BILLS LEGALIZING MARIJUANA INTRODUCED IN CALIFORNIA AND MASSACHUSETTES

Legislators in California and Massachusetts introduced bills legalizing the cultivation, use, possession and sale of marijuana. In California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s bill, which would place a fifty dollar per ounce tax on marijuana would provide 1.3 billion dollars for the state according to a study conducted by the State Board of Equalization. Likewise the Massachusetts law would regulate and tax marijuana. The Massachusetts law, if passed would raise $100 million for the state coffers. Not only would the legalization of […] Read more »

HOW STUPID CAN YOU GET–No. 4

Jerome Marquis Blanchett is not the brightest person around. He not only robbed an ex police chief but he did it at a convention of police officers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Blanchett pulled a large semi-automatic handgun on the chief in the restroom at the Harrisburg Holiday Inn which was hosting the convention and demanded his money and his cell phone. He then threatened the chief that he would kill him if the chief followed him. The victim, John Comparetto, using […] Read more »

WHO CAN YOU TRUST NOW?

Two priests stole over $8,000,000 from the collection plate and bequests at the Saint Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach, Florida. Much of the money stolen was beyond the statute of limitations. However both priests who were from Ireland were convicted and sent to prison. John Skehan, 81 received 18 months in prison and seven yearrs probation after pleading guilty to stealing over $100,000. Francis Guinan, 66 was sentenced to four years in prison after being found guilty at […] Read more »

GOVERNMENT DISAVOWAL OF PLEA BARGAIN SUBJECT TO PLAIN ERROR RULE

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the failure of an attorney to object to the government’s disavowal of a plea bargain is subject to the plain error rule. Normally the failure of a side to object to an error before the trial court forfeits the right to raise the issue on appeal. Under the Plain Error Rule (Section 51(b) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure) an issue may be raised on appeal even if it was not raised in […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT FINDS FAILURE TO PURSUE ONLY POSSIBLE DEFENSE NOT INCOMPETENCE OF COUNSEL

The Supreme Court reversed a finding of incompetence of counsel (IOC) made by the Ninth Circuit in Knowles, Warden v. Mirzayance. Mirzayance was convicted of first degree murder of his 19 year old cousin. Under California law the trial was bifurcated. During the first part of the trial the jury found Mirzayance guilty of murder. At the beginning of the second phase Mirzayance, on the advice of counsel, waived his right to a trial on whether he was not guilty […] Read more »

UPDATE: PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION IN BART SHOOTING POSTPONED

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Don C. Clay today postponed the Preliminary Examination in the case of former Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer Johannes Mehserle for the New Years Day murder of Oscar Grant at the Fruitdale BART station following the weekend killing of three Oakland police officers. A fourth officer is brain dead following the incident this weekend in which a parolee is alleged to have shot the four officers following an automobile stop. Defense attorney Michael […] Read more »

TIME TO REPLACE THE WAR ON DRUGS

The American Constitution Society has published another essay detailing the failure of the War on Drugs which is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of President Nixon’s declaration. Just about everyone agrees that, unless you measure its success by the number of people put in prison or the billions of dollars spent annually, the war has failed. The purpose of the war was to cut back on drug use. Yet a WHO study of 17 nations shows the United States has the […] Read more »

CHARGES DROPPED AFTER VIDEO SHOWS COP LYING

The police report says that Raymond L. Bell after being stopped, allegedly for a DUI, lost his balance and used his arms to steady himself. It says he was driving 85 mph is a 40 mph zone and could not stop when the police officer turned on his siren. The video on the police car shows Bell walked steadily and stopped the car within 40 second of the officer turning on the siren. The arresting officer was Chicago police officer, […] Read more »

THE LAW IN TEXAS

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found that Andre Lee Thomas who plucked out both of his eyes, eating at least one of them was not insane under Texas law. It upheld his conviction for the murder of his estranged wife’s thirteen month old daughter and the imposition of the death penalty. Thomas starting drinking alcohol at ten and smoking marijuana at thirteen. He dropped out of school in ninth grade. In the months before he killed his wife, son, […] Read more »

JUST SAY NO!

A recent Missouri case reported in Fourth Amendment.com State v. Allen illustrates the need not to let police into your house or your car or anywhere else that you have an expectation of privacy. The police conducted a “knock and talk” at the residence of Amy Jo Dean Rig. A “knock and talk” occurs when the police believe that criminal activity, in this case drug use and sales, is occurring in a residence. They do not have probable cause to […] Read more »