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Archive for January, 2009

Ice Cream registers on Ignition Interlock Device

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Click here for story of ice cream that has been shown to register as breath alcohol on a breath testing machine.

Feds to target Financial Fraud

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

According to reports in the New York Times, the Senate is looking for more funding to increase the government’s ability to detect fraud by white-collar criminal.  See the story below, from the New York Times.

Senators Seek More Funds to Fight Financial Fraud

The New York Times

January 22, 2009

Charles E. Schumer, the Democratic senator from New York, and Richard C. Shelby, a Republican senator from Alabama, introduced new spending legislation on Thursday designed to increase enforcement and detection of white-collar crime in the wake of the $50 billion fraud allegedly perpetrated by Bernard L. Madoff.
Mr. Schumer (pictured above), who is vice chairman of the Senate Democratic caucus, and Mr. Shelby, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, propose adding $110 million to the budgets of the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the F.B.I. to help crack down on Wall Street fraud.
Under the new legislation, known as the Supplemental Anti-Fraud Enforcement (“SAFE”) Markets Act, the F.B.I. would get the bulk of the funds, $80 million, to hire 500 new agents in its white-collar crime division.
The S.E.C. would receive $20 million to hire 100 new enforcement officials, and the Justice Department would get $10 million for 50 new assistant U.S. attorneys.
The legislation would have to pass Congress and will likely be debated by lawmakers in the annual appropriations hearings, which are expected to start next month.
The S.E.C. admitted in December that, despite being repeatedly tipped off about potential fraud, the agency failed to detect Mr. Madoff’s wide-ranging Ponzi scheme.
“Our white collar crime divisions are understaffed, underfunded, and overwhelmed,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement.
“Fundamentally, our current economic crisis is one of confidence, which underpins our entire financial system. This foundation of trust has been badly shaken by greed, but is further eroded by fraud. In order to restore confidence, those who perpetrate fraudulent acts must be brought to justice,” Mr. Shelby added.
The senators noted that, by some published estimates, the Bush administration failed to replace at least 2,400 F.B.I. agents who were transferred to counter-terrorism squads. As a result, the F.B.I’s white collar crime units are currently down at least 625 agents from pre-9/11 levels, a reduction of 36 percent.
–Zachery Kouwe

Over-criminalization

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Lions laying with lambs? The ultra-conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, is weighing in against the over-criminalization of the conduct of the the citizenry. Former Reagan Administration Attorney General, Edwin Meese says in the article,

“Our ultimate goal,” he said, “is to restore the criminal law to what it has traditionally been used for. That is, to protect the public safety and to deal with real crime – and to avoid what has occurred, which is the multiplicity of laws and regulations that carry criminal penalties which have ensnared ordinary, law-abiding citizens in the criminal process for things that nobody would anticipate are actually crimes.”

“What has happened is that a lot of special interest groups have urged Congress to attach criminal penalties to regulatory legislation to, quote, ‘show its importance.’… Therefore the criminal process is being abused when normal civil proceedings or administrative actions would suffice to protect public health and safety.”

Then entire story can be viewed at dcexaminer.com by clicking here:

This just in: Downtown Austin is Hotbed for DWI Arrests

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

The Austin Police Department has completed what can only be described as a sort of “straw-poll” of DWI arrestees and determined that bars in the downtown area are mentioned most often by DWI suspects when being arrested.

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/01/17//0117bars.html

High Concentration of People + High Concentration of Bars + High Number of One Way Streets + High Concentration of Officers Patrolling Area = Large Number of DWI Arrests.

Got it.

Speedy Trial Rights

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

The defendant is entitled to a speedy trial.   A more subjective tenet of law cannot be found.  “Speedy” to the layperson and “speedy” to the justice system are two very different concepts.  Typically, my cases are resolved in anywhere from six to eighteen months, depending on the complexity of the case.  In Texas, appellate courts will start to take a harsher look at the length of delay in a criminal case when it approaches eighteen months and the defendant is able to show some “harm” from the delay.

The United States Supreme Court just granted cert on a Speedy Trial issue that may trickle down to Texas law.  See the following article for a more in depth treatment of the case and its posture before the Supreme Court:

www.salon.com/wires/ap/us/2009/01/11/D95L3HO80_speedy_trials/