FindLaw Blotter - The Findlaw Crime and Criminals Blog

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


Are There Illegal Internet Search Terms?

You can search pretty much whatever you want online -- searching for information is not a crime. But certain searches are monitored and certain words will trigger suspicion and investigations, and if you engage in illegal activity online, that is a crime.

You can search the words "kiddie porn" for example -- how else will you find information on the topic? -- but you absolutely cannot download the stuff. People can and do get arrested for their illegal online activities. But it's important to distinguish between suspicious searches and illegal activities. Googling the word "murder" does not make you a killer, and this principle extends to terror, porn, and more.

D.C. Might Pay People to Not Commit Crime

You know the old saying, "crime doesn't pay," but did you know that there could come a time when you get paid to not commit crime? A bill under consideration in Washington D.C. proposes to provide stipends to 50 people annually to learn life skills and avoid crime.

The proposal is not the first of its kind. The D.C. proposal is modeled on an existent program and would create a new office to identify individuals "who pose a high risk of participating in or being a victim of violent criminal activity," reports The New York Times.

We're just over a month into 2016 and already New York City has seen a significant spike in knife attack numbers. The New York Daily News reports slashings and stabbings have jumped 24 percent over the same period last year, with 381 incidents in 2016 alone.

The rise in knife attacks comes at the same time the city's knife laws are under federal judicial review. So what are the knife laws in NYC, and why are they not working?

Until recently, the private sale of guns was largely unregulated. If you had a rifle and a friend who wanted to buy it, that was OK. And if you had multiple firearms for sale, you could simply take them to a gun show and sell them there, without the hassling of registering as a firearms dealer and performing background checks.

But selling guns privately isn't as easy, or legal, as it once was.

How One Man Went From Marine to Jail Break Mastermind

Last week, three men escaped from an Orange County jail, sawing through metal grates and using bed linens as ropes, according to the Associated Press. The dramatic escape was said to be led by one man with a military background, Hossein Nayeri, who served in the US Marines.

Nayeri's descent into hell -- from soldier to wanted fugitive -- was short and hard. And his story, while far from over, is fascinating and terrifying for this reason.

Spartan Man Found Guilty of Intentionally Killing Bears

An elderly man from Sparta, who shot and killed three bears on his lawn and was caught trying to dispose of the carcasses, was found guilty and fined by a New Jersey judge last week. The judge called the defendant's actions those of "a vigilante, usurping the right of the state," according to the New Jersey Herald.

Although this tale reads like fiction, it is fact. The 76-year-old Robert Ehling shot two adult bears and a cub on his lawn with a loaded firearm and was then caught disposing of the carcasses in a ravine. He claimed self-defense but the claim was rejected by Municipal Court Judge James Devine, who said Ehling acted as an aggressor when he shot the bears and was not threatened by them.

False and Coerced Confession FAQ

What makes a person claim responsibility for something they did not do and could it happen to you? It seems crazy to admit to a crime you didn't commit, yet people do it all the time.

They are not crazy necessarily, although they may feel that way after extensive interrogation. Defendants are coerced into confessing by authorities who are too eager to close cases at any cost. Let's take a look at confessions, and some frequently asked questions about this coercion by authorities.

Every time you turn around, some company or the government is getting hacked. Or someone you know is having their credit card information or entire identity stolen.

From accessing a computer without permission to stealing personal information and online bullying, there are a range of computer crimes that are often collectively referred to as "hacking." So what are the possible penalties if hackers get caught?

Oregon Militia Members Face Federal Criminal Conspiracy Charge

Freedom fighters often pay for their struggles with prison time, and this is certainly true for the crew that occupied the Malheur wildlife refuge in Oregon last month in a standoff against the federal government. The Oregon militia members were protesting the imprisonment of two men prosecuted for fires on national parklands. Now they too face prosecution.

The felony charge they face is conspiracy to impede federal officers from discharging official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats. This could result in fines and six years in prison, and according to an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, the government was very careful in choosing the charge.

Street Gangs Are Getting Involved in White-Collar Crimes

We like to think that society gets more sophisticated as we acquire technology and wealth, and there is some evidence that this is true. Even street gangs are savvier now than ever before, and they're working on new scores, like financial frauds that were once the domain of white collar criminals.

The turf of street gangs has traditionally been the street, usually the streets where gang members lived. But now our notions of connectedness have changed, and the same goes for gangs, who are turning from violent crime to identity theft, tax and medicare fraud, and money wiring schemes, reports the Associated Press. While all crime harms society, and financial fraud is devastating, there may be reasons to be pleased with the egalitarian turn that crime is taking.