NINTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS PLEA IN REVERSE STING

Glen Ray Briggs plead guilty to a series of crimes involving methamphetamine and cocaine. The most serious charges related to his participation in a reverse sting operation organized by government agents to rob an alleged stash house. As part of the plans for the robbery Briggs was to brings guns to be used in the robbery. He was arrested after he got into a vehicle that was going to be used in the robbery. No guns were found. While the […] Read more »

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LOOKS TO EXPAND ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE OF INTERNET MESSAGES

The Federal government is considering legislation to enhance its ability to wiretap internet messages. Specifically it wants to be able to tap into Blackberry, Skype, and social networking software. Over the past several years these sources of communication have replaced the use of the telephone in many instances. As a result the Federal government’s ability to use wiretapping in criminal investigations has deteriorated. The legislation would require these companies to obtain the technology to be able to comply with wiretap […] Read more »

EVIDENCE SEIZED IN THE SEARCH OF INGMAR GUANDIQUES’S CELL FOUND ADMISSIBLE IN THE TRIAL FOR CHANDRA LEVY’S MURDER

Ingmar Guandique is set for trial October 4 for the murder of Chandra Levy, the intern to former Representative Gary Condit in Washington D. C.’s Rock Creek Park on May 1, 2001. Last week Judge Gerald Green held a hearing on pretrial motions. Evidentiary motions are important since there are no eye witnesses or DNA evidence. At the time of Guandique’s arrest he was serving time in a California prison for the assault of two other women in the same […] Read more »

MORE CHARGES AGAINST KEN KRATZ

Last week I discussed the case of Ken Kratz, the District Attorney of Calumet County Wisconsin who was accused of sending sexually abusive text messages to a victim in a domestic violence case. Kratz’s response seemed to be that he made an innocent mistake. He refused to resign. He said, “(I hope) my entire career won’t be judged on a single series of text messages. But I know it will be.” He admitted the behavior was inappropriate but he said […] Read more »

EXONERATED AFTER 31 YEARS IN PRISON

Bobby Dixon and Phillip Bivens were exonerated by DNA evidence of rape and murder after spending 31 years in prison for the 1979 murder of Eva Patterson in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. A third innocent person, Larry Ruffin died in prison. The DNA evidence identified another man who is imprisoned for the 1981 rape of another woman. The exonerations occurred despite the fact that Bivens and Dixon confessed to the crime and plead guilty. There is evidence that they were coerced into […] Read more »

SIXTH CIRCUIT: CONSENT GIVEN WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MORPHINE IS FREELY AND VOLUNTARY

The Sixth Circuit found that McCellon Montgomery was capable of freely and voluntarily giving consent, allowing the police to search his property despite being in the hospital under the influence of morphine within hours of being shot in his back by an unknown assailant. Montgomery was on his back porch. He was shot with birdshot or buckshot by someone hiding in nearby trees. His girlfriend called the police. The police could not find the shooter but they did see marijuana […] Read more »

RECOGNITION FOR TAKING THE FIFTH

Taking the Fifth received some outstanding recognition this past week. A special thanks to Chris Jacobson who put Taking the Fifth in his Top 50 Criminal Defense Blogs which can be found in Criminal Justice Degree; Guide to Criminal Justice Degree Online and Campus Programs Its really a great honor considering all the other blogs in the list. If you want to find some great blogs, check out the list. Justia which scores 6487 blogs puts Taking the Fifth in […] Read more »

SECOND CIRCUIT EXTENDS BATSON TO GENDER CLAIMS

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals extended Batson claims to situations where an attorney purposely uses gender as a basis for peremptory challenges to jurors. In Batson the Supreme Court ruled that it violates the Constitution for race to be a factor in the selection of jurors. Dennis Paris was convicted of sex trafficking and prostitution related crimes in Connecticut. Prior to jury selection his lawyer announced that he planned to use his peremptory challenges against women since he felt […] Read more »

WISCONSIN DISTRICT ATTORNEY ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY HARASSING VICTIM IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASE

Calumet County, Wisconsin District Attorney Ken Kratz sent a series of sexually implicit e-mails to Stephanie Van Groll while he was prosecuting her ex-boyfriend for domestic violence. Among the statements in the e-mails were: “Are u the kind of girl that likes secret contact with an older married elected DA?” “I know this is wrong. I am such a honest guy and straight shooter.” “You may be the tall, young, hot nymph, but i am the prize.” At the time […] Read more »