Law Enforcement - FindLaw Blotter
FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

Recently in Law Enforcement Category

What Is Constructive Possession?

Constructive possession is often thrown around in criminal cases where a person is charged with the illegal possession of something that wasn't in his or her actual possession.

The distinction can be hard to ferret out at times, but constructive possession is, in many cases, just as effective as actual possession in obtaining a conviction.

So what are some examples of constructive possession?

As the dust settles on the Supreme Court's ruling in Heien v. North Carolina, privacy and civil rights advocates are worried about how "mistakes of law" could allow officers to abuse suspects.

The Washington Post reports that although the basic reasoning of the case is simple, "it leaves some complications." The basic ruling: Officers can have reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle based on a reasonably mistaken view of the law.

As for the complications, here are five things to know about the Supreme Court's "mistake of law" ruling:

Police don't have to arrest you to get you to talk. Often they simply ask you to come down to the station for questioning.

Here's the funny thing about our legal system: This "request" is considered just as legally binding as an invitation from your neighbor to come gossip about the new house across the street. And correspondingly, police need not read you your Miranda rights, arrest you, or tell you to call a lawyer if you decide to come in and speak with them.

So can you say "no" to a police request for questioning?

Dollree Mapp, the appellant in a groundbreaking case, Mapp v. Ohio, which fundamentally strengthened our Fourth Amendment rights, has passed away.

Despite being in a landmark Supreme Court case, it took about a month after Mapp's death for the media to take notice. The New York Times reports that Mapp was believed to be 90 or 91 when she died October 31 in or near Conyers, Georgia.

In remembrance, let's review the Mapp case and all it has done for civil rights.

Scientists at Washington State University are reportedly developing a marijuana breathalyzer device that would allow law enforcement to test drivers for marijuana intoxication.

Breathalyzers are currently one of the methods used to test the blood alcohol concentration of a driver suspected of DUI. But Washington State University scientists believe that same technology can be repurposed to allow for the officers to determine marijuana intoxication, reports The Seattle Times.

What should you know about this marijuana breathalyzer and marijuana DUIs in general? Here are five things to keep in mind:

A jail guard for New York City's Rikers Island unit was arrested Monday in connection with the overheating death of a mentally ill prisoner earlier this year.

Carol Lackner, 34, was stationed in a special jail unit for mentally ill inmates and has been accused of falsifying records to make it seem as if she was checking on inmates when she wasn't. Lackner was tasked with checking on ex-Marine Jerome Murdough, 56, every half-hour in February, when he roasted to death inside his 101-degree cell.

What criminal charges is Lackner facing for Murdough's death?

Police body cameras are being put forward as a possible solution to the growing problem of police brutality and misconduct in America.

President Obama announced Monday that the White House would call for $75 million to be allocated over the next three years to purchase 50,000 recording devices. According to The Washington Post, after incidents like the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, "there is no longer a question" about whether police body cameras will become the new standard.

But what should defendants and victims of police misconduct know about police body cameras?

The holiday season has various traditional recipes and rituals attached to it, not least of which is holiday drinking.

Mulled wine, spiked cider, and of course eggnog play a large role in many holiday parties. But as you may learn, these drinks do not mix well with those who plan to drive.

Check out our take on these five alcoholic holiday drinks which might put you at risk for intoxicated driving:

A grand jury has decided not to bring criminal charges against the white New York City police officer videotaped applying a chokehold to an unarmed black man who was fatally injured in the struggle.

The man killed in the incident, 43-year-old Eric Garner, was suspected of selling loose cigarettes on the street, reports The New York Times. The decision not to indict the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, comes less than two weeks after the grand jury in Ferguson, Mo. also declined to bring criminal charges against a white officer, Darren Wilson, who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.

What led to the grand jury's decision not to indict Pantaleo?

A child who was carrying a fake gun died from his wounds on Sunday after being shot by an Ohio police officer on a playground.

Tamir Rice, 12, was identified by the Cuyahoga County medical examiner as the victim of this fatal shooting, which occurred outside of Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday. According to The Associated Press, officers were responding to a 911 call that a boy was pointing a pistol that was "probably fake" and scaring others.

Were the officers within the law when Rice was shot and killed?