FACTS, LIES and VIDEOTAPED INTERROGATIONS
The Justice Department recently said that the F.B.I. and other federal law enforcement agencies are encouraged to videotape interviews with suspects in most instances. This new policy does not apply in cases where agents need urgent national security-related information that could expose sources or methods or where the interviewed subject request to not be videoed. This is one of the most significant changes in F.B.I. policy under James B. Comey, who took charge as the bureau’s director in September. Mr. Comey’s predecessor, Robert S. Mueller III, and senior bureau officials had once opposed the video requirement, saying the tapes could reveal agents’ interrogation tactics and discourage witnesses from talking.
The new policy, which goes into effect in July 2014, applies to the F.B.I., the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Marshals Service. These federal law enforcement agencies are also encouraged to use electronic recording in other parts of their investigations, like witness interviews.
The former official, Paul K. Charlton, said federal prosecutors were unnecessarily losing cases because they were unable to present to jurors the most damning evidence available to them: videotaped confessions.
“The most difficult part of proving a crime involves the state of mind, and that is almost always obtained through a statement of the suspect.“
I think this is one of the most significant improvements in the criminal justice system in a long time. Cameras are on neighborhood poles, the corner of big box stores and spread all throughout modern society. Cameras help cops when stops are made. Many Officers now must wear a mini camera on their person. Why would anyone suggest a video-taped interview, hot after a crime would not provide a closer look at the truth, is beyond me.
Of course, I could see how law enforcement would not like the eye in the sky recording their “strategic approach” to obtaining information, confessions and what-have you. Now, the very first time an interviewee asks for a lawyer, the agents can’t just offer the subject a cigarette, cup of bad coffee and hit it again an hour later with some new angle. Now the interview will actually be over. “I want my lawyer…I don’t want to talk anymore!” ACTUALLY means that.
That is Power- and that is good for justice
Federal Crime: Mailing Injurious Articles Via The United States Postal Service
Looking for a job can be a drag, especially when you feel overcome by constant rejection. If you find yourself feeling spiteful and frustrated with a lack of employment opportunities, don’t do what Jevons Brown, a 58 year old vet from St. Louis, Mo., did because you might end up on jail. To get revenge, Brown sent boxes filled with cat poop to companies that did not hire him.
Brown sent the packages of cat poop via the U.S. mail. Investigators were able to find 20 packages containing cat poop and trace them to him.
Some of you may be wondering what’s the crime? Believe it or not, mailing poop is against the law because it creates a health hazard. The offense is called Mailing Injurious Articles and it may be found at 18 U.S. Code § 1716.
In short this law prohibits a person from mailing poisonous substances, poisonous animals, insects, reptiles, and all explosives, hazardous materials, inflammable materials, all disease germs or scabs, and all other natural or artificial articles, compositions, or material which may kill or injure another or property of another. This also includes mailing intoxicating liquors, spirits, wines, medications and certain drugs. It is worth mentioning that this statute permits people to mail some of these articles under certain circumstances provided the sender obtains permission and employs appropriate packaging guidelines. Although this offense is only a misdemeanor, it is a federal crime. Federal sentencing guidelines for this offense recommend probation or up to 6 months in prison. Of course, if someone is killed as a result of the mailed injurious articles, the offense becomes a felony and is punishable by death or life in prison.
In Brown’s case the judge sentenced him to two years of probation. I think that this is a fair sentence. Of course, I don’t think that he was trying to harm anyone. According to a St. Louis newspaper, since this incident occurred, Brown has found a job and started counseling. Good luck to you Mr. Brown.
So what’s the moral of the story? The next time you don’t get a job that you want, stay away from the cat box! Meow!
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.
Mail Fraud: 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!
In 2006 the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act made a number of changes regarding sex offender laws including laws that imposed on the states requirements pertaining to state sex offender registration on where, when and how long sex offenders must register.
The law requires each jurisdiction to maintain a sex offender registry that divides sex offenders into three tiers and requires different registry periods for each tier.
Tier III sex offender — the most serious classification. These sex offenders are convicted of an offense that is punishable by more than one year in prison and:
1. is comparable or more severe than one of the following federal crimes or conspiracy or attempt to commit one of them: aggravated sexual abuse, sexual abuse, or abusive sexual contact against a minor under age 13;
2. involves kidnapping a minor, unless the actor is a parent or guardian; or
3. occurs after the offender became a Tier II sex offender.
A Tier III sex offender must register for life, unless he is a juvenile at the time of sentencing in which cases the registration period is 25 years if he maintains a clean record.
A Tier II sex offender — someone convicted of an offense punishable by more than one year in prison that:
1. is committed against a minor and is comparable or more severe than one of the following federal crimes or attempt or conspiracy to commit one of them: sex trafficking, coercion and enticement, transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, or abusive sexual contact;
2. involves using a minor in a sexual performance, soliciting a minor for prostitution, or producing or distributing child pornography; or
3. occurs after the offender became a Tier I sex offender.
A Tier II sex offender must register for 25 years.
A Tier I sex offender — someone convicted of a sex offense not included in the other tiers.
The act defines a sex offense as (1) a crime involving a sexual act or sexual contact with another, (2) specified crimes against minors, (3) specified federal crimes and military crimes, and (4) attempt or conspiracy to commit one of them. Certain foreign crimes and certain crimes involving consensual sexual conduct are excluded but certain juvenile adjudications are included.
A Tier I sex offender must register for 15 years, but with a clean record and registration compliance the registration may be reduced to 10 years.
The law also requires sex offenders to appear in person to have a picture taken and verify registry information.
Tier I sex offenders must appear every year,
Tier II sex offenders every six month, and
Tier III sex offenders every three months.
New Orleans Attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter Dedicated to reforming Sex Offender Registration Laws!
Federal Trafficking Penalties for Schedule II Cocaine
FOR: Schedule II Cocaine — 500-4999 grams mixture Or
Schedule II Cocaine Base — 28-279 grams mixture
First Offense: Not less than 5 yrs. and not more than 40 yrs. If death or serious bodily injury, not less than 20 yrs. or more than life. Fine of not more than $5 million if an individual, $25 million if not an individual.
Second Offense: Not less than 10 yrs. and not more than life.
If death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment. Fine of not more than $8 million if an individual, $50 million if not an individual.
FOR: Schedule II Cocaine — 5 kilograms or more mixture Or
Schedule II Cocaine Base — 280 grams or more mixture
First Offense: Not less than 10 yrs. and not more than life. If death or serious bodily injury, not less than 20 yrs. or more than life. Fine of not more than $10 million if an individual, $50 million if not an individual.
Second Offense: Not less than 20 yrs, and not more than life. If death or serious bodily injury, life imprisonment. Fine of not more than $20 million if an individual, $75 million if not an individual.
2 or More Prior Offenses: Life imprisonment. Fine of not more than $20 million if an individual, $75 million if not an individual.
If you are facing federal drug trafficking charges, contact Attorney Elizabeth Bagert Carpenter. She is a highly skilled New Orleans Drug Crimes Attorney. We are ready to fight for you!
Child Pornography on the Internet
Have You Been Charged with a Child Pornography Offense in State or Federal Court?
What is Child Pornography?
It may seem like a silly question, but the legal definition of child pornography is not as clear cut as many may think. For example, in order to be considered pornography, an image does not necessarily need to show a minor engaging in a sexual act, it is enough to show any sexually explicit image. This means that even a picture of a naked child may be sufficient to be considered pornographic if the picture is sexually suggestive.
Another common point of confusion is consent. Consent from a minor is no defense to a child pornography charge. This is because, as the law sees it, there is no way for a minor to give valid to consent to these types of sexually explicit acts. So, as long as the subject is under the age of 18, there can be no consent defense. Similarly, a lack of knowledge of the true age of a minor may or may not be a valid defense, depending on the facts of the case.
Punishments for Child Pornography in State and Federal Court
As is the case with most offenses, the punishments for possession, distribution, or manufacture of child pornography vary greatly based on the jurisdiction and specific facts of the case. Even a first-time offender convicted of possession of child pornography is facing a minimum sentence of between 5 and 25 years plus heavy fines.
In addition to a term of imprisonment, most people convicted of a state or federal sex offense will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their life. This means that, even if that person moves from one city or state to another, they will still be required to register in the new location. Failure to register may result in an additional serious felony charge.
What To Do After Receiving a Federal Indictment
A federal indictment is a formal legal document that charges an individual with a federal crime. Usually, an indictment is issued after a grand jury convenes and determines that there is probable cause to believe that the subject of the indictment committed the crime in question.
This is slightly different than in state court, where a judge usually determines if there is probable cause. Prosecutors actually have a harder job in federal cases, because, instead of convincing one judge that there is probable cause, the prosecutor must convince an entire jury. With that said, because federal indictments are difficult to obtain, often they are only sought by federal prosecutors when they think that they can obtain one, i.e, when they have a strong case. Because of this, criminal cases in federal court have an extremely high conviction rate, above 90% in most jurisdictions.
If You Have Been Federally Indicted…
Have you been issued a federal indictment? If so, this is an extremely serious time in your life. Many federal crimes have the potential to result in long prison sentences. Combine that with the high conviction rate in federal court and it equals a serious situation for the federal criminal defendant. Everything must be done to increase your chances acquittal or, if that is not an option, create a strong case for mitigation.
Receiving a federal indictment, while serious, does not mean that one should give up hope and succumb to the wishes of the prosecutor. There is always something to benefit from having an experienced federal defense attorney at your side throughout the entire federal criminal proceeding.
First, an experienced federal defense attorney can determine what defenses may be applicable in your specific circumstance. For example, evidence seized illegally under the 4th Amendment must be suppressed and cannot be considered by the court. In many cases where evidence is suppressed, the charges get dropped. Other cases may hinge on the reliability of scientific evidence; so even if it seems like hope is lost, that isn’t necessarily the case.
In some cases the prosecutors have a strong case. In these situations, an experienced attorney can create a strong case for mitigation, hoping to convince the sentencer to be lenient and sentence the defendant in the lower range of the sentencing guidelines.
The bottom line is that being federally indicted is a serious matter, but not so much that one should give up hope. There is always something that can be done to increase the chances of acquittal or at least the opportunity to convince the court to implement a fair sentence.
If you have been issued a federal indictment, you need to consult with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Doing so will ensure that you are well represented during what is likely going to be the most important, stressful time of your life.
Federal Cyber Crimes Defense Attorney
Federal Computer Crimes, Cyber Crime, Internet Crimes
Internet crimes are on the rise, and have been for years. Due to the popularity of this form of doing business, new forms of defrauding people through this medium have emerged. Since the crime can originate anywhere, these offenses are often considered to be federal offenses, which can have much harsher penalties. They are also pursued vigorously by law enforcement, due to the sharp increase in these types of crimes.
Some of the types of Federal Internet Crimes that we can assist you with include:
- Internet Sex Crimes
- Credit card fraud
- Illegal downloading
- Identity Theft
- Internet Fraud
- Computer Hacking
- Internet Pornography
- Computer Crimes against a Child
- Cyber stalking
The area of internet crimes is complex and can involve not only local authorities, but State and Federal as well. Depending on the crime you are charged with, there may be several counts of wrongdoing to contend with. The specific penalties that a defendant faces for a federal computer crime conviction will vary depending upon the particular offense. For example, while imprisonment may be a common denominator for all computer crimes, heavy fines and victim restitution are more likely in a case involving fraud and sex offender registration will likely be mandatory in a case involving child pornography. You will need the experience and expertise of a highly skilled criminal defense attorney to ensure your defense is properly formulated.
Explanation of DEA Controlled Substance Schedules
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a drug related crime, contact Elizabeth B. Carpenter — New Orleans Drug Crime Defense Attorney for a consultation.
The drugs and other substances that are considered controlled substances under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) are divided into five schedules. A listing of the substances and their schedules is found in the DEA regulations. A controlled substance is placed in its respective schedule based on whether it has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and its relative abuse potential and likelihood of causing dependence. Some examples of controlled substances in each schedule are outlined below.
Schedule I Controlled Substances
Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
Some examples of substances listed in schedule I are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, methaqualone, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“ecstasy”).
Schedule II Controlled Substances
Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
Examples of single entity schedule II narcotics include morphine and opium. Other schedule II narcotic substances and their common name brand products include: hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), methadone (Dolophine®), meperidine (Demerol®), oxycodone (OxyContin®), and fentanyl (Sublimaze® or Duragesic®).
Examples of schedule II stimulants include: amphetamine (Dexedrine®, Adderall®), methamphetamine (Desoxyn®), and methylphenidate (Ritalin®). Other schedule II substances include: cocaine, amobarbital, glutethimide, and pentobarbital.
Schedule III Controlled Substances
Substances in this schedule have a potential for abuse less than substances in schedules I or II and abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
Examples of schedule III narcotics include combination products containing less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin®) and products containing not more than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine®). Also included are buprenorphine products (Suboxone® and Subutex®) used to treat opioid addiction.
Examples of schedule III non-narcotics include benzphetamine (Didrex®), phendimetrazine, ketamine, and anabolic steroids such as oxandrolone (Oxandrin®).
Schedule IV Controlled Substances
Substances in this schedule have a low potential for abuse relative to substances in schedule III.
An example of a schedule IV narcotic is propoxyphene (Darvon® and Darvocet-N 100®).
Other schedule IV substances include: alprazolam (Xanax®), clonazepam (Klonopin®), clorazepate (Tranxene®), diazepam (Valium®), lorazepam (Ativan®), midazolam (Versed®), temazepam (Restoril®), and triazolam (Halcion®).
Schedule V Controlled Substances
Substances in this schedule have a low potential for abuse relative to substances listed in schedule IV and consist primarily of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. These are generally used for antitussive, antidiarrheal, and analgesic purposes.
Examples include cough preparations containing not more than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams (Robitussin AC® and Phenergan with Codeine®).