FindLaw Blotter - The FindLaw Crime and Criminals Blog

February 2018 Archives

Is It Illegal to Text About Drug Use?

From posting a video abusing an animal on Facebook to "joking" about gun violence on Instagram, it seems that people think they're untouchable when it comes to their activities on social media.

While some people may be more cautious about what they post online because they realize that those posts aren't exactly private, they may not be as cautious about the texts they send. However, there are times that texting can get you into trouble with the police.

For example, sending someone a threatening text could result in criminal charges being filed against you. But, what about texting about doing something illegal, like using drugs? Well, although texting about drug use isn't necessarily illegal, there are circumstances where it could end up involving you in a criminal investigation.

What Are the Penalties for Stealing an Animal?

When people have a pet, it's usually just as important as any other member of the family. If someone steals a pet, the owners can be left feeling like a family member has been kidnapped, and will likely want to pursue as severe a punishment as possible for the animal thief.

While kidnapping is treated as a serious crime with severe penalties, you may be wondering what the penalties are for stealing an animal. Well, as it is for most crimes, the penalties for stealing an animal or pet will depend on the state laws where the pet theft occurs.

'Joke' Gun Violence Threats on Social Media Will Get You Arrested

Making threats against someone on social media can get you into hot water. But, even just joking about gun violence on social media can get you arrested.

Just ask Ricky Jared Rankin of Texas. Rankin allegedly posted a photo of an AR-15 to Instagram and captioned the photo: "I'm thinking about finally going back to school." This resulted in a police investigation almost immediately and Rankin was arrested for the Instagram post.

Teen Given Probation for Starting Oregon Wildfire

Fires can cause a lot of damage from destroying nature and people's homes to killing people. When an individual starts a fire intentionally, he or she may end up facing an arson charge, which is usually classified as a felony. But, even if the act of starting the fire doesn't rise to the level of arson, engaging in conduct that causes a fire can have serious consequences.

Just ask the teen in Oregon who's been sentenced to 5 years of probation and 1,900 hours of community service for causing a fire after tossing firecrackers into a forested ravine above a hiking trail.

Is It Illegal to Let a Friend Borrow Your Gun?

Your gun, your rights, your problem? It's pretty common in America to let someone borrow, use, try, or otherwise handle a firearm. Hunters do it in the woods, shooters at the range, purchasers at trade shows, and kids at summer camps.

Put those scenarios to one side, then consider the other side: criminal defendants arguing about who used whose gun to shoot so-and-so, or an otherwise responsible owner having to explain how his gun ended up in a kid's backpack at school.

So what's the law on letting someone borrow your gun?

Is It a Crime to Mail White Powder Even If It's Harmless?

You can never be too careful, opening your mail. Sure, much of it is junk and some of it may include requests for money from your long lost third cousin you never knew you had. But the U.S. Postal Service delivers 506.4 million pieces of mail each day, sent by and to people of all walks of life. So some crazy stuff can get sent through the mail. Including stuff sent by crazy people, like ricin, anthrax, narcotics ... and corn starch, as Donald Trump Jr.'s wife has recently discovered.

Florida Woman Sentenced for Kidnapping Newborn

Kidnapping is a serious crime, usually classified as a felony in most states. Just ask Gloria Williams, who was arrested in January 2017 for kidnapping Kamiyah Mobley as a newborn. Instead of going through a trial for the kidnapping, Williams has decided to plead guilty to the crime she committed 20 years ago.

Teen Arrested for Throwing Kitten in Water, Joking About Abuse

There seem to be a lot of videos of animals doing cute or funny things on the internet these days. Unfortunately, that's not the case in one video that was posted on social media. The video is of Garratt Haile throwing a kitten into a body of water while joking about it. Shot about a year ago, it was recently shared on social media, at which point several people contacted the police, and Haile was arrested.

Pharmacist Gets 8 Year Sentence for Meningitis Outbreak

Glenn Chin, the pharmacist convicted for his role in the 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people and sickened hundreds more, has been sentenced to 8 years in prison. Even though this may sound like a long time, Chin should consider himself lucky. He was being prosecuted for mail fraud, racketeering, and second-degree murder.

While he was convicted of mail fraud and racketeering, he was cleared of the second-degree murder charge, which could've resulted in a maximum sentence of life in prison. But, what exactly happened to cause such a devastating outbreak of fungal meningitis?

Elon Musk Sells Flamethrowers: Are They Legal to Own?

Watch out for flamethrower bearing BBQers this summer. Elon Musk, the attention-grabbing entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX, has fired up Twitter and legions of his loyal followers with a brand-spanking new toy -- a commercially available flamethrower.

Past Marijuana Convictions in San Francisco to Be Wiped Clean

It's rare for prosecutors to voluntarily dismiss cases. But thousands in one swoop? That gets headlines. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon announced Wednesday that his office will review and move to expunge thousands of Marijuana-related convictions in the city going back to 1975.