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Coronavirus: What it Means for the Courts and Legal Representation

Many federal, state, and municipal courts have limited the number and types of cases they will be handling in the near term. Some have adjourned jury trials for several weeks and in some cases even months to see what happens after a period of isolation. Courts have summarily waived Speedy Trial Act rights and ordered continuances for a period of time. State courts in particular are promoting the use of video and teleconferencing in lieu of appearing in court. Municipal courts have adjourned court appearances for motor vehicle summonses and code violations. Detention has been waived in certain cases depending on the type of crime, the age of the offender, and other relevant factors.

Agencies are Selling Your Cell Phone Location Data to Law Enforcement

Despite the United States Supreme Court decision in Carpenter v. United States requiring law enforcement to obtain a court authorized warrant for historic and current cellphone location data, four main cellphone carriers have continued to sell real-time location data to a host of entities, including federal law enforcement agencies. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing fines of up to $200 million against these carriers for the violations.

By |2021-05-25T18:12:24-04:00March 9th, 2020|Criminal Investigation|0 Comments

Agreeing to Meet: Target Proffers and Reverse Proffers

When a person is a target of a federal or state criminal investigation, they are often contacted − either directly if unrepresented or through counsel if represented − to attend either a proffer or a reverse proffer with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, State Attorney General’s Office, or County Prosecutor’s Office.

Sexting, Revenge Porn, and Cyberbullying Can Result in Serious Criminal Penalties

With our societal addiction to the internet, smartphones, and computers, today’s teens face growing exposure to new forms of harassment and bullying. These can sometimes lead to criminal charges for those engaging in this conduct, and potentially anxiety, depression and, suicidal thoughts for the recipients.

Plea Bargaining in the Federal System

Recent statistics show that about 96% of the criminal cases in federal court are resolved through guilty pleas. The number of cases going to trial has dramatically decreased in the past ten years. Thus, today’s criminal defense attorneys must be adept at negotiating the best possible resolution for their clients that choose to plead guilty.

Opioid Prosecutions of Doctors and Pharmacists

The federal government has hired 300 additional prosecutors and created the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit and the Joint Criminal Opioid Darknet Enforcement Team to investigate, uncover, and prosecute the prescribing and dispensing of opioids by healthcare professionals – doctors and pharmacists – as well as street-level sales of opioids and fentanyl. Since January 2018, over 200 doctors have been charged. 

By |2022-06-08T21:26:24-04:00January 25th, 2019|Drug Crimes/Trafficking|0 Comments

Rapidly Expanding Use of Smart Devices to Solve Crimes

Over the past several months I have written about the increasing use of every day technology that automatically tracks our movements and records our conversations. Cellphones ping off cell towers that give the government access to our daily movements through information stored by carriers like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Alexa and other smart home devices can record our conversations and keep track of our search histories. Smart phone apps and Fitbits that track movement, heart rates and other physical activity can be used to track locations, times and other physical attributes that law enforcement can access to investigate a variety of crimes.

By |2021-05-25T18:13:14-04:00October 4th, 2018|Criminal Investigation|0 Comments

The U.S. Supreme Court Slowly Enters the 21st Century

Last week’s decision in Carpenter v. United States, a 5-4 decision that the government must obtain a court-authorized warrant for cell site location information (CSLI), is a small step toward recognizing privacy rights in an age of ever-expanding technology. Most people do not realize that their cell phones are capable of tracking their every movement - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. As we move about, our cell phones ping off of the nearest cell tower. Several times a minute our cell phones contact the nearest cell tower. Our cell providers collect and store that information. Examining that information can reveal a person’s daily movements with a fair degree of accuracy, usually within hundreds of feet to a few miles. Each tower has time-stamped records for every cell phone that pinged off of it, and more specifically, which direction on the tower’s multiple receivers.

By |2021-05-25T18:13:50-04:00June 28th, 2018|Criminal Investigation|0 Comments

Federal System: Arrest Warrant by Complaint or Indictment

In the federal system, a person may be charged and arrested by way of a complaint or indictment. A complaint is a written statement of essential facts establishing the offense charged made under oath by the agent before a magistrate-judge. Based upon the complaint, an arrest warrant may be issued upon the establishment of probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed and that the defendant committed it. The warrant must list the defendant’s name, or description by which he can be identified, the offense charged, command that the defendant be brought without unnecessary delay before a magistrate-judge and be signed by the judge.

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