Crime in the News - FindLaw Blotter
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Repo Gone Wrong Ends in Manslaughter Charges

Would you die to save your car from a repo agent? That is what happened this week when a woman in Pleasant Grove, Utah crashed her vehicle during a high speed chase — she was trying to get away from a man who came to her door to repossess the vehicle.

Now Ashleigh Best, 35, is dead, and Kenneth Drew, 49, is in jail on manslaughter charges. He denies driving Best to her death, reports the Daily Mail. Let’s consider this tragic accident and the legal limits on repossession.

Making Matters Worse: An Illustrative DUI

Some news stories read like a small-time crime primer, an illustration of how not to handle legal problems. This case arising out of Orange, California is one of those, a suspected DUI involving a driver on a suspended license who failed to appear in court on a prior reckless driving charge.

Stephanie Marie De Rosas, 32, was arrested on suspicion of DUI last week, reports KTLA5, after she was involved in a three-car crash with one fatality. While DUI is relatively common, De Rosas's checkered past, and most importantly her failure to face facts and resolve the prior matter, means more trouble for her.

Founder of For-Profit College Gets Prison Time

It turns out that the last stop on the FastTrain education is a federal prison for the founder. No, it's not for failure to put a space between Fast and Train, although that's criminal for a college name!

Last week, NPR reported that Alejandro Amor was sentenced to eight years in prison on fraud charges after his for-profit college in Miami, Florida was found to have obtained millions of dollars in federal funding based on false claims. The school enrolled ineligible students and hired strippers to work as recruiters, among other practices.

Is It Illegal to Track People With an App?

Every move you make and every picture you take is posted online, so do you mind if people are tracking you? There are more than a dozen smartphone applications on the market that allow people to spy on you surreptitiously and many more with various tracking abilities requiring your consent.

The Government Accountability Office just reviewed 40 such tracking apps at the request of the Senate Judiciary Committee, finding possible violations of federal wiretapping laws and stalking statutes when the apps are used as suggested. The authorities also discovered a sneaky way companies get around liability for the fact that their apps facilitate illegal activities, reports Consumerist. But that doesn't mean you can break the law.

Miami Police Major's Son Arrested for Suspected Drug Dealing

Dealing drugs is a dangerous business and you can't count on not getting caught. Not even if you are the son of a Miami-Dade Police Department major and have other relatives on the force, and especially not if you leave evidence of your business lying around the house.

Last month in Florida, Tyler Palmer, 20, was arrested on suspicion of dealing drugs after a raid on his home yielded cocaine, marijuana, pills, and cash. The raid was initiated after an Internal Affairs investigation, reports the Miami Herald, but Palmer's dad and other relatives on the force are not considered involved for now.

Eulalio Tordil, a law enforcement officer with the Federal Protective Service, is in custody following three deadly shootings in Maryland over the last two days. Tordil allegedly shot and killed his wife Thursday evening, then killed two more at two separate mall shootings that also left two injured.

The Prince George's County Police Department is "investigating a possible link" between the shootings -- the first of which was in a high school parking lot and the others at a mall and supermarket -- but it was not immediately clear that the killings are related.

Feds Punish NY Corruption: Sheldon Silver Sentenced to 12 Years

Sheldon Silver, former New York Assembly Speaker, knows the legal system very well. But this week he became intimately familiar with an aspect of the law that was previously only an abstraction to him -- federal criminal sentencing statutes.

Silver, who was just one of many local politicians caught up in an anti-corruption sweep by the local US Attorney General for the Southern District of New York, was hit hard. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption and, reports The New York Times, the judge seemed particularly perturbed by Silver's determination to do wrong.

Misdemeanors Are an Obstacle to Employment in Many States

A misdemeanor on your criminal record is not a bar to most types of employment, or it should not be, and many states have laws that govern how or if employers can consider these. Despite that, a new study reveals that in many states across the country a minor offense presents a major obstacle to licensing and certification for certain jobs.

Although 40 states have laws governing the consideration of criminal records in employment, the problem is reportedly widespread. According to the study by the National Employment Law Project, reported in The Wall Street Journal, the majority of state licensing boards do consider criminal records to deny people licenses to work in healthcare and education.

Ohio Police Unravel Family Massacre, Slowly

Last week eight members of one family, the Rhodens, were executed in Ohio, in four different homes on the same night. Local authorities still haven't found the killer or killers, and all of Pike County, the rural Ohio region where the slayings took place, is reportedly on edge.

There is reason to believe that the murders may have had to do with illegal marijuana growing operations allegedly discovered on the properties where the Rhodens were murdered. There are also stories in the media about the Rhoden family teenage boys being fighters. But despite massive law enforcement efforts, the investigation is moving slowly, writes ABC News, and little is known for sure.

Is It Illegal to Tell Someone to Commit Suicide?

There's a case in Massachusetts juvenile criminal court that's creepier than most horror movies. It's the bizarre story of a suicidal teenager and his girlfriend who texted encouragement while he killed himself.

She is 17-year-old Michelle Carter, and she faces involuntary manslaughter charges for her electronic missives, telling Conrad Roy III, "The time is right and you're ready." The case is alarming for what it may say about communication today but also, reports Vice, because of the legal issues it raises.