FindLaw Blotter - The Findlaw Crime and Criminals Blog

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


Self defense is a tricky legal concept, and it becomes even more nuanced when individuals assert self-defense claims against law enforcement officers or police dogs, especially if the officer or K-9 is killed. Generally, law enforcement officers and police dogs have similar rights when it comes to suspects and arrestees fighting back, but these rights vary from state to state. It should be noted that harming a police dog is almost sure to inflame, and provoke, officers, causing them to overreact and shoot to kill.

In nearly every state, there are specific laws that, for all intents and purposes, equate an attack on a police dog as the same as an attack on a regular officer. The penalties are incredible harsh. Recently, a man was sentenced to 45 years for killing a police dog. Generally, though, individuals do have the right to resist unlawful arrests, excessive force, and unprovoked attacks from officers and K-9s.

Undercover drug busts are more frequently run as controlled buys with officers buying drugs from suspected or known drug dealers, and having other officers watching, waiting to arrest the drug dealer after the sale. However, in some sting operations, cops pretend to be the drug dealers and sell actual drugs to users and/or other drug dealers in controlled sales. Generally, cops cannot physically force, or improperly coerce, a person to act, but cops can lie to suspects.

Officers set up controlled sales stings for a few different reasons, depending on who is being targeted. In areas where drug users are known to be looking to purchase drugs from street dealers, undercover officers will pretend to be drug dealers and arrest low level buyers. These stings are meant to make users more afraid of buying drugs on the street, hopefully curbing demand and crime in the area. Conversely, when cops are trying to arrest drug dealers, controlled sales of large quantities of drugs can help provide evidence of intent.

A federal district court has approved the settlement of a class action stemming from what was effectively the operation of a debtors' prison. In Alexander City, Alabama, the courts were jailing people for their inability to pay court imposed fines. That is, until the Southern Poverty Law Center got involved and was able to achieve a significant settlement.

In addition to changes in policy allowing court debtors to pay off fines through community service, the city will pay approximately $680,000 in settlement to those wrongfully incarcerated, $500 per day of incarceration per class member.

Law enforcement officers are tasked with the ever-so-important job of keeping the public safe from crime. However, a cop's job isn't easy, and can quickly escalate into situations where an officer's life is in real, immediate danger. But when a cop has been overtaken by a suspect, is the public allowed to return the favor and defend a cop? Can a private individual intervene with lethal force, such as by shooting a cop's attacker?

The answer to this question really is situational. Apart from the potential of pulling a Frank Drebin, the same standards that apply when defending a private individual are likely to apply. Depending on state law, stand your ground laws may or may not apply, or there may be a heightened standard for when deadly force is legally permissible in the defense of others.

Tragedy struck in the early evening hours on Thursday in NYC as a local EMT, Yadira Arroyo, was murdered with her own ambulance. As if the situation could not be any sadder, the fallen EMT was a mother of five and had served the public for nearly a decade and a half.

The suspect is being charged with three counts of murder, grand larceny, as well as operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs. According to one source, the suspect has been arrested over 30 times over the past 13 years for crimes including assault, robbery, trespassing, and lewdness. Despite what appears to be clear evidence of guilt, the suspect asserted his innocence while being walked out of the police station, in cuffs, for transport.

It may just feel like a goofy photo app, but make no mistake about it: you can get arrested for your Snapchats. As with any other social media platform, Snapchat can be an innocuous, fun way to communicate in the right hands. But like all means of communication, it's what you say that matters, not where you say it.

Here are three ways posts on Snapchat might get you arrested:

Police deal with false criminal accusations with relative frequency. It is an unfortunately regular occurrence for people going through bitter divorces, particularly when it comes to child custody. However, the penalties for falsely accusing someone of a crime range from none at all to potentially decades behind bars. It all depends on how the accusation is made, the intent of the accuser, and what is being accused.

It should be clear that a person who accidentally makes a false accusation to police is unlikely to face any criminal penalty at all. A person will not face criminal prosecution if they, in good faith, report someone they believe has committed a crime. But if the accuser has no reasonable basis to believe a crime has been committed, then they may be wandering into the false accusations territory where criminal (and civil) liability could exist.

Breaking a window might not seem like a serious crime, until you remember an entire theory of policing was born out of enforcing exactly that offense. Police officers are now taking broken windows more seriously, and the penalties for breaking a window can be severe.

Those penalties will depend on the criminal charge, which can vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Here's a look at criminal charges for breaking windows, along with some penalties.

While a far cry from a bat signal, the makers of a crime reduction app, called Citizen, are facing criticism for re-releasing their controversial smartphone app. The app promises to help create safer neighborhoods and cities, and keep people safe from crime, by notifying its users about crime happening in as close to real time as possible.

Currently, the app only works for New York City, but is expected to roll out to additional cities. It works by monitoring and analyzing publicly available data to display recent and current crime incidents on a map, so users can avoid those areas.

You want to give back to the community and make sure children get a great education. Teachers don't go into the profession for money or glamour, and generally have an interest in doing good. But can doing something bad in your past keep you from ever getting a teaching job?

A criminal record can be an impediment to any profession, and teachers are more carefully screened than most professionals. So here's how a criminal record may affect getting a teaching job.