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January 2012 Archives

'Barefoot Bandit' sentenced in federal court

The Los Angeles Times reported that the "Barefoot Bandit," as he was came to be known, was sentenced Friday in federal court for his four-year international crime spree involving stolen planes, boats and weapons.

Supreme Court says GPS tracking requires a warrant

Prosecutors are not allowed to use evidence in a criminal trial if the evidence was collected illegally, in violation of our Constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment guarantees us the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by the government. This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition on unreasonable searches included the use of a GPS tracking system that the police had attached to a suspect's car.

Physician faces federal drug trafficking charges

Most often when we think of drug charges, we might think of someone being arrested during a traffic stop after the police had found marijuana or cocaine in their car. But over the last few years law enforcement officials have been increasing their investigations into the illegal trade of prescription drugs. Oxycodone and other powerful pain killers are some of the most commonly illegally traded prescription drugs.

US Supreme Court overturns criminal conviction

This week the United States Supreme Court overturned a criminal conviction against a man because it was determined that the prosecution had failed to disclose exculpatory evidence, that is evidence which would have helped the criminal suspect to convince the jury that he was not guilty of the charges. The court said that there was a reasonable probability that if the jury had been aware of this evidence it would have reached a different decision.

California men accused of federal crimes: passport fraud

There are many kinds of offenses that can be prosecuted as federal crimes. And individuals who are facing allegations by the federal government may face a tough legal challenge. The United States Department of State's Diplomatic Security Services recently announced that nine California residents in the Central Valley were arrested in 2011 on federal passport fraud charges.Two of the nine persons arrested are Stockton residents. Authorities say the men were accused of applying for passports with fraudulently obtained, counterfeit, or stolen identification materials. A spokesperson for the Diplomatic Security Service indicated that it is illegal to "apply for or obtain a United States passport under false pretenses."