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When juveniles end up in adult court for crimes committed

Vandalism is widely considered the most common crime committed by juveniles in Massachusetts. According to FindLaw, vandalism occurs when someone unlawfully changes, defaces or destroys property. Graffiti, keying cars, slashing tires and breaking windows are just some of the many unlawful activities that fall under this heading. In these instances, unless the property destroyed is of priceless or historical value, people tend to agree that juvenile courts are best to try these cases.

Mobile phones are a gold mind for fraud

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.

Former convicts deserve a fresh start

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.

Roadside drug tests are often inaccurate

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.

Reformers changing sentencing guidelines

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:

Man helping drunk neighbor home is arrested

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.

New federal sentencing guidelines possible

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.

Massachusetts changes its expungement laws

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.

Law enforcement can't shoot dogs during search

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.

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