FindLaw Blotter: August 2012 Archives
FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

August 2012 Archives

Stick a fork in this guy -- he's likely done with being a free man, at least for a while, after an alleged fork stabbing got him charged with a hate crime.

Nicholas Melo, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is accused of getting into a racially charged shouting match with a black man who was seated with two white women at a diner last November, the New York Daily News reports.

Melo allegedly called the man the N-word, and hurled similar insults at the ladies. But that was just a taste of what was to come.

Second Amendment Limits to Gun Ownership

The Second Amendment protects the right of all citizens to keep and bear arms but like any other legal right it has its limits.

Those limits have been clarified several times by the U.S. Supreme Court, most recently in 2008. But the development of new and more sophisticated weaponry opens up the possibility for renewed investigation.

Justice Antonin Scalia, whose decisions generally favor gun rights, recently told Fox News that Second Amendment rights are certainly limited although he didn't elaborate how. To speculate on what he might have meant, it's helpful to understand what limits already exist.

FAMU Band 'President' Charged in Hazing Death

It's been almost a year since Robert Champion was beaten to death in a hazing incident but Dante Martin has become the 12th person charged.

Champion was killed during an alleged hazing incident where band members beat him on Florida A&M University's band bus C in 2011. His death made headlines and raised questions about hazing at FAMU.

George Zimmerman's judge must step aside because of bias, a Florida appellate court ruled Wednesday.

The ruling means a new judge will soon preside over Zimmerman's second-degree murder case in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, according to a website set up by Zimmerman's defense team.

Zimmerman's lawyer Mark O'Mara filed a motion in July to disqualify Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. But Lester denied the motion, finding it "legally insufficient."

Is it Legal to Buy Airsoft Guns?

If you are thinking about purchasing an Airsoft gun, you better take a good look at the laws where you live because it's not always clear when buying an Airsoft gun is legal.

Airsoft guns are considered by many to be a toy, and they are becoming increasingly popular among children and teens. However, as these guns have the ability to fire projectiles at a high speed, they can be a safety concern.

Federal, state, and local governments have all passed laws affecting Airsoft guns.

Texas Reconsiders Prostitution as a Felony

Prostitution is a felony in Texas if you're caught more than three times but that law may change in an effort to save money.

The Texas law is an example of a three-strikes statute where multiple offenders are given a more severe punishment. It was originally adopted in 2001 as a way to clear up Dallas's problem with prostitutes at street corners and truck stops.

Felony charges didn't solve the problem. Instead they created a new one.

Amish Beard-Cutting Trial Tests Hate Crime Limits

The trial of 16 Amish men charged in beard-cutting attacks began Monday with jury selection in Ohio.

The men were arrested last fall after reports that they had forcibly cut the beards and hair of other men and women in the Amish community. The attacks were allegedly done because the victims challenged the religious authority of Sam Mullet, according to CBS News.

The attacks were done by Amish people and against Amish people. But the beard-cutting incident is being charged as a hate crime.

RNC Protester with Machete in Pants Arrested

The Republican National Convention (RNC) barely started Monday but the first protester was arrested Sunday afternoon for having a machete.

Jason T. Wilson was caught allegedly carrying his machete inside the 'event zone' of the Tampa convention area. When police asked him to stop he refused and reportedly resisted arrest. He told police he was allowed to carry the weapon, reports Tampa Bay Times.

Wilson was partially right. The issue wasn't the weapon he was carrying. It was where he was carrying it.

The 10 Most Stolen Cars in America

Year after year, the 1994 Honda Accord tops the most stolen car lists.

This is no mere coincidence as the popular car is still commonly seen on the streets and its parts are in high demand, reports NBC.

In fact, if the top ten most stolen cars list is any indicator, car thieves are motivated by practicality and parts and not the sexiness of the car itself. You'll see a lot Hondas and Fords on the list, but no Ferraris, BMWs, or Porsches.

Casey Anthony is Off Probation

Casey Anthony is no longer on probation but that doesn't mean she's necessarily free.

During the investigation of the murder charge against her, prosecutors discovered that Anthony had participated in check fraud. She pled guilty to the offense and received a year's probation.

Even though she was acquitted of the charge that she killed her daughter, Anthony wasn't found innocent in the eyes of the public. At the time of the acquittal Anthony was the most hated American, according to the Chicago Tribune. Based on safety concerns, the judge allowed her to serve her probation at an undisclosed location.

Well folks, she's back.

Empire State Building Shooting: 2 Dead, 9 Wounded

A shooting at the Empire State Building this morning resulted in two deaths and nine wounded at least count.

Police reportedly shot and killed the suspect, 53-year-old Jeffrey Johnson.

Authorities believe that Johnson was a former disgruntled employee at Hazan Imports, near the Empire State Building, and had returned to the company to collect money he believed he was owed, reports The Associated Press.

What is 1st Degree Murder?

Most jurisdictions make a distinction between the different types of murder and provide different penalties accordingly.

Commonly, states will have both first degree and second degree murder for intentional killings. For states that carry capital punishment, someone convicted of first degree murder could face the death penalty. Someone convicted of second degree murder usually faces life imprisonment.

But if both first degree and second degree murder involve intentional killings, you may be wondering just what distinguishes the two crimes.

Mountain climber Anthony Joseph Ortolani's dog Missy is finally safe, after Ortolani admittedly abandoned the German Shepherd on one of Colorado's highest peaks.

Missy's abandonment has led to an animal cruelty charge against Ortolani, 29, after a group of high-altitude climbers successfully rescued the canine, The Denver Post reports.

In addition, a dog custody battle may be brewing in the wake of bad publicity over Missy's rescue. For his part, Ortolani insists he did nothing wrong.

John Lennon's Killer Denied Parole for 7th Time

Mark David Chapman, John Lennon's killer, has been denied parole by the New York Parole Board once again.

This was the 57-year-old Chapman's seventh attempt at parole, and it came just ahead of the 32nd anniversary of John Lennon's death. Lennon, the former Beatles lead singer, was gunned down outside his Manhattan apartment on Dec. 8, 1980, reports CNN.

The Parole Board's decision comes just one day after Chapman's interview with the board.

Man Groped, Sexually Assaulted Sleeping Woman on Plane

Going through airplane security sometimes feels like sexual assault but one unfortunate woman was actually assaulted on her flight.

Upon arrival in Newark airport on Tuesday, Bawer Aksal was arrested for sexually assaulting the woman sitting next to him while she slept.

She awoke to find his hands in her shorts and her blouse, according to the complaint. She demanded he remove his hands and reported the incident to flight attendants.

His defense to the allegations is at odds with her claims.

Why Rep. Kerry Gauthier's Sex with Teen Wasn't Illegal

Minnesota state lawmaker Kerry Gauthier is being urged to step down from his reelection bid after being caught allegedly having oral sex with a teen behind a vehicle rest stop.

The democratic representative is said to have put up a Craigslist ad looking for "no strings attached" sex at the rest stop and a 17-year-old boy responded, reports the New York Daily News.

A state trooper who had responded to an unrelated complaint of a man urinating on a woman's car caught the lawmaker with his zipper down behind the rest area building. While Gauthier faces a world of embarrassment, it's interesting to note that he doesn't face a single criminal charge.

Toddlers Forced to Fight Each Other by Daycare Employees

What happens when toddlers are forced to fight in a "punching only" boxing matches? Why three Delaware women get charged with operating a toddler fight club at their daycare, of course. 

If you're wondering what a toddler fight club is, here you go: Three women employees are accused of throwing three-year-olds into an arena and told to duke it out, reports CBS.

Someone thought it a good idea to take video of the brawls. The police have video of the alleged daycare fight club and the three women are now facing a variety of criminal charges. 

John Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman, could potentially be freed after a parole hearing this week. Will Chapman's seventh attempt at parole finally be the charm?

Chapman, 57, is set to be interviewed by at least two members of New York's parole board, CNN reports. A decision by the board, which has denied Chapman's parole requests every two years since 2000, could come a few days later.

What goes into the parole board's decision?

Do I Have a Right to a Public Defender?

If you watch television, the one Constitutional right you're bombard with everyday is your right to an attorney. But just because a cop will tell you, "...If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you ...," does this really mean you have a right to a public defender?

Well, if you financially qualify, the answer is "yes."

The right to the assistance of counsel is given in the Sixth Amendment and repeated forever with a policeman's reading of the Miranda rights. Still, whether you qualify for the free assistance of counsel may depend upon the rules in your state or county.

Is it Legal to Go Skinny Dipping in the US?

If you were in Congressman Kevin Yoder's shoes you may be wondering is skinny dipping legal in the area where you live?

The junior lawmaker from Kansas stirred up a bit of controversy when it was reported that he and several of his colleagues took a late night dip in the Sea of Galilee in Israel. Without a swimsuit, it was reported that Yoder decided to go au naturale and took a skinny dip near the religious site. The FBI is now looking into the matter, reports Politico.

To avoid the FBI looking into your swimming habits, it's probably best to know is skinny dipping legal first before stripping down.

There is no 'Legitimate Rape,' Legally Speaking

The comments on 'legitimate rape' made by Representative Todd Akin over the weekend have had a profound impact on the public.

Not only did he show poor understanding of science, especially for someone on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, he also failed to gauge public sentiment. The Republican Party has tried to distance themselves from his comments. They also encouraged him to end his race for Senate, reports Fox News.

The science behind his statement is clearly wrong, as noted by CNN. His idea of 'legitimate rape' also has nothing to do with current definitions of rape.

Tourist Charged w/ Homicide in Jet Ski Death

An Australian tourist could be spending the next few years in jail for allegedly causing a Jet Ski accident that resulted in the death of a 16-year-old girl in Hawaii.

Tyson Dagley appeared in court wearing a neck brace and answered to charges of negligent homicide, reports Hawaii News Now.

Dagley, 20, is accused of goofing off on his jet ski and running full-speed into another jet ski ridden by Kristen Fonseca. It's alleged that Dagley was clowning for his girlfriend who was standing on a dock recording the incident. Officials say that Dagley never saw Fonseca in front of him as he ran her down. The teenage girl died of a brain injury.

Can a YouTube video send you to jail? The answer, potentially, is yes, but perhaps not for the reasons you might think.

The question typically gets asked with regards to posting copyrighted material on YouTube. That can indeed lead to potential fines or lawsuits, YouTube advises, but it generally won't result in an arrest or incarceration. (However, a pending Senate bill could change that, as discussed below.)

There are other ways that a YouTube video could send you to jail, as some unlucky YouTube users have discovered. These include:

10 Cities with the Worst Car Theft Rates

The top ten cities for car thefts in the U.S. was released by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), and the list could be renamed the top ten cities for car thefts in California.

The survey of most car thefts in 2011 included seven California cities within its top ten.

However, it wasn't all bad news as car thefts fell nationwide for the second straight year, reports MSN. Relying on FBI figures, there was a 3.3% drop in car thefts from the 2010 total of 737,142.

Here is the top cities for car thefts list including the total number of stolen vehicles and thefts per 100,000 people:

Freedom may be coming to potentially scores of North Carolina inmates deemed "legally innocent" of gun charges that they should never have been convicted of in the first place.

Federal courts are ordering some inmates released after a USA Today investigation found they'd been convicted of unlawfully possessing guns as felons -- but none of them were actual felons.

The confusion lies in how federal law defines "felons," and how North Carolina sentences its criminals, according to USA Today.

The Insanity Defense: How Insane is Enough?

The insanity defense is a fairly famous piece of law but it's not always well explained. Even less well-understood is how 'insanity' can affect a trial before it's even begun.

The justice system assumes that defendants understand the gravity of their actions and know, at least on some level, that what they did was wrong. Sometimes that assumption doesn't work out. In those cases, the court has to make a determination on whether to treat that defendant differently.

Insanity is a loaded term and legal insanity is not entirely the same as what psychologists include under the term 'mental illness.'

Sometimes being a "cool mom" can get you in trouble. Denise "Miki" Spies, 45, of Durango, Colo., is learning that the hard way, after a ruckus over her daughter Sydney Spies' racy yearbook photo and now a run-in with the cops.

The Spies got national media attention in January when they fought the rejection of Sydney's high-school yearbook photo, which editors had deemed too provocative, The Durango Herald reports.

Now Miki Spies and daughter Sydney, 18, are facing criminal charges for hosting a house party where underage drinking was rampant, police say.

How to Restore Gun Rights After a Felony

When someone is convicted of a felony, they may lose many rights -- including the right to bear arms. However, in many cases, those convicted of felonies are able to eventually restore their gun rights after release from jail.

The restoration of gun rights generally depend upon state laws and these standards can vary greatly from state to state.

In some states, restoration can be automatic. In other states, gun rights restoration is almost impossible and left largely up to a judge's discretion or a governor's pardon, reports The New York Times.

A Florida mother and son's out-of-the-box thinking has landed them in jail for allegedly stealing more than $2 million in toys from stores in 27 states.

Investigators say Margaret Pollara, 70, was the lookout while her son Michael Ignatius Pollara, 46, pulled a fast one on retailers: He allegedly emptied oversized toy boxes and stuffed high-priced items inside, then resold his stolen booty online, Miami's WTVJ reports.

"It was one of his goals to visit all 50 states and commit thefts in all 50 states, which he was very proud of -- he did succeed," a sheriff's sergeant told WTVJ.

Eviction Notice Sparked Texas Shooting

The shooting at Texas A&M on Monday was a terrible incident but police at least know the motive of the shooter.

Thomas Alton Caffall III opened fire on Constable Brian Bachmann and several other police officers when they came to give him an eviction notice. The exchange of gunfire killed three people, including the shooter, and injured another four.

Even though officers were there to evict him that doesn't mean Caffall had done anything wrong yet, besides whatever prompted the eviction.

Special Ed Teacher Had Sex with Student: Cops

As a teacher, having sex with a student even after you're no longer teaching them is generally frowned upon.

Why? Well if you're a high school teacher it could be because sex with a minor is illegal.

That's the lesson for 34-year-old Kelly McKenzy Watson who was arrested Thursday for allegedly having sex with a minor. She had previously taught the young man although she was no longer his teacher.

Heading off to college means trying new things, and that often includes alcohol. But irresponsible college drinking can get you arrested, and the consequences could haunt you for years.

It’s not just college students under 21 who need to be concerned. Students over the legal drinking age can also be held liable for alcohol violations, by themselves and by others.

Here are five ways college drinking can get you arrested:

The Texas A&M off-campus shooting shows how signing up for school text alerts is a good call for students heading back to school, along with their parents or guardians.

As police in College Station, Texas, responded to reports of a shooting near campus Monday, they issued emergency alerts by email, text message, Twitter, and other means.

National news media like CNN kept referring to those official alerts as they covered the emergency -- an example of how vital school text alerts have become.

Bride Allegedly Murders Groom Before Wedding

The day of a wedding you expect the headlines to be 'bride marries groom,' not 'bride murders groom.'

Na cola Darcel Franklin unfortunately got the latter headline on Saturday morning when she was arrested for killing her fiance, Billy Rafael Brewster. The couple had planned to marry at 10 am but Brewster died hours before that from a stab wound.

Franklin is allegedly the person who stabbed Brewster although she claims she didn't kill him on purpose.

Man Gets 30 Days in Jail for Collecting Rainwater

Gary Harrington will be spending the next 30 days in jail for collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his property.

The Oregon man was found guilty two weeks ago for breaking a 1925 law for having "three illegal reservoirs" on his property, reports CNSNews. Harrington was convicted of nine misdemeanors and received a $1500 fine in addition to the prison sentence.

Harrington surrendered himself to authorities to begin his prison term and said that he was sacrificing himself to stand up for liberty. While a noble gesture, the fact of the matter is that Harrington broke a law, and is now serving the time.

Dad Accused of Waterboarding Daughter

A Delaware dad was accused of waterboarding his daughter by holding the 11-year-old girl's head under a running faucet.

The dad, Dr. Melvin Morse, is a pediatrician and expert on near-death experiences with several books and television appearances to his credit.

Morse and his wife have been arrested and charged with several felony counts based on the daughter's claims. At the time of the arrest, the 58-year-old Morse was already out on bail for misdemeanor charges related to a separate charge of assaulting his daughter, reports The Associated Press.

Fake Pregnancy Led CA Woman to Steal Baby: Cops

Grisel Ramirez wanted a baby so bad that she faked a pregnancy to her husband and then tried to steal a newborn to continue her deception.

The 48-year-old Ramirez allegedly told her estranged husband that she was pregnant. But when nine months passed and it came time to produce a baby, the California woman reportedly grew desperate and tried to kidnap a baby at an Orange County Hospital.

Ramirez did not live with her husband, and the husband had been pressing Ramirez on when he could visit the baby and when he needed to sign the birth certificate, reports The Associated Press.

George Zimmerman will seek a Stand Your Ground hearing, his defense team announced Thursday. This could give Trayvon Martin's accused murderer a chance to potentially walk free without going to trial.

Zimmerman's legal team made the announcement on a website set up in Zimmerman's defense. "Now that the State has released the majority of their discovery, the defense asserts that there is clear support for a strong claim of self-defense," the statement says. "Consistent with this claim of self-defense, there will be a 'Stand Your Ground' hearing."

So if the request is granted by Judge Kenneth Lester Jr., what would happen at such a hearing?

The Wisconsin Sikh temple shooter's ex-girlfriend, Misty Cook, was arrested on a gun charge during a police interview at her home, CBS News reports.

But Cook, 31, of Milwaukee, had nothing to do with the shooting that claimed six lives Sunday, police said. The gunman, Wade Michael Page, was shot by police but died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said Wednesday.

Page lived with Cook until just a few weeks ago, the Los Angeles Times reports. But it was an incident in Cook's past that led to Tuesday's arrest.

Mom Guilty of Murder After Son Dies in Hot Car

Leaving a child inside a hot car is a crime in most states. Mollie Shouse may be the first person in Kentucky convicted of murder for doing it.

Last year Shouse's son, Kenton Brown, died when he was left in a car for several hours during the summer. He was two years old. His mom was inside the house at the time, passed out on Xanax and marijuana.

Given her actions, it's hard to argue that Shouse wasn't negligent towards her son. But to find her guilty of wanton murder, the jury needed something more.

Police use of aerial drones is taking off, raising privacy and legal concerns. Case in point: Rodney Brossart, the first U.S. citizen arrested on U.S. soil with the help of an unmanned Predator drone.

Police arrested Brossart after an armed standoff over cows that had wandered onto his Lakota, N.D., farm in June 2011. Police launched a Homeland Security drone to track Brossart and his relatives during the standoff, according to U.S. News and World Report.

So how does aerial drone surveillance work with the Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches?

OH Man Brings Bag of Guns, Knives to 'Dark Knight'

Scott Smith was likely trying to emulate the horrific Colorado shootings when he brought a gun, extra ammo, and several knives to a late night showing of The Dark Knight Rises. Luckily his performance was cut short when an observant manager and a security guard noticed him.

Off-duty Officer Jeremiah Bullins, that night's security guard, approached Smith in the Crocker Park, Ohio theater where he was sitting and asked to check his bag. Smith complied which is when Bullins saw the weaponry.

Smith was charged with crimes related to carrying the weapons, especially given his personal status.

An 87-year-old Denver man busted for growing more than 400 pot plants in his backyard insists he did so legally. But so far, prosecutors aren't buying it.

Edward Bogunovich faces felony charges of marijuana cultivation, possession, and possession with intent to distribute, Denver's KUSA-TV reports.

Though police allegedly counted 414 marijuana plants in Bogunovich's backyard, they only seized 183 plants. So why leave him with 231 pot plants of his own?

Will Jared Loughner Actually Plead Guilty?

Jared Loughner is finally competent to stand trial after being held for more than a year. He is scheduled to plead guilty to the Tucson shooting that killed six people and injured 13 including former Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

The trial was originally delayed when psychiatric evaluations determined that Loughner could not understand the charges against him. In the following months Loughner was forcibly medicated to treat his mental illness and hopefully prepare him to stand trial.

Psychiatrists say he's now ready but it's unclear if there will be a trial.

Are Radar Detectors Legal?

Admit it, there's a sick pleasure in driving past another driver pulled over for speeding. However, almost all of us speed, and that sick pleasure can turn sickening when you get lit up by a police cruiser. So you're probably wondering whether radar detectors are legal.

If you do a lot of driving, you may have thought at some point to get a radar detector. And with radar detector apps being developed for your smartphone, it's now easier than ever to get such a device.

However, before installing a radar detector in your car or phone, you should know that it may be illegal for you to drive with a radar detector.

Was Wis. Sikh Temple Shooting a Hate Crime?

The Sikh temple shooter may have been motivated by prejudice but does that make Sunday's tragedy a hate crime?

Wade Michael Page, who was identified as the shooter at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, has been investigated and the findings are troubling. He was a member of a racist skinhead band in 2010 and tried to purchase goods from the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group, as early as 2000.

If the attack was racially motivated, it should be classified as a hate crime. But accomplishing that can be difficult.

Sikh Temple Shooter ID'd as Wade Michael Page

Wade Michael Page, a reported skinhead, is being blamed for the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., that left seven people dead Sunday, including Page, authorities said Monday.

Page allegedly started shooting in the temple parking lot before walking into the temple in the midst of services and opening fire, CNN reports. Page allegedly killed six worshippers and seriously wounded a police officer before a second officer shot and killed him.

Page was 40 years old and was a former member of the U.S. Army who was discharged for patterns of misconduct in 1998. He is described as a white supremacist and skinhead, a Yahoo! News blog reports.

Is it Legal to Carry a Knife?

The question whether it is legal to carry a knife is a common one, and for good reason.

With state, federal, and local laws governing when it is legal to carry a knife, it can be extremely confusing to know when you are in compliance with the law, and when you are in violation.

As a general rule of thumb, federal laws govern where you can carry knives. While state laws govern the type of knife you can legally carry.

Holmes' Psychiatrist Alarmed, Called 'Threat' Team

The psychiatrist treating James Holmes was alarmed enough by the 24-year-old former student to notify the University of Colorado threat assessment committee. The alert came more than a month before the Colorado shootings that left 12 dead.

However, because Holmes suddenly dropped out of school, the committee never acted nor did it alert authorities of their concerns, reports ABC.

At about the time that Dr. Lynne Fenton warned her colleagues of Holmes, Holmes was busily accumulating guns he would allegedly use in the movie theater massacre.

An Xbox stabbing and shooting after an online dispute sent a 20-year-old California gamer to the hospital, Sacramento's KOVR-TV reports.

The alleged attacker, a 17-year-old boy, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and attempted murder. Prosecutors plan to charge the teen as an adult.

The victim, Kevin Kemp of Oakley, Calif., says he and the boy were family friends who played video games over Xbox Live, which allows players to interact via headsets.

But a virtual-reality argument turned all too real.

Do You Have the Right to Flip Off Cops?

Let's face it, a lot of people dislike cops. Alright, that's not entirely true. There are a lot of good ones out there deserving of compliments. But when you run into bad ones, do you have the right to flip off cops?

It might sound like a silly question, but in other parts of the world, it's serious business. For instance, a woman in Dubai was recently jailed for a month and fined for flashing her middle finger at a cop.

But that was Dubai. America has to be much more liberal with its citizens' right to flip the bird at the boys in blue, right? The answer isn't exactly what you'd imagine, as a New Jersey man's lawsuit reveals.

High School Attack by Professor Thwarted?

A University of California, Irvine professor is being held without bail after police say he plotted an attack on his son's high school, following his son's suicide.

Rainer Reinscheid blamed the Irvine high school for his son's death saying that the school mistreated the child. As a result, Reinscheid allegedly plotted to buy guns, murder students and administrators, carry out sexual assaults, burn down the school, and kill himself, reports The Associated Press.

The 48-year-old is now being held without bail on unrelated arson charges. He was denied bail on those charges as he has been described to be a "danger to society."

George Zimmerman's judge will not step down because the motion seeking to disqualify him is "legally insufficient," the judge wrote in his order.

Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. on Wednesday denied a motion by Zimmerman's defense team that sought to disqualify the judge because of alleged bias, Reuters reports.

The motion accused Judge Lester of making "gratuitous, disparaging remarks," among other alleged misdeeds, when he set Zimmerman's bail at $1 million in July.

So how did the judge reach his ruling?

Are Police Scanner Apps Illegal?

If you own a smartphone you basically own a police scanner too. With a simple download of a police scanner app like iScanner, PoliceStream, and 5-0 Radio Police Scanner, any average Joe can turn his phone into a police radio.

But while it may be cool to listen to police movements and track crime, you may be breaking the law simply by listening.

So when is it legal to download one of these police scanner apps?

An alleged teen drug "czar" will likely spend three years in juvenile detention after he pleaded guilty to heading up a $3 million pot ring. His alleged adult accomplices, however, could face harsher penalties.

Tyler Pagenstecher, 17, of Mason, Ohio, entered guilty pleas in juvenile court to two counts of felony drug trafficking, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

The high-school senior's extracurricular activities allegedly involved cultivating marijuana at grow houses in several Cincinnati suburbs, and selling the pot to rich high-school students near his home, investigators said. Six other minors and seven adults were also arrested.