FLORIDA APPEALS COURT REMOVES JUDGE FROM ZIMMERMAN CASE

In a 2-1 decision the Florida District Court of Appeals for the Fifth District granted George Zimmerman’s request to have Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. removed from his case. Zimmerman, the captain of the neighborhood watch in Stanford, Florida is charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin, an African American teenager walking back to his father’s apartment after buying a couple of items at a convenience store. In granting Zimmerman’s writ of prohibition challenging Lester’s refusal to recuse himself the […] Read more »

SEVENTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS BANK SECRECY ACT SUBPOENA

At the request of the Internal Revenue Service a grand jury subpoenaed certain documents from TW pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (Act). The purpose of the subpeona was to find out whether TW was using offshore banks to avoid paying income tax and whether TW complied with the filing requirements of the Act. TW moved to squash the subpoena claiming that both the requested documents and the act of providing the documents were protected under the Fifth […] Read more »

FLORIDA DRUG LAW UPHELD DESPITE LACK OF MENS REA REQUIREMENT

In the United States the law requires that the prosecutor prove the guilt of each defendant at trial by a beyond a reasonable doubt standard. This means that the prosecutor must prove each element of each charge. The defendant need not prove his innocense but the prosecutor must prove guilt. For each criminal statute the statute itself or the courts have delineated certain elements that must be proved by the state. For the most part states are free to designate […] Read more »

THE STRANGE LAW OF HABEAS CORPUS

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a writ of habeas corpus to Joshua James Frost even though the trial judge erroneously denied his counsel the right to argue in closing that the evidence did not prove Frost’s guilt by beyond a reasonable doubt. Frost was convicted of first degree robbery, first degree burglary, second degree assault, and attempted robbery in Washington State Court and sentence to 657 months in prison. At trial, Frost had two major arguments. First he […] Read more »

SEVENTH CIRCUIT FINDS ARREST AND STRIP SEARCH MEETS CONSTITUTIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Tyron D. Freeman, a petty drug dealer, with a long history of drug convictions was arrested in Springfield, Illinois in a drug sting run by the local police with the help of a couple of snitches. One of the snitches told the police that dealers—“Big D” (Freeman) and “Worm” (Brent Garner) drove around town in a silver minivan selling crack. The snitch also told the officers that Freeman often kept the dope between his buttocks and that he suffered from […] Read more »

SIXTH CIRCUIT FINDS NO REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY IN CELL PHONE GPS DATA

James Michael West was a major marijuana dealer in Memphis, Tennessee. He obtained marijuana by the truckload from Philip Apodaca in Tucson, Arizona. Melvin Skinner delivered the marijuana to West and the money to Apodaca. In January 2006 Christopher S. Shearer was stopped in Texas with $362,000 destined for Apodaca from West. Shearer, presumably to help himself, spilled the beans. He told the DEA how the operation worked. He did not know Skinner’s name but called him “Big Foot.” West […] Read more »

INNOCENT NORTH CAROLINIANS BEING KEPT IN PRISON

Many innocent North Carolinians are serving time in Federal prisons and no one seems to know how to get them out. Many Federal laws are either applicable to only those who have a prior felony conviction or require an aggravated sentence if the defendant has a prior felony conviction. A felon is defined as anyone who was convicted of a crime to which the maximum sentence is over one year. North Carolina developed a unique sentencing procedure called “structured sentencing.” […] Read more »

NY DA TO RETRY GOLDMAN SACHS CASE

Sergey Aleynikov’s Federal conviction for stealing program code from his employer, Goldman Sachs, was reversed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals which found that his actions were not a violation of Federal law. Aleynikov, who worked for Goldman copied proprietary Goldman code before leaving the company to work for a high-frequency trading startup. He was convicted for theft in Federal Court and spent a year in Prison. However the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his conviction and found […] Read more »

FOURTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS US JURISDICTION FOR NON-CITIZEN CONVICTED OF BATTERY ON NATO BASE IN AFGHANISTAN

Sean Theodore Brehm, a South African citizen, working for a U. S. military contractor got into a fight with J. O, a British citizen working for a British corporation at a NATO base in Afghanistan. Neither had ever been in the United States but Brehm was brought to Virginia for trial. Brehm plead guilty under the condition that he could appeal the decision of the trial judge that the United States had jurisdiction to try him. He argued that he […] Read more »

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN TO REQUEST STAND YOUR GROUND HEARING

George Zimmerman’s lawyer announced that he will request a Stand Your Ground Hearing prior to Zimmerman’s Florida trial for the murder of seventeen year old Treyvon Martin. Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law: [A] person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:…?He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent […] Read more »