Posts in Criminal Defense Law
Manslaughter-by-Phone: The Tragedy of Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy

This week, Michelle Carter was imprisoned in Massachusetts for a jarring version of the crime of involuntary manslaughter. This case has an astounding twist: she was found guilty of manslaughter for sending text messages and having phone conversations to urge her 18 year-old long-distance boyfriend, Conrad Roy, to kill himself, something he’d allegedly been wanting and planning to do for a long time and finally did. Carter was 17 at the time of Mr. Roy’s suicide. Even when Mr. Roy was having second thoughts about killing himself, Ms. Carter urged him to carry forward and finish the job. He did. The Massachusetts high court decided that Ms. Carter, by her text messages and phone conversations, overwhelmed Mr. Roy’s fragile willpower and thus directly caused his death, nevermind the fact that she was nowhere near the location of his suicide at the time they were texting and talking with each other.

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New York's "Blindfold Law" is the Devil's Bargain and Should be Repealed Now

In the meantime, it remains up to aggressive criminal defense attorneys such as myself to continue to push for the Constitutional rights of our clients against stonewalling efforts of prosecutors who diabolically seek to delay the revealing of exculpatory and other crucial evidence, and more so, to offer our clients who are facing the deprivation of their freedoms and very lives not some limp guiding hand through the devil’s bargain of plea deal negotiations but rather an earnest and intense defense focused on investigating the allegations and evidence and utilizing the facts and the law to ensure that justice, not mere rote work, is accomplished.

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The Corruption Report: US Political Corruption at the Local, State & Federal Levels

It is our civic duty to know what our government is doing. For many unfortunate people in our nation, such reading material is a too familiar synopsis of what hell they have personally experienced at the hands of biased, bullying, and corrupt government officials at all levels of government. Knowledge is power. With action at the voting booth, we can begin to make a difference. Speak out. Resist. We all deserve a true democracy – nothing less.

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Lowering the Age of Consent is a Children's Rights Issue

It is this sense of control over children that pervades the US legal system’s treatment of minors in every part of their lives, including their ability to unilaterally and without parental supervision or approval partake in many activities until they reach the Age of Consent set by each state. In so many other nations and throughout time including the present, children under the age of 18 have been working professionally in various types of jobs, getting married, having sex, raising their own children, running companies, and even ruling nations. We know that children are better educated now than at any other time in history. Arguably with the kinds of experiences and information that they can access in the world today and especially online, children are more in touch with who they are, their place in the world, what they believe, and what they want to accomplish: all the hallmarks of maturity.

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The Justice System is Broken. Why fix it when natural consequences will do a much better job?

The Justice System – from cops to courts to jails – is just not working. So why continue on with it? Are we dupe enough to believe that we can actually improve upon a system that already swallows hundreds of billions of dollars every year, that employs millions of people many of whom with stellar educations and noble intentions?

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#BlackLivesMatter – A Movement that Should Lead to a Constitutional Amendment Creating A Direct Democracy

Look at the brutality that we have created, look at the injustice. It is time that we rethink this structure. We are adults, we have minds, and we must use them to create a better world. The police state simply creates a more antagonistic Society, judges render no real justice, and prisons do not rehabilitate but simply exacerbate.

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Why the Innocent Plead Guilty & What We Should Do About It

Judge Jed Rakoff, a federal judge at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, wrote a fantastic article in November 2014 for The New York Review of Books entitled “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty“. Shortly after, he provided an interview about the topic to AlterNet, an online magazine. In it, he discussed how federal criminal defendants accept plea bargains 97% of the time and on average state criminal defendants accept them 94% of the time.

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School Bullying is Illegal

School bullying can result in criminal charges for assault, battery, and harassment, as well as civil damages for the torts of negligent supervision, training, retention, and hiring of school faculty and staff, civil harassment, defamation of character, civil assault, civil battery, conversion of personal property, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Parents can bring civil lawsuits on behalf of their children if they are the target of bullies, and they can contact the police to investigate criminal charges against juvenile bullies.

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California Sex Crime Laws in the Real World

The California laws regarding Sex Crimes, especially those that are registerable sex offences under Megan’s Law, can stir powerful debates in this state for various reasons. Some consider them to be outdated and out-of-touch with the realities of sexual activity in contemporary society, where it is arguably commonplace for teenage minors to engage in sex with each other in their parents’ homes, where it may be routine practice to have sex when you’re drunk with your girlfriend or boyfriend or even somebody you just met in a bar, where it is not unusual to see public nudity on California’s college campuses on the first rain of the season or on California’s public beaches or big city parks, or where various shocking fetishes and sado-masochistic practices may be more popular in certain social circles especially in edgy metropolitan areas such as San Francisco or Los Angeles.

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Extensive Research: Women Initiate Domestic Violence More than Men, Men Under-report It.

Out of all the respondents, a quarter of the women admitted to perpetrating the domestic violence and, when the violence was reciprocal, women were often the ones to have been the first to strike. In addition, an analytic view of 552 domestic violence studies published in the Psychological Bulletin found that 38% of the physical injuries suffered in domestic violence disputes were suffered by men.

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Nuclear Bombs for Everyone: School Shootings, the 2nd Amendment, and School Negligence Lawsuits

As soon as our reeling minds start to focus on why this tragedy happened and how we could try to prevent it from happening again, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut today, along with similar school shootings throughout the country over the last decade including the famous 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Columbine, Colorado, raises questions for us about gun control laws in the face of the US Constitution's Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

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The New Face of the Coyote: Fraudulent Use of The Violence Against Women Act and State Divorce and Custody Laws

As a few immigrants have realized in recent years, there is a federal law that, especially when combined with popular divorce and child custody statutes across the nation, allows them to relatively easily and quickly acquire permanent residency and even citizenship status in the United States whereas such would have been nearly impossible beforehand, use that immigration status to bring over loved ones from their homeland via family reunification visas, and if they play their cards right, receive spousal and even child support soon after arrival to cover their living and shopping expenses: alas, the American dream, all for the price of a broken heart and a ruined life - not their own, of course.

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Child Abductions, California Child Custody Law, and International Human Rights

The California Family Law System is deeply dysfunctional, and it is need of some serious positive changes. Though the problem of child abductions is connected to various international issues which shall be discussed later in this article, on the local level alone, it is often inextricably linked to the discussion of California Child Custody and Divorce laws regarding domestic violence.

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Proposition 19 Defeated by California Voters in 2010

Proposition 19 has been defeated by California voters in the 2010 state elections, resulting in more concerns about marijuana related crime and drug violence in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Monterey Bay Area. As a result, police forces in Alameda County, Santa Clara County, San Francisco County, and Santa Cruz County will continue to be burdened by dealing with marijuana possession and distribution crimes, and the courts and jails in these areas will have to deal with overcrowding with persons alleged to have violated non-violent drug possession and distribution crimes.

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BART Cop gets 2 year Sentence for Killing Oscar Grant. Michael Vick received the same sentence for killing dogs.

The inherent violence of Mr. Mehserle's act is clarified by his decision to Taser Mr. Grant, as he thought he was doing.  It is a grossly unnecessary and aggressive level of violence to choose to Taser at close range a face down, unarmed youth who is arrested for fighting on a train platform.  It is the presence of such violence in the act, albeit an act that was ultimately a tragic and involuntary killing, that should have urged the judge in this matter to give Mr. Mehserle the maximal sentence of 4 years.  Mr. Mehserle was lucky that he did not threaten Mr. Grant before he reached for the weapon, as those few words may have been sufficient to convict him of second degree felony murder with an underlying felony of aggravated assault, leading to a possible life sentence.  More so, Mr. Mehserle was lucky that the judge used his wide discretion to give him the minimum sentence here. Mr. Grant, his family, and the African-American community should be so lucky.

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California Prison Reform amidst Private Prison Profiteers

The California prison system is the largest in the nation, and it suffers from serious problems of overpopulation, violence, and insufficient health and education services for its juvenile and adult inmates, especially for those with special needs. It is unconstitutional for a State prison system to operate at such dilapidated levels, because “cruel and unusual punishment” is illegal under the State and Federal Constitution.

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The Debate over Mr. Hamdan: Sources of Law and The Three Branches

The Bush Administration has worn away at the legal liberties and protections afforded our Nation’s free inhabitants as well as its accused criminals, who are still allegedly presumed innocent until proven guilty. All things considered, I am reminded of a famous quote by our Nation’s eldest Statesman and most prominent Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin – a signatory to the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, and the US Constitution: “Those who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security.” Now, this is for the Court to decide.

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