Archive for July 2013
Criminal Defense Attorney New Orleans
Criminal Defense Attorney Granted AVVO Client’s Choice Award
This is old news that we probably should have shared months ago. Better late than never, I suppose. Avvo.com awarded Attorney Elizabeth Bagert Carpenter the Client’s Choice award for 2012. Being recognized in such a way is an honor, especially since Ms. Carpenter always aims to provide exceptional client services and regularly asks former clients to review her performance.
New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug crime, contact attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter today. Our firm is ready to start building your defense!
Ten Rules for Dealing with the Police — Know Your Rights!
The 4th amendment of the Bill of Rights provides for people and their property to have the right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. Law enforcement must have probable cause to obtain a search warrant. Probable Cause is defined as clear facts and evidence to know that you are involved in criminal activity. Never let the police search your vehicle or home without a warrant — even if you feel as if you have nothing to hide.
1. Always be calm and polite. Don’t talk back or raise your voice.
2. You always have the right to remain silent. During police encounters, the best thing to do is not speak.
3. You have the right to refuse searches. You should make it very clear, “Officer, I do not consent to searches.” The officer is not required to tell you that you have the right to refuse a search. Never consent to a search. You may refuse a search of your car, house and personal items. Also you are not required to empty your pockets. Do not consent to a search even if you know that you are not in possession of something illegal.
4. Don’t get tricked. The police may lie to you. Don’t let threats or promises trick you into waiving your rights.
5. If you ever feel as if the officer is detaining you, ask if you are free to go. Calmly state, “Officer, are you detaining me or am I free to go?” This will establish that the encounter is not voluntary, which can help you later in court. If the officer does not answer the question, then you are free to go. If the officer interrogates you, say, “I am going to remain silent. I would like to see a lawyer.”
6. Don’t expose yourself to criminal activity in public.
7. Don’t run from the police! This is enough evidence to support “probable cause.”
8. Never touch a cop!
9. Pay close attention to detail and the order of events during a police encounter. Record the event either visually or audibly if you can. Immediately after, write down as much detail as possible – what were the officers statements, appearance, badge numbers, names… Look around for possible witnesses. You will need this information later to report and possible police misconduct.
10. Do not let police into your home without a signed search warrant from a judge. The only times warrants are not necessary are in cases of “hot-pursuit” and emergencies. If an officer comes to your door clearly say, “I cannot let you in without a warrant.”
New Orleans Drug Crime Attorney
Elizabeth B Carpenter Law is a premier law firm for Drug Crime defense. We have defended almost every type of Drug Crime imaginable in South Louisiana. If you are in need of a New Orleans criminal attorney, contact our office today.
Never give a police officer permission to search your vehicle or home!
United States v. Cotton (2013)
United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
In February 2011, Marvin Cotton was driving his rental car along Interstate 10 in east Texas when, without changing lanes or slowing his speed as required by Texas law, he passed Lieutenant Tony Viator’s emergency vehicle parked on the side of the road. Having already received a tip from a fellow officer that Cotton might be carrying drugs, Viator conducted a stop and a lengthy detention, running license checks with dispatch and questioning separately both Cotton and his passenger about their itinerary and their reasons for travel. Viator’s suspicion grew when inconsistencies in Cottons’s and his passenger’s stories emerged, so he sought Cotton’s consent to search the rental car for drugs. An audio recording from the camera on Viator’s vehicle captured Viator’s solicitation of Cotton’s permission to search everything in the car. Though Viator first requested permission, he twice more asked whether he could search the car. The parties disputed Cotton’s response to Viator’s initial request, but as to the two reiterated requests, Cotton indisputably responded by limiting his consent to a search of his luggage only. Nevertheless, Viator meticulously searched the entire vehicle, ultimately discovering a small, plastic-wrapped bundle containing crack cocaine concealed in the vehicle door’s inner cavity. Cotton then made incriminating statements while trying to work out a deal with the officers. He filed a motion in the District Court to suppress the drugs and the statements. The motion was denied, and Cotton pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute more than 280 grams of cocaine and was sentenced to 121 months in prison. He appealed the District Court’s denial of his motion to suppress, having reserved the right to do so in his plea agreement.
The Fifth Circuit reversed the denial of Cotton’s motion to suppress, and vacated his conviction and sentence. The Court concluded that Cotton had limited his consent to the search of his luggage only. Consequently, Viator’s prolonged and more extensive search of Cotton’s entire vehicle violated his Fourth Amendment right, and the drugs uncovered during the unauthorized search of the vehicle, and the incriminating statements made shortly thereafter should have been suppressed as fruits of the unlawful search.
Habitual Offender Criminal Attorney New Orleans
If you are being charged of a crime as a Habitual Offender, Contact attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter. Our firm is ready to fight for your freedom.
SUMMARY OF THE MULTIPLE OFFENDER LAW – La R.S. 15:529.1
The District Attorney may charge a person as a multiple or habitual offender after that person has been convicted of more than one felony.
A felony is any crime which is punishable by imprisonment at hard labor. Common felonies include theft and receiving stolen things valued over $300.00, nearly all crimes of violence and drug crimes, burglary, issuing worthless checks over $100.00, and many other crimes.
After the first felony conviction, the penalties for all subsequent felony convictions become much more severe. A prior conviction in any state or country may be considered if the crime would be a felony in committed in Louisiana.
On a second felony conviction (one prior conviction) the minimum penalty is ½ the maximum term of imprisonment applicable to a first offender; the maximum penalty is double the maximum term of imprisonment applicable to a first offender.
On a third felony conviction (two prior convictions) the minimum penalty is 2/3 the maximum applicable to a first offender; the maximum penalty is double the maximum applicable to a first offender. However, if the last and two prior felony convictions were for crimes of violence OR sex crimes against a person under 18 OR drug crimes punishable by ten years or more OR any crimes punishable by twelve years or more, the sentence for the 3rd felony conviction is NATURAL LIFE imprisonment without parole.
On a fourth or subsequent conviction (three prior convictions) the minimum penalty is twenty years at hard labor and the maximum penalty is NATURAL LIFE imprisonment without parole.
No conviction may be considered if the defendant has satisfied the 10 year cleansing period, beginning the date of release from actual custody or supervision by the Department of Corrections for probation, parole, or supervised good time, and ends on the date of the commission of the latest offense.
No sentence imposed under 15:529.1 may be suspended and the defendant may not be placed on probation. Most of these sentences are without reduction for good time.
In calculating whether a person is eligible for sentencing as an habitual offender, the sequence of offenses and convictions must be: commission of offense A, then conviction of offense A, then commission of offense B, then conviction of offense B, then commission of offense C, the conviction of offense C. Convictions on the same day for several district offenses committed in different incidents do NOT count as one conviction. See: State v. Michael Johnson, 2003-2993 (La. 10/19/04), 884 So.2d 568.
Each prior conviction must have been with counsel or an expressed waiver of counsel, and there must have been a complete Boykinization. Prior adjudication as a multiple offender is not required.
Defendants convicted of certain crimes which became felonies due to repeat offender status may not me multiple billed (such as repeat offender theft, possession of marijuana, convicted felon with firearm). However, those convictions may be used as prior (predicate) offenses if subsequently the defendant is convicted of another felony.
NEW ORLEANS SEX CRIMES DEFENSE ATTORNEY
If you or a loved one is facing allegations of a SEX CRIME, you must contact a criminal defense attorney for a consultation. Early intervention by an experienced Sex Offender Defense Attorney can make a tremendous difference in your case. Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. is dedicated to the defense of those accused of Sex Crimes in Louisiana. We are here to defend you, not judge you.
Unlawful Use or Access of Social Media — La RS 14:95.1
A. The following shall constitute unlawful use or access of social media:
The using or accessing of social networking websites, chat rooms, and peer-to-peer networks by a person who is required to register as a sex offender and who was previously convicted of R.S. 14:81 (indecent behavior with juveniles), R.S. 14:81.1 (pornography involving juveniles), R.S. 14:81.3 (computer-aided solicitation of a minor), or R.S. 14:283 (video voyeurism) or was previously convicted of a sex offense as defined in R.S. 15:541 in which the victim of the sex offense was a minor.
The provisions of this Section shall also apply to any person previously convicted for an offense under the laws of another state, or military, territorial, foreign, tribal, or federal law which is equivalent to the offenses provided for in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, unless the tribal court or foreign conviction was not obtained with sufficient safeguards for fundamental fairness and due process for the accused as provided by the federal guidelines adopted pursuant to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.
B. The use or access of social media shall not be considered unlawful for purposes of this Section if the offender has permission to use or access social networking websites, chat rooms, or peer-to-peer networks from his probation or parole officer or the court of original jurisdiction.
C. For purposes of this Section:
“Chat room” means any Internet website through which users have the ability to communicate via text and which allows messages to be visible to all other users or to a designated segment of all other users.
“Minor” means a person under the age of eighteen years.
“Peer-to-peer network” means a connection of computer systems whereby files are shared directly between the systems on a network without the need of a central server.
“Social networking website” means an Internet website that has any of the following capabilities:
Allows users to create web pages or profiles about themselves that are available to the general public or to any other users.
Offers a mechanism for communication among users, such as a forum, chat room, electronic mail, or instant messaging.
Whoever commits the crime of unlawful use or access of social media shall, upon a first conviction, be fined not more than $10,000 and shall be imprisoned with hard labor for not more than 10 years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
Whoever commits the crime of unlawful use or access of social media, upon a second or subsequent conviction, shall be fined not more than $20,000 and shall be imprisoned with hard labor for not less than 5 years nor more than 20 years without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
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.
Boykinization is a term sometimes used to refer to reading a defendant his rights. It derives from a case, Boykin v. Alabama, 395 U.S. 238 (1969), decided by the United States Supreme Court. This case is most often cited for the principle that guilty pleas are enforceable only if taken voluntarily and intelligently. Due process requires an affirmative showing that a defendant who pleads guilty to a criminal charge has been apprised of his constitutional rights and has knowingly and voluntarily waived those rights. Such waiver cannot be presumed and reversible error is presented when the record does not disclose that the defendant voluntarily and understandingly entered his pleas of guilty.
In Boykin, the defendant was charged with common-law robbery. He pleaded guilty to the five indictments against him, and the trial court entered his plea of guilty.The jury sentenced defendant to death. On automatic appeal, the state supreme court affirmed the judgment, holding that a death sentence for robbery was not cruel and unusual punishment. On further appeal, the United States Supreme Court court reversed defendant’s conviction because the record contained no showing that his guilty plea was voluntary. The court held that an affirmative showing of voluntariness on the record was necessary in order to conclude that defendant had waived his constitutional rights.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, contact attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter for a consultation. Our firm prides itself on the results we achieve for clients.
Child Pornography Defense New Orleans
If you are facing a Sex Crime charge in Louisiana for Possession, Production, Distribution of Pornography Involving Juveniles, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced New Orleans Sex Crime Defense Attorney. American culture has created a witch hunt atmosphere for those accused of a sex crime; you will have to face hostile prosecutors and harsh public opinion. Elizabeth B. Carpenter Law is here to defend you and to protect your freedom. Ms. Carpenter has the experience necessary to effectuate skilled representation for those accused of Possession, Production, Distribution of Child Pornography. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Case On Child Porn Victim Restitution
A few months ago, I reported that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a woman, was entitled to restitution from a Texas resident and a New Orleans resident , both of whom pleaded guilty in separate cases to possessing child pornography that included images of the woman.
At the end of the article that I posted, one of the attorneys for the defendants suggested that he would ask the Supreme Court to review the ruling.
Last Thursday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. The legal question is how much are the defendants required to pay in restitution under the 1994 Mandatory Restitution for Sexual Exploitation of Children Act. The woman says that the defendant is liable for the full amount of her injury – such as counseling and loss of future income – while each defendant asserts that he should only be liable for his individual role. The woman has claimed $3.4 million in damages for this law suit alone.
Court papers indicate that more than 150 courts have awarded Amy restitution but these defendants are the only one to go before the Supreme Court.
Oral arguments and a decision are due in the court’s next term, which begins in October and ends in June 2014.
The case is Paroline v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court, 12-8561.