Criminal Law and Procedure

Cyberbullying Laws Take Effect in Michigan

Effective March 27th new cyberbullying laws have been implemented in the state of Michigan. A rise in the use of social media has moved traditional bullying to the world of computers. The new law seeks to deter that behavior.  What is Cyberbullying? Cyberbullying includes one or more of the following: Communicating through social media the intent to threaten violence towards another or make the individual fearful for their well-being or death. Publishing a threat on social media that […]

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What is Felony-Firearm?

Felony-firearm is the offense of carrying a firearm during the commission of a felony. The penalties are steep. Penalties for a Felon-Firearm Conviction A felony-firearm conviction results in a mandatory minimum incarceration of two years in prison. A second felony-firearm conviction results in a mandatory minimum of 5 years imprisonment. A third or subsequent conviction means a mandatory minimum of ten years. The mandatory minimum sentence is consecutive and in addition to a conviction for another felony, including […]

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California Suspends Death Penalty

The governor of California has suspended the death penalty, at least for the time he is in office. Currently, there are 737 inmates on death row in California. This is the largest amount of prisoners on death row for any state in the country. The prisoners will not be executed on death row during the governor’s term. The method of killing inmates, lethal injection, has been eliminated. In addition, the execution chamber has been shut down in San […]

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Supreme Court Ruling Could Limit Fines in Criminal Cases

A big ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court today could signal changes for the justice system. In Timbs v. Indiana, the Supreme Court ruled that State may not impose excessive fines in criminal cases. This means if the government imposes fines or fees for a convictions, those fines or fees must be proportionate to the offense. In this case, the the State of Indiana had seized a defendant’s $40,000 car upon conviction for a crime where he was […]

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Civil Asset Forfeiture in Michigan May Come Soon

Michigan is moving closer to reforming civil asset forfeiture following arrests. In Michigan, the police may keep seized property during an arrest. This has become a tool for funding police departments. Currently, police can keep seized property even when the person is not charged with a crime or is later found not guilty. The new law would stop civil asset forfeiture for amounts of property under $50,000 unless the person is actually convicted of a crime. What is […]

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Six Residents in Nebraska Wrongfully Convicted of Rape and Murder Receive Damages

In a huge miscarriage of justice, six people were convicted of a murder they had no connection with. Each person had no connection whatsoever with the murder victim. A police psychologist convinced 5 of them they committed the murder but they had no memories of the crime due to a psychological concept referred to as “memory repression.” What Happened in the Case An elderly women, Helen Wilson, was raped and murdered February 5, 1985 in Beatrice, Nebraska. The […]

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The U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear First Second Amendment Case in a Decade

The U.S. Supreme Court has not heard a Second Amendment gun rights case since District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. The Court has now signaled they will a case which challenges a New York City ordinance which limits the ability of residents to carry guns within city limits. The Supreme Court has declined to hear many lower court appeals on gun rights cases since Heller. What Does the Ordinance Say? New York has a gun license called […]

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Can I Get In Trouble Using a Drone?

Drones are more and more common now. But you could land in trouble for using them the wrong way. What Exactly is a Drone? The legal name for drones is “unmanned aircraft.” An unmanned aircraft is defined as aircraft flown by a remote pilot via a ground control system, or autonomously through use of an on-board computer, communication links, and any additional equipment that is necessary for the unmanned aircraft to operate safely. MCL 259.303 How Can I Get […]

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What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is a deal between the prosecution and defendant. A plea bargain is where a person admits guilt in exchange for a benefit in return. There are two ways to resolve a criminal case – either through a plea or by challenge by defendant, such as motions or trial. A plea bargain is the most common type of resolution. This is because a plea bargain provides the defendant with certainty about the outcome and known benefits. […]

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Court Upholds Police Practice of Pulling Over Uninsured Drivers Based on LEIN Info

The Court of Appeals said police may pull over cars that the Law Enforcement Information Network shows has no insurance. This is from People v. Mazzie. What Happened in the Case The case was based on a traffic stop made by Monroe City Police Officers. The officers stopped the car because the Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN) showed that the vehicle had no insurance. Defendant was a front seat passenger in the car. Police later found cocaine in […]

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