Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ex-Prosecutor James Cameron, Unironically Flees Child Porn Sentencing

The story is like something out of a movie: porn, trial, conviction  appeal, reversal and escape! It makes for exciting news just in reporting the facts. But the case also says something about what's wrong with the criminal process. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Drug Dogs, Searches and Probable Cause: Updates and Additional Reading

In a recent post, I wrote about police drug dogs in two pending U.S. Supreme Court Cases. These cases consider how police use the dogs to gain probable cause for searches that would otherwise be illegal. Since I published my post, other sources have weighed in and provided some interesting perspectives. Here are some updates and links to further reading.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Marijuana Legalization may Create a Rare Entrapment Defense to Federal Drug Prosecutions

Image from taberandrew

Marijuana is Legal Now, Sort of

On November 6, 2012, Washington State and Colorado voted to allow recreational use of marijuana. A lot of people are saying that marijuana was "legalized" but this is not really the case. Marijuana is still prohibited under federal law. Federal authorities send people to prison for decades for conspiracy to distribute marijuana just the same as they do for trafficking in other drugs.

So what is the practical effect of such "legalization"? There is no indication that federal authorities intend to change course on Marijuana prohibition, so the most interesting consequence might be the people prosecuted federally in these jurisdictions could have a defense based on the doctrine of "entrapment by estoppel."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No Proof of Purchase Necessary: Drug Trafficking Definitions

From Images_of_Money
There are a lot of new drug trafficking cases in Maine these days. There are always a bunch of arrests in Portland, but there seem to be more in York County where Old Orchard Beach police have been cracking down on drug activity. In most of these cases no one was actually caught selling drugs. In fact, the most common scenario is that police search a person or vehicle, often after using drug dogs to get probable cause, they then find drugs that they believe were intended for trafficking.

If some of these folks had followed my advice on avoiding criminal charges in the first place, they might have never been arrested. Once they are charged, the state has several options in how to prove trafficking.