FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

December 2017 Archives

The key to any testimony in court is credibility: is the person telling the truth, and is there any reason why they would lie? Often times, members of law enforcement are given the benefit of the doubt when they testify in criminal cases, despite direction from judges that officer testimony should be given the same weight and skepticism as any other witness.

That credibility may have taken a serious hit, at least when it comes to sheriff's deputies in Los Angeles County testifying in court. The Los Angeles Times reports that the L.A. County Sheriff's Department had an internal list of around 300 deputies with histories of dishonesty and misconduct such that, if revealed in court, would damage their credibility as witnesses.

For the most part, public defenders are to be admired -- they work long hours at a largely thankless job with very little resources. But, as with any other profession, not all public defenders are great at what they do, they may not agree with every defendant they represent, and even a good public defender can have a bad day.

So if you're not happy with your public defender, what can you do about it?

Michael Slager, the white former police officer who gunned down Walter Scott, an unarmed black man running away from Slager, was sentenced to 20 years in prison today after he pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges. Slager had been charged with murder by the state of South Carolina, and a judge ultimately ruled that he committed second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.

Slager had claimed Scott wrestled his stun gun away from him, and that he was forced to use his firearm in self defense. But video of the incident showed otherwise.

By now most people are familiar with quite possibly the most famous person to ever be convicted of tax evasion, Al Capone. Capone was a Chicago mob boss during Prohibition who, despite ordering the deaths of dozens, was sentenced to just eleven years in prison on federal income tax evasion charges in 1931.

Slightly less well-known is Salvatore "Sallie" Demeo, described by the New York Post as a "Genovese soldier" and charged with tax evasion related to real estate deals. So why is it that so many mobsters or organized crime leaders are charged with tax evasion?