A man in Florida sent a text to an on-duty officer by mistake to sell him drugs. The text asked if the officer wanted to "buy bud". Well, you can imagine how this story played out. At first, the officer thought it was a joke. He later found out it was a real text when the man showed up at the sell meeting spot. The man now earned a free ride in a police car and new bracelets!
In 2016, the expungement statute in New Jersey was revised to make it a little friendlier for people to clear their record and start over. One of the changes seemed to imply that if you entered drug court and successfully completed the program without any new arrests or convictions, you could expunge your whole record and start over.
Most of the time, those in drug court have drug offenses on their record. It seemed like a great new start. Become sober or drug free through a court intensive program and at the end, you have a new outlook on life and a new clear criminal record to help you find a job and really change your ways.
Many expungements were granted clearing the records of those in drug court. However, those orders were questioned and appealed. Now, based on a new case, it appears if on your record is a 3rd or 4th degree drug charge that would normally require one to prove expungement was in the public interest, you now have to prove that even if you graduated drug court.
Our NJ Supreme Court recently ruled that when a State Trooper entered a woman's home without waiting for a proper warrant, he violated the woman's rights, but she can't sue the police.
The police claimed they feared the woman was going to destroy evidence in the home based on her perceived behavior, so they entered the home without the warrant. The woman was made a prisoner in her own home while the cops waited there for the warrant. The woman filed a suit claiming her civil rights were violated. The trial court level dismissed the case, but our appellate court reversed that ruling. The case went on to the NJ Supreme Court where a recent decision stated that there is a lack of clarity in the law governing the lawful means to secure a home by law enforcement while a warrant application is pending. The court determined the troopers acted according to their training and therefore could not be sued.
I don't think you would get life in prison in New Jersey for a 5th DUI. It appears a man in Texas wasn't so lucky. He was found guilty of his 5th DUI and the judge sentenced him to life in jail. I guess they are not messing around in Texas.
Quite often I represent individuals charged with a drug related offense. Most times I am dealing with the individual charged. Maybe they admit they have a problem. Maybe they don't. Then there are other times when the family of the person charged is the one hiring me. They hire me to represent their loved one, but end up also having me hold their hand through the ongoing addiction the family member is facing. Some enter rehab and come out much better. Some can't afford rehab.
A recent NPR story covered a man out of Philadelphia with a drug addiction to opioids. Life was not good so this was his way of escaping. He couldn't afford treatment. There were public waiting lists for state and city funded programs, but those were long. He ended up in jail. He could has tried to obtain drugs, since it was easy to obtain in his jail. However, he decided to try to detox on his own. He didn't ask for help from the jail medical unit. So he began this journey on his own without any medical assistance to help with the withdrawal symptoms. He described his detox as having the flu. He sweated and shook. His heart raced. Then the vomiting began. He couldn't sleep and spent days wishing he was dead. Through all of this, he kept reminding himself that he was not going to take drugs even though it would be easier to stop the madness. He finally made it through. But then came the temptation since drugs were everywhere in jail.
Professionals tell us that the biggest problem with detoxing is that one manages to successfully get the drugs out of their system and as they are battling the temptation to use again and void the pain they are feeling, there is a high risk of overdosing because you resort to the amount of drugs you used before detoxing. Except now your tolerance level is down from the detox, but you don't realize this.
Have medical help while trying to fight this habit is essential. There is counseling needed to stop the cycle. There is medical help needed to watch you don't kill or dehydrate yourself. It is just a shame that our society does not freely and easily help those addicted and allow better access to treatment given that most drug addicted do not have health insurance to cover the stay.
No matter who you ask, a home invasion is a scary topic. Scarier if you are in the home. Scarier more if you are sleeping. What happens if the home invader climbs into bed with you and then wants to stay the night? For one New Jersey woman, she had to answer this question.
The woman screamed when the man crawled into bed with her and he fled. The cops believe the man followed the woman into her building earlier and entered through an open window or door. More reason to keep your windows and doors locked!
NJ Gov. Christie unveiled three bills this week that would prohibit employers from discriminating against people with expunged criminal records, accelerate some expungements, increase the number of convictions that can be expunged and reduce waiting period for juvenile records. As an attorney who does expungements for individuals on a regular basis, these bills are necessary.
Very often I listen to a story about a bad choice someone made in their past and paid the price. They have now changed their life or are back on track making good choices. Except every time they look for that job, the employer likes them until the criminal background check comes back. Then it is "sorry, we do not have a position for you."
The goal of these bills is to stop minor criminal offenses from resulting in roadblocks for someones entire life. If passed, I think the biggest impact would be the proposed bill to reduce the 10 year waiting period to expunge a crime down to six years. Six years is still very long, but it is greatly reduced. The problem with the 10 year rule is that it is 10 years from basically the last thing happening in your case. Say for instance you are found guilty in 2000. You are then sentenced to 5 years in jail. You are released from jail in 2003 for good behavior, but are now on parole. You finish parole in 2005. Now you start the 10 year clock. So that means that something that occurred in 1999 or 2000 cannot be expunged until 2015. It's too long to put your life back together effectively. Yes you can make good choices and likely find some job, but it won't be a job that pays the bills.
It may be my age talking, but I still do not understand the need to post everything on social media. I understand the random updates about something great your kids did, a fun event or a birthday; but not a crime!
An 18 year old man out of Camden decided he was going to rob a bank. Then it was a few. The police had surveillance photos, maybe a witness account, photo of gun and photo of what he was wearing. Nothing concrete pointing to him.
Then the man put a photo on his Instagram account showing a gun in similar size and shape to the one on the surveillance video. Then there were other photos of him in a specific flight jacket as the one worn by a man robbing one of the banks. Another bank gets robbed and a new photo goes up on Instagram. This time showing the man fanning $100 bills and a gun sticking out of his pants. The final robbery occurs at a bank and surveillance shows a masked man wearing a bomber jacket with a shoulder patch. Don't you know that a new Instagram photo is posted showing him in a similar jacket helping a woman shoot a handgun.
What I think people forget is that the police check social media. They look at postings when the are investigating a crime. I don't think this 18 year old even thought the police would look. Either way, he was arrested and has a nice photo array of himself for the jury now.
A lot of criminal cases come down to what an eye witness tells the jury. In some cases, the eye witness is 100% accurate in replaying the events. More commonly, the witness has mistaken, but may not know it. A story out of Missouri is a prime example. Seventeen years ago an eye witness testified that he saw a man wrestle a woman to the ground outside a store in an attempt to steal her purse. No DNA or fingerprints were found. No real physical evidence. Just witness testimony and their identification of the defendant as being the one committing this crime. As a result, a jury found this man guilty. While serving his sentence in jail, the man learned of another individual who lived in the state that looked like him. Turns out this look-a-like or doppleganger not only looked just like the man, but they also had the same first name.
After a lot of effort, the innocent man was freed from jail, but unfortunately, it was after he spent seventeen years in jail for a crime he did not commit. The photographs of the two men side by side are striking.
See story here: https://www.yahoo.com/news/man-freed-17-years-jail-193500777.html
Here is an interesting story about a man in Florida who has repeatedly been arrested over the last 8 years. Each time his mug shot is taken and each time his face changes ever so slightly. The progression of photos shows a new tattoo with each photo until eventually you reach the most recent mugshot where his face is practically covered. The article certainly does not pin point what led to the tattoo obsession on his face, but tends to assume crime had a role in the decision making. Maybe this individual just simply likes the face tattoo look. Either way, the photo progression display in the article is interesting to see.