Articles Posted in Criminal Law

Time after time we hear about cheating scandals at the corporate level, and time after time we wonder how corporate criminals continue to cheat Americans. Consider the Volkswagen cheating scandal in which Volkswagen corporate officers did their emissions testing in a laboratory, allowing them to alter the results. Hundreds of thousands of people bought Volkswagen vehicles, based on those altered emissions tests, only to find they were cheated, and are now unable to re-sell their vehicles.

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Other car manufacturers participated in the program which used remote sensing devices placed on the side of the road. These devices accurately gauge the level of emissions from the vehicles that pass by, and because manufacturers are not sure when their own vehicles will be tested, the test becomes virtually cheat-proof. Lower emission vehicles are a regulation in some areas, and a definite boon to the environment, yet Volkswagen did their own “tests,” so they could deliberately cheat American consumers.

Consumers Cheated Time After Time by Corporate Criminals

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York could be the happiest prosecutor in the country right now, after the Supreme Court’s decision regarding insider trading prosecutions. That unanimous ruling just made it much easier for federal prosecutors to go after those who make a profit—at the expense of other investors—through trading on material, non-public corporate secrets.

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Insider Trading Rules Change in 2014

In 2014, Bharara’s near-perfect record of prosecuting insider trading took a hit when rules for prosecuting the crime were tightened up. A tipster was required to receive a valuable benefit for disclosing non-public corporate confidences before the benefactor could be prosecuted. Because of these new rules, several of the high-profile insider trading cases being prosecuted by Bharara fell apart, allowing Wall Street to breathe easier—at least for a while.

When “America’s Dad,” Bill Cosby, was convicted of sexual assault, shockwaves resonated throughout the country. While most of us are well aware of the “Me Too” movement, the Weinstein scandal, the Matt Lauer scandal, and the almost daily news of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations, it was nonetheless difficult to see the “wholesome” sitcom dad convicted of such crimes. Because of the time which had elapsed since Cosby’s bad behaviors occurred, many were surprised at the conviction.

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Cosby’s Decision to “Scold” Poor Blacks Led to His Eventual Conviction

According to an article in The Atlantic, if Cosby had not decided to “scold poor black Americans for their moral failures,” he might never have found himself charged with sexual assault. While more than ten women stepped forward to accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct in 2004-2005, it would take another ten years for the societal climate to be ready to take action against men in power who took advantage of women.

Although white collar crimes have been well-recognized for nearly two centuries, the collapse of Enron over a decade ago (as a result of deceptive and downright shoddy accounting practices) has made many Americans more aware of the seriousness of white collar crimes.

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Further, as computers and other types of technology become more and more sophisticated, white collar criminals have changed the ways they operate, and, in some cases, it can be more difficult for police to gather solid evidence on white collar crimes.

In the early eighteenth century, Daniel Defoe observed that “Every degree of business has its invitation to do evil…”, “Necessity tempts the poor man,” and “Avarice tempts the rich.” All of these observations apply to white collar crimes—those who have little may be tempted to engage in a criminal act to help their finances out, even the rich can be tempted to engage in a criminal act due to greed, and businesses tend to be the primary focus of white collar crimes. White-collar crimes typically include the following offenses:

A sting operation is, essentially, a deceptive operation, put into place by law enforcement, with a goal of nabbing a criminal. It is an undercover investigation where law enforcement personnel pretend to be someone else—if the goal is to catch a drug buyer, then law enforcement may pretend to be a drug trafficker or if the goal is to catch a sexual predator, then law enforcement will pretend to be a minor.

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Sting operations are attractive to law enforcement because they often net positive publicity and impressive short-term results with relatively little work and time on the part of law enforcement.

Sting operations generally include the following:

In 2016, Wayne Parish was accused for the shooting death of a teenager who was allegedly breaking into his car. Two years later, in January 2018, Hinds County District Attorney announced the murder case had been dropped and that they were no longer actively prosecuting. This case shone light on the Mississippi law that outlines the right civilians have to protect one’s legally occupied place. 

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What is the Castle Doctrine?

The Castle Doctrine was passed in Mississippi in 2006 and exists as an amendment to the country’s justifiable homicide law, which varies from state to state.

According to a new study, legalized marijuana—both medical and recreational—could possibly be reducing violence in border states.

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States which border Mexico have seen their share of drugs headed to the United States—drugs which make billions for drug cartels and drug trafficking, which has caused a significant number of deaths. The Economic Journal published the study titled “Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations?”

Thirteen Percent Drop in the Rate of Crime in Border States Which Have Legalized Marijuana

In 2016, CNN reported that the number of hate crimes reached a five-year high, with a noticeable increase toward the end of 2016 after the presidential election results.

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The FBI recently released a report which broke that statistic down—in 2016, there were 6,121 reported hate crimes. Keep in mind, this is the number of reported hate crimes, and is a five percent increase from 2015. The “reported” qualifier is significant—88 percent of participating law enforcement agencies reported no hate crimes in their jurisdictions.

For reasons that are unclear, only a small fraction of the more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States actually track officer misconduct reports. One theory for this lack of accountability is that these statistics are not tracked because what appears like misconduct to most of us, may not be considered misconduct within the department.

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If a police officer is cleared of charges and even honored for the actions—even if it costs the life of another—then any initial reports are not a part of police department tracking. Most Americans support our law enforcement officers, and believe that, overall, police officers are often under-appreciated. Unfortunately, there are a small percentage of police officers who abuse their power. Consider the following statistics:  

Sexting is the term used for sending, receiving or forwarding a sexually explicit image, photograph or message. Although sexting usually occurs on cell phones, it can also take place on a computer, or any other digital device.

One survey asked teens whether they had engaged in sexting, and, if so, why. A staggering 40 percent of all teens have sent a sexually suggestive message, although the practice is more common among boys than girls. Forty percent of teenage girls who sent a sexually suggestive message said they did it as a joke, 34 percent said it made them feel sexy, and 12 percent said they felt pressure to do it.

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