Crime in the News - FindLaw Blotter

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After decades in decline, overall violent crime rose by almost 4 percent last year and much of the increase was spurred by a rise in gun violence and murder rates in large cities. One of the cities struggling with gun violence is Washington, D.C., which saw homicides in one ward triple in the first half of 2016 compared to the same time period in 2015.

The District has a history of having some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country. So what are D.C.'s current guns laws, and how might they change as law enforcement tries to stem the rising tide of gun violence in Washington, D.C.?

Is It Legal for Protesters to Block Traffic?

Blocking traffic is not legal and is not a new practice for protesters. When protesters block traffic, they are engaging in civil disobedience, a term coined by one of America's earliest freethinkers and intellectuals, Henry David Thoreau.

While nearly everyone caught in a traffic jam caused by protesters becomes upset due to the delay, it is important to recognize that reporting on traffic conditions is a mainstay of local news stations across the country, while protests often get ignored. Blocking traffic means at very least making the local traffic report.

Although organized protests or marches can obtain permits to close streets, frequently protesters move from the permitted areas. When protesters block highways or streets that they are not permitted to be on, they do risk arrest. However, police are loathe to arrest peaceful protesters, even when they block traffic. The recent protest in Washington D.C. blocked a busy intersection for 7 minutes, and there were no arrests reported.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, the man thought responsible for bombing attacks in New York and New Jersey over the weekend, was arrested following a shootout with police in Linden, New Jersey yesterday. Law enforcement believes Rahami placed the bombs that exploded Saturday night in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City and Seaside Park, New Jersey, as well as pipe bombs found Sunday night in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Linden prosecutors have already charged Rahami with five counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer after last night's shootout, along with one count each of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Could there be more charges to follow? And where will Rahami go to trial?

Perhaps inspired by the TV show 'Justified' or perhaps just trying to redefine Kentucky bluegrass, marijuana possession arrests seem like they're rising in Louisville. Just last month, a SWAT team found almost 60 plants in one house on Vim Drive in South Louisville. While the state does allow some research and cultivations of industrial or agricultural hemp, possession of its close relative for recreational use or distribution is strictly prohibited.

So what do marijuana possession charges look like in Louisville? And what potential penalties could you face if convicted?

Second 'Slender Man' Attempted Murderer Pleads Insanity

If you've been following the Slender Man story, both teenagers involved in the attempted murder of Payton Leutner have now pled not guilty by reason of insanity. Based on what has been reported about the attempted murder, that sounds about right as no rational explanation exists for the horrifying actions.

Payton Leutner was invited to a sleepover at a classmate's house along with one other classmate. The following day, while out in a park, the two other girls, then only 12 years old, attacked, stabbed, and attempted to murder Leutner. Fortunately, she was able to escape, and she has now recovered from her physical injuries.

If you live in Atlanta, you’ve probably noticed a lot more carjacking stories on the evening news. AAA Insurance has noticed, and is warning residents about two popular carjacking techniques. “A person goes over to fill their car up and when they leave their vehicle open someone comes over on that side,” AAA spokesperson Garrett Townsend told Atlanta’s CBS46. Atlantans should also be on the lookout for the “squat and scoop,” where perpetrators stage a fender bender and strike when a driver gets out to check the damage.

So how can you avoid becoming a carjacker’s next victim? And what criminal charges do alleged carjackers face? Here’s what you need to know.

Heroin on its own is deadly enough. But strains of heroin laced with the powerful pain killing drug fentanyl have been hitting the streets of Indianapolis, and have been linked to a spike in fatal overdoses. In some cases, law enforcement has said that dealers are selling straight fentanyl marketed as heroin.

So where is the new drug coming from, and how is law enforcement trying to stop its deadly spread?

Dog in a Hot Locked Car: Teen Faces 5 Years in Prison for Animal Cruelty

Dogs may be our best friends, but humans are not always very friendly to their dogs. One woman in Virginia, 19, left her pet puggle -- a cross between a beagle and a pug -- in a hot car parked outside a pet store in Falls Church.

According to a press release from the Fairfax County Police Department, someone spotted the dog and called the authorities, but not soon enough. Although officials managed to break into the car and get the animal to the veterinarian in the nearby pet store, the dog died soon after. The owner, Megan Kurtz Campbell, was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty.

Police Hope 3D Printed Fingers Will Unlock Murder Victim's Phone

As technology becomes more sophisticated, the police too are increasingly creative. Michigan authorities, for example, recently commissioned a set of 3D printer fingers to unlock a murder victim's smart phone.

The police believe that the phone holds information about the crime, Fusion reports. Keeping in mind the difficulties of the FBI wrangling with Apple over defendant phone privacy, the Michigan authorities came up with a very creative workaround: copying the victim's fingers in the hopes of unlocking the phone.

Snapchat Crime: Teen's Conviction for Video Upload Upheld

New technologies often lead to new legal issues. So it is with Snapchat, a social media site where people post videos that disappear after 24 hours. A California appeals court this week upheld the conviction of a 16-year-old high school student who uploaded a 10-second video of a fellow student masturbating in a bathroom stall and was charged with misdemeanor invasion of privacy.

The boy who was filmed committed suicide two weeks later, reports Ars Technica, but he was not considered in the criminal case. At issue here is privacy.