FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

Recently in Crime in the News Category

Over the weekend, a group of over 40 teens jumped the turnstiles at an Oakland, California, public transit station, boarded a commuter train, robbed seven individuals and left two people injured before leaving the train and station. It's possible that as many as 60 teens were involved. Witnesses described the situation as quickly shifting from what seemed like boisterous horseplay to confusion and violence as the large group of teens boarded and ransacked the train.

While many passengers were left shook, police were able to identify some of the teenage suspects caught on the surveillance cameras, and are seeking arrest warrants.

With the Internet of Things (IoT) firmly taking hold of nearly every modern convenience, criminal defendants shouldn't be surprised when the data that gets collected and stored on modern technology gets used against them. This includes things like a person's internet browser history, IP address history, files stored locally, or in the cloud, and potentially even files a person has deleted. And it doesn't stop there.

A recent news story illustrates how IoT data is helping to solve a murder. The data stored on a murder victim's Fitbit, along with other pieces of electronically stored data, are forming the basis of some rather damning evidence against the victim's husband, who is now charged with murder.

In the coming weeks, the New York City Police Department will be rolling out their body camera program to over 1,000 officers. The cameras will record interactions officers have with the public in an effort to increase the transparency of NYC's police practices, which have come under increasing scrutiny due to failing stop and frisk policies, as well as excessive force incidents.

Last Friday, a federal district court judge in Manhattan denied a motion to delay the roll out due to alleged problems with the program. Critics claim that the program does not go far enough and does not require enough types of interactions to be recorded. Perhaps the most concerning criticism involves officers being allowed to review their own body cam footage before making statements or writing reports.

WikiLeaks, true to its name, has been the source of thousands, if not millions of leaked government and intelligence documents. The published documents include videos of airstrikes and diplomatic cables from the Iraq war, leading Democrats' emails during the 2106 presidential campaign, and, most recently, "a trove of C.I.A. documents last month that described sophisticated software and techniques to break into electronics."

The last leak might've been the criminal straw that broke the prosecutorial camel's back. Multiple news organizations are reporting that U.S. Department of Justice is considering an array of criminal charges against WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange. None have been filed as of yet, but it is interesting to look at what those charges might be, what prosecuting them might entail, and why the government has waited until now.

A Michigan doctor is being charged in the nation's first ever prosecution under a 1996 federal law prohibiting female genital mutilation. Allegedly, the doctor performed the procedures on girls as young as 6 and 8 years old, and may have even had parental consent. While the charges filed only relate to two minors specifically, the US Attorney's Office is hoping that others will come forward.

The practice of female genital mutilation is also called female circumcision or female genital cutting, and is done in various cultures across the globe for varying dogmatic reasons, despite the fact that international treaties make the practice illegal. In the United States, it is a serious felony that carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

The Department of Justice announced the arrest of two Illinois men, Joseph D. Jones and Edward Schimenti, who allegedly pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and advocated their support for violent extremism on social media.

Jones, also known as "Yusuf Abdulhaqq," and Schimenti, also known as "Abdul Wali," were charged with conspiring and attempting to provide material support and resources to ISIS, which has been designated as a terrorist organization. And their support allegedly went beyond just watching some videos and posting photos online.

Proving that it's all fun and games until an underage drinker resists arrest, injures a sheriff's deputy, and barricades himself in a house for a half hour, over 100 revelers earned themselves a citation, arrest, or injury while celebrating 'Deltopia,' an annual Santa Barbara spring break party.

Local law enforcement crashed dozens of parties in the Isla Vista neighborhood of Santa Barbara, host to the annual street party blast and popular with students due to its close proximity to UCSB's campus. If the thousands of partygoers were trying to make spring break memories that last a lifetime, more than a few succeeded.

An ongoing investigation against the Bicycle Hotel and Casino in Bell Gardens, a city in Los Angeles, resulted in federal agents raiding the casino and closing the gambling floor this week.

Since the warrant issued for the raid by a federal district court judge was filed under seal, there are only a few details about the investigation. However, this same casino was found, after a 1991 investigation, to have been built using drug money. Although numerous gamblers speculated that the raid was a result of rigged gaming tables, unnamed media sources clarified that the casino is under investigation for money laundering. Casino patrons holding stacks of chips will be pleased to know that the casino reopened this week after investigators finished their search. However, there may be some more legal trouble in their future, depending on what the search discovered.

No matter how many stories get written about criminal activity streamed on Facebook Live, criminals don't cease to record their crimes for prosecutorial prosperity and the crimes themselves don't get any less heinous.

A 14-year old girl in Chicago was lured into a home and raped by as many as six men, one of whom broadcast the sexual assault live on Facebook. The Chicago Tribune notes it's at least the fourth crime in the city captured on Facebook Live since the end of October 2016. Two teens are in custody thus far, and the victim and her family have been moved following threats and online bullying after reporting the crime.

In a shocking turn of events, an 18-year-old high school girl's father reported his daughter to the authorities after discovering a detailed plan to commit a mass school shooting. Not only was a detailed plan discovered, a shotgun as well as other materials needed to make dangerous explosives were found.

Upon learning of the threat, the high-schooler was immediately pulled out of class and admitted into a psychiatric hospital for evaluation. Law enforcement obtained arrest warrants in order to immediately arrest the teen upon her release from the hospital. The teen's diary and plan reveal that mental health may be an issue.