Self Defense & Guns are always a hot legal topic, and today is no different. The recent tragic accidental self-inflicted shooting death of a 9 year-old Detroit boy has prompted the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office to charge the boy's father with a laundry list of offenses including murder, which could land him in prison for life. Based on information from public media reports, if the father had followed the law, the firearm would not have been in the house. First, the shotgun involved has been described as being "sawed-off". In Michigan, shotguns are required to have at least an 18 inch barrel. Anything shorter than that is considered "sawed-off". Secondly, media reports state that the father is a felon. Felons are not permitted to possess firearms under federal and state law in Michigan.
Police & You: The recent events in a Richland County, South Carolina high school where a uniformed law enforcement officer forcibly removed a student from her desk and placed her in handcuffs should serve as a vivid reminder to parents and students alike that whether you agree with the officer's tactics or not, uniformed law enforcement officers are routinely in America's schools and are undoubtedly not going anywhere.
IN THE NEWS: The Law Office of John Freeman, PLLC, is proud to announce that its founding member has been invited to join the ranks of the American Society of Legal Advocates. This esteemed legal organization welcomed John Freeman as their newest member on December 16, 2013, recognizing Mr. Freeman as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Michigan.
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, what factors does the court consider in determining whether a client will be granted bail or remain incarcerated pending the outcome of the case? For most clients, this is the single most important issue after learning they have been charged with a criminal offense. Therefore, consider carefully what experienced attorney to retain.
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
In the Justice System in America, it is generally not criminal to fail to render asssitance to an adult who could use your help. However, recently in California a nurse employed at an independent living facility, refused to provide CPR to a dying elderly woman because the facility had a policy against administering CPR to its members. Although the facility maintains that its members were fully aware of its no-CPR policy, police have opened a criminal investigation to determine whether any criminal charges should be filed.
Being convicted of sex crimes brings a heavy price, particularly in child pornography cases. Congress says that anyone convicted of child pornography must pay mandatory restitution for the total amount of the victim's losses. While federal courts cannot agree on how the law should enforce restitution payments in child pornography cases, the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, which covers all of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, recently remanded two $1 million-plus restitution orders to the district court to determine the extent to which individual defendants must pay restitution where they share responsibility for the victim's injuries. The cases involved men who were ordered to pay full restitution for possessing images of the same victim, although neither man created the images, nor did they have any contact with the person in the images.