FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

May 2010 Archives

CA Challenged by Monitoring Internet Use and Sex Offenders

Keeping sexual predators off of social networks and monitoring Internet use may be a challenge for California, as critics and parole agents take a closer look at the state's new measure to limit sex offenders' Internet use.

The bill moving through the Legislature prohibits child molesters from using social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook and presents a challenge for CA enforcement, the San Diego Tribune reports.

Former LA Attorney Richard Fine Jailed Indefinitely

The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates once famously said, "Nothing is to be preferred before justice." Former attorney Richard Fine seems to share more than a belief in this maxim with Socrates. Like the philosopher, Fine too believes he is unjustly imprisoned and refuses to take the easiest way out. Is Richard Fine crazy, or simply passionate about justice?  

New CA Sex Offender Law May Require Marked ID

New sex offender laws in California may require sexual predators to carry new specially marked IDs. 

California lawmakers are backing new legislation requiring marked IDs for sex offenders.

A new full legislative package was rolled out on National Missing Children's Day and endorsed by Maurice Dubois, father of slain Escondido teenager Amber Dubois, the Associated Press reports.

Plan to Buy Illinois State Prison on Track

The White House is keeping its plan on track to buy an Illinois state prison to incarcerate prisoners, possibly including Gitmo Bay detainees.

President Barack Obama is forging ahead with the plan to buy Thomson Illinois state prison, and to upgrade and convert it to house federal inmates which may or may not include the Gitmo detainees, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Thiopental Sodium Shortage May Delay Executions in AZ

A shortage in thiopental sodium, the drug used in lethal injection procedures may put executions in Arizona on hold a while longer.

Executions were set to resume after three years and a period of legal wrestling over an acceptable method of lethal injection, but a worldwide shortage of thiopental sodium may cause delay, the Arizona Republic reports.

FBI: Violent Crimes and Property Crimes Down in 2009

Violent crimes in the U.S. dropped last year and property crimes declined as well, according to the latest crime statistics and data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The FBI reports that the decrease in violent crimes last year extends a downward trend for the third straight annual decline and a seventh straight annual decline for property crimes, Reuters reports.

Poll Shows CA Voters Split Over Measure to Legalize Pot

A new poll shows that CA voters are split over whether to legalize pot.

The Public Policy Institute of California surveyed voters and found that 49% think marijuana use should be made legal, 48% do not and 3% do not know, Los Angeles Times reports.

VA Gov. Pledges Faster Felon Voting Rights

In Virginia, nonviolent felons may have their right to vote restored within 60 days and Gov. Robert McDonnell has pledged to make it happen. 

The rights-restoration process would be eons faster than the two or three year long wait it typically takes for nonviolent felons to have their civil rights restored, the Washington Post reports.

House Bill Would Legalize Online Gambling

Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes crimes out of things that are not crimes. -- Abraham Lincoln.  

President Lincoln was never a big fan of prohibition as he said in this famous quote. Perhaps Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash) should look to Lincoln for guidance as he tries to push Congress to legalize online gambling. His bill supports the legalization, regulation and taxation of online gambling in the United States.

TN Gov Phil Bredesen Vetos New Guns in Bars Bill

As it stands, Tennesseans will not be allowed to take their guns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, thanks to a veto of a bill by Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The Democratic governor says "guns and alcohol don't mix" and now the state's 270,000 handgun permit holders cannot go armed into establishments licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption, the Associated Press reports.

New CA Sex Offender Law Comes with Large Price Tag

California's newly proposed sex offender law, known as Chelsea's Law, comes with an expensive price tag that could cost taxpayers tens of millions annually.

The cost information comes from a recently released fiscal report, which supporters of the legislation say is a small price to pay to for the protection of children. But, opponents argue, it will force the state to make tough decisions and slash other equally important social service programs, the San Diego News reports. 

CA State Assembly Adds Homeless to Hate Protections

The California State Assembly approved a bill to combat hate-based violence against the homeless.

The legislation would increase civil rights protections for the homeless by allowing the homeless to sue for larger sums of damages if they are targeted in an attack, the Associated Press reports.

Sheriff: SF Should Honor Sanctuary City Policy

The San Francisco sheriff is looking to opt out of the Secure Communities program and says the city should honor its sanctuary city policy.

The federal program scheduled to begin on June 1, which uses the fingerprints of arrestees to check their immigration status, undermines San Francisco's long-standing sanctuary city policy, the Associated Press reports.

Car Bomber Suspect Faisal Shahzad Eyed Other Targets

Times Square car bomber suspect Faisal Shahzad eyed other targets before his failed attack, investigators said.

The Pakistani-born American, Faisal Shahzad, is accused of attempting to set off a car bomb and considered other targets in and around New York City area before the failed attack, CNN reports. He is scheduled to appear before a judge to face terrorism charges.

Convicted Sex Offender John Gardner Gets Life in Prison

John Gardner, a convicted child molester, was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King.

Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, John Gardner was spared the death penalty, but denied the possibility of parole, the Los Angeles Times reports.

CVS Manager Reportedly Kills Shoplifter Over Toothpaste

The Chicago police and CVS Pharmacies are under fire after a CVS manager chased a shoplifter and choked him to death, even as an off-duty sheriff's officer stood on the scene with a loaded handgun drawn at her side. Anthony Kyser, 35, was killed after stealing toothpaste and crayons from a CVS store. The officer shouted "stop resisting," but did not otherwise intervene.  

New Virginia Council to Coordinate Re-Entry Programs

A new Virginia council will look at ways to keep prisoners out of prison and more closely coordinate re-entry programs statewide.

Gov. Bob McDonnell created the state's first Virginia Prisoner and Juvenile Offender Re-Entry Council by issuing and executive order, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Governor McDonnell hopes the council will find ways to keep prisoners out of jail and to discourage repeat offenders.

CA Assembly Approves Food Stamps Bill for Drug Felons

The California State Assembly has approved a bill allowing persons convicted of drug felonies to receive federal food stamps.

The legislation was approved by the State Assembly in a 42-23 vote and was sent to the Senate. The bill allows California to opt out of a law that under federally funded programs, people convicted of drug felonies are banned from receiving aid after they leave prison, the Associated Press reports.

Gov. Schwarzenegger: House Felons in County Jails

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California is looking for ways to shrink a nearly $20 billion deficit and has proposed a plan to put non-violent felons in county jails.

Under the governor's latest plan, about 15,000 non-violent felons would be housed in county jails for up to three years, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Record Year for PA State Police DUI Busts

The Pennsylvania State Police are on a streak, reaching their eighth consecutive record-breaking year for DUI busts.

The PA State Police credit better vigilance in their efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road, reducing the number of alcohol-related crashes, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Sex Offenders Difficult to Track under Jessica's Law

The job of tracking California's sexually violent predators is no easy feat. In fact, many argue that Jessica's Law has made it all the more difficult for state parole investigators.

The law requires sex offenders to return to the county where they were convicted. In addition, Jessica's Law mandates they cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school, park or playground, which has made tracking sex offenders a daunting task for parole investigators because such sex offenders are more likely to become homeless, reports KTVU.

NY Lawmakers Propose Expansion of DNA Law

New York lawmakers have proposed an expansion of the state's DNA law requiring police to take samples from those charged with serious felonies.

The proposed bill would help to expand the state's DNA database, ultimately aiming to close thousands of unsolved cases, give justice to grieving families and put felons behind bars, the Albany Times Union reports.

Federal Appeals Court Refuses Rod Blagojevich Trial Delay

Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will not get the trial delay he was hoping for as a federal appeals court turned down his request.

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impending corruption trial is scheduled to begin on June 3 and will not be postponed while the U.S. Supreme Court resolves challenges to the federal honest services fraud law, the Associated Press reports.

CA Plans Quick Response to Find Missing Children

California plans to unveil a legislative package designed to help law enforcement respond quickly to find missing children.

The father of slain teenager Amber Dubois is working with lawmakers to unveil a full package on May 25, National Missing Children's Day, the San Diego Times Union reports.

AZ Launches Inmate Electronic Medical Record System

Maricopa County officials are set to tackle jail inmate care with a new $10 million electronic medical records system.

The electronic medical records system is designed to improve inmate care and is being rolled out after officials failed to properly document and manage medical data for thousands of jail inmates, the Arizona Republic reports.

Federal Bill Would Revoke Citizenship of Terrorists

Lawmakers have introduced a federal bill that would revoke the citizenship of people who provide support to terrorists.

The proposal is in reaction to the Times Square car bomber suspect Faisal Shahzad, who is a Pakistani-born American. It also has set off set off much legal and political debate, according to the New York Times. The new federal bill would remove American citizenship from terrorists' allies.

San Francisco No Longer a Sanctuary City

San Francisco will be joining a new national fingerprinting program next month that will undo its long-standing city sanctuary policy.

Under a new federal program, Secure Communities will automatically link the fingerprint databases of state justice departments with a database used by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, known as ICE, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Should Congress Loosen the Miranda Rule?

The Obama administration is considering a more flexible Miranda rule when it comes to handling terrorism suspects.

The proposal, supported by Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., is before Congress and would allow investigators to interrogate terrorism suspects before advising them of their rights, the New York Times reports.

Ohio Man Freed by DNA Evidence After 29 Years in Prison

Ray Towler is not only a free man after serving 29 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, but the Cleveland native will be sitting courtside to watch LeBron James play game five of the Cavs/Celtics series.

That's just one of the perks that comes along with Ray Towler's new found freedom after the Ohio man was proved innocent by DNA evidence and testing, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

DC Council Approves Medical Marijuana Use

The Washington D.C. city council has approved medical marijuana use and is set to join California and the 13 other states that already allow residents to legally obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes.

The District of Columbia Council approved a measure legalizing marijuana for medical use and now the bill goes to Mayor Adrian M. Fenty to sign into law, the Washington Post reports.

Police Use Social Network Tool for Public Updates

As we have discussed, police use social network sites to plan covert operations and catch criminals, but now they are also using Facebook and Twitter to communicate valuable information and public updates.

The Sacramento Police Department is at the forefront of law enforcement agencies around the country posting real-time updates about traffic accidents and officer-involved shootings, the Associated Press reports.

Murder Suspect Charged in Lacrosse Player Death

Despite murder suspect George Huguely being charged in the death of a former lacrosse player, the games will go on for the Virginia men's and women's lacrosse teams.

By competing in the upcoming tournaments, the lacrosse community plans to honor the memory of former women's lacrosse player Yeardley Love. The 22-year-old senior's battered body was found was discovered in her off-campus apartment. Love's ex-boyfriend and a member of the men's team, George Huguely, was charged in her death, the Associated Press reports.

Homeless Could Be Added to CA Hate Crime Laws

Attacks against the homeless are no different than racially or ethnically motivated crimes and should be added to hate crime laws, carrying with them stiffer prison terms.

That's what California homeless advocates argue and they are seeking ways to protect homeless from crime by supporting a new state bill, the Associated Press reports.

Smoking Ban at CA State Parks Gets Vetoed

Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed a measure that would have banned smoking at CA state parks and beaches.

The measure crossed the line of government intrusion and Schwarzenegger's move to veto the bill came as a surprise to many who supported the legislation, the Associated Press reports.

LA Puts Medical Pot Shops on Notice

The city of Los Angeles is moving forward with its plan to shut down hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries.

Collectives across the city were informed that they must close their businesses in order to comply with a recently approved city medical marijuana ordinance, the Associated Press reports.

Alleged Car Bomber Faisal Shahzad Faces Terrorism Charges

Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen who hails from Pakistan was arrested as the suspected car bomber in the Times Square plot and faces terrorism charges.

Faisal Shahzad admitted his role in the failed attempt to explode a car bomb in Manhattan's theater district in the heart of Times Square, the Associated Press reports.

NC Sees Death Penalty Cases Decline

Death penalty cases have dwindled in North Carolina over the past decade.

Several reasons have factored into the decline of the death sentence including prosecutors seeking death sentences less often and juries voting less frequently for death penalties, the News Observer reports.

IL Pedestrian Law: Drivers Must Stop at Crosswalks


That's what Illinois drivers will now have to do under the new pedestrian law requiring drivers to stop at crosswalks even when there are no traffic signals or stop signs, the Chicago-Sun Times reports.

CA Offers New Lethal Injection Guidelines

Executions have been on hold in California for nearly four years but may resume in the near future as the California Department of Corrections has offered its new lethal injection procedures.

The revised execution guidelines make changes in the death chamber procedures and address concerns that the three-drug procedure is "cruel and unusual," the Los Angeles Times reports.

MI Governor Granholm Signs Texting While Driving Bill

Michigan became the 19th state to ban texting while driving when Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a new bill into law.

Gov. Granholm signed the new bill on national television during a safe driving rally that was broadcasted on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the Detroit Free Press reports. The new law aims to promote better driving habits and reduce the number of accidents.