Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
Elizabeth B. Carpenter Law Firm focuses on New Orleans Criminal Defense, DWI Defense, Cyber Crimes and Personal Injury Law. Each client is offered the individual attention and personal touch of a high end boutique law firm. We are extremely selective in the cases that we accept. Our firm is built on the foundation that every client deserves to be treated with dignity and compassion regardless of the legal issues they are battling.
This Blog is for general information purposes only. While we do our best to keep all our posts updated, the Louisiana legislature makes changes to our laws every year. Unfortunately, we sometimes unintentionally fail to make appropriate updates. If you have any specific questions, please contact our firm. We are here to assist you with your legal questions.
Mental Health Care In New Orleans, Louisiana
Elizabeth Bagert Carpenter — New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am an advocate for mental health care. I think that the federal and state funding cuts for mental health care is criminal — especially in my home state of Louisiana. We already had a mental health crisis on our hands before Governor Jindal took office. This was especially true in New Orleans where people were still trying to recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Upon taking office, one of Jindal’s first decisions was to drastically cut Mental Health Funding in Louisiana. In the wake of this action, we have seen the closure of almost every state mental hospital in the NOLA metro area. Jindal’s narrow-minded actions have made our mental health crisis in Louisiana implode. We are currently holding many of our mentally ill citizens in jails and prisons rather than homes or institutions where they can get help. This is reminiscent of something that would have happened 100 years ago when mentally ill people were committed to “insane asylums” for life rather than actual health care facilities for treatment. Jails seem to be the 21st century answer to mental health care — this gravely disappoints me.
Since I feel so passionate about this topic, one local charity that I try to support as much as possible is NAMI New Orleans (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). This is a national charity with a sub-chapter in NOLA whose mission is to assist people with mental illness and their families through support, education, advocacy and quality psychosocial services. NAMI’s goal is to help the mentally ill live with dignity and independence. I think that this is beautiful. In recent years, they have lost much of their funding, so they rely heavily on donations and grants to complete their mission.
Last week, NAMI sent me an email letting me know that the organization has entered a contest for a chance to win $5,000 in funding. I clicked on a link in the email to learn that all I have to do to help them win is like a video that is posted on the contest web site. At the end of the week, the organizations with the most likes are the winners. Since receiving this email, I have regularly checked the web site to see how Nami is performing. Today, I noticed that we currently have over 400,000 likes. Woo Hoo! How exciting! I then decided to browse through the list of the other charities to see how our competitors are performing. It seemed as if we were in the lead until I came across a charity called The Hugs Project. This organization has 2.3 million likes! Having never heard of this charity, I decided to Google it to learn what they do. It was at that point, I felt my blood boil and the hair stand up on top of my head. The mission of this organization is to provide care-packages for troops serving in the Middle East. Are you flippin’ kidding me? Why are people giving money to troops who are already handsomely compensated by the U.S. government? Working in a war zone is their job. This is what they chose when entering the military. In exchange for their service, they receive salary, lodging, food, military discounts, both health and life insurance, education, GI Bills, job training, VA mortgages and the list goes on and on. I want to know where our priorities are as a society. The fact that really infuriates me is that I know that there is not one person out there who has not been touched by mental illness at some point in time. We all know someone who has committed suicide or suffered from depression or even struggled with Bi-Polar Disorder. I just don’t get it. Of Course, when a tragedy such as, Sandy Hook occurs, everyone is frozen with sadness, anger, fear and hollers for change.
I would like to know what you think about this issue?
Louisiana White Collar Crime Defense
Social Security Fraud — 42 U.S.C. § 408
Social Security Fraud is the result of deliberate deception, and arises when an applicant falsifies a document or record offered as proof of disability, or misrepresents material facts on an application for benefits. Fraud can also be the result of omission when a beneficiary fails to report a change in circumstance, such as marriage, a new source of income, incarceration, removal from custodial care, or failure to report the death of a parent or spouse, while continuing to spend checks or direct deposits.
List of examples of violations that could result in criminal prosecution for Social Security fraud:
• furnishing false information of identity in connection with the establishment and maintenance of Social Security records, or with the intent to gain information as to the date of birth, employment, wages, or benefits of any person;
• forging or falsifying SSA documents;
• conspiring to obtain or allow a false, fictitious, or fraudulent claim;
• using a Social Security Number (SSN) obtained on the basis of false information or falsely using the SSN of another person, for the purpose of obtaining or increasing a payment under Social Security or any other federally funded program, or for any other purpose;
• altering, buying, selling, or counterfeiting a Social Security card;
￼￼• making or causing to be made a false statement or representation of a material fact for use in determining rights to Social Security benefits, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, or Black Lung benefits;
• making or causing to be made any false statement or representation of a material fact in any application for any payment or for a disability determination under the Social Security Act;
• making or causing to be made any false statement or representation as to whether wages were paid or received, the amount of such wages, the period during which wages were paid or received, or the person to whom such wages were paid;
• making or causing to be made any false statement or representation as to whether net earnings from self-employment were received, the amount of such earnings, the period during which such earnings were received, or the person who received them;
• concealing or failing to report any event affecting the initial or continued right to payment received, or to be received by a person individually or on behalf of another;
What is the penalty for Social Security Fraud?
If you or a loved one has been indicted for a Federal Crime, Contact our law firm for a consultation. We are ready to help you.
New Orleans White Collar Crime Defense Attorney
Elizabeth B. Carpenter – Louisiana Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
Fictitious Name or Address – 18 USC § 1342
What is Federal Mail Fraud?
Conducting, promoting, or carrying on by means of the Postal Service, any scheme, fraud, artifice or any other unlawful business, uses or assumes, or requests to be addressed by, any fictitious, false, or assumed title, name, or address or name other than his own proper name, or takes or receives from any post office or authorized depository of mail matter, any letter, postal card, package, or other mail matter addressed to any such fictitious, false, or assumed title, name, or address, or name other than his own proper name.
The term “scheme or artifice to defraud” includes a scheme or artifice to deprive another of the intangible right of honest services.
What is the penalty for Federal Mail Fraud?
Fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
The mail and wire fraud statutes are essentially the same, except for the method associated with the offense – the mail in the case of mail fraud and wire communication in the case of wire fraud. As a consequence, the interpretation of one is ordinarily considered to apply to the other. As a consequence there seems to be little dispute that conviction requires the government to prove the following elements:
- the use of either mail or wire communications in the foreseeable furtherance
- of a scheme to defraud
- involving a material deception
- with the intent to deprive another of
- either property or honest services.
If you or a loved one has been indicted for mail fraud or any other federal white collar crime, contact our law firm for a consultation. Let us start working for you today!
Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Louisiana
Fraud By Wire, Radio, or Television – 18 USC § 1343
Devising or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice.
The elements of of this offense are directly parallel those of the Mail Fraud Statute, but require the use of an interstate telephone call or electronic communication made in furtherance of the scheme.
A fine or imprisonment of not more than 20 years, or both.
If the violation occurs in relation to, or involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with, a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, or affects a financial institution.
Fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
If you have been indicted for a federal crime, contact our law firm for a consultation. We are ready to start building your defense today!
Kenner Criminal Defense Attorney
Battery and Assault Offenses
Defintion of Each Offense
Sec. 7-70. What is Battery under Kenner Muni Code?
Battery is the intentional use of force or violence upon the person of another; or the intentional administration of a poison or other noxious liquid or substance to another.
Sec. 7-71. What is Simple Battery in Kenner?
Simple battery is a battery committed without the consent of the victim.
Sec. 7-72. What is Assault under Kenner Muni Code?
Assault is an attempt to commit a battery, or the intentional placing of another in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.
Sec. 7-73. What is Aggravated Assault in Kenner?
Aggravated assault is an assault committed with a dangerous weapon.
Sec. 7-74. What is Simple Assault under Kenner Muni Code?
Simple assault is an assault committed without a dangerous weapon.
Sec. 7-75. What is Negligent Injuring in Kenner?
Negligent injuring is the inflicting of any injury upon the person of another by criminal negligence. The violation of an ordinance shall be considered only as presumptive evidence of such negligence.
A fine not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500.00) or imprisonment for not more than sixty (60) days, or both.
Any person who is found guilty or who enters a plea of guilty for offenses against persons in which the victim is the age of sixty-five (65) years old or older the court shall impose the maximum sentence of five hundred dollars ($500.00) and imprisonment for not less than ten (10) days but no more then sixty (60) days.
If you have been charged with a Criminal Offense in the City of Kenner, contact Attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter. She has helped many clients fight Kenner Municipal Charges.
New Orleans Municipal Court Attorney
What Is Unauthorized Parking Of Motor Vehicle On Private Property?
Whenever any motor vehicle without a driver is reported in violation of this section, the officer, upon finding such vehicle shall, at his discretion, either remove the vehicle from the private property to the department pound or take its state vehicle license number and any other information displayed on the vehicle which may identify its owner, and shall conspicuously affix to the vehicle, in writing, a summons on a form provided by the city and this summons shall inform the owner to appear at the municipal court on the date stated, or he may issue a summons and conspicuously affix it to such vehicle and also immobilize such vehicle by installing or attaching a boot and conspicuously affixing to such vehicle a notice, in writing, a form indicating the procedure to obtain the release of such immobilizer.
Failure of the owner or his agent to appear in court on the date stated in the summons shall cause the court to issue an attachment for the arrest of the owner of the vehicle that was in violation of this section.
What is the Penalty?
The unauthorized parking of motor vehicles on private property is a misdemeanor and the first violation is punishable by a fine of $35.00 and/or imprisonment for a term of 10 days; the second violation is punishable by a fine of $50.00 and/or imprisonment for a term of 20 days; the third and every subsequent violation is punishable by a fine of $100.00 and/or imprisonment for a term of 30 days.
In any prosecution charging a violation of this section, proof that the particular vehicle described in the complaint was parked in violation along with proof that the defendant named in the complaint was at the time of such parking the registered owner of such vehicle, shall create a prima facie presumption that the registered owner of such vehicle was the person who parked or placed such vehicle at the point where and for the time during which it was parked without authorization on private property.
New Orleans Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
What Is the Crack Cocaine Amendment to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines?
Historically, federal law treated those convicted of crack cocaine offenses much more harshly than those convicted of offenses involving cocaine. This is despite the fact that chemically the substances are very similar and physiologically they react with the body in the same way. The sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and cocaine offenses was originally 100 to 1. This means that if a conviction for 100 grams of cocaine would result in a 30 year sentence, it would only take 1 gram of crack cocaine to get a 30 year sentence.
The difference in the law had an enormous effect on who gets the harsher punishments, as crack cocaine is found more often in neighborhoods that are predominantly occupied by African Americans and cocaine is generally found in more affluent, White areas. This resulted in the over incarceration of African Americans in the United States.
Over the years, civil rights advocates and criminal defense attorneys called for a more fair sentencing structure that treats the two drugs more similarly. Lawmakers eventually realized that this distinction was not scientifically supported and had contributed to the over criminalization of African Americans over the years. A few years ago, the federal government took a step in the right direction and decreased the disparity between the two drugs. In 2010, lawmakers reduced the crack/cocaine disparity to about 18 to 1. While still far from equal, this was a welcome step by many because it showed willingness to compromise on the issue. These changes went into effect on November 1, 2011.
Retroactivity of the Amendment
Once the lawmakers decided that the sentencing scheme was not fair as written, and that it needed to be rewritten to reduce the disparity, that raised another question: Can it be retroactively applied?
Unfortunately, despite the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, there are thousands of people — the vast majority of whom are African American — still in prison serving excessive sentences based on the discredited 100:1 sentencing disparity. In May of this year, a majority panel of the Sixth Circuit concluded that it was unconstitutional to allow thousands of already incarcerated offenders to continue to serve extremely long sentences based on the 100:1 disparity, while allowing offenders – who have committed identical crimes – to receive significantly shorter sentences, based on the 18:1 sentencing calculation, simply because they were sentenced later.
However, this decision has been appealed. We are still awaiting a decision. I am wondering if the 6th Circuit overstepped its power. I seem to remember congress being the only branch of government with the power to retroactively apply a statute.
To find out if you are eligible for a sentence reduction, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case.
Have You Been Charged With the Possession of Crack or Cocaine Base?
If you have been charged with a federal drug offense, you are facing some serious jail time. The best thing to do is to ensure that you have the assistance of an experienced New Orleans federal criminal defense attorney as soon in the process as possible. The longer your attorney is able to work on your case, the better the chances are of negotiating the case out of court and avoiding the expense and stress of trial.
New Orleans Federal Defense Attorney
This past week, a former LSU football player pled guilty to Bank Fraud in the US Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Lucky for him, Robert Packnett avoided jail time and was sentenced to 5 years federal probation. He was also ordered to pay approximately $233,000 in restitution. His indictment to Bank Fraud arose from the practice of Mortgage Fraud. According to the indictment, between 2011 and 2012 he submitted doctored documents to First NBC Bank overstating his income. He also applied for at least six mortgages, refinanced mortgages and commercial lines of credit. In order to qualify for these mortgages, Packnett had to submit proof of income; he submitted documentation overstating the monthly rental payments he received from tenants, as well as claiming income from properties that were in fact vacant.
Bank Fraud – 18 USC § 1344
What is Federal Bank Fraud?
Whoever knowingly executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice-
(1) to defraud a financial institution; or
The criminal law elements of a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344 (1) bank fraud which must be contained in an indictment and must be proved by the government beyond a reasonable doubt are as follows:
- The defendant knowingly executed or attempted to execute a scheme or artifice to defraud.
- The defendant did defraud or attempt to defraud the financial institution.
- The defendant used a material misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact as part of the scheme or attempted scheme.
- The financial institution was insured or chartered by the federal government.
The criminal law elements of a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344 (2) bank fraud which must be contained in an indictment and must be proved by the government beyond a reasonable doubt are as follows:
- The defendant knowingly executed or attempted to execute a scheme or artifice to obtain the money (or other property) owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution.
- The defendant used materially false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises in the execution or attempted execution of the scheme.
- The financial institution was insured or chartered by the federal government.
There are a number of other federal statutes prohibiting fraud against banks or other similar financial institutions, including, but not necessarily limited to, the following:
- 18 U.S.C. § 1004. Certification of checks.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1005. Bank entries, reports and transactions.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1006. Federal credit institution entries, reports and transactions.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1007. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation transactions.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1013. Farm loan bonds and credit bank debentures.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1014. Loan and credit applications generally; renewals and discounts; crop insurance.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1029. Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices.
- 18 U.S.C. § 1032. Concealment of assets from conservator, receiver, or liquidating agent of financial institution.
If you or a loved one has been indicted for a Federal White Collar Crime, Contact our law firm for a consultation. We are ready to start building your defense today!
New Orleans Battery Defense Attorney
Serving Clients in Orleans Parish, St. Tammany Parish, St. John Parish, St. James Parish, St. Bernard Parish, St. Charles Parish, Assumption Parish, Tangipahoa Parish, Terrebonne Parish, Plaquemines Parish and Jefferson Parish.
Abuse and Neglect of Adults — 14:403.2
Any person, who by law, is required to report the abuse or neglect of an adult and knowingly and willfully fails to so report shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.
Any person who knowingly and willfully obstructs the procedures for receiving and investigating reports of adult abuse or neglect, or who discloses without authorization confidential information about or contained within such reports shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $500.00 dollars or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.
Any person who reports an adult as abused or neglected to an adult protection agency or to any law enforcement agency, knowing that such information is false, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.
Any person who retaliates against an individual who reports adult abuse to an adult protection agency or to a law enforcement agency, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not more than $500.00 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.
Death Row Inmates and Organ Donation
As many of you know, I am an advocate of organ donation due to the many health issues my mother suffered, i.e. liver and kidney failure. Naturally, this story caught my eye and made me wonder why we do not routinely ask for permission to use the organs of executed inmates. I believe that many would gladly donate their organs. Such a donation could be a form of reconciliation to society or even a means of creating a sense of purpose for the atrocious, barbaric death penalty. Ohio Department of Corrections tried to say that they are not equipped to facilitate organ donation. All they need to do is let the transplant doctors know when the organs will be ready for harvesting. It is not too complicated – maybe I am wrong?
“Yesterday Ohio Gov. John Kasich has stepped in to delay a convicted killer’s execution after the condemned man asked to donate his organs to ailing family members. Ronald Phillips sought to donate his kidney to his mother and his heart to his sister. But the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction had said it was not equipped to facilitate organ donation.
Gov. Kasich announced that although Phillips’ crime was heinous, in the interest of saving lives, the state should examine whether it would be possible for the organs to be donated. The governor rescheduled the execution for July 2 to give the state time to study the feasibility of the proposition. An executed inmate has never been an organ donor in the United States, a spokeswoman for the educational nonprofit Lifebanc stated. Phillips was convicted of raping and killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in 1993.”
What do you think? Should we try to create an organ donation program for death row inmates?