Crime in the News - FindLaw Blotter
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The Baltimore medical examiner ruled the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody a homicide. And an investigation by the state's attorney's office has led to charges against six Baltimore police officers.

Baltimore's lead prosecutor Marilyn J. Mosby announced the charges this morning, ranging from second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter to assault and official misconduct. The investigation also ruled Gray's arrest was illegal in the first place, and warrants have been issued for all six officers.

Here are the charges:

Thanks to the Google School of Law, people seem to think that the First Amendment protection on free speech allows them to say any nasty thing they want. It doesn't.

Ebony Dickens, of Atlanta, Georgia, learned that the hard way after she posted a noxious rant on Facebook calling for black people to "rise up and shoot at every white cop in the nation starting NOW." Her rant goes on, "Might kill at least fifteen tomorrow. I'm plotting now." She thinks she's bullet proof, and writes, "Freedom of speech tho. So when you can absolutely show me in the 1st amendment where it explicitly says you can't say 'kill all cops,' then I'll delete my status."

Well, she deleted her whole Facebook account hours before local police, FBI, DHS, and New York Police arrested her and charged her with disseminating information related to terrorist acts. More charges may come later.

There have been multiple reports recently of U.S. authorities arresting and charging people who've tried to support ISIS, also known as the Islamic State. Just this month, six Minnesota men were apprehended trying to travel to Syria and join the terrorist group.

So what, exactly are these would-be terrorists charged with? And what are possible penalties for trying to join ISIS?

The governor of Maryland has declared a state of emergency in Baltimore after protestors in the city clashed with police and others engaged in looting and extensive property damage on Monday. The night of violence followed the daytime funeral for Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died from a severed spine while in police custody. It's the second time in six months that a city has called on the National Guard to help quell violent protests, after Missouri deployed Guard troops in Ferguson in response to protests last summer and fall over the shooting of Michael Brown and the failure to indict the officer who shot him.

Declaring a state of emergency allows a government to alter some executive functions and institute temporary laws until the crisis is over. Here is how a state of emergency works generally and how it might look in Baltimore this week.

The trial of Colorado theater shooter James Holmes begins today and is expected to focus more on punishment than on guilt. Holmes killed 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater over three years ago, but he has pleaded not guilty, contending he was legally insane at the time of the shooting.

This case bears some similar elements to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial for the Boston Marathon bombing: little question of guilt, but large arguments about the proper punishment. And like Tsarnaev, Holmes is attempting to avoid the death penalty. But there will also be some significant differences as well.

Last November, hackers who had gained access to Sony Entertainment Pictures data began releasing emails, un-released films, and personal information gained from a possibly year-long attack. Last week, WikiLeaks posted the entire collection of stolen data, around 200,000 documents and emails.

The hack itself was illegal under nearly all state and federal computer crime laws. But does that mean posting and reading the leaked documents is criminal as well?

A Cook County judge brought a police officer's manslaughter trial to an abrupt end on Monday, acquitting the officer of all charges. The acquittal means that the officer, Dante Servin, probably cannot be re-tried for the killing of Rekia Boyd. Servin had been the first Chicago officer to face a trial for a fatal shooting since 1997.

Essentially, Judge Dennis Porter the judge said the prosecution failed to prove Servin acted recklessly, and therefore could not be guilty as a matter of law. This ruling walks a legal fine line that has angered many who followed this case specifically, and the issue of police officers shootings generally.

There are quite a few issues at play here that have left both the public and trained attorneys scratching their heads. So let's see if we can separate them out and explain what the court was thinking.

Whether they do it to avoid punishment for their own crimes or out of some civic duty, confidential informants know they're entering into a dangerous enterprise. After all, snitches get stitches, as the saying goes.

What a "CI," as they're known, does not anticipate is being outed as an informant by their own officers/handlers and being shot in their home as a result. This unfortunately happened to one CI in Richmond, California, and now the city is compensating him for his injuries.

After a long and winding legal road, a judge sentenced convicted killer Jodi Arias to life in prison without the possibility of parole. While the verdict itself felt like mere formality, the trial was anything but.

The case, in which Arias was accused of stabbing and shooting her boyfriend to death in 2008, garnered international infamy. And after she was convicted, her sentencing took on a legal life of its own. Now that the case has drawn to a close, here's a timeline of important events that led to the verdict:

In 2015, most, if not all, of us have a very powerful weapon in our pockets. That weapon is our cell phone. The modern cell phone's ability to record high quality videos and pictures makes it more than just a communication device. It is now a tool in the fight to combat police brutality and protect our civil rights.

In the case of Walter Scott, police officer Michael Slager previously claimed that he shot Scott in self-defense when Scott tried to take his taser. Since Scott died in the confrontation, there was nobody to contradict Slager's story, until a grainy cell phone video went viral. A bystander, lucky to be in the right place at the right time, recorded Scott running away. Slager, more than several feet behind Scott, shot him in the back eight times, and killed him.

If all we had was Slager's story, any investigation might have found his use of force was justified. With the video, Slager has been charged with murder.