Revenge Porn: A New Internet Crime

 

 

Revenge Porn: New Orleans Computer Crimes Attorney Perspective 

 

By: Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq.

 

Remember years ago when you would pack a shoe box with photos and other keepsakes after breaking-up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Thanks to the internet, this practice has changed a little.  Yes, people still have the boxes with the stuffed animals, dried flowers and  promise ring, but they may also have a few intimate, sexual, digital photos sitting in a box of a different kind – Inbox. Those privately shared sexy photos are now in the hands of an angry ex who thinks that it would be amusing to post them on-line.  This is where trouble begins.

 

Our nation seems to be gearing up for a host of laws aimed at addressing a new social phenomenon referred to as “revenge porn” –generally defined as the act of posting sexual photos of an ex-lover online for vengeance. The photos were typically exchanged consensually over the course of a relationship and meant only for the other person.

 

California is leading the charge to criminalize revenge porn.  Last week, the governor signed a new law that makes revenge porn punishable by up to 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine, or both. Repeat offenders may be punished by up to 1 year in jail.

 

Critics of revenge porn laws raise First Amendment challenges because these laws criminalize speech after-all.  California seems to have sidestepped this problem by limiting the scope of the statute and enumerating what the law does not cover.  For example, the new California revenge porn law does not apply to the following:

 

  * Selfies

  * Third Party Redistributors

  * Hackers

  * Non-Confidential Photos

  * Insufficient Intent to Cause Emotional Distress

 

As you can see, the statute is so narrow that I would be surprised if there are many criminal prosecutions under this new law.  Revenge porn laws would help victims more if they applied to website operators who republish user submissions, such as isanyoneup.com or myex.com.   However, states cannot impose such sanctions due to 47 USC 230, the 1996 federal law that says websites aren’t liable for third party content.

 

Currently, Louisiana does not have any proposed criminal legislation addressing this issue. However, I imagine it is only a matter of time before our lawmakers propose a bill.  As of this writing, the states of Arizona, Georgia, New York, Texas and Wisconsin are looking to enact similar laws. It will be interesting to see where the policy debates over revenge porn go from here. I feel certain that California’s small step isn’t the final word on this matter. The legal challenges that restricted California’s goal should provide helpful insight to other states who hope to strike more boldly against revenge porn.

 

Since the beginning of time sex, love and crime have been bedfellows. Now more than ever it is important to watch your internet footprint as we enter the brave new world of digital photography, social media and  their many pitfalls.  Do the best you can in love and your romantic relationships.  The next time you are tempted to post sexy photos of your ex in an attempt to seek revenge — think twice.

 

 

Visit Ms. Carpenter’s web site for more information on Cyber Crimes and Internet Crimes in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

 

New Orleans DWI Attorney Teaches Seminar To Other Legal Practitioners

 

 

An article was published earlier this week about a DWI defense class that I taught to other attorneys.  I really enjoy talking about Louisiana DWI defense strategies with other attorneys.  I hope that I have more opportunities to conduct such classes this year.  Click HERE to read the article.

 

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

 

 

 

Human Trafficking Awareness Day 2014

 

In 2007, the U.S. Senate declared January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day in an effort to raise the consciousness about this issue. When you hear the term, Human Trafficking, you probably think of sex slavery or forced prostitution.  I think that it is important for people to understand that the term is far more encompassing than that. Human trafficking is not just sex slavery. It is forced labor in cleaning services, farmlands, factories, nail salons and many other industries. It is holding humans captive, and forcing them to work for free, by threatening them.  It is essentially modern day slavery.

 

In Louisiana, much attention has been paid to the issue lately in terms of legislation and advocacy groups.  Last summer, Governor Jindal signed three new human trafficking related bills into law.  The most significant bill broadened Louisiana’s Racketeering Laws by adding the following crimes to the definition of racketeering statute: female genital mutilation, aggravated kidnapping of a child younger than 13, human trafficking, trafficking of children for sexual purposes, bigamy, abetting in bigamy and the sale of minor children. Racketeering laws are utilized by prosecutors to target members of an organization engaged in criminal activities.  This new bill will allow tougher penalties against groups of individuals who are engaged in human trafficking activities. The Louisiana racketeering provides for a penalty of imprisonment for not more than 50 years or a fine up to 1 million dollars, or both.

 

Another bill strengthens enforcement of current law that requires certain establishments to post the National Human Trafficking Hotline number. The bill adds penalties for the failure to post the hotline number and allocates the authority to promulgate rules regarding posting specifics to the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.

 

The third bill provides for pre-adjudication diversion programs for juveniles who allegedly engaged in prostitution related offenses due to sexual exploitation by human traffickers.  The purpose of the bill is to help rehabilitate these young people rather than punishing them.  This bill also takes additional steps to protect victims of human trafficking by creating a civil cause of action for victims, making victim restitution mandatory and establishing victim assistance guidelines for law enforcement, District Attorneys and the Attorney General’s office.

 

Important Information

 

As a criminal defense attorney in the New Orleans area, I have defended individuals who were accused of Human Trafficking.  These client’s face harsh criticism and blood thirsty prosecutors.  My law firm is dedicated to providing our clients with a high level of guidance and the legal advocacy they deserve. My top priority is to create the strongest defense possible and help my clients avoid or minimize the penalties associated with human trafficking charges.

 

 

Parole Eligibility Laws — Louisiana

Happy New Year!  I know that my blog has been rather quiet lately.  The past few weeks have been packed with good food, family and friends, making goals for the new year and planning how I intend to accomplish said goals.  Anyway, I am back and ready to serve up some information on Louisiana criminal laws as well as my personal musings.

 

Before Christmas, I attended the annual end of the year Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar hosted by the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (LACDL), an organization that I encourage all Louisiana criminal attorneys to join.  This CLE is usually full of all kinds of information that I believe helps me to grow as an attorney and offer a better service to my clients.  I am looking forward to sharing many bits of my new found knowledge with my readers this year.

 

Louisiana parole eligibility laws are complicated.  Many of the most highly skilled criminal attorneys do not fully understand these laws.  I know that it is frustrating for clients because many accept sentences under the belief that they will be eligible for parole in X years, but when they arrive at the Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC), they learn that their eligibility date is further away.  The Louisiana Parole Eligibility statute is located at La. R.S. 15:574.4.

 

Parole Eligibility Overview

 First Offense

A first time offender who is not serving a sentence for a violent offense, sex offense or sentenced under La. R.S. 15:529.1 (Multiple Offender Statute) regardless of the date of conviction, convicted of a first felony offense is eligible for parole consideration after serving 1/4th of the sentenced imposed.  Eligibility is at 25% of the sentence – Act 285 of 2011. Effective for people who were sentenced on or after August 15, 2011.

Second Offense

Upon conviction of a second felony offense and not serving a sentence for a for a violent offense, sex offense or sentenced under La. R.S. 15:529.1 regardless of the date of the conviction, is eligible for parole consideration upon serving 33 1/3% of the sentence imposed.  Act 159 of 2012.  Effective for people sentenced on or after August 1, 2012.

Third Offense

A person convicted of a third or subsequent felony and committed to the DOC is not eligible for parole consideration. Effective for crimes committed on or after January 1, 1982.

Violent Crimes

A person who is serving a sentence for a crime of violence which was committed on or after January 1, 1997, and otherwise eligible for parole must serve at least 85% before parole consideration Act 1099 of 1995.  Effective for crimes committed on or after January 1, 1997.

Life Sentence

A person serving a life sentence is not eligible for parole.  Act 162 of 1952.  Effective for offenses committed on or after July 30, 1952.

 

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. i.e. Geriatric Parole, Juvenile Life Sentences, Life Sentences for Non-Violent Offenses…  I hope to discuss these exceptions in another blog post.

Note:  No inmate who has pending charges against him may be paroled.

 

If you have a loved one who is currently serving time, I extend sincerest empathy and compassion to you.  I know that it is just as difficult for you as it is for your loved one.

 

Legal Representation

 

If you need help with a parole issue, contact New Orleans Criminal Attorney Elizabeth B. Carpenter to schedule a consultation.

 

 

Social Security Fraud — Federal Law

 

 

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?

 

Pay a fine or be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.
The Court may order the payment of restitution.

 

 

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 — Federal Law

 

 

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:

  1. the use of either mail or wire communications in the foreseeable furtherance
  2. of a scheme to defraud
  3. involving a material deception
  4. with the intent to deprive another of
  5. 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!

 

 

 

Fraud By Wire, Radio, Television — Federal Law

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.

 

Penalty

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!

 

 

Battery and Assault — Kenner Municipal Offenses

Kenner 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.

 

Penalties

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.

 

 

Unauthorized Parking Motor Vehicle On Private Property

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.

 

Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. — Misdemeanor Defense

 

Crack Cocaine — Fair Sentencing Act 2010 Amendment

 

 

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.

 

Related Posts:

Federal Drug-Trafficking Penalties For Cocaine

Defending Possession with Intent to Distribute Cases — Federal and State Court Drug Crimes

 

 

 

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