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August 2014 Archives

Laws related to Internet crimes, ambiguous and outdated

Today technology permeates almost every aspect of our lives. Just think about how often you use the Internet to submit a form, transfer money or pay bills, communicate with friends and access information. Additionally, companies readily rely upon intranet systems and websites to communicate with employees, track projects, bill clients and store sensitive business and financial data.

When can the police legally use deadly force?

Since the recent uproar over the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., a spotlight has been on the actions of the officer who pulled his weapon and shot the unarmed teenager. Each time an officer draws their weapon, it implicates a very rigid set of rules and legal precedent that dictates when a gun can be fired, where it can be aimed, how many rounds should be squeezed off, and when the shooting should stop.

Murder Conviction Overturned - Detective Failed to Pursue Leads

A defendant's homicide conviction in the Bronx was overturned after he was denied a fair trial. Julio Alvarez was accused of manslaughter and assault in connection to the 2002 shooting death of Bronx drug dealer Daniel Colon. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison. However, because of the trial judge's "unreasonable interpretation" of the defendant's 6th amendment right to confront witnesses against him, the defendant was granted a writ of habeas corpus. What went wrong during this homicide trial?

Lack of evidence likely to hamper prosecution's case in murder trial

In any criminal case, a conviction of a defendant hinges on the prosecution's ability to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed the crime of which he or she is accused. Therefore, the prosecution's case relies heavily on the existence of evidence. When it comes to criminal cases involving violent crimes and those that involve weapons, the prosecution must rely upon evidence including DNA, discovery of a weapon, eye witness accounts and the existence of a motive.

Criminal Court Arraignments and Bail

An arraignment is the first court appearance for a criminal defendant, who appears before a judge and is advised of the charges against him/her. The timing of the arraignment depends upon the manner in which the defendant's presence in court is obtained. A defendant arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant generally must be taken to central booking without unnecessary delay (CPL 120.90(1)).

When it comes to white collar crimes, does the punishment fit the crime?

When it comes to crime and the criminal justice system, there's a popular-held belief that the punishment should fit the crime. While one could argue there are no victimless crimes, when it comes to so-called white collar crimes there are certainly wide variances when it comes to severity, impact and intent.

Desk Appearance Tickets in NYC - What You Need To Know

In NYC, after an arrest, an individual will be taken to central booking and spend upwards of 24 hours waiting to see a judge. In certain instances, someone who has been arrested can avoid this lengthy process by obtaining a desk appearance ticket. A desk appearance ticket (DAT) is an order to appear in Criminal Court for an arraignment. Oftentimes, when the police arrest someone for certain crimes, instead of sending the person though central booking, they will issue a DAT that orders the person to appear in court on a certain date. Make no mistake; a person who receives a DAT has been arrested.

NYPD Cop Charged in Sex Bribery Scheme

A Brooklyn police officer was charged with demanding sex in exchange for his help in expediting a woman's NYPD application. The officer, Delfin Lantigua, obtained the woman's contact information while working in the applicant processing department. He then allegedly used this information to contact her on Facebook where he made the offer.

SCOTUS to hear case on invalid traffic stop

SCOTUS, or the Supreme Court of the United States, is scheduled to hear a case discussing whether or not evidence gathered in an invalid stop should be allowed in court. The case comes out of North Carolina and involves an officer that conducted a traffic stop based on what he believed to be a violation of state law. Unfortunately for the officer, he got the law wrong.

Breathalyzer for Marijuana is Coming

While arrests for Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (VTL 1192.4) are less common that Driving While Intoxicated by Alcohol (VTL 1192.3), an arrest for this violation is just as serious. However, since one of the elements that the prosecutor must prove is that the driver ingested a drug, this charge is somewhat difficult to prove. See, People v. Kahn, 160 Misc. 2d 594 (Dist. Ct. Nassau County 1994). That could be changing, as the Cannabix - basically a Breathalyzer for marijuana, is currently pending patent and further field testing.

Video Taping the Police

While video cameras on cell phones are hardly breaking technology, video recordings of police officers using a banned choke-hold technique have been everywhere lately. Cell phone videos have surfaced of Eric Garner of Staten Island suffering a fatal heart attack after an officer used the choke-hold and knocked him to the ground, as well as an incident in East Harlem depicting an officer using the move to restrain an individual who was later charged with turnstile-jumping, and a third video showing an officer in Brooklyn supposedly using the choke-hold on a woman who was accused of illegally grilling on the sidewalk.

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