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

Recently in Law Enforcement Category

The 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland has been the site of countless protests and counter-protests by both demonstrators and delegates inside and outside the convention. And if you're wondering about the legality of these protests, we've got you covered. (If you're wondering about the legality of plagiarizing a speech, or using a band's song without permission, we've also got you covered, here and here.)

To make sure you don't violate the laws while making your voice heard, check out these five things you need to know about legally protesting, at conventions and elsewhere:

Can Police Force Catheterized Urine Collection in DUI Cases?

How determined should authorities be to collect evidence from a reluctant suspect? Should they be allowed to strap someone down on a hospital gurney and take urine using a catheter without the person's permission but with a warrant? What if the warrant doesn't specify catheterization but simply authorizes police to collect blood or urine generally?

These are the questions that one South Dakota defendant, Dirk Landon Sparks, is asking after undergoing a forced catheterization to collect his urine in a DUI case. He seeks to have the warrant quashed and the evidence against him suppressed, saying that the Constitution's Fourth Amendment reasonableness requirement makes no allowances for such an invasive procedure. Let's consider his claims.

Normally, when you think of good guys using tech to take out bad guys, you think of drone strikes on terrorists overseas. And, intentionally and sometimes accidentally, those drone strikes have started to hit a little closer to home -- targeting and killing American citizens, but not on American soil, yet.

But in the aftermath of the Dallas sniper attack on police, local law enforcement deployed an explosive-carrying bomb robot and detonated it near the suspect, killing him. Many believe it marks the first time officers have used a robot to kill a suspect, and some are worried about whether the police will expand the use of this kind of lethal tech in the future.

Arrested for Resisting Arrest: What You Need to Know

Luckily for many of us, the absurdities of the criminal justice system are an abstraction. If charges sometimes seem farcical from a distance, we don't worry because we don't think we'll be arrested. But some cases highlight issues in the system that cannot be ignored, and with protests happening all around the country, it seems like a good time to understand the crime of resisting arrest.

Justice Department Investigates Police Killing of Alton Sterling

Cell phone videos captured by citizen reporters show us cops on the job. Sometimes what we see is awful. Yesterday, such a video emerged, showing footage of two Louisiana police officers shooting Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man, father of five, as he's pinned on the ground.

The Daily Beast spoke to Abdullah Muflahi, the convenience store owner who on Tuesday night in Baton Rouge filmed police killing his friend outside his shop. "It was a nightmare, it was a nightmare," Muflahi said. "I kept expecting to wake up."

The U.S. Justice Department has announced that it will investigate the killing. The conduct of the two police officers will be scrutinized by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI.

What Happens If I Refuse to Take a Breathalyzer?

It's a free country and you can do what you want, more or less. But if you are driving, that's a privilege and you must do what the state wants if you want to be able to stay on the road.

Refusing a breathalyzer has consequences for your life and your license, but people do it all the time. Let's consider the controversial tests and the critical concept linked to them, implied consent.

Police Use Mobile Cameras to Make Parks Safer This Summer

It is summertime but the livin' is not necessarily easy for police. In fact, the summer months can be particularly tough for cops because more people are out on the streets, kids are out of school, and everyone's just hanging around waiting for something to happen.

This summer, there are some law enforcement agencies who are enlisting the assistance of mobile electronic surveillance units that will allow them to keep an eye on everyone, even when officers are not around. If it sounds a little creepy, that's because it is. But actually the cameras are expected to make cities safer for people, and some residents are pleased, according to KRQE in New Mexico.

Why FBI Hate Crime Data Doesn't Reflect Reality

Local law enforcement is supposed to report hate crimes to the FBI so that it can get a handle on how many people nationally are targeted every year for who they are. What makes a hate crime special and deserving of this extra attention is that it's motivated by hate for the victim's race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.

But according to the Associated Press, about 17 percent of local agencies have submitted no reports in six years, which makes it much more difficult to assess and address hate nationwide. It's not even clear how many incidents actually occur, much less what to do about them. The AP's investigation identified more than 2,700 city police and county sheriff's departments across the country that have not submitted a single hate crime report for the FBI's annual crime tally in years.

Should You Ever Call the Cops on Your Kid?

Does your teenager scare you? That is unfortunately common. Kids go through many changes in their teenage years that can make them strangers to their parents, who just try to accept and redirect the kids.

But when defiance turns into criminal behavior, you feel compelled to do something to set your kid straight. Should you call the cops? Maybe you should -- certainly some teens do things that warrant involving the authorities. But think carefully. There are risks.

Are People Ever Arrested for No Reason?

Technically, no one ever gets arrested for nothing. An arrest must be based on probable cause, and cause can be based on a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing and other evidence articulated by a police officer. But over-zealous officers do exist and the police can make mistakes.

Sometimes the mistakes are grave and result in serious injustices, even death. Sometimes the mistake is less extreme, but people still suffer unnecessarily. Innocent people suspected of committing a crime do end up doing jail time. Let's look at two alarming and instructive examples from The Huffington Post's collection of unnecessary arrest stories from around the country.