Whether the owners of the mobile phones are the perpetrators or the victims, smart phones are becoming more and more involved in crimes at alarming rates. Theft by fraud is one of the main ways smart phones become involved in criminal activities in Massachusetts. Forbes estimates that 65% of fraudulent transactions in America now take place via cell phones. Phishing is one of the main threats affecting mobile phone users at this time.
After serving jail or prison time in Massachusetts, there are often few opportunities for former convicts. All across America, their work opportunities are stifled by personal biases and 30,000 license restrictions. According to Forbes, these restrictions actually do more harm than good for the public.
A Florida deputy sheriff recently made national news for 80 arrests. However, rather than being celebrated for good work, it was because it was determined that many of the roadside drug tests employed by the deputy were inaccurate, which led to false arrest. It is unclear at this time whether the deputy's fault was ineptitude or faked results, but the fact is that many innocent victims ended up in jail for weeks and months because of false drug charges.
The recent shooting death of 7-year-old Texas girl Jazmine Barnes is a stark reminder of how trauma can affect memory. In this case, the innocent girl happened to be riding in a car that was fired upon when a gunman pulled up next to it in a parking lot.
The bipartisan First Step bill seeks to change the federal sentencing laws, but there are reports that District Attorneys are already on board at the state and local levels. According to a recent story in the New York Times, there is a wave DAs across the country from both Republican and Democratic backgrounds that are taking a restorative approach to prosecuting and sentencing. Examples of this new approach include:
The arrest of a 23-year-old Baltimore man has made the local and national news. The man, who is an African-American audio engineer and producer, was going home on November 17 when he came across a drunken neighbor who was having trouble walking. The man got the drunken man home safely and then proceeded to his own home where he was met by several police cars and fire trucks. They were there because someone had called emergency services to get aid for the drunken man.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators led by Chuck Grassley has agreed upon the most substantial rewrite of federal sentencing guidelines in a generation. It is believed that this will give judges more flexibility to avoid mandatory minimums that have disproportionately affected minorities.
The public's access to court records is a cornerstone of our society. However, we also have a certain level of right to privacy, which can be the premise for sealing or expunging records. Sealed records are kept but hidden from public scrutiny, while expungement involves erasing all record of the charge. If the court ordered process for sealing or expunging is complete, the individual is under no legal obligation to disclose that they have been arrested or convicted of whatever the original charge was.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled 2-1 that police officers searching a couple's house for marijuana could not shoot two of the occupants'dogs because they were unlicensed. This enables the occupants to proceed with a suit to protect their Fourth Amendment right by claiming that there was illegal seizure and they are entitled to due to process before the dogs are seized. A third dog shot by an officer is not before the courts.
The case of chemist Sonja Farak has caught the attention of many here in Massachusetts, particularly those convicted of a crime involving drugs. Now the Supreme Judicial Court has made the right decision by having all the cases that involved Farak’s work dismissed.