FindLaw Blotter - The Findlaw Crime and Criminals Blog

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


Ah, autumn. That time of year when leaves change, pumpkin-flavored foods proliferate, and college students become unruly. As you may have heard (and seen), Keene State College in New Hampshire was the site of injuries and arrests this weekend, when students attending various off-campus parties celebrating the annual pumpkin festival started throwing things, leading to tear gas and arrests.

College sometimes feels like a whole different universe than the rest of the world, but are the laws any different? What happens when you get arrested in college?

Here's what inquiring students need to know:

Police in Denver are warning parents about the potential for trick-or-treaters to get tricked into consuming pot-laced candy this Halloween.

With the passage of Colorado's marijuana legalization law, the state's marijuana dispensaries have begun selling pot-infused candy that often times looks nearly identical to regular candy, reports ABC News. Edibles such as marijuana-infused candies account for as much as 30 percent of sales at some of Colorado's legal dispensaries.

Now police are trying to get the word out to parents about the potential for children to be exposed to marijuana by inadvertently eating these marijuana-laced treats.

A Florida mom has been charged as a principal to attempted murder after allegedly driving her gang member son to go shoot someone.

Sondra Conegia, 54, the mother of attempted murder suspect Lewis Hawkins, 32, is alleged to have driven her son to the intended victim's girlfriend's apartment where Hawkins fired "four shots at him from a 9 mm gun," reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Hawkins then reportedly got back in Conegia's car and they left the scene.

No one was killed or injured in the shooting, and Hawkins has not yet been caught. So why is his mom still on the hook for attempted murder?

Field sobriety tests (FSTs) are a nightmare scenario for many drivers, but you may be able to legally refuse to perform one.

Refusing Breathalyzers and blood tests will likely result in the automatic suspension of your license, but the same may not be true for FSTs. There may be other practical and legal consequences for refusing to try to balance along the side of the road, but it may a driver's best legal option.

So can drivers legally refuse a field sobriety test?

Five Ohio teenagers accused of playing an Ice Bucket Challenge prank on an autistic classmate are facing criminal charges.

Prosecutors in Cuyahoga County, Ohio charged the teens -- all juveniles, ranging in ages from 14 to 16 -- with disorderly conduct. In addition, three of the teens are charged with misdemeanor assault, reports the The Plain Dealer. The charges stem from an incident earlier this year in which the teens dumped a bucket of filled with urine, tobacco, and spit on an autistic classmate who thought he was taking part in an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video.

What are the details of this case, and how are juvenile criminal cases different from crimes involving adults?

The Department of Justice will no longer ask defendants who accept a plea deal to waive their rights to appeal their case based on bad advice given by their defense attorneys.

This is a bit of a departure from plea bargain tactics employed by federal prosecutors, which sometimes involve requiring an appeal waiver for any sort of plea deal. According to The Associated Press, this might not be that big a change, as only 35 of the 94 U.S. Attorneys' offices request that defendants pleading guilty give up their right to sue over ineffective counsel.

What does this change in DOJ policy mean for criminal defendants in federal court?

Witnesses to crimes are often nervous about being called upon to testify about what they have seen and heard, but in many instances, there's no other way to get that important information.

Criminal defendants have the right to confront their accusers, and this right includes the ability to call witnesses into court to testify and be cross-examined. Even if a witness does not have to appear in court, he or she may be ordered to give a recorded deposition under oath.

So when you witness a crime, do you always have to testify?

A man who captured video of a Honolulu police officer attempting to knock an iPhone out of his hand has settled his lawsuit with the city for $37,500.

On New Year's Day 2013, Randy Salazar Jr. was recording Honolulu police arresting a man outside an apartment complex. Video taken by Salazar's iPhone shows an officer taking a swipe at his camera as he walks past, reports Honolulu Civil Beat. According to Salazar's lawsuit, the officer shown in the video hit Salazar with a Taser, breaking a bone in his hand.

The case is just the latest legal action validating the public's general right to record police activity.

When a mentally ill person is not receiving the proper care or medication, it may be necessary to call the cops to intervene.

Individuals suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorders are not easily calmed down or treated by average civilians, even though they may have their best interests in mind. In many cases, calling the police may be the best option.

So how should you deal with calling the cops when someone is mentally ill?

New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal has its own police officers, and apparently they have arrested more than 60 people this year for alleged public lewdness in the bus station's restroom.

A sign in the men's restroom notes that "Restrooms are patrolled by plain clothes officers," but some of those arrested are questioning those officers' methods. The New York Times reports that "at least a dozen" of those arrested for lewdness are now represented by the Legal Aid Society, who claim the men "were victims of aggressive and intrusive police tactics."

What are the cops up to in these lewd bathroom arrests?