What if forensic evidence was not so scientific? What if investigators could use DNA found at a crime scene to put together a sketch of a suspect that includes bone structure, hair and skin color, other facial features, and even ethnic origin? If it sounds like something you would see only on CSI, you might be surprised. DNA phenotyping is a new technique being used by law enforcement agencies to create a physical likeness based simply on genetic material. Police naturally see the potential of this technology to put away bad guys, but what if it isn't as scientific as it sounds? And worse, what if it's convicting innocent people? In a recent National Geographic article, critics say that this technique and many others that have long been used, like fingerprints, bite-mark analysis, and hair analysis, are not scientific at all. What's worse, they may be no more reliable than eyewitness testimony and sketch artistry, likely suffering from the same issues of vagueness and inexactitude that routinely prove to be fatal flaws for those techniques.
Obviously, Drunk Driving is dangerous. So is "drugged driving". The Michigan Legislature is expanding police powers on Michigan roadways by giving the Michigan State Police a new tool crack down on drugged driving: a roadside drug test. As reported recently in Michigan Lawyers Weekly, the Michigan State Police are launching a program to administer an oral fluid test for drivers suspected of driving under the influence of illegal drugs. This affects every driver on Michigan roads and can be harmful to one's life and reputation, not to mention costly. If you face consequences of a roadside drug test, it is vital to consult an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney who understands all the issues related to this new law.
In The Justice System, Prosecutors have an enormous amount of discretion in a criminal case. As a former prosecutor in the State of New York, and the Federal System in Detroit, I had the ability to decide who should be charged with a crime, what felony and misdemeanor charges should be filed, and when charges would be filed. Like all prosecutors, I also had the ability to negotiate plea bargains, dismiss charges, and recommend downward departures at sentencing. However, prosecutors cannot engage in conduct that amounts to selective or vindictive prosecution. For ethical prosecutors, this is not a problem. Unfortunately, some prosecutors cross the line. A recent google search for "prosecutorial misconduct cases" yielded over 150,000 results in .28 seconds.
In the Justice System, sentencing, and mandatory minimums for federal offenders are hot topics again. In March, 2013 Democratic Senator Patrick J. Leahy and Republican Senator Rand Paul introduced the Safety Valve Act of 2013. If the bill becomes law, it will allow federal judges to sentence offenders facing mandatory minimum sentences to less time in prison, regardless of the crime charged, provided that doing so does not jeopardize public safety. This does not mean that federal judges will be required to sentence offenders below the mandatory minimum, it merely permits judges to do so when the mandatory minimum sentence is unreasonable and does not fulfill the legislature's goals of punishment.
In the Justice System, the right to counsel in a criminal case is a cornerstone of justice. In the 1963 landmark decision of Gideon v. Wainwright, the Supreme Court declared that criminal defendants facing felony charges have the right to an attorney even if they cannot afford to pay for one
White Collar Crime includes foreign crime. When it comes to punishing major drug companies, the United States government has made it very clear that you can run, but you cannot hide. The Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has spent over three years investigating some of the largest drug manufacturers for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
Organized crime, and the violent crime associated with it, no longer follows the stereotypes of suit and tie Mafioso's or inner-city thugs. Motorcycle gangs are now becoming primary targets of federal investigations. Last week, federal investigators indicted 41 members of the Devil's Diciples Motorcycle Club. 31 of the members were arrested here in Michigan and in Alabama. The federal charges ranged from racketeering, drug trafficking, gun possession, obstruction of justice, and illegal gambling. Federal prosecutors have indicted 18 of these members under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for allegedly conducting an illegal enterprise that included attempted murder, drug trafficking, robbery, and more. During the crack down, police seized over 60 guns, 6,000 rounds of ammunition, and shut down eight methamphetamine labs.
For years, Wall Street and Main Street have kept their distance from one another. Financial corruption typically involved bank-on-bank offenses. Not anymore. With more and more allegations of corruption coming to light recently, the two have become much more intertwined than most originally thought
November 15th, or what is more commonly known as "Opening Day", has firearm deer hunters in Michigan filled with anticipation. Here at the Law Office of John Freeman, PLLC we have already been out during bow season, and John took this buck on Monday, November 8, 2010.
On Wednesday, October 13, 2010, after two days of testimony by members of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the United States Marshals Service (USMS), the United States District Court in Detroit granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment, and immediately released Jesus Manuel Caro-Villalobos of Silt, Colorado, from custody. The Court ruled that the government clearly violated Mr. Caro's constitutional right to a speedy-trial. See U.S. v. Caro-Villalobos, EDMI, # 00-80572