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November 2013 Archives

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Thanksgiving DUI Turkey

Every year families and friends gather on Thanksgiving to gorge themselves on turkey and various carbohydrates (maybe an occasional Brussels sprout) and sometimes, consuming a good deal of alcohol. Each year the President also selects and pardons turkeys from their roasted or fried fates, but you can't count on a presidential pardon for if you're caught driving drunk on Thursday night.

Don't be a turkey, follow these five ways to avoid a Thanksgiving DUI:

Deli Owners Stole Customer's $1M Lotto Ticket: Cops

Two New York deli owners who allegedly tried to steal a man's winning million-dollar lotto ticket are now facing felony theft charges.

The owners of the Peninsula Deli and Grocery in Hempstead -- Nabil Jabhab, 57, and his son Karim, 26 -- are charged with grand larceny on allegations that they attempted to scam a customer out of his million-dollar winnings, reports The Associated Press.

Is stealing a lotto ticket (which cost the customer $10) really grand larceny?

Do Domestic Abuse Rates Rise Over the Holidays?

For many, Thanksgiving is a special time for family and friends to come together, break bread and enjoy each other's company. However, the holiday season can be a uniquely challenging period for victims of domestic violence.

Statistically speaking, though, are the holidays a particularly dangerous time of the year when it comes to domestic abuse?

Driver Tweets '2 Drunk 2 Care,' Then Kills 2

A mere three hours after Kayla Mendoza tweeted "2 drunk 2 care," her car smashed into another vehicle, killing two 21-year-olds. If Mendoza is charged, can her tweet be used against her in court?

Investigators say Mendoza, 20, of Hallandale Beach, was driving the wrong way on Florida's Sawgrass Expressway when she crashed November 17, killing Kaitlyn Ferrante and Marisa Catronio. Mendoza is being treated at a hospital; it's not yet clear if she was driving under the influence, ABC News reports.

As the investigation continues, many may be wondering: Will the smoking gun tweet be admissible evidence?

5 Ways Black Friday Can Get You Arrested

Black Friday can bring out the worst in holiday shoppers, and in some cases, it can also land you in police custody.

As a bit of a pre-Black Friday warning, here are five ways your shopping frenzy can get you arrested:

3 Charged in San Jose State Univ. Hate Crime

Learning how to live with your college roommates is a common struggle, especially during your first year. But for one freshman at San Jose State University, the experience entailed an unbearable series of alleged hate crimes including Nazi symbols and the "N-word."

The roommates from hell -- Logan Beaschler, 18, of Bakersfield; Joseph Bomgardner, 19, of Clovis; and Colin Warren, 18, of Woodacre (Marin County) -- have been charged with misdemeanor hate-crime and battery for their racially motivated hazing, reports CNN.

2 Teens Cleared in Fla. Cyberbullying Case

After an extensive investigation, Florida prosecutors dropped all charges against the two girls involved in a tragic Florida cyberbullying case. The case, which gained national media attention, revolved around the death of 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick, who jumped from a cement plant tower in September.

The Polk County state attorney's office dropped the charges of aggravated stalking against the girls, ages 12 and 14.

With the two cleared of any wrongdoing, will the girls now turn the legal tables on the Polk County Sheriff's Office?

What Is an Alcohol Tether or SCRAM Bracelet?

Do you know what an alcohol tether is? Also called a SCRAM bracelet, it's a tool to monitor a person's alcohol use after a DUI conviction.

A Michigan woman recently learned first-hand how they work. After Brenda Conway pleaded guilty to OWI (operating while intoxicated, Michigan's version of a DUI), a judge ordered her to wear an alcohol tether until her sentencing next month, Detroit's WWJ Newsradio reports.

So what is an alcohol tether, and how do they work?

Dad Arrested for Picking Up Kids at School on Foot

A Tennessee dad was arrested last week for violating a school policy that prohibits parents from picking up kids at school on foot ahead of parents picking their children up by car.

Jim Howe, 40, of Crossville, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct after he got into an argument with School Resource Officer Avery Aytes over the policy.

But did the officer have a justified reason for arresting Howe for disorderly conduct?

When Are Police Allowed to Open Fire?

When are police officers allowed to fire their weapons?

In America, we allow our law enforcement officers to carry and use firearms in order to protect public safety. But there are limits to when police are allowed to use deadly force -- the kind that comes from the barrel of a gun.

So in which types of situations are cops legally allowed to open fire?

Zimmerman Charged With Assault, Released on Bond

George Zimmerman was in court Tuesday on aggravated assault charges based on allegations that he pointed a gun at his girlfriend during a fight on Monday.

According to The Associated Press, Zimmerman was slapped with the assault charge for allegedly pointing a shotgun at girlfriend Samantha Scheibe after she demanded that he leave her house.

Zimmerman was released Tuesday afternoon on bond, but what lies ahead for the notorious Floridian?

N.M. Cops' Minivan Shooting Comes Under Fire

Two New Mexico State Police officers are being investigated over a minivan shooting that happened last month. One of the officers opened fire on the minivan carrying a mother and her five children.

From engaging in a high speed chase to shooting at a van full of kids, both the mother and the officer are likely to face adult time-outs.

2 Arrested for Facebook Pic of Puppy in Ziploc Bag

A New Mexico mother and son have been arrested for placing an 8-week-old puppy in an open plastic bag -- a picture of which was posted on Facebook.

Mary Snell, 44, of Albuquerque, and her son James, 21, were arrested Saturday, after the pic showed up on James' Facebook page and someone shared it with authorities. Investigators say the puppy could have suffocated, Albuquerque's KOAT-TV reports.

The pair are now facing felony animal cruelty charges.

PlayStation 4 Shooting Leaves 1 Man Dead

A deal for the sale of a new PS4 video game console ended in a shootout Sunday afternoon in Florida, leaving one man dead and another in the hospital.

Emmanuel Johnson, 25, died in a "shootout" in what Orlando police believe was a conflict between two men over the sale of the newly released Sony PlayStation 4, Orlando's WKMG-TV reports.

Can a sale gone bad be the basis for a potential murder charge?

Homeowner Charged in Renisha McBride's Murder

A Michigan homeowner has been charged with second degree murder for shooting and killing 19-year-old Renisha McBride when she knocked on his door for help earlier this month.

Theodore Wafer, 54, of the Detroit suburb of Dearborn Heights, also faces charges for manslaughter and a felony gun offense for killing McBride with a shotgun blast to the face. The previously unidentified killer turned himself in for arraignment Friday, and is being held on a $250,000 bond, the Detroit Free Press reports.

What do Wafer's charges mean in light of his claims of accidental shooting or self-defense?

Man in Beer Pong League Charged With Sex Abuse

A Maryland man has been charged with sexual assault following allegations that he preyed on college-aged men through his beer pong league.

Joey Poindexter, 38, of Gaithersburg, has been accused by at least three men of targeting them at beer pong tournaments, drinking with them, and having non-consensual sex with them in an intoxicated state, Washington, D.C.'s WRC-TV reports.

Poindexter faces serious charges, and police suspect even more victims have yet to be discovered.

DUI Habitual Offenders: What Are the Consequences?

What is a DUI habitual offender? Ronald Witt of Tigard, Oregon, may be able to answer that question for you, as the habitual offender was recently sentenced to 27 months behind bars, Portland's KATU-TV reports.

Witt, who's had prior DUI convictions, wasn't even drunk when he caused a crash that killed a 52-year-old man from Washington state in August, police say. But at a court hearing last week, Witt showed up reeking of alcohol, which the judge did not find amusing, according to KATU.

Because Witt has at least three prior convictions for DUI and driving with a suspended or revoked license within the past five years, Oregon has labeled him a habitual offender. What does being a habitual offender mean, and what are the consequences for DUI defendants?

Whitey Bulger Gets 2 Life Sentences for Murder

Notorious crime boss Whitey Bulger was sentenced to two life sentences plus five years on Thursday as punishment for his murder and racketeering convictions.

Jurors in August convicted 84-year-old James "Whitey" Bulger for participating in 11 killings in the 1970s and 80s. Bulger will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison, CBS News reports.

How did the court reach Bulger's sentence?

Pot Store Owner Kidnapped, Tortured; 4 Arrested

A California medical marijuana dispensary owner was brutally tortured by kidnappers who allegedly burned the man and cut off his penis for his money.

The Los Angeles Times reports that four people are under arrest in the case. The suspects allegedly plotted to kidnap and torture a "wealthy" pot store owner for "bags of cash" the culprits erroneously believed were hidden in the desert.

What charges have been filed in this bizarre case?

What Happens in a Military DUI Case?

A military DUI can cause a uniformed service member's personal and professional worlds to collide and spark an array of negative consequences.

Here's a breakdown of the two types of military DUI cases along with a run-down of their potential outcomes:

In Car v. Bike Crashes, Why Are Charges So Rare?

Cars and bicycles have never enjoyed a storybook relationship when it comes to sharing the road. But some worry that when the two collide (literally), the driver is often able to avoid criminal charges even when the crash kills or seriously injures the cyclist.

In a recent New York Times opinion piece, San Francisco resident Daniel Duane laid out a number of anecdotes from bikers around the country with one common thread: When cyclists were hit by cars, "no charges, no citation."

Why this "no charges" trend?

Renisha McBride, 19, Killed While Looking for Help

Michigan teenager Renisha McBride was shot and killed by a homeowner after she came to his porch seeking help for her injuries after a car crash.

The yet-unidentified homeowner told police he thought 19-year-old McBride was "trying to break into his home and the shotgun fired accidentally," CBS News reports. McBride died on the man's porch from a lethal shotgun blast to the face.

Will criminal charges be filed against McBride's killer?

5 Common Questions About Courts-Martial

When military service members face courts-martial, they face many of the problems that criminal defendants face in civil courts.

However, the military criminal system can be very different from the civilian court system that most of us are more familiar with.

To illustrate this, here are five questions commonly asked about the court-martial process, and the answers every service member (and civilian) should know:

Arrested at a Protest? What Are Your Rights?

When you're arrested at a protest, what are your rights?

From answering questions to videotaping police, there are certain rights every protester has when he or she is being hauled away in handcuffs.

Here are five constitutional rights every protester should know when it comes to getting arrested:

When Can Police Conduct a Body Cavity Search?

When can police conduct a body cavity search?

A body cavity search is one of the most invasive and humiliating kinds of intrusion a suspect can be subjected to, so the constitutional right to be free of these searches is at its zenith. However, there are a few situations in which, despite Fourth Amendment protections, the police may conduct a reasonable body cavity search.

Here's a general overview of what you need to know:

D.C. School Bus Driver Busted for DUI on the Job

A Washington, D.C., school bus driver has been fired and charged with DUI after allegedly driving and abandoning an occupied school bus while intoxicated.

Police found the school bus for handicapped students abandoned on Pennsylvania Avenue SE with "children and their adult attendant aboard" but no driver, The Washington Post reports. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told Washington's WJLA-TV that when the driver returned, he was allegedly "under the influence of something" and was arrested.

What's next for this allegedly not-so-hot bus driver?

Mom Tries to Sell Baby to Craigslist Contact

A Mississippi mom is under arrest for allegedly offering to sell her baby to a woman she met via Craigslist.

Authorities say Bobbie Jo Stojic, 23, of Bay St. Louis, tried to sell her 4-month-old son for $5,000 in a text message to a lady who responded to a Craigslist ad. The ad was for baby clothes, not for an actual baby.

Unfortunately for Stojic, Mississippi has enacted a law against selling babies, leaving us to wonder how often this sort of thing happens...

When Can Police Impound Your Car?

When are police legally allowed to impound your vehicle?

One scenario seems obvious: Cops can impound a car when it is either evidence or the instrument of a crime. But sometimes, police may also be allowed to seize a car if it's simply a danger to public safety.

Getting your car back from a police impound lot can be expensive and legally frustrating, so here's an overview of when police can legitimately impound your car:

Ryan Ferguson's Murder Conviction Vacated

Ryan Ferguson may be a free man sooner than expected. An appeals court has overturned Ferguson's conviction in the murder of a Missouri sports writer, CBS News reports.

Ferguson, 29, was convicted in 2005 of robbing and killing Kent Heitholt, largely because of the testimony of Ferguson's friend Charles Erickson. Ferguson has always maintained his innocence.

Now, eight years later, Ferguson's murder conviction is being vacated. But why?

Ill. Cop Charged After Shoving Woman in Jail Cell

An Illinois cop who was videotaped shoving a woman face-first into a jail cell bench has been charged with two felonies for the incident.

Skokie Police Officer Michael Hart, 43, was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct, both felonies. The woman he shoved suffered a fractured eye socket and had to undergo reconstructive surgery, including placement of a titanium plate in her cheek, prosecutors allege.

Here's the video clip, obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times, that got Hart in trouble:

LAX Shooter Hospitalized, Charged With Murder

LAX shooting suspect Paul Ciancia was charged with murder Saturday, with federal prosecutors leaving open the possibility of imposing the death penalty.

Ciancia, 23, remained heavily sedated in a hospital over the weekend after being shot in the head by airport police. Friday's LAX shooting ended with one TSA agent killed and several others wounded.

Prosecutors are charging Ciancia with the "murder of a federal officer and commission of violence at an international airport," ABC News reports.

Man Arrested for Sparking Gas Station Explosion

A Georgia man has been arrested for allegedly sparking a gas station explosion by flicking a cigarette lighter while pumping gas.

Surveillance video shows Austin Dawkins, 37, of Clarkesville, flicking a lighter and then bringing his hand down to the nozzle, CNN reports.

The video then shows a vapor fuel explosion: Flames erupted from the nozzle and hit Dawkins' 30-year-old wife Jessica. She ended up suffering second- and third-degree burns on her legs, arms, head, and back.

Kendrick Johnson's Death Now a Federal Investigation

The death of Georgia teen Kendrick Johnson is now the subject of a federal investigation, as a federal prosecutor announced Thursday that he is reopening the case.

U.S. Attorney Michael Moore -- no relation to the documentarian -- stated he would conduct a "formal review" of the teen's death, CBS News reports. Johnson was found dead in January inside a rolled-up gym mat at his high school in Valdosta, Georgia.

This investigation may unravel some of the strangeness in the investigation and circumstances surrounding Johnson's death.

What Is an Alford Plea?

What is an Alford plea? It's named after a famous U.S. Supreme Court case, but what exactly does it mean?

A recent case shows how Alford pleas are used in practice. A South Carolina couple was sentenced to 20 years in prison this week for extreme child abuse. The sentence was handed down after the pair entered Alford pleas -- often dubbed the "guilty yet innocent" plea.

Here's how an Alford plea works: