If an individual gets caught crossing the border, they are looking a federal charges; even if that individual is a first-time crosser. A program titled Operation Streamline has created a "no tolerance" policy on those that enter this country illegally. But what should be the policy on deciding those individuals' fates once they are in the United States? Is 30 minutes enough time to hear from 70 people and sentence them individually? A federal judge in Tucson, Arizona believes so.
A conviction for drug distribution under the federal Controlled Substances Act can carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. "If death or serious bodily injury results from the use of such substance," however, the mandatory minimum sentence doubles to 20 years.
The U.S. Supreme Court has just agreed to hear two cases about whether law enforcement should be allowed, without a warrant, to seize and go through the cellphones of anyone they arrest. In one case, the cellphone was an old-fashioned type with minimal functionality beyond talking, texting and taking photos. The other case involved a smartphone -- the kind that's essentially a mini-computer containing virtually every detail of the user's life. Law enforcement was easily able to pull crucial evidence from each type of phone, so should the distinction matter?
While our overall crime rate has been declining for decades, it appears the opposite is true for one type of federal crime. Unfortunately, this criminal activity is officially sanctioned during FBI investigations, and it's on the rise. It's called "otherwise illegal activity" -- activity that would be illegal if it weren't committed by an FBI informant.
Two veteran officers with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office were arrested on Friday in unrelated cases. Both are accused of grand theft, and one is also charged with organized fraud. All of the charges are third-degree felonies. Both officers resigned in the wake of the investigations, and a third officer has been put on leave.
In the federal criminal justice system some 97 percent of all defendants plead guilty -- but are they, really? A recent study by Human Rights Watch certainly casts some doubt in federal drug cases.
In Martinez v. State, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2250d (Fla. 1st DCA 2013), Martinez petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus contending that he received ineffective assistance of counsel on direct appeal of his sentence for attempted 2nd-degree murder.
Figgs timely appealed his sentence on double jeopardy grounds his sentences for carjacking with a firearm, sentences, and armed robbery. He contends that the trial court committed fundamental error in adjudicating him guilty and sentencing him on both the armed robbery and the carjacking with a firearm charges because the only item he took from the victim was the key to the car that he carjacked. The State conceded that his dual convictions violated double jeopardy. Therefore, the Fifth District Court of Appeals Court reversed his conviction for carjacking with a firearm and directed the trial court to vacate that conviction and sentence. The court affirmed his other convictions and sentences. Figgs v. State, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2195b (Fla. 5th DCA 2013).
In Davis v. State, 38 Fla. L. Weekly D2247b (Fla. 1st DCA 2013) a prosecutor withheld knowledge of a sitting juror's involvement in the law enforcement investigation of the case being tried although the prosecutor was unquestionably aware of that fact.
The testimony of a man accused of running an allegedly fraudulent Tampa charity called has been delayed due to the birth of his defense attorney's child . The 66-year-old defendant has been charged with theft, fraud and money laundering because, prosecutors claim, little of the $100 million raised over 8 years by the U.S. Navy Veterans Association was actually used to assist veterans. The trial should resume next week.