FindLaw Blotter - The Findlaw Crime and Criminals Blog

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

News broke last week that a Connecticut Republican politician, 71-year-old Christopher von Keyserling, was arrested and charged as a result of a sexual assault he allegedly committed a month prior. The incident, captured on a security camera, involved the politician pinching a woman's backside, who then admonished him. The politician, through his attorney, asserts that the action was a playful gesture and trivial.

Nevertheless, the politician was arrested last Wednesday for the assault which occurred on December 9, 2016. The victim stated that Keyserling allegedly said to her during an exchange prior to the incident that in "this new world," he "no longer [had] to be politically correct." Also, Keyserling allegedly threatened, after the incident, that if she complained, it would be his word against hers, implying his word carried more weight. Now, it really is, but unfortunately for Keyserling, police believe the video evidence backs up the victim's story.

In a scathing report, the Justice Department found that the Chicago Police Department "engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution," with little or no accountability for misconduct. Specifically, officers engaged in "tactically unsound and unnecessary foot pursuits" that often ended with officers unreasonably shooting someone -- including unarmed individuals -- and used Tasers against or shot at individuals who posed no immediate threat. The report also found that officers' accounts of use-of-force incidents were later discredited by video evidence.

Additionally, the DOJ determined that there was a disproportionate effect on Chicago's black and Latino citizens. The city signed an agreement in principle to work to create a federal court-enforceable consent decree addressing the deficiencies found during the DOJ's investigation.

Facing charges for a DUI, DWI, OUI or any of the popular drunk driving acronyms is stressful, confusing, and possibly life changing. For many drunk driving defendants, it is their first experience with the criminal courts, or maybe even any court. It is natural to have questions, and it is smart to research the answers to those questions and even smarter to talk to a lawyer about your specific case.

Below, you’ll find the top 5 frequently asked questions about going to court for drunk driving charges.

There are some who consider cannabis to be a gift from god. But when it comes to legalization, the devil is in the details. As laws on marijuana cultivation, possession, and sale continue to evolve, they may still differ from state-to-state and they remain in conflict with federal law. So trying to figure what is and what isn't allowed can be its own challenge.

Take, for example, California's new marijuana laws, which allow for recreational use for the first time. So who gets to grow all the green the Golden State's residents will be toking? And are there limits on how much cannabis you can cultivate?

When someone overdoses on drugs, the most important thing a friend can do is call 9-1-1. Unfortunately, because of the drug laws in many jurisdictions across the country, the friendships of hard drug-users are put through life-or-death tests when one friend overdoses.

Because of the potential for being arrested for using or possessing drugs, fellow drug users often fear calling 9-1-1 to report overdoses. This, in turn, results in needless and preventable overdose deaths. However, a majority of the states give individuals, even drug users, limited immunity for calling to report a drug overdose. Even if your state doesn't provide immunity, it is not guaranteed that you will face charges if you do the right thing and call 9-1-1.

In a majority of states, you will not be arrested if you report a drug overdose while in possession or high on drugs yourself. However, in most, if not all, jurisdictions, a person that supplies the drugs to a person that overdoses is likely to face more than just drug charges. As one Portland man discovered last year, he was sentenced to four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after a friend overdosed on heroin that he provided.

Homemade Drug Laws

The first thing that pops into most people's minds when they think about homemade drugs is Walter White, or some less glamorous meth lab in someone's kitchen. And it's true that quite a few folks are cooking up illegal drugs at home using completely legal ingredients they bought online or in stores.

But is it possible you could be making a homemade drug and not even know it?

Seven members of a non-profit organization in Tampa, Florida, with a mission of feeding the homeless were arrested last week for feeding the homeless, again. The organization, Food Not Bombs, has gotten in trouble regularly for this exact problem, like many other individuals and small groups that seek to make an immediate impact by feeding the homeless. In Tampa, in order to legally serve or share food in a public park, a group must obtain a special permit to do so. Technically, the group's members were arrested for not obtaining that special permit.

In Orlando, half a decade ago, the same group faced this exact same issue of a local ordinance requiring a permit to feed the homeless in a public park. The court reasoned that because the restriction imposed by the city was reasonable in time, place, and manner, that there was no constitutional violation.

States have been steadily cracking down on drunk drivers, in part by instituting harsher punishments for first-time DUIs. One of those punishments is requiring drivers to install an ignition interlock device -- a sort of breathalyzer for your car that requires drives to provide a clean breath sample before starting the car.

According to researchers, these efforts might be paying off. A new Johns Hopkins study found that states that passed mandatory interlock ignition laws saw a seven percent decrease in fatal drunk driving accidents. The numbers would suggest that more of these laws are on the way, and they will be enforced more often after first-time DUIs.

Three Miami police officers are probably wishing they had a better sense of humor after their poor attempts got them fired. Because of their bad jokes, the Miami police department is recovering from an embarrassing incident where the three young officers made offensive, racist statements in a text message group chat with other officers.

Although it is sadly not uncommon to hear about racism within the ranks of law enforcement, the context of this incident is both alarming and shocking. The officers involved were jokingly discussing using two predominantly African-American neighborhoods for shooting/target practice. While the officers insisted that they were joking, the department found the "jokes" in such poor taste that the officers were fired after an internal affairs investigation.

The governor of Vermont, who signed the bill into law in the state to decriminalize marijuana possession, has just issued 192 pardons to individuals convicted of marijuana crimes. The pardons, which were all for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, also required that the offenses not be in relation to a DUI charge or violent crime. However, the pro-pot governor decided that issuing pardons for these pot convictions would be one of the last things he did before leaving office.

With the populace's shifting mentality towards marijuana legalization across the country, these pardons make sense. After all, the state law in Vermont provides for decriminalization, which means that possession of marijuana should not even be a criminal matter anymore than a traffic ticket is. Unfortunately, many people still have criminal records for offenses that, today, would not even lead to a criminal record.