SIXTH CIRCUIT REVERSES SENTENCE IN GUN AND DRUGS CASE

Franklin Woods plead guilty to conspiring to manufacture fifty grams or more of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 108 months. In determining his sentencing guidelines the District Court applied an enhancement for possession of a firearm. There was no evidence that Woods had a firearm or that he knew that a firearm was present. The evidence of manufacturing was found in a co-defendant’s residence. But the District Court assumed that Woods knew that there was a high likelihood that a […] Read more »

EIGHTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS CONVICTION FOR SELLING MEDICINE OVER THE INTERNET

Marshall Kanner was a principal owner of Pharmacon International Corporation. Pharmacon sold prescription medication over the internet. Patients sent descriptions of their medical problems over the internet. Doctors reviewed the descriptions and prescribed medication. Pharmacon filled the prescriptions. Among the prescriptions filled were prescriptions for Schedule III and Schedule IV controlled substances for which a prescription is necessary. The government charged Kanner and others with conspiring to distribute controlled substances in violation of 21 U. S. C. 841(a)(1) much like […] Read more »

SIXTH CIRCUIT ERRS IN DENYING EXPUNGEMENT OF GAMBLING CONVICTION

Joseph Carey plead guilty to conducting an illegal gambling business in 2003. As a convicted felon he is ineligible to possess a gun. In Heller the Supreme Court specifically excluded convicted felon from those who could possess weapons. Carey now wants to have a gun. Therefore he moved in the United States District Court to expunge his record. The motion was denied, without a hearing, on the basis that the court did not have jurisdiction. Carey appealed to the Sixth […] Read more »

EIGHTH CIRCUIT REINSTATES CLAIM AGAINST JAILORS FOR NOT PROTECTING INMATE FROM RAPE

Employees from the Stone County (Missouri) jail transported Penny Whitson and four men in the same van to the state Department of Corrections. The van consisted of three section. In the first section were two employees of the jail, one of whom drove the van. In the first caged section behind the driver were three men. In the back caged section was one man, Richard Leach, and Whitson. The van was dark and noisy. The officers were playing loud music. […] Read more »

SAN FRANCISCO FAMILY SAVED FROM DEPORTATION DESPITE ALLEGATION OF CHILD’S FELONIOUS CONDUCT

A thirteen year old boy punched a schoolmate and stole forty-six cents from him. Proper punishment–some time in youth hall maybe. Counseling–perhaps. But in this case the fourteen year old, his mother and his brother, but not his stepfather who is a US citizen were almost deported when it was discovered that their visa had expired. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom instituted a new policy under which every juvenile alleged to have committed felonious conduct and who was in the […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT FINDS LAW OUTLAWING PICTURES OF ANIMAL CRUELTY A VIOLATION OF THE FREE SPEECH

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that 18 U. S. C. §48 which criminalizes the commercial creation, sale, or possession of certain depictions of animal cruelty, but which does not penalize the actual cruelty a violation of the First Amendment. The statute defines “depiction of animal cruelty” as any visual or auditory depiction, including any photograph, motion-picture film, video recording, electronic image, or sound recording of conduct in which a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured,wounded, or killed, if such […] Read more »

LOUISIANA CONSIDERS PLACING “DRUG OFFENDER” ON CONVICTS DRIVER’S LICENSES

Louisiana lawmakers are considering legislation that would require all people who have been convicted of two felony drug offenses to have the words “Drug Offender” printed in orange on their driver’s license. The bill which is sponsored by Rep. Rickey Hardy, D-Lafayette has been unanimously approved by the House Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works. Now it will go before the full House. Louisiana already requires certain people convicted of sex offenses to have the words “Sex Offender’ printed […] Read more »

STREAMWOOD ILLINOIS POLICE OFFICER CHARGED AFTER POLICE CAR VIDEO SHOWS EXCESSIVE FORCE

Streamwood, Illinois police officer, James Mandarino, while making a traffic stop, tasered, Ronald Bell, the driver and hit him with his baton 15 times. The Cook County District Attorney has charged Mandarino with felony aggravated battery and official misconduct.. The beating may not be unusual but the charges are becoming more common. What made the charges possible was a video of the beating taken by a camera in the officer’s vehicle. Many cases of police using excess force are making […] Read more »

SEVENTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS CHILD PORNOGRAPHY SENTENCE

The vast majority of people who come before our criminal courts at one point or another face sentencing. Either they plead guilty, often as part of a plea agreement or they are found guilty after trial. Particularly in the Federal Courts sentencing is a complicated and drawn out procedure. As a result many of the cases that are decided on appeal involve sentencing issues. As a general rule if one pleads guilty and admits the charged offense one cannot allege […] Read more »

QUESTIONS ARISE REGARDING INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES IN NEW JERSEY GANG RAPE CASE

The large headline claiming that a fifteen year old girl sold her seven year old sister for sex at a Trenton, New Jersey party last month certainly attracted attention. But the actual facts are much muddier and we may never know what happened. Besides the sister two men and three juveniles were arrested. Apparently much of the information that we have heard comes from the police interrogation of the two youngest juveniles who are 13 and 14 years old. Both […] Read more »