Articles Posted in Criminal Law

According to a Huffington Post article, racism could well be the biggest crime in the criminal justice system. In fact, if the current trends continue, one out of every four African American Males born within the last decade can expect to end up behind bars. That’s 25 percent of all African American males born in the last ten years, despite the fact that, according to the Census Bureau, in 2012 only about 13 percent of the United States population was African American (61 percent white, 17 percent Hispanic and the remainder classified as “other”).

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More alarming statistics from the Huffington Post article include:

  • African American men are 6 times as likely to be sent to jail or prison as white men.

According to a report released in 2016, in the year 2014, more people died from guns than from motor vehicle accidents in 21 states across the nation (35,647 deaths from guns and 33,599 deaths from motor vehicle accidents). The research was done by The Violence Policy Center after analyzing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC routinely tallies all causes of death on an annual basis, and while traffic fatalities have been gradually declining, largely due to increased safety regulations, gun deaths have continued to climb.

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The Legislative Director of the Violence Policy Center, Kristen Rand, noted that firearms are the only consumer product not regulated for health and safety by the federal government. Just five years prior, in 2009, gun deaths exceeded motor vehicle accident deaths in only ten states—a number that has more than doubled in just five years. Further, firearm deaths among those from 0-19 years old is on the rise, with 46 children and teens being shot each day, 7 of those fatally. These numbers include suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, assaults, murder, and police interventions.

Last year, mass shootings took the lives of 20 Mississippi residents, and a full two-thirds of those deaths were directly linked to domestic violence. This is even higher than the national numbers which found that about half of all mass shootings were linked to domestic violence.

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The group, Everytown for Gun Safety, analyzed 156 mass shootings across the nation between 2009 and 2016. In this analysis, it was discovered that 54 percent of these mass shootings were linked to domestic violence, and one out of every four victims was a child. Just as alarming, in at least a third of the mass shootings, the shooter had been prohibited from possessing a firearm. 

As with most states, felons in the state of Mississippi are likely to find their employment opportunities and their housing opportunities limited. Because of the decided lack of opportunities for ex-convicts in the state, some of them will return to a life of crime. Others may find federal jobs in the state, and those will naturally have better luck reintegrating into society (Federal programs assist ex-cons in finding housing and gainful employment, and the U.S. government is the one of the largest employers of former felons).

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One program, known as the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, gives employers an incentive in the form of a tax break for hiring ex-cons. This tax credit can range from $1,200 to $9,600, depending on the category of the ex-con. Otherwise, some of the Mississippi places which are known to be “felon-friendly,” include: Olive Garden, The Salvation Army, Dairy Queen, Boeing, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Avis, Golden Corral, Greyhound, Men’s Wearhouse and Kohl’s. Because a source of income is necessary in allowing an ex-con to make a fresh start, meeting their basic needs, like food and housing, making a good impression during a job interview is crucial. Some tips which can help an ex-felon get hired include the following:

Under Mississippi law, any person who willfully and unlawfully takes possession of any merchandise owned, held, offered or displayed for sale by a merchant, without paying for said merchandise is guilty of the crime of shoplifting.

This can occur through concealing the unpurchased merchandise, from removing the merchandise from the store, from altering, transferring or removing the price tag, from transferring the unpurchased merchandise from one container to another, or from causing the cash register to reflect a lower price. 

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As those who have been through it can attest, even allegations of domestic violence can result in both short and long-term consequences. In fact, jail time and fines—no matter how serious—could well be the least of the negative outcomes you suffer as a result of domestic violence charges.

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So are you aware of all the possible consequences? If not, an accusation could include result in any of the following: 

1. Termination of your employment

Anyone who has ever had a felony conviction is well-aware of the ramifications, both short and long-term. There are many things to deal with following a felony conviction, including fines, fees, loss of employment or future employment opportunities, jail or prison time, loss of professional licenses, inability to obtain a government student loan, and, for a federal conviction, the inability to own a firearm or ammunition. In short, those with a felony conviction can find it exceedingly difficult to re-enter society. But what about a misdemeanor conviction?

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While many people feel like a misdemeanor conviction is really no big deal, in fact, such a conviction can bring many of the same consequences as a felony conviction. Even fairly minor crimes, like driving with a suspended license, or youthful possession of marijuana could burden you with significant disadvantages from many years to come. In this technological age, not only can many people pull up your charges and convictions online, a potential employer will almost certainly look at your record.

The Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics worked a drug overdose case at least every other day during the month of March (2017), with about 90 percent of those being related to opiates. Last year, thirty-seven healthcare providers were arrested by states agents for “pharmaceutical diversion.” 

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Pharmaceutical diversion, is the transfer of any legally prescribed controlled substance from the person for whom it was prescribed to another person for an illicit use. Yet Mississippi officials feel the health sector is not taking the message to heart. Accordingly, two doctors and two nurses are the latest casualties in the investigations into healthcare professionals who are perhaps misusing their power to prescribe. Two doctors in the state surrendered their DEA licenses, while two nurse-practitioners have actually been charged with wrongdoing. 

After a two-year drug investigation conducted by multi drug agencies, five members of an alleged drug trafficking organization in Pearl River County have been arrested. The five men were charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance as well as possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and some of the men have alleged gang memberships as well.

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The drugs included in the charges include cocaine, meth and cannabis. Officials with the ATF, DEA, US Dept. of Homeland Security, MS Bureau of Narcotics, Picayune Police Dept., and the Pearl River Co. Sheriff’s Dept. all agree that the crackdown on drug trafficking will majorly impact the flow of drugs into the state.

Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia received a 15-game ban without pay after being arrested for a domestic violence incident. Familia has said he will not appeal the suspension, and he will be eligible to return for the Mets 16th game. Familia was arrested on October 31st, in Fort Lee, New Jersey, then the case was dismissed in December after the prosecutor in the case elected not to prosecute.

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Even though the criminal case was dropped, Commissioner Rob Manfred elected to discipline Familia as outlined in the team’s 2015 domestic violence policy. Manfred stated that while there was no evidence Familia physically assaulted his wife, the pitcher’s conduct was inappropriate, warranting discipline. For his part, Familia continues to claim he never physically touched, threatened or harmed his wife, but that he did act in “an unacceptable manner.”

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