FindLaw Blotter - The Findlaw Crime and Criminals Blog

FindLaw Blotter - Crime Blog - Crime News - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog


Amanda Knox. You may have heard her name a few times in the last eight years. During that time, she was accused of murder, convicted, acquitted, convicted again, and, finally, acquitted one more time.

Now that she has finally been exonerated, Knox may be seeking compensation for the four years she spent in prison during the ordeal.

How much can she get?

Two incidents of school security officers beating high school students in Oakland has us wondering what limits, if any, exist for campus police officers. Are school police officers just like real police officers? Where does their jurisdiction stop and start?

The answer could depend on the type of campus and the relevant state laws. An Oakland Unified School District officer is already facing felony charges and the video below of one of episodes could mean more criminal or civil liability.

Amanda Knox may now breathe a sigh of relief. She has finally been acquitted of murder.

Again.

Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, overturned Amanda Knox's latest conviction for the murder of Meredith Kercher. Knox's legal nightmare began in 2007 when her roommate in Italy, Meredith Kercher was found murdered in their home. Knox and her then boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were convicted of murder in 2009. They were then acquitted by an appeals court in 2011. The story did not end there. The Court of Cassation then overturned the acquittal and ordered a retrial in 2013. Knox and Sollecito were once again convicted in 2014. Friday's decision overturned the 2014 conviction, concluding that the evidence did not support the conviction.

A recent case has people wondering if, how, and when police officers can use their property, including their house, to stage law enforcement operations.

A Henderson, NV family claimed officers violated the Third Amendment ("[n]o Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner") by occupying their homes to investigate a domestic dispute at a neighbor's house. A federal court found that, while officers may have committed some other constitutional violations, the amendment didn't apply because the officers were not soldiers.

So is there any limit to when the police can use your property as a base of operations?

You committed a crime, broke the law, and got convicted. Now you have to spend a year in jail. Or, do you?

How would you like to spend that year at home instead? There are many alternatives to jail including a suspended sentence, probation, fines, and community service. In some, cases you might be eligible for house arrest. When under house arrest, you will be confined to your home and required to wear a monitoring device instead of spending your days in jail. So the word arrest is not totally correct, it is really 'house sentencing.'

Sounds like a better option, right? But here are five things you may not know about house arrest:

An early step in many criminal cases is a motion to dismiss the charges. It is a request from the defendant, asking the court to end the case before it ever gets to trial.

Motions to dismiss can be based on numerous issues and only some of them are granted. While every criminal case is unique, let's take a look at a few of the reasons why a court will grant a motion to dismiss.

Juveniles occupy an odd place in the criminal justice system -- sometimes treated as adults, sometimes not. And when determining whether juveniles get jury trials, the answer is like that of many legal questions: it depends.

So let's take a look at some of the factors that determine if a juvenile will get a criminal jury trial.

It happens. An innocent person's life is thrown into shambles because of a false accusation.

A police officer shows up and starts asking you questions. He's saying someone accused you of rape, theft, fraud. You're innocent, but they don't believe you. You're being falsely accused. What do you do?

Here are three things you should keep in mind if you are falsely accused of a crime:

Police in Charlottesville, Virginia say they have found no evidence to substantiate a University of Virginia students' claim that she was gang raped at a fraternity party in 2012. The accusations were published by Rolling Stone in November 2014, sparking nation-wide discussion and controversy.

However, Police Chief Timothy Longo told a news conference that a five-month investigation did not uncover any evidence to "conclude to any substantive degree that an incident occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house or any other fraternity house, for that matter." Longo added, "That doesn't mean something terrible didn't happen to Jackie ... we're just not able to gather sufficient facts to determine what that is."

Robert Durst will be staying in jail for the foreseeable future. Now that authorities have Durst in their grasp, they aren't going to let him go any time soon.

A Louisiana magistrate denied bond, also known as bail, for Robert Durst at a bail hearing in New Orleans. Durst was arrested recently after "The Jinx," an HBO documentary, showed him allegedly confessing to killing a California woman and his wife. He was also charged with illegally owning weapons and drugs. Prosecutors argued that Durst is a flight risk, and the magistrate agreed. Durst's lawyer, Dick DeGuerrin, didn't put up much of a fight and did not seek bail.

When can a judge refuse to grant bail?