JUDGE ORDERS RELEASE OF MOHAMMED JAWAD

United States District Court Judge Ellen Huvelle granted Mohammed Jawad’s writ of habeas corpus. She ordered the government to release him from Guantanamo and return him to Afghanistan. But she gave the government until August 21 to return him to Afghanistan. Jawad is the youngest detainee at Guantanamo. It is believed that he was only 12 years old when he was arrested by Afghan police and turned over to the US military. Under Federal law the president must give Congress […] Read more »

OAKLAND VOTERS APPROVE MARIJUANA TAX

Oakland, California voters, last week, overwhelmingly imposed a 1.8 percent gross receipts tax on medical marijuana dispensaries according to an article in the Huffington Post. Eighty per cent of those voting approved the tax. Oakland is the first city in the county to pass a local tax on marijuana. The tax is in addition to the state sales sale paid by marijuana purchasers. There are four medical marijuana dispensaries in Oakland selling marijuana to people who qualify under the state’s […] Read more »

UPDATE: CORRUPT JUDGES CONVICTED FOR INCARCERATING JUVENILES IN EXCHANGE FOR KICKBACKS

In February we reported about two juvenile judges who benefited financially from incarcerating juveniles. Former Luzerne County (Wilkes Barre) Court of Common Plea Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan received kickbacks from a private jail in exchange for their help in getting the private jail the contract for incarcerating juveniles. The case is not over. In fact they have not been sentenced yet thought they have signed plea agreements requiring them to spend 87 months each in prison. Recently the […] Read more »

GOVERNMENT DISMISSES METHAMPHETAMINE CHARGES AGAINST ZHENLI YE GON

The Federal government dismissed methamphetamine conspiracy charges against Zhenli Ye Gon. The Chinese native and Mexican businessman was accused of selling pseudoephedrine/ephedrine used in the manufacture of methamphetamine knowing that the methamphetamine would end up in the United States. But two years after Gon was indicted and incarcerated the government is admitting that it cannot prove its case. Gon, the owner of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Latin America went to Mongolia where he purchased 19.797 tons of […] Read more »

FIRST CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS REVERSES DECISION FOR PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT

José Luis Alicea-Cotto and Cristian Ayala-García appealed their Puerto Rico convictions in a drug/weapons trial. In the appeal they claimed insufficiency of the evidence and prosecutorial misconduct. When considering a sufficiency of the evidence argument the court looks at the facts in the light most favorable to the government. As two police officers approached a vehicle in a housing complex in Carolina, Puerto Rico they saw the defendants, standing outside the vehicle selling a gun to Benny Alvarado-Arroyo. As they […] Read more »

EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES AND THE FOURTH AMENDMENT

When prosecutors have no other way to justify a warrantless search they claim that exigent circumstances require immediate action and that peace officers did not have time to obtain a search warrant. In United States v. Washington they not only claimed exigent circumstances but they claimed that Mr. Washington did not have standing to object to the search. George Young rented an apartment in Cincinnati, Ohio. While he was serving a term in the local jail, his nephew, Tracy Washington […] Read more »

UPDATE: RACIAL PROFILING AND THE ARREST OF HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.

The charges have been dropped against Henry Louis Gates, Jr. the Harvard professor and distinguished African American intellectual for disorderly conduct who was arrested for attempting to open his front door which was jammed when he returned home from a trip to China. Its the right decision but before we get to it I would like to discuss an article by Jesse Washington of the Associated Press on the arrest. He wrote a good article bringing up many of the […] Read more »

PRIOR BAD ACTS EVIDENCE

On Monday we discussed prior bad acts evidence in a narcotics and guns case. Today we have prior bad acts evidence in a Tenth Circuit parental kidnapping case. Vojko Rizvanovic is the father of two young children. He was in a long term relationship with their mother. In 2006 she took the children and moved into a shelter. The family court found that Rizvanovic committed emotional and domestic abuse against the children and their mother. As a result it gave […] Read more »

RACIAL PROFILING AND THE ARREST OF HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.

Harvard’s Henry Louis Gates, Jr. attempted to enter his house after the door lock jammed. As he tried to get into his house someone called the police and reported an attempted break-in. By the time the police came Gates was in his house. He showed them his driver’s license and his Harvard ID. Despite this they arrested him for “exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior” after he called the police office who was trying to arrest him for breaking into his […] Read more »

DIFFICULTIES ON APPEAL

Damion Townsend was charged with conspiracy to distribute at least 50 grams of cocaine base and an unspecified amount of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, and possession of a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug transaction. He was convicted on the conspiracy charge only. Townsend drove his close friend, Jones, who unbeknownst to him was a government informant, and Winfree around New York City to complete some errands and to purchase some cocaine from Scrap […] Read more »