In 2016, 97.3% of defendants in the federal criminal justice system conceded guilt. This means that less than 3% of defendants exercised their constitutional right to trial. The vast majority of a criminal defense attorney's time is dedicated to plea bargaining - we negotiate with prosecutors to reach an acceptable outcome for clients. Plea negotiations are an important tool for defendants. However, when a defendant wishes to go to trial, is he or she punished for doing so?
In The Justice System, the federal government recently announced that it will be adding approximately 300 Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) nationwide. This increase marks the largest in decades. The government intends to increase resources to combat violent crime, enforce immigration laws, and help address the devastating opioid crisis.
Protecting your rights while traveling can be challenging. Most travelers understand when their actions are tracked by law enforcement because of the government's role to prevent terrorism. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has also been carefully monitoring the movements of travelers for a very different reason: cold hard cash. As reported recently in the Detroit Free Press, the DEA is conducting an extensive surveillance program, separate from anti-terrorism efforts, specifically to target travelers suspected of carrying large amounts of cash, in order to seize it. If you have been targeted by the DEA and have had your property seized by the agency, you will need an experienced attorney who understands how the federal system operates in order to get your money back.
After decades of criticism from members of the Justice System, Congress has decided to create a task force to reform the federal criminal code. The task force will consist of five Republicans and five Democrats, and it will be known as the House Committee on the Judiciary Over-Criminalization Task Force of 2013.
In The Justice System in Michigan, it now appears that Three Strikes means You're Out. Michigan's Legislature has passed new legislation cracking down on habitual felony offenders. Effective October 1, 2012, the Michigan Legislature updated the sentencing guidelines with the law more commonly known as the "Three Strikes Law."
On Tuesday, June 19, 2012, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a series of bills aimed at curbing a newly emerging narcotics and drug problem in Michigan. More specifically, the governor signed new laws banning Spice and K2, and similar synthetic drugs. The new laws aim to curb the chemicals used to make the drugs and give the state the ability to temporarily ban drugs that are found to be an imminent danger to people's health.
Synthetic marijuana, more commonly known as K2 or Spice in Michigan, has become a cause for concern among the Michigan legislature and state and local police forces. Last Tuesday, the Michigan Senate approved several measures to make the possession, distribution, or sale of the substance illegal while allowing the Michigan Department of Community Health to impose a temporary ban on new substances deemed an imminent danger to people's health. Macomb County, the city of Detroit, and numerous other metro-Detroit governments have already enacted similar measures. The bills will now make their way to Governor Rick Snyder's desk where, upon his signature, the new laws will take effect statewide beginning July 1.