In the wake of the capture and detention of one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev many questions are flying around the internet regarding asking why this suspect has not been issued Miranda Warnings. At this point he is in federal custody in the hospital being treated for injuries. It appears he has not been questioned yet so first, Miranda warnings only have to be issued when someone is questioned. Second, there is an exception to Miranda that allows for officers to forego those warnings in the interest of immediate public safety, known as the “public safety exception”. This would be in cases where law enforcement wants to know “are there other explosives set to go off….are there accomplices in the process of planning or committing other attacks etc.”
A quick refresher for those of you who haven’t seen a cop show in a while….Miranda warnings are where the law enforcement official must tell a suspect that they have 1. The right to remain silent. 2. That anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law. 3. They have a right to an attorney and have the attorney present during questioning and 4. If they cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for them free of charge.
So the argument of civil libertarians on this issue is that if we are not concerned about protecting the rights of this person, it can lead to cutting corners on the rights of others.
It seems to be little known but it is true…private security officers are allowed to make traffic stops and issue traffic citations on roads owned by the homeowner associations for which they work. This decision came down from the Illinois Supreme Court in Poris v. Lake Holiday Property Owner’s Association. In this case, the association’s board of directors enacted rules protecting the safety and welfare of the residents and retaining private security to do so. The Supreme Court of Illinois determined that if a private homeowners association constructs sand maintains private roadways it makes no sense to not allow them to enforce the traffic laws on those roadways.
This creates a long list of potential problems. What if the private officer tries to stop a driver and the driver flees? Can the officer pursue them or do they call the “real” police? What if the driver stops and has drugs in plain sight in the car? What if the driver is wanted by the police…will the private security have access to that information? This decision creates more questions than it does answers.
Back in December, a federal appeals court in Illinois declared the Illinois ban on concealed carry of firearms when not in the home unconstitutional. Yet no state court trial judges have acquitted anyone on possession of firearms under those circumstances. Most judges seem to be continuing these matters until June, waiting for the legislature to enact legislation that will control. There is a great deal of political and public pressure on judges because although the law has been declared unconstitutional, people are being killed by guns every day and sitting judges do not want to release defendants who may add to that.
Evidence is inconclusive as to whether public gun possession increases violence in society any more than it increases legitimate self-defense. That being said, releasing defendants on gun charges is risky and so far area judges are waiting it out.
The use of a drug-sniffing dog by police outside of a home where they suspected drugs were being grown constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court said in a decision handed down Tuesday. Police can no longer use canine sniffs to bypass what is necessary to search (typically a warrant based on probable cause).
The case behind this decision, Florida v. Jardines, dealt with whether police could use trained canines to investigate the immediate surroundings of a home for drugs they suspected were being grown inside, but could not see.
Officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department approached Joelis Jardines’ home with a drug dog in 2006 after receiving a tip that marijuana was being grown in the house. The animal alerted officers to the presence of marijuana in the house, after which officers obtained a search warrant and discovered the plants.
The justices affirmed the Supreme Court of Florida’s decision to suppress the evidence by a 5-4 vote. Justice Antonin Scalia delivered the court’s opinion.
“To find a visitor knocking on the door is routine (even if sometimes unwelcome); to spot that same visitor exploring the front path with a metal detector, or marching his bloodhound into the garden before saying hello and asking permission, would inspire most of us to – well, call the police,” Scalia wrote.
This is the second of two police dog cases the court has delivered opinions on this term, both originating in Florida. In a February decision in the other , Florida v. Harris, the court ruled that an alert by a trained police dog gave police officers probable cause to further search a vehicle.
The use of canine officers has been controversial for a while now and arrests made using dogs are certainly going to have some room for argument after these opinions.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Threats on Twitter represent the continued victimization of a girl who was raped by two high school football players, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said Tuesday as he demanded an end to such postings.
Two girls, 15 and 16, were accused of posting the tweets Sunday following the conviction and sentencing of two boys for raping the 16-year-old West Virginia girl after an alcohol-fueled party. Both girls have been charged Tuesday with intimidation of a victim, telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing. They were being held in the Jefferson County juvenile detention center without bond, as is customary with juveniles, said Jefferson County assistant prosecutor Sam Pate.
They would face up to seven years in prison if convicted as adults, but it’s likely they would be treated as juveniles. That means they could be detained up until their 21st birthdays, if convicted.
The older girl was charged with aggravated menacing for a tweet that threatened homicide and said “you ripped my family apart,” according to the attorney general’s office. The girl is a cousin of defendant Ma’Lik Richmond, attorney general spokesman Dan Tierney said Tuesday.
A Twitter message from the younger girl threatened the accuser with bodily harm, leading to a menacing charge, DeWine’s office said. One of the messages was later reposted on Facebook.
The girl, who had been drinking heavily, has no memory of the attack. One of the ways she learned that something had happened to her was by viewing parts of a 12-minute YouTube video filmed the night of the attack in which students made crude jokes about her. This video was introduced as evidence at the trial.
This raises increased questions into how our legal system and social media interact. Crimes are being charged and proven based on evidence obtained through social media and those who think they can hide beyond the anonymity of these outlets are in for some very brutal awakenings.
A woman who had obtained an order of protection against her former boyfriend was killed by that boyfriend on Saturday after which he took his own life. Diane Kephart, 61, was attacked in the driveway of her parents’ Antioch Township home, police said. She recently had moved there from Vernon Hills. Kephhart obtained a two-year order of protection against Paul Neff, age 57 on Tuesday, about one month after Neff held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her, Lake County court records show. Neff was arrested Feb. 17 and charged with aggravated domestic battery with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm with a revoked ID card and domestic battery, records show. Police reports indicate Neff held a large kitchen knife to Kephart’s throat and threatened to kill her and himself at his home. Neff was released from custody after posting 10 percent of a $50,000 bond, reports indicate. Kephart obtained an emergency order of protection against Neff and then got the extended order, authorities said.
What this means is that those who obtain an order of protection need to be constantly aware that the order is really just a piece of paper and only as enforceable as the person who obeys it.
This likely means also that Judges are possibly going to increase utilization of the Bischof GPS monitoring device which as part of a defendant’s bond can include their being fitted with the device to track their movements and alert law enforcement if they get within a certain proximity of the victim. This monitoring is part of “Cindy’s Law” named for Cindy Bischof, an area woman who was killed by a former boyfriend in 2008 while protected by an Order of Protection.
The U.S. House voted 286-138 to pass a Senate version of a bill renewing the Violence Against Women Act. The measure now heads to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.
Eighty-seven Republicans joined all 199 Democrats to pass the bill in the House.
Earlier, House Republicans failed to pass their own version of the bill, struggling again with an issue important to women and minority groups.
The Act provides $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allows civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted. The Act also establishes the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice. Male victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking may also be covered. This act is more important than ever with the growing problems of human trafficking.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s request for a rehearing has been rejected by the Federal Court of Appeals on the case where the state has been ordered to allow citizens to carry guns in public.
Madigan made the request following the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision in December that gave Illinois 180 days to put together a law that would allow concealed weapons in Illinois.
At this point Madigan can decide to pursue her appeal up to the U.S. Supreme Court or obviously let the ruling stand. As of now there has been no indication either way but it would be surprising if Illinois does not continue to fight the concealed carry.
Drew Peterson may be sentenced today for Murder while his defense team is making a last attempt to keep that from happening. Lawyers for Peterson will argue today for a new trial and hinging that argument on the alleged trial misconduct and errors of his former attorney, Joel Brodsky. It is widely known that since the guilty verdict Brodsky and Steve Greenberg have been at odds over how the trial was conducted.
The witness lineup for today will be widespread, where besides the prospect of Brodsky being questioned by his defense team nemesis Greenberg, the hearing is expected to include testimony from a retired judge, Brodsky’s former law partner, a Peterson murder trial observer, a law professor and perhaps even Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.
Prosecutors have filed a motion seeking to bar defense lawyers from calling Glasgow, saying Peterson’s lawyers have not specified why his testimony is necessary.
Peterson’s defense team is alleging that Brodsky’s legal leadership — including calling a witness whose testimony several jurors said convinced them Peterson was guilty — amounted to ineffective assistance of counsel, which can be grounds for a new trial.
Interestingly enough if for some reason Drew Peterson is called by his defense team to testify, the door to his attorney client privilege with Brodsky could be opened and Brodsky able to discuss parts of conversations he had with Peterson during his representation of him. While it is extremely unlikely this would happen, nothing in this trial has ceased to surprise those following it.
Attorney client privilege exists between the client and attorney but should any outside person be permitted within that privilege or if the client waives the privilege by discussing otherwise privileged conversations, it gives the attorney room to discuss those as well.
Judge Edward Burmila has indicated that if he denies the motion for a new trial, he will immediately move into the sentencing hearing. This is the most likely outcome as new trial motions are rarely granted. Peterson is facing between 20 and 60 years not including any extended term sentencing.