FindLaw Blotter - The Findlaw Crime and Criminals Blog

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


The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has released a new mobile app that allows riders to discreetly report criminal activity on the trains.

BART Watch, available on iTunes and Android in English, Spanish, and Chinese, empowers users to snap photos or send quick texts to BART police rather than try to call 911 or run to a train's intercom. BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost told SFGate that it's "sort of like texting police," and you can even do it anonymously.

How does this app square with other tech efforts by law enforcement?

Firearm enthusiasts who may also be parents or grandparents should be aware that the laws regulating the ownership, possession, and use of guns by kids are often different from the laws for adults.

These rules are also facing increased scrutiny following a fatal accident at an Arizona gun range in which a nine-year-old girl shot an instructor in the head when she lost control of a fully automatic Uzi submachine gun, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

What are the rules for when kids can legally own or shoot a gun?

Police in Tempe, Arizona arrested 392 people as part of an alcohol-crime-focused task force last weekend, which not coincidentally kicked off the first weekend of the fall semester for Arizona State University.

The "Safe and Sober" campaign, according to the Tempe Police Department, is a collaborative effort between 18 law-enforcement agencies and is scheduled to last until September 6. The Phoenix New Times reports that of the hundreds arrested, approximately one in three were arrested for DUI.

What can we learn from this ASU alcohol crackdown?

You may not know it, but the item you just bought via eBay or Craigslist may have been stolen. But don't worry. While there are laws against receiving stolen goods, they typically state that the purchaser or receiver must know (or should know) that the items are stolen.

So what can happen if you unknowingly buy stolen goods (especially for purchases that, in hindsight, just seemed too good to be true)? Can you get arrested? The answer depends on your specific situation. Here are a few possibilities:

We all have our favorite TV cop shows, but these fictional men and women in blue always seem to get the law wrong. If the increasing reports of police misconduct and brutality are any indication, maybe art is imitating life.

So for the benefit of real-life cops and real-life TV viewers, we present the five things that TV cops always manage to get wrong:

Police reports contain important legal information for any criminal case, and they can help both victims and defendants find justice.

They go by many names -- such as offense report, incident report, or police report -- but they all serve the same purpose. These reports memorialize an officer's actions in investigating a crime and in making an arrest.

Here are the basics on how to obtain a police report:

Not being able to vote as a convicted felon may seem harsh, but the practice of disenfranchisement varies widely, depending on where you live.

Each state has the power to regulate the ability of convicted felons to vote, and they don't all agree on whether (or even how long) a felon should lose the right to vote.

So when and where do convicted felons have voting rights?

If you've heard about an upcoming DUI "No Refusal" Weekend but weren't exactly sure what that meant, don't feel too out of the loop. There have been quite a few questions about "No Refusal" Weekends on our FindLaw Answers DUI & DWI Forum.

As the Austin American-Statesman reports, law enforcement agencies in Texas are planning on making the upcoming Labor Day weekend a "No Refusal" Weekend. And with Texas being just one of a number of states making a push for "no refusal" drunken driving stops, it's a good time to learn more about this program, supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

So what exactly is a DUI "No Refusal" Weekend?

The so-called "affluenza" DWI teen's father didn't provide much of a good example this week after he was arrested for allegedly impersonating a cop.

Frederick Anthony Couch, father of Ethan Couch, the boy responsible for killing four people during a drunken driving incident, was arrested Tuesday after being accused of telling real police officers that he was Texas law enforcement, Reuters reports. The elder Couch is out on bail while his son is still on probation for his "affluenza" DWI.

What do these charges mean for the "affluenza" teen's father?

St. Louis County prosecutors will begin presenting evidence to a grand jury this week in connection with the fatal officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The grand jury will be tasked with evaluating testimony and evidence regarding the unarmed 18-year-old's death and will consider criminal charges against those responsible. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, assistant St. Louis County prosecutors Kathi Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley have been selected to present the case to the jurors.

As the grand jury process begins, here are three legal facts to keep in mind: