NINTH CIRCUIT REVERSES CONVICTION DUE TO ADMISSION OF STATEMENTS TAKEN IN VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT

On the evening of September 22, 2009 Jamie Shetler called the Pomona, California police department to report that her father, Scott, was using and manufacturing methamphetamine in his house. The police immediately went to the house. The garage attached to the residence was open and according to the officers a chemical odor emanated from the garage. The rear portion of the garage was partitioned off. In order to determine if anyone was behind the partition or whether methamphetamine was in […] Read more »

SECOND CIRCUIT UPHOLDS NARCOTICS SEARCH

The New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (“CNET”) executed a search warrant on the residence of Richard Szuba. When the officers found cocaine, Szuba decided to snitch. Szuba told the officers that he received his drugs from Dean A. Steppello. He told the officers that when he wanted some cocaine he called Steppellos and said, “[a]re you good?” Then he would leave his garage door open and Steppello would deliver four ounces. At the request of the officers […] Read more »

POLICE OFFICER INDICTED FOR BRIBERY

Last spring we wrote about police scandals in Contra Costa County California and Antioch. The head of the Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET), and the owner of a private detective agency, both former Antioch police officers were accused of stealing drugs from the CNET safe and selling them to the clients of Chistopher Butler’s private detective agency. Butler was further accused of setting up the husbands of his clients who were seeking divorces for DUI arrests by having […] Read more »

FIFTH CIRCUIT FINDS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE FOR CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CONVICTION

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed due to insufficient evidence that the defendant, Keith Moreland, knew that photographs of child pornography were located on his computer. Keith’s wife Deana found an internet site with child pornography in the history of two computers that were kept in their living room and called the sheriff’s department.The only people with access to the computers were the Morelands and Keith’s terminally ill father, George. All users used the same password to log-on the […] Read more »

BARRY BONDS PLACED ON PROBATION FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

Barry Bonds was sentenced to two years probation and one month of house arrest for obstructing justice by giving evasive answers to questions put to him when he testified before the grand jury investigating Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative’s distribution of steroids to sport stars. He will also do 250 hours of community service and pay a $4000 fine. The sentence was stayed pending appeal. He was convicted on one counot of obstructing justice last April. The jury hung on three […] Read more »

REASONS FOR JERRY SANDUSKY TO WAIVE THE PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION

Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach at Penn State waived his preliminary examination on charges of child molestation. His lawyer, Joseph Amendola said that the primary reason for waiving a preliminary examination was that the district attorney planned to ask for an increase in Sandusky’s $250,000 bail at the end of the preliminary examination. Certainly a judge may raise the bail at the preliminary examination. But most jurisdictions allow defendants, or their friends on behalf of defendants to put […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT FINDS DISTRICT ATTORNEY MADE A GOOD FAITH EFFORT TO OBTAIN VICTIM’S TESTIMONY AT RETRIAL

The Supreme Court reinstated an Illinois conviction for two counts of sexual assault. Irving L. Cross was tried on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault. The victim, though afraid, testified. Hardy was found not guilty of kidnapping and the jury hung on the sexual assault charge. The district attorney wanted to retry the case. Despite the victim’s alleged readiness to testify at the second trial she disappeared prior to the trial. The victim’s mother, brother, and father told investigators that […] Read more »

JURORS’ TWEETING AND SLEEPING RESULTS IN REVERSAL OF MURDER CONVICTION

The Arkansas Supreme Court reversed a murder conviction for jury misconduct last week. The court found two instances of jury misconduct in the trial of Erickson Dimas-Martinez. First it found that one juror tweeted during trial. The tweets while somewhat vague appeared to be about the trial. After the judge admonished not to tweet. The juror tweeted again showing an unwillingness to follow court orders. While the juror’s tweeting raises questions about the juror’s ability to follow the judge’s orders […] Read more »

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL NOT TO FACE THE DEATH PENALTY

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the former Black Panther convicted of the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner will no longer face the death penalty. In 2008 a Federal court ordered a new penalty phase trial. Facing another trial and the possibility of another thirty years of appeals Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams decided against another penalty phase trial. Abu-Jamal will spend the rest of his life in prison without the chance for parole. Not only are many of the witnesses […] Read more »

NINTH CIRCUIT RULES OUT REHABILITATION AS A REASON FOR IMPRISONMENT

In Tapia v. United States the Supreme Court held that under Federal statutory law judges can not consider rehabilitation in determining how to sentence a defendant or the length of the sentence. The Ninth Circuit last week in United States v, Grant held that Tapia applied not only to the original sentence but also to violations of supervised release conditions. Leon W, Grant was convicted of two counts of bank fraud. He was sentenced to two days in jail and […] Read more »