Crime Related News
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.
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?
New Orleans Weapons Crimes Attorney
The Louisiana News Bureau has just announced a proposed bill that aims to create the crime of unlawful storage of a firearm. This is House Bill 4 by Rep Norton.The proposed law provides that it is unlawful to keep or store a firearm unless it is in a locked container or is equipped with a lock to render the firearm inoperable.
The law proposes the following penalties:
First violation of a fine of not more than $300.
Second or subsequent violation of a fine of not more than $500, imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
Proposed law creates an exception if the firearm is on the person or is in use.
With all due respect to Rep. Norton, I think that this is the most ridiculous piece of legislation. I would like to understand the purpose of it. Will this make the public safer? In light of the recent gun related tragedies in Colorado and Connecticut, I think that we are going to see a lot of proposed frivolous legislation such as this. Again, I think that this in a legislative intent to fix a symptom instead of a problem. What was the real issue in the recent massacres in Co. and Ct? The lack of sufficient funding and options for mental health treatment in this country.
If you have been accused of a gun or weapons crime in the New Orleans area, contact Elizabeth B. Carpenter to schedule a consultation. We are ready to take action and stand by your side.
New Orleans Drug Crimes Defense Attorney
Serving Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. John, Baton Rouge, St. Charles, Plaquemines Parishes.
New Bill Would Eradicate Mandatory Minimum Sentences For
Marijuana Possession In Louisiana
Both the Louisiana House and Senate will reconvene for the 2013 Legislative Session in April 8, 2013. As an attorney, I subscribe to email alerts regarding legislative news. This evening I was thrilled to see a proposed bill that would eradicate mandatory minimum sentences for Marijuana Possession.
This bill is House Bill 103, sponsored by state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans. The proposed bill will lessen penalties for repeat offenders and not subject offenders to Louisiana’s Habitual Offender Law (RS La 15:529.1). This new law would also apply to synthetic cannabinoids.
I am actually opposed to the legalization of synthetic cannabinoids due to the severe health complications associated with its use. Of course, complete legalization of Marijuana would obliterate the demand for synthetic cannabinoids.
As a final thought, I think that Representative Badon is going to have a battle to fight in Baton Rouge over this new bill. The state and local governments as well as substance abuse clinics love the money that they can extort out of people who are found guilty of Marijuana Possession.
The following is a chart demonstrating the proposed changes to the law:
If you or a loved one has been charged with a Marijuana Offense in New Orleans area. Contact a New Orleans Drug Crime Attorney – Elizabeth B. Carpenter. We offer discounted fee for Marijuana Offenses!
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 drug crime attorney, contact our office today.
Synthetic Drug 25I: A New Schedule I Drug
State health officials, top lawmakers and law enforcement personnel announce steps they have taken to ban a dangerous new drug, 25i, making it illegal in Louisiana.
This relatively new drug, 25i, also called Smiles or N-Bomb, has been added to the state’s Controlled Dangerous Substance Act, effective immediately. It is classified as a Controlled Dangerous Substance — Schedule I.
Simple Possession of 25I will carry a sentence of 4 to 10 years.
Manufacturing and Distribution of 25I will carry a sentence of 5 to 50 years.
Lawmakers began eyeing criminalizing the drug after an Arkansas man died last week in New Orleans after reportedly overdosing on 25i at a festival.
At least five people have died nationwide this year after taking 25i, including the man who died in Louisiana, according to officials. Other deaths reportedly occurred in Minnesota, North Dakota, California and North Carolina. Today, Louisiana becomes the second state, along with Virginia, to make 25i illegal.
Louisiana revised statute 40:962, gives State Health Officials authority to add new compounds as a Schedule I drug in the Controlled Dangerous Substance Act by rule if the substance has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in the U.S., and if there is no accepted safety use of the substance under medical supervision.
Officials said the synthetic drug is commonly manufactured in China and India, and is being sold in powder and liquid form online, which is how people access it in the United States.
New Orleans Child Pornography Attorney
Elizabeth B. Carpenter Law is uniquely qualified to defend clients who have been accused of a child pornography offense in New Orleans area. We have represented countless clients in child pornography cases in Louisiana. Some of the specific types of cases we address include the possession, production, possession, distribution or sale of child pornography in New Orleans. Our knowledge of the law and experience in child pornography defense gives us the skill you need to effectively challenge the allegations made against you.
Court Says Child Porn Victims Can Get Restitution
Child pornography victims can recover money from people convicted of viewing their abuse without having to show a link between the crime and their injuries, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
The decision conflicts with rulings by several other federal circuits, possibly setting the stage for a Supreme Court challenge.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a woman, identified as “Amy” in court documents, was entitled to restitution from Texas resident Doyle Randall Paroline and New Orleans resident Michael Wright, both of whom pleaded guilty in separate cases to possessing child pornography that included images of Amy.
Amy sought more than $3.3 million from Paroline to cover the cost of her lost income, attorneys’ fees and psychological care. A federal judge rejected her request.
Amy also sought more than $3.3 million from Wright, who had images of Amy and at least 20 other identifiable children stored on his computer. A federal judge ruled Wright owed Amy more than $500,000.
Wright argued he didn’t owe Amy any restitution because he didn’t obtain the images until years after she was abused. He also said there wasn’t any evidence that she knew he personally viewed the images.
Amy, now her early 20s and living in Pennsylvania, was a child when her uncle sexually abused her and widely circulated images of the abuse, according to court records. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said it has found at least 35,000 images of Amy’s abuse in more than 3,200 child pornography cases since 1998.
In at least 174 cases, Amy has been awarded restitution in amounts ranging from $100 to more than $3.5 million. James Marsh, one of her attorneys, said in January that she had collected more than $1.5 million.
Nine of the 15 judges joined in the majority opinion written by Judge Emilio Garza. The opinion said a federal statute dictates that a child pornography victim be awarded restitution for the full amount of their losses in each defendant’s case.
“Fears over excessive punishment are misplaced,” Garza wrote. “… Ultimately, while the imposition of full restitution may appear harsh, it is not grossly disproportionate to the crime of receiving and possessing child pornography.”
“No other circuit that has addressed this issue has adopted such a one size fits all rule,” he wrote. “Other circuits have given the district courts discretion to assess the amount of the restitution the offender is ordered to pay.”
Stanley Schneider, one of Paroline’s attorneys, said they will ask the Supreme Court to review the ruling.
If you need a Child Pornography Defense Attorney in New Orleans, contact attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter to schedule a consultation. Early intervention by an experienced sex crime defense attorney can make a tremendous difference in your case. We are here to help you, not judge you.
By: Elizabeth B Carpenter
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.
The following cases are being argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this week:
BAILEY V. UNITED STATES
Can police officers may detain an individual incident to the execution of a search warrant when the individual has left the immediate vicinity of the premises before the warrant is executed.
CHAIDEZ V. UNITED STATES
In Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), this Court held that criminal defendants receive ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment when their attorneys fail to advise them that pleading guilty to an offense will subject them to deportation. The question presented is whether Padilla applies to persons whose convictions became final before its announcement.
FLORIDA V. JARDINES
Is a dog sniff at the front door of a suspected grow house by a trained narcotics detection dog is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause?
FLORIDA V. HARRIS
Is an alert by a well-trained narcotics detection dog certified to detect illegal contraband insufficient to establish probable cause for the search of a vehicle?
Attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter has defended many Sex Offense cases in southern Louisiana. She is one of the premiere Sex Offender attorneys in the New Orleans area. Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. understands that many people accused of Sex Crimes are not in fact guilty. We are here to defend our clients, not judge them. If you or a loved one has been accused of a Sex Offense, contact Elizabeth B. Carpenter Law for a consultation from an experienced New Orleans criminal defense lawyer. Protecting your freedom is important to us.
Former glam rocker Gary Glitter a.k.a. Paul Gadd arrested in child sex abuse scandal
LONDON — Police investigating child sex abuse allegations against the late BBC television host Jimmy Savile arrested former glam rock star and convicted sex offender Gary Glitter on Sunday, British media reported, raising further questions about whether Savile was at the center of a broader pedophile ring.
Police would not directly identify the suspect arrested Sunday, but media including the BBC and Press Association reported he was the 68-year-old Glitter.
The musician, whose real name is Paul Gadd, made it big with the crowd-pleasing hit “Rock & Roll (Part 2),” a mostly instrumental anthem that has been a staple at American sporting events, thanks to its catchy “hey” chorus. But he fell into disgrace after being convicted on child abuse charges in Vietnam.
Sunday’s arrest was the first in a widening scandal over Savile’s alleged sex crimes. Hundreds of potential victims have come forward since police began the investigation into sex abuse allegations against Savile, a much-loved children’s TV presenter and disc jockey who died at the age of 84 last year.
Most have alleged abuse by Savile, but some said they were abused by Savile and others. Most claimed they were assaulted in their early teens.
The scandal has raised questions about whether the BBC, the publicly funded and trusted broadcaster, had ignored crimes it suspected over several decades. Its executives have apologized and vowed to uncover the true scale of the alleged abuse.
“The BBC’s reputation is on the line,” Chris Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, wrote in The Mail on Sunday newspaper. “The BBC risks squandering public trust because one of its stars over three decades was apparently a sexual criminal … and because others — BBC employees and hangers-on — may also have been involved.”
On Sunday, the BBC and Sky News showed footage of Glitter, who wore a hat, a dark coat and sunglasses, being taken from his home by officers and driven away.
Police would not directly identify the suspect, but when asked about Glitter a spokesman said the force arrested a man in his 60s early Sunday morning in London on suspicion of sexual offenses in connection with the Savile probe. He remains in custody in a London police station, police said. British police do not generally identify suspects under arrest by name until they are charged.
Glitter, known for his shiny jumpsuits and bouffant wigs, was jailed in Britain in 1999 for possessing child pornography, and convicted in 2006 in Vietnam of committing “obscene acts with children” — offenses involving girls aged 10 and 11. He was deported back to Britain in 2008.
In 2006, the NFL advised its football teams not to use the Glitter version of “Rock and Roll (Part 2)” at games.
One witness recently told a BBC-TV show that she once saw Glitter having sex with a schoolgirl in Savile’s dressing room at the broadcaster’s TV center in the 1970s. Glitter has denied the allegations.
Police have said that though the majority of cases it is investigating relate to Savile alone, some involve the entertainer and other unidentified suspects. In addition, some potential victims who reported abuse by Savile also told police about separate allegations against unidentified men that did not involve the BBC host.
The scandal has horrified Britain with revelations that Savile, the longtime host of the popular BBC shows “Top of the Pops” and “Jim’ll Fix It,” allegedly cajoled and coerced vulnerable teens into having sex with him in his car, his camper van, and even in dingy dressing rooms on BBC premises.
The BBC has set up an independent inquiry into the corporation’s culture and practices in the years Savile worked there. It also launched a separate inquiry into whether its journalists dropped an investigation into the allegations.
But the scandal continues to put the broadcaster under pressure, and it seems likely that more people — either outside or inside the corporation — could be implicated.
“It could be the beginning of other high-profile arrests,” Roy Greenslade, a journalism professor at London’s City University, said in an interview with The Associated Press on Sunday.
Max Clifford, a prominent public relations guru, claimed that dozens of celebrities from the 1960s and 1970s have approached him to express fear that they could be drawn into to the scandal and criticized for their hedonistic behavior in the past.
Greenslade said that while Glitter’s arrest must be a huge concern to the BBC, it is too early to say that the broadcaster’s reputation is in crisis.
“If any BBC employee is shown to be involved, then there would be a nosedive in public trust,” he said. “But nothing at the moment has been proven.”
NEW ORLEANS MARIJUANA DEFENSE ATTORNEY
If you have been arrested for a Marijuana Offense in Louisiana, Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. Our fees are always discounted for Marijuana Offenses.
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.
Appeals Court Considers Marijuana Reclassification
More than 10 years after it was initially filed, the latest petition to remove marijuana from Schedule Iof the Controlled Substances Act is finally giving the herb its day in court. The current classification lumps cannabis in with drugs such as heroin, LSD and mescaline.
The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments this week in the case of Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, providing an opening for medical marijuana reform advocates to challenge the conventional law enforcement contention that marijuana has a “high potential for abuse” and is “without accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
Joe Elford, Chief Counsel for Americans for Safe Access, described an endless cycle orchestrated by federal drug enforcers in an effective effort to keep marijuana on Schedule I indefinitely. He argued that the Department of Health and Human Services is actively stifling much-needed research into marijuana’s medical benefits, citing the Schedule I classification as the basis for controlling research. The DEA completes the cycle by arguing that marijuana can’t be removed from Schedule I because there isn’t enough available research. This strategy has for years put a stranglehold on any opportunity for federally-accepted research into the medical marijuana benefits found in other studies.
“They’ve created a catch-22 so that they never have to be responsible for moving marijuana off of Schedule I,” said Kris Hermes, spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access. “They’re placing politics before science.”
DEA attorney Lena Watkins argued that the federal government does allow for research into the medical efficacy of marijuana, and that there have been 15 such studies that have met the government’s exacting standards. When asked by the three-judge panel why those studies have not convinced the DEA that marijuana has a legitimate medical use, Watkins said, “we don’t have the final results yet.”
Watkins reminded the court that neither state legislatures nor voters are qualified to judge the accepted medical use of marijuana, and stressed that “marijuana is the most widely abused drug in America.”
“The DEA often argues that just by the fact that marijuana is used by so many in the United States, that it’s tantamount to having high potential for abuse,” Hermes said. “That’s a ludicrous standard, and it’s not consistent with the way it’s used by the FDA.”
Key Legal Hurdle
The issue that tripped up two prior appeals of marijuana’s classification may be the downfall of this effort as well: A plaintiff must prove that he’s been harmed in order to have legal standing to sue. Past attempts to reschedule the drug failed because the plaintiffs weren’t able to prove this to the court’s satisfaction.
Before adjourning, the appeals court ordered the plaintiffs to provide supplemental briefing to make their case for standing, indicating it could be a fatal stumbling block yet again.
“They’re taking the standing issue very seriously,” Hermes said.
The plaintiff in this case is Michael Krawitz, a disabled United States Air Force veteran. Krawitz uses medical marijuana in combination with more conventional medications to alleviate pain resulting from a military service injury. But Krawitz is being denied medical services by the Department of Veterans Affairs because he’s a medical marijuana patient.
Krawitz said marijuana’s Schedule I classification has “caused my fellow patients to be imprisoned, be denied work, be denied housing, be denied the right to a firearm, and be removed from transplant lists.”
“Despite being an Oregon card-holding medical marijuana patient, I’ve had to access medical treatment for my pain outside the VA,” Krawitz said, adding that “this is done openly as punishment to stop me from using cannabis.”
A Curious Question
Since the appeal of this petition was granted, medical marijuana advocates have argued that regardless of the outcome, the opportunity to bring evidence of marijuana’s medical benefits before a court is a victory in itself.
They may need to look for victories where they can, as Judge Merrick Garland asked one question that suggested an ominous outcome.
“Don’t we have to defer to the agency?” he asked, referring to the DEA. “We’re not scientists. They are.”
Far from being scientists, the DEA is a federal law enforcement agency operating within the Department of Justice.
Do you think that marijuana should be removed from Schedule I? How do you think it should be classified? Let us know in the comments section below.
Attorney Elizabeth B Carpenter has been a supporter of reforming Marijuana Laws for many years. Currently, Louisiana has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, and it has the fifth-highest marijuana arrest rate in the United States. Additionally, Louisiana has never had a law that effectively protects medical marijuana patients from arrest. In the last several sessions, Louisiana legislators have been too busy trying to increase marijuana penalties and refusing to introduce compassionate medical marijuana legislation.
Louisianans must form a united front and remain determined to stand up to the injustice of marijuana prohibition and accomplish decriminalization, no matter how long it takes to succeed.
Harahan Seeks Cyber-Crimes Unit to Catch Online Sex Predators — New Orleans Criminal Defense Attorney
Louisiana Sex Crime Computer Crime Defense Attorney
If you are being accused of a Sex Crime, Computer Crime, Internet Crime, it is imperative that you have a skilled, aggressive attorney by your side. Contact Elizabeth B. Carpenter Law for a consultation.
Harahan Seeks Cyber-Crimes Unit to Catch Online Sex Predators
From the Times Picayune
Harahan moved Thursday night to establish its own cyber-crimes unit in the Police Department, hoping to catch online sexual predators who target children in the city of 9,277. The City Council voted 5-0 to request help setting up the unit from the Kenner Police Department, which started one in 2006.
Online solicitation of children in Harahan has not been known to be a problem, but Councilwoman Dana Huete said the potential is real. “With advanced technology now, our kids have iPads and iPhones, and we can’t always police what they’re doing,” said Huete, who sponsored the resolution.
Harahan has no money earmarked for the project, but Huete said it will seek a grant. Police Chief Mac Dickinson likely will assign an officer to work part-time on cyber-crime, she said.
Kenner police have made more than 50 arrests since starting their cyber-crimes unit six years ago, often using an officer posing online as an underaged girl. The suspects have been as near as Kenner and as far away as California and England, said Sgt. Robert McGraw, who staffs the Kenner unit.
“Just remember every time you’re child logs online, there are people all over the world looking to solicit them for sex,” he said.
The crime of “computer aided solicitation of a minor” became law in Louisiana on August 15, 2005.
Whoever is convicted of the crime Computer-aided Solicitation of a Minor shall Register as a Sex Offender for 25 years, to be conducted semi-annually.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a Sex Crime, you should contact a New Orleans Sex Crime Defense Attorney as soon as possible. Elizabeth B. Carpenter Law. Ms. Carpenter is dedicated to defending and protecting the rights of those accused of Sex Crimes. We are here to help you, not judge you!