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Homemade Drug Laws

The first thing that pops into most people's minds when they think about homemade drugs is Walter White, or some less glamorous meth lab in someone's kitchen. And it's true that quite a few folks are cooking up illegal drugs at home using completely legal ingredients they bought online or in stores.

But is it possible you could be making a homemade drug and not even know it?

Seven members of a non-profit organization in Tampa, Florida, with a mission of feeding the homeless were arrested last week for feeding the homeless, again. The organization, Food Not Bombs, has gotten in trouble regularly for this exact problem, like many other individuals and small groups that seek to make an immediate impact by feeding the homeless. In Tampa, in order to legally serve or share food in a public park, a group must obtain a special permit to do so. Technically, the group's members were arrested for not obtaining that special permit.

In Orlando, half a decade ago, the same group faced this exact same issue of a local ordinance requiring a permit to feed the homeless in a public park. The court reasoned that because the restriction imposed by the city was reasonable in time, place, and manner, that there was no constitutional violation.

Three Miami police officers are probably wishing they had a better sense of humor after their poor attempts got them fired. Because of their bad jokes, the Miami police department is recovering from an embarrassing incident where the three young officers made offensive, racist statements in a text message group chat with other officers.

Although it is sadly not uncommon to hear about racism within the ranks of law enforcement, the context of this incident is both alarming and shocking. The officers involved were jokingly discussing using two predominantly African-American neighborhoods for shooting/target practice. While the officers insisted that they were joking, the department found the "jokes" in such poor taste that the officers were fired after an internal affairs investigation.

Despite the rigorous regulations designed to protect against fraud in the medical and drug treatment industry, greedy individuals will always find ways to perpetrate scams. In Palm Beach, Florida, operators of sober homes, also known as halfway homes, as well as drug treatment centers, have been swept up in a recent sting operation designed to target a dangerous unregulated nexus between the two types of facilities. Sober homes have operated largely unregulated in Florida, and as a result, have been ripe for criminals looking to take advantage of the system.

Over ten individuals have now been arrested thus far in the Florida sting. Most of the arrests are centered around the crime of patient brokering and insurance fraud. Patient brokering involves medical facilities, like drug treatment centers, paying other facilities, such as sober homes, kickbacks, or referral fees, for sending patients with good insurance their way.

Of all the places to give birth, jail sounds the least appealing. While jails and prisons in every state are required to provide medical care for their inmates, the way pregnancy and birth are handled varies quite a bit from state to state. Perhaps one of the most shocking practices that is allowed in over half the states is restraining or shackling an expectant mother, even while in labor, to the bed.

When it comes to questionable policies, it doesn't end there either. Some states only provide 24 hours of bonding time with the newborn, while others may provide for 48 or 72 hours. Only 10 states have programs that allow mothers to stay with the newborns beyond 72 hours, with New York being the most generous, allowing up to four years. Despite solid medical evidence that allowing newborns and mothers to have continued contact benefits both mother and child, most states do not have nursery programs, nor the means to provide childcare.

Unfortunately, despite the policies and duties that are in place, all too often, due to the deliberate indifference of correctional officers or prison administration, inmate pregnancies can go horribly wrong.

Despite how rare it actually is that a criminal conviction will be based upon a fingerprint, thanks to the popularity of televised cop dramas, some would-be criminals go to extreme lengths to avoid fingerprint detection. Over the last few decades, numerous stories have emerged of criminals literally cutting and burning off their fingerprints. Shockingly, even plastic surgeons are being asked to help alter fingerprints.

Technically there is no law against a person altering or changing their fingerprints. However, other laws may be able to use an altered print as evidence for another crime. Also, it should be noted that changing a fingerprint does not remove a fingerprint. So after a fingerprint has been altered, a person will continue to leave fingerprints. If a person has changed their fingerprints, it is likely that any prints they leave will be more identifiable than they were before.

Additionally, fingerprints cover a person's entire finger and palm, and those with altered fingerprints may find themselves getting their full hand "fingerprinted." Simply the edges of a person's fingerprint, if not completely changed, can lead to a positive identification.

When a jury is asked to deliberate after hearing the evidence at a trial, they are instructed to apply the facts to the law in order to reach their decision. Judges actually provide juries with written instructions on the legal claims, which usually provide step-by-step explanations on how to apply the case facts to the law. However, on rare occasion, a jury will disregard the law, disregard the instructions, and reach a decision that is at odds with the evidence.

When a jury refuses to convict despite the evidence clearly showing a defendant's guilt, it is called jury nullification. Significantly, when a criminal jury acquits a criminal defendant, double jeopardy attaches and the prosecution cannot appeal or retry the case.

During the holidays, it's not uncommon for cities across the country to see upticks in crime rates. Typical holiday crimes tend to involve either theft or poor decisions. While you may not be able to safeguard yourself from everything, knowing about the common holiday crimes might be enough to prevent becoming a victim.

Below, you'll find 5 common holiday crimes that everyone should know about.

Two unlucky burglars got way more than they bargained for when they broke into the Gas bike shop in Orange County, Florida last week. The pair of burglars found the shop's owner lying in wait, gun in hand, and it only got crazier from there.

The bike shop owner had a few prior break-ins and was justifiably paranoid that it would happen again. As a preventative measure, he began sleeping in his store, with a gun. When the burglars broke in, he allegedly held the two men at gun point, forced them to strip down to their underwear, then marched them into the bathroom where he beat them, while still holding them at gun point. The shopkeeper did not call the police until some time had elapsed and his brother and brother's girlfriend arrived at the store.

Obviously criminals shouldn't profit from their crimes. And I think that we can all agree that a car used in a drive-by shooting or purchased with money from a bank robbery can be confiscated by police. But what about when law enforcement seizes assets before a criminal conviction, or before criminal charges are even filed?

Recent studies are showing law enforcement officials are taking advantage of civil forfeiture laws more than ever. In fact, citizens lost more property to police in 2014 than they did to burglars. And new information is coming to light indicating police are seizing assets from people without any proof of a crime. So how is all this even legal?