid coverage to millions more Americans. Of the $400 billion spent on Medicaid last year, it’s estimated that about 8% of it was lost to fraud and abuse.

Conviction Reversed for Possession of Burglary Tools (Penal Code § 466)

In newspapers, one often reads of someone being arrested and charged with the possession of burglary tools. Perhaps one has even more personal knowledge of such charges. Rhetorically speaking, just what are “burglary tools?” If one is arrested while attempting to begin a residential burglary and is found to have blue latex gloves and a large black bag, are these “burglary tools?”

Necessary Research When Enlisting a Broker

Before entering into a contract to remodel your home in California, it seems obvious to check on the contractor through the State Contractors License Board to make sure the construction company is licensed, insured, and that other pertinent information is available.

What is Robbery?

In movies and television, robbery is often portrayed as someone using a gun to take money from someone operating the cash register at a liquor store. The legal definition of robbery, however, is much broader. It is the taking of another’s property from his person or his immediate possession, against his will, by force or fear, with the intent to permanently deprive the owner.

Canada - Trial by Judge or Machine? What Will the Supreme Court Decide in R. v. Anic St- Onge Lamoureux?

Man Against Machine: What Will the Supreme Court Decide in R. v. Anic St- Onge Lamoureux? The Supreme Court will shortly be giving its decision in the R. v. Anic St-Onge Lamoureux case, which is a case about the constitutionality of certain provisions in the Criminal Code with respect to drunk driving charges. Why should you be interested in a drunk driving case?

Vehicle Forfeiture in Minnesota

When a vehicle is involved in a crime such as a DWI, often law enforcement will seize the vehicle as evidence. Upon arrest, the vehicle will be taken into police custody and a notice of forfeiture will be issued shortly thereafter. In Minnesota, this notice allows the owner of the vehicle 30 days in which to challenge the forfeiture. If they do not do so, then the state will take ownership of the vehicle.

What is Carjacking?

Carjacking is the theft of a car by means of force or fear (Penal Code § 215). Force or fear requires that the defendant actually inflicts physical force upon the victim or that the defendant threatens to inflict imminent physical harm upon a driver or passenger, or even someone outside the car. The key is that the threat be made or physical force be used to gain control of the car. For such reasons, carjacking is a strike offense.

Fraudulent Medicaid Claims Decreasing, but Still a Problem

As states across the country continue to struggle with solving their Medicaid funding problem, fraudulent Medicaid claims continue to plague the system. Last year alone, the federal government lost about $22 billion of Medicaid funds because of fraudulent claims. Because Medicaid is a jointly funded federal and state program, state losses are also thought to be significant.

Know Your Drunk Driving Terminology

From the moment you see the blue lights in the rear view mirror, you should already know everything you can about the DUI laws in the state in which you live. Even though the most common arrests are on DUI charges, the jargon used is still somewhat confusing.

What is Commercial Burglary (Penal Code § 459) and What Are the Defenses?

Commercial burglary, defined at Penal Code § 459, is the entering of a shop, store; office building, or any other commercial building with the intent to steal and then stealing something. This crime is also defined as entering a commercial building with the intent to commit a felony other than stealing the property of another.

When is Medicaid Planning Actually Fraud?

If you have heard claims such as “protect your estate assets and still qualify for Medicaid” and wondered about the legality of the claims, you are smart to do so. Although it is possible to legally protect many of your assets and still qualify for the Medicaid program, it must be done carefully, and with the help of an experienced elder law attorney, in order to prevent Medicaid fraud.

Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorneys Discuss Sexual Assault Charges against Taxi Driver

Recent sexual abuse and assault charges against 55-year-old Pesure Alshahapy of Tucker, Georgia, could cost the man his livelihood and land him in jail, according to Atlanta criminal defense attorneys. Alshahapy, an Atlanta taxi driver working for Rapid Taxi, has been charged with sexually assaulting one of his passengers, a 16-year-old girl. Alshahappy has been jailed without bond since June 14th.

Our Youth Criminal Justice System: A Primer - Canada

The most recent version of the Criminal law that applies to youth in Canada, the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA), took effect in April 2003. Its predecessor was the Young Offenders Act (YOA) which came into force in 1984, and before that we had the Juvenile Delinquents Act (JDA) of 1908. The YCJA is longer and more complex than what came before, and is meant to address the problems found in the previous regimes......

The Historical Journey of the Spousal Privilege

Two Privileges Protecting the Husband-Wife Relationship: Confidential Communications and Refusal to Testify in Criminal Proceedings - As we pointed out in a 2008 post, there are two marital/spousal privileges in Texas: the confidential communication privilege as defined by Rule 504(a) and the privilege not to testify in a criminal trial as defined by Rule 504(b) of the Texas Rules of Evidence.

Attorney Work Product Versus Grand Jury Subpoena

Protecting Attorney Client Relationship, Privileged Information from Government Subpoena - The attorney work-product and the attorney-client privilege are often confused with each other. Although related, insofar as they both concern the attorney client relationship, they are distinct privileges protecting different types of information for completely different rationales.

Judge in Michael Morton Case Faces “Court of Inquiry”

Investigation of Intentional Prosecutorial Misconduct by Williamson County DA’s Office - In the 1980s Michael Morton was wrongfully, and unjustly, convicted of the murder of his wife (here and here). To say that prosecutorial misconduct was the primary reason for Morton’s conviction would be the proverbial understatement.

Self-Defense: No Duty to Retreat

Core of Defense of Third Person is What the Actor Reasonably Believes Concerning the Situation of the Third Person - It was a hectic, confusing scene in Dallas on December 2, 2007. A fight broke out between two gangs: Kirby Block and Manett Boys. It was never clearly established what, or who, precipitated the fight.

The Clergy Privilege - Clergy Privilege Protects Communications Made in Confidence, Waived if Called as Character Witness

In a previous post, we outlined the case of Ernest “Randy” Comeaux, an inmate serving six life sentences for a series of rapes from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. The background of the case can be found here. In November of 1998 Lafayette Police Department Captain James Craft received an anonymous telephone call that linked Comeaux to the rapes.

Attorney-Client Privilege - Special Rule of Privilege in Criminal Cases Provides Greater Protection to the Criminally Accused

Ernest “Randy” Comeaux is currently an inmate serving six life sentences, without the benefit of parole, at the David Wade Correctional Center in Homer, Louisiana. The facts of Comeaux crime were detailed by a Louisiana Court of Appeals in the matter of Smith v. Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department on April 24, 2004:

Confidential and Private - Evidentiary Privileges in the American Legal System

Writing in the Pittsburgh Law Review, University of California Law Professor Edward J. Inwinkelried discussed in detail the history and legal parameters of evidentiary privileges. He opened his treatise with this observation: “From society’s perspective, the rules governing privileged communications, such as those between a client and his or her attorney are arguably the most important doctrines in evidence law.”

What is Shoplifting and Its Defenses?

Shoplifting is the unpermitted taking of an item belonging to another with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the item. It is defined as petty theft (California Penal Code § 484 (a)), which means the value of the items stolen is $950 or less. It is always a misdemeanor, but nonetheless serious because it is a crime of dishonesty and a conviction for this can have immigration consequences. Even the mere charges can destroy one’s employment opportunities and reputation.

The Impact of Smith V. Cain

High Court Misses Opportunity to Discuss Ethical Obligations of Prosecutors - For reasons we discussed in a previous post, the U.S. Supreme Court had an opportunity in Smith v. Cain to discuss the ethical discovery obligations of both federal and state prosecutors—an idea strongly suggested by the American Bar Association in their amicus brief filed in the case.

Federal Discovery and Inspection Procedures

Tunnel Vision Interferes with Duty to Comply with Discovery Obligations - Most litigation in federal criminal cases regarding discovery of evidence, or lack thereof, is based on claims of violations of due process protections found in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.

Wrongful Conviction and Prosecutorial Misconduct

Filing Grievances, Request for Courts of Inquiry in Wrongful Conviction and Exoneration Cases - On December 12, 2011, writing for Mother Jones, Beth Schwartzapfel and Hannah Levintova published a piece titled “How Many Innocent People Are In Prison?”—a piece based in part on research conducted by University of Michigan Law Professor Samuel Gross.

The Ethical Implications of a Brady Violation

Disciplinary Action against Rogue Prosecutors Who Intentionally Engage in Wrongful Conduct, Brady Violations Rare - Among lawyers practicing criminal law, “Brady violation” is probably second only to a “Miranda warning” as the most recognizable legal term in this country’s jurisprudence; and, significantly, both of these U.S. Supreme Court decisions are designed to curb prosecutorial and law enforcement misconduct.

Brady Violations in White Collar, Corruption Convictions

Serious, Widespread and Intentional Concealment of Evidence by DOJ and US Attorneys - Former Alaska lawmaker, Vic Kohring, has entered a guilty plea admitting he accepted bribes from an “oil man” for his help in keeping taxes low on the Alaskan oil industry. The plea comes after an appellate court tossed out Kohring’s original conviction, along with others convicted in the scandal, after finding that the Government had intentionally withheld evidence in the trials.

Smith V. Cain: A Look at Prosecutor’s Duty to Disclose

ABA Files Amicus Demanding Disclosure of Exculpatory Evidence Regardless of Materiality, Broader than Brady - The Orleans Parish and Williamson County district attorney offices have something in common: both have a disturbing history of withholding exculpatory information that resulted in innocent men being sent to prison (or death row) for long periods of time (here, here and here).

More Shenanigans in Williamson County DA’s Office - DA Announces Policy of Hiding Brady, Potentially Exculpatory Evidence

We have become convinced that the only way the Williamson County District Attorney’s office will operate in a lawful and ethical manner is for the State Bar to assign an ombudsman to oversee its day-to-day handling of criminal prosecutions. The behavior of this office in the Michael Morton case has already triggered four investigations, including one by the State Bar (here and here).

“Prosecutor of the Year” Feels the Heat - Williamson County Justice System under Scrutiny by State Bar of Texas

Since our last post about the tragic case of Michael Morton, the “prosecutor of the year” in that case, now District Judge Ken Anderson, and his cohort, Mike Davis, who actually prosecuted Morton for the 1986 murder of his wife, face investigations by the State Bar of Texas and Morton’s attorneys, according to the Austin Statesman.

“Prosecutor of the Year!”

Williamson County District Attorneys Gain Distinction for Hiding Evidence, Wrongful Conviction and Hard Fought Cover-Up - Ken Anderson was a prosecutor in Williamson County, Texas, in 1986. In fact, he became Williamson County’s longest tenured district attorney with 16 ½ years as the county’s chief prosecutor and 5 ½ years as an assistant district attorney.

Proceed With Caution to Avoid Elder Financial Abuse

There are some people who will go to any lengths to line their own pockets, and they will even stoop so low as to target senior citizens. Indeed, elder financial abuse is all too common these days and expert observers are finding that the problem is on the rise.

Several States Make Choking a Felony Charge

Several states across the country are moving to tighten the laws on choking and strangulation by making it a felony charge. Several states across the country are moving to tighten the laws on strangling. A much debated topic, choking and strangulation is one of the top domestic abuse crimes, but is not considered a felony by many states.

The Florida DUI Court Process

In every Florida DUI case, two separate cases flow from the same offense. Apart from a civil case filed against you with the DMV, you will also have to deal with criminal charges and penalties. There are several processes and procedures involved in an average Florida DUI criminal case.

Opening a Garage Door with a Stolen Garage Door Opener is Only Attempted Burglary, Not a Completed Burglary

Our offense has received several calls over the years about a romantic relationship that ended, but one party retains possession of a remote control garage door opener to the garage of the other person. The caller asks us what we can do or they should do to prevent the other party from burglarizing their home, where they are no longer welcome.

Branding Young People as ‘Criminals’

Children and teens convicted of crimes face the prospect of being unfairly labeled as an offender during a time period when many experts believe their brains – and their resulting actions – are still developing. People love to classify and apply labels. It’s a natural human tendency.

Good Faith Exception to Execution of an Improper Search Warrant

It is well established law that probable cause for a search requires a “fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found in a particular place, based on the totality of the circumstances.” Dawson v. City of Seattle (9th Cir. 1983) 435 F.3d 1054, 1062 (quoting Illinois v. Gates (1983) 462 U.S. 213, 238).

Different Forms of Drug Crimes and Its Penalties

Penalties of Drug crimes mostly depend on the amount of drug. Even if there is large amount of drug for personal use it will be concluded that you have intention to sell or deliver drugs. I you are involved in some form of drug case consult with a lawyer immediately.

Appoint a Lawyer to Recover Wrongful Death Compensation

Death of a loved one left a family grief stricken, but they have to file a lawsuit if such death occurs due to neglect of some others. A financial compensation is not able to fulfill the loss of a person but it certainly protects the family from financial crisis for the sudden death. It will be best to appoint an attorney to recover the compensation.

What to Do if You Suffer a Slip and Fall

Claim for the losses if you slip and fall due to neglect of some other entity. It is difficult to establish a personal injury case without lawyer’s assistance. A lawyer will support in every step of your case and will manage best compensation for the damages you suffered.

Appeals Court Holds, in a Romero Motion, that There is No Dismissal for Strikes Arising from Same Act

In 1999, Darlene Vargas was convicted of both carjacking and robbery arising out of her role in the theft by force of a car. In late December, 2008, Defendant faced charges of burglary, grand theft and receiving stolen property. In the complaint for this case, it was alleged that Vargas had the two prior convictions from 1999, both strikes.

The Rhode Island Veterans Diversion Program

Criminal Charges against Veterans who complete the Rhode Island Veterans Diversion Program are dismissed. The program itself is therapeutic, including confidential therapy and counseling. The Rhode Island Veterans Diversion Program is State wide and is available to all Rhode Island Veterans who are charged with criminal misdemeanors.

Animal Cruelty and Puppy Mills

The ASPCA estimates that up to 10,000 puppy mills are in operation across the United States. These mills facilitate unhealthy living conditions, but their cruelty often goes unnoticed because of minimal animal cruelty laws across the country. In California, individuals accused of animal cruelty may face severe penalties and fines.


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