Crime in the News - FindLaw Blotter
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A South Carolina woman who left her 9-year-old daughter alone at a public park while she went to her job at McDonalds was arrested and charged with a felony.

Debra Harrell, 46, of North Augusta, was arrested after confessing to regularly leaving her daughter in the park while she worked at a McDonald's a mile-and-a-half away. According to CNN, Harrell had given her daughter a cell phone and a key to their house, which was about a six-minute walk from the park.

The arrest is causing many to ask: Is leaving a 9-year-old child in a public park illegal?

A Florida dad won't be charged for beating his son's alleged molester, despite leaving him "in a puddle of blood" on the floor.

Raymond Frolander, 18, has been charged with felony sexual battery of a victim under 12, for allegedly assaulting his attacker's 11-year-old son, Reuters reports. The unidentified father, 35, beat Frolander into submission after reportedly finding him sexually assaulting his son.

Why did police choose not to press charges?

What Is Cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking is in the news after a prominent New Orleans lawyer was charged with the crime for allegedly sending harassing text messages to an opponent.

Stuart Smith, a noted environmental lawyer and the namesake of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law's legal clinic, was charged with misdemeanor cyberstalking for allegedly threatening someone via text message in a dispute over a proposed noise ordinance. If convicted, Smith could face up to one year behind bars and a $2,000 fine, The Times-Picayune reports.

So what exactly is cyberstalking, and how can you get charged with it?

In case you missed it, a Connecticut man was arrested this week for allegedly stabbing a watermelon in a "passive aggressive" way.

Of course, violence against fruit isn't typically a crime (otherwise fruit salad would be a lot more expensive). But in this case, police say the man's alleged melon mangling was meant to send a threatening message to his wife -- who had just reported the man's drug stash to police and was going through a divorce, reports The Register Citizen.

The incident brings up an interesting legal question: Under what circumstances can attacking an inanimate object get you arrested?

Identity theft charges can encompass a wide range of criminal activity, such as hijacking someone else's Facebook page or using someone's personal financial information to fraudulently obtain a loan.

Equally as wide-ranging are the potential consequences of being caught. For example, a California teen who hacked into another teen's Facebook account and added crude sexual remarks was convicted under the state's identity theft statute and sentenced to juvenile detention and probation.

But depending on both the offense and the state in which it's committed, criminal penalties for identity theft can be far more serious -- and potentially costly too. Here's what you need to know:

A Tennessee mother has been arrested on drug assault charges after giving birth to a "meth baby" who tested positive for amphetamines.

Mallory Loyola, 26, of Madisonville, admitted to Monroe County sheriff's deputies that she'd smoked meth "three to four days" before the birth of her daughter. The Tennessean reports that Loyola is the first to be charged under a new Tennessee law aimed at mothers of drug babies.

What is this new law, and how does it relate to the meth baby's mother?

A Filipino man was killed after being sucker-punched in NYC on Saturday, leaving some to wonder whether the incident was a hate crime.

The punch knocked Roberto Martires, 56, to the pavement; he succumbed to his injuries Tuesday. Friends say Martires' attacker confronted him outside a Filipino eatery and asked him, "Are you Filipino?" When Martires said he was, "the suspect clocked him," friends told the New York Daily News.

Police, however, attributed the fatal punch to "revelry after the World Cup," and are not investigating the incident as a hate crime. Why not?

The father of a Georgia toddler who died after being left in a hot car for seven hours is being charged with felony murder.

After finding evidence that the child's death was not an accident as 33-year-old Justin Ross Harris had claimed, police arrested Harris and charged him with second degree cruelty to a child, along with murder under the "felony murder" rule.

What is the felony murder rule, and how is it being applied in this case?

You probably have a mental checklist of precautions you take to keep your house safe from break-ins while you're on vacation: have the post office hold your mail, put your lights on timers, ask the neighbors to keep an eye on things. But law-enforcement agencies are urging summer vacationers to add another precaution to their list: Watch what you share on social media.

Along with your friends, family, and co-workers, your social media feeds may also be monitored by criminals waiting for their chance to strike, as police in Riley County, Kansas, have warned. And they're not alone.

Here are some social media tips when going on vacation this summer:

A Florida man who allegedly threw hot grits on his victim has been charged with attempted second-degree murder.

Edward Holley, 60, of Orlando, was arrested after taking a hot pan of grease and grits and tossing it on a man who was standing on his front porch. The victim, Darryl Blacknell, received second- and third-degree burns from the scorching Southern comfort food, reports The Associated Press.

How did this strange food assault turn into an attempted murder charge?