FindLaw Blotter - The Findlaw Crime and Criminals Blog

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


3 Illegal Car Modifications

What's wrong with a nice factory produced car? Cars, we think you're beautiful just the way you are. However, people love to modify their cars.

A few years ago, we wrote about five illegal car modifications. Those modifications are just a little bit old-school now, so we're back with three more illegal modifications for the right now crowd.

Being confronted and questioned by police, no matter the scenario, can be a scary prospect. But it can be a little less scary if you know your rights.

Along with knowing your legal and constitutional protections when talking to (or not talking to) officers is having some common sense tips on things you should really never say to police.

If you committed a crime, but no one saw it, did it really happen?

To be convicted of a crime, there must be evidence that you committed the crime. In the case of a DUI, such evidence would include results of the blood alcohol test and witnesses seeing you drive erratically.

However, the California Supreme Court recently ruled that circumstantial evidence can also be used to prove a DUI.

Last November, hackers who had gained access to Sony Entertainment Pictures data began releasing emails, un-released films, and personal information gained from a possibly year-long attack. Last week, WikiLeaks posted the entire collection of stolen data, around 200,000 documents and emails.

The hack itself was illegal under nearly all state and federal computer crime laws. But does that mean posting and reading the leaked documents is criminal as well?

A Cook County judge brought a police officer's manslaughter trial to an abrupt end on Monday, acquitting the officer of all charges. The acquittal means that the officer, Dante Servin, probably cannot be re-tried for the killing of Rekia Boyd. Servin had been the first Chicago officer to face a trial for a fatal shooting since 1997.

Essentially, Judge Dennis Porter the judge said the prosecution failed to prove Servin acted recklessly, and therefore could not be guilty as a matter of law. This ruling walks a legal fine line that has angered many who followed this case specifically, and the issue of police officers shootings generally.

There are quite a few issues at play here that have left both the public and trained attorneys scratching their heads. So let's see if we can separate them out and explain what the court was thinking.

5 Speeding Ticket Myths

You're more likely to get a ticket in a red car. You can beat a red light camera ticket by wearing a hat that blocks your face. Fact or fiction? Nobody knows how they started, but there are some speeding ticket myths that have become common what passes for common wisdom.

Today, we're playing Mythbusters, and we're going to bust some speeding ticket myths for you. Buckle up.

On "CSI," DNA analysis takes minutes to do. Fingerprints are matched in seconds. Hair comparisons are so easy to do that even detectives can take a look into a microscope, and see the match. We have been duped by TV to believe that forensics give quick, clear, easy -- and correct --answers.

If only it worked that way in real life. The Justice Department and the FBI have admitted that nearly every FBI forensics examiner in the FBI's microscopic hair comparison unit gave faulty testimony at every trial they testified in since 1980, reports The Washington Post. Twenty-six of 28 examiners gave faulty or misleading evidence in favor of the prosecutor in 257 of 268 trials. Of those 257 defendants, 32 were sentenced to death, 14 of which have either been executed or died in prison.

This is only the beginning. The FBI has only reviewed 342 cases and has about 1,200 more remaining.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been fighting federal immigration law for what seems like most of the 21st century. And, as the old tune goes, the law has won.

But according to contempt charges in federal court, the sheriff hasn't taken the loss to heart. Instead, he and four aides allegedly violated a court order barring the sheriff's immigration enforcement patrols. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow found the patrols illegally racially profiled Latinos and now must determine if and how Arpaio will be punished for disobeying his order to discontinue the practice.

Just in time for 4/20, Georgia became the 24th state to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. But don't go investing in Funyuns stock just yet -- Georgia's law is fairly restrictive when it comes to what a medical marijuana patient can possess, and it doesn't address how they're supposed to get it at all.

Peach State residents with one of eight specified disorders may possess up to 20 ounces of cannabis oil containing no more than five percent THC. However, no cultivation of said oil is permitted in Georgia, so patients will have to leave the state, acquire it elsewhere, and return with it, presumably passing through one or more of Georgia's neighboring states, all of which currently prohibit any marijuana possession.

With the myriad complications of Georgia's new law, and the national pot holiday coming up next week, we thought it might help to (cough) clear the air (cough) about some other notions regarding medical marijuana.

You're relaxing in your car when a police officer knocks on your window. When you roll it down, a pungent waft of marijuana smoke hits the officer in the face. He then orders you out of your car, searches your vehicle, and finds marijuana. Wait, he didn't have a warrant to search! He tells you he doesn't need it because he recognizes the smell of marijuana.

Is it legal to do a warrantless search based on the smell of marijuana?