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January 2011 Archives

Former 'CHiPs' Actor Sentenced to Probation for Securities Fraud

Last Friday, actor Larry Wilcox was sentenced to three years' probation for conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Wilcox must also complete 500 hours of community service and cannot be involved in any penny-stock companies. Wilcox, 63, played California Highway Patrol Officer Jon Baker in the television show "CHiPs" from 1977 to 1982.

Domestic use of military drones brings up privacy questions: Part 2

The previous post began to discuss the increasing use of military drones in domestic law enforcement operations. While the practice is still rare, a recent article published by The Washington Post discusses how a privacy debate is likely to rise up around the new technology. Citizens are protected by the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable search and seizure and new surveillance technology tends to prompt fresh debates around what is "unreasonable."

Domestic use of military drones brings up privacy questions: Part 1

An interesting article by Peter Finn recently published in The Washington Post discusses the increasing use of aerial drones in domestic law enforcement operations in the U.S. The practice of using the military technology in high-risk domestic tactical operations is still rare, but Finn writes that the practice is increasing as several law enforcement departments around the country begin trying out the drones in pilot programs.

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Prosecutor Immune from Litigation

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that prosecutors should be immune from lawsuits even if they deliberately violated laws to secure a conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court says this is because prosecutors are part of the "judicial process" and opening the door to litigation could lead to baseless lawsuits that would harass prosecutors and keep them from doing their jobs.

Man Charged with Child Pornography for Hacking into E-Mail Accounts, Stealing Photos

A 23-year-old man has demonstrated how easy it can be to break into another person's e-mail account by posing as the user and guessing the answers to security questions. The man pleaded guilty in California late last week to hacking into thousands of women's e-mail accounts.

DEA Looking Into 'Fake Cocaine,' No Current Plans to Ban it

As the DEA nears the final implementation of an emergency ban on possessing, manufacturing or distributing synthetic marijuana, it is also beginning to look into reports of injuries and illnesses being caused by "fake cocaine" products. The products are sold as bath salts and snorted by some as a legal alternative to cocaine. The DEA has no current plans to ban the chemical used in the salts, methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), but it has listed it as a drug of concern.

Tom DeLay Sentenced to 3 Years for Conspiracy, Will Appeal

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay was sentenced on Monday to three years in prison on conspiracy charges and 10 years of probation on money laundering charges. DeLay was convicted by a jury in November of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He is accused of illegally channeling corporate money to state political campaigns. DeLay will appeal the conviction.

Meth Crimes on the Rise, Despite Pharmacy Tracking Systems

According to a recent report by The Associated Press, meth drug busts were up 34 percent in 2009 in the U.S., the most recent year for which there was a figure. The percentage includes arrests for drug crimes involving meth, seizures of the drug and the discovery of sites that had been used to manufacture meth and abandoned.

DEA Ban on Fake Pot Could Be in Federal Register Any Day

The DEA ban on fake pot is still not official, but any day now it will be illegal to possess, manufacture, sell or distribute synthetic marijuana or the five chemicals used to produce it. As noted in a recent post, the DEA ordered an emergency ban on synthetic marijuana. The temporary ban will last for a year while the DEA studies the chemicals used in the fake pot and decides whether they should be permanently regulated as controlled substances.

Man Declared Innocent After Serving 30 Years for Rape, Robbery

A man had his conviction overturned this week after serving 30 years in prison for crime he did not commit. According to msnbc.com, the man was convicted of aggravated robbery in 1979 and sentenced to serve 75 years in prison. He was paroled last July after serving 30 years of his sentence. One week later, results from DNA tests showed that he was innocent. 

New Jersey Man Pleads Not Guilty to Child Rape Charges

A young New Jersey man, who became a U.S. citizen when he was 11 years old and has only been in the United States for nine years, could potentially spend the rest of his life as a registered sex offender.

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