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April 2011 Archives

New Jersey bans 'bath salts' designer drug

New Jersey's Attorney General Paula Dow announced on Thursday that the state was classifying six chemicals used to manufacture a designer drug that is sold as "bath salts" as controlled dangerous substances. The designer drug may carry a label that it is not for human consumption, but when smoked or snorted will give users a high similar to meth or cocaine.

Should sexting among teens be a felony sex offense?

Lawmakers in New Jersey and around the country are working to update existing state laws concerning possession and distribution of child pornography in order to deal with the growing incidence of "sexting" between teens.

New Jersey grand jury indicts man accused of harassing Rutgers roommate

The former roommate of a Rutgers University freshman who committed suicide last fall has been indicted by a grand jury in New Jersey on charges related to invasion of privacy and hate crimes. The grand jury indicted the 19-year-old on 15 counts including bias intimidation, invasion of privacy, tampering with physical evidence, witness tampering, and hindering apprehension or prosecution. According to CNN, the invasion of privacy charges have enhancements to them that make them second- and third-degree class felonies.

Supreme Court to review whether drug crime prison sentence was too harsh

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a case in which a woman claims that she was handed an overly long federal prison sentence. The woman was arrested and charged in 2008 with attempted smuggling of immigrants. She did not appear at a court hearing for those charges and, when law enforcement went to arrest her in her home, methamphetamine was found in her residence. After being convicted of the crimes, the woman's attorney asked the judge for the minimum sentence because he said she had suffered childhood sexual abuse, according to the Los Angeles Times.

New Jersey man pleads guilty to Ponzi scheme fraud

A man from Sparta, New Jersey, has pleaded guilty to operating a Ponzi scheme with a co-conspirator. According to The Associated Press, the man pleaded guilty to fraud charges on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Newark. The 57-year-old man faces a minimum of 16 years in prison. He will be sentenced in July. The case appears to be an example of a businessman whose legitimate business spiraled over time into a fraud.

Sellers of synthetic drugs can be prosecuted under federal analog laws

As noted in the previous post, lawmakers in New Jersey and around the country are working to ban synthetic drugs that mimic the effects of illegal drugs like cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. Some of the forms these drugs take are as incense or as bath salts.

Chemists one step ahead of lawmakers in race to ban chemicals in synthetic drugs

State lawmakers in New Jersey and around the country as well as federal agencies are all trying to figure out how to deal with the increasing use of unregulated synthetic drugs. A recent AP investigative study looked into how reports of bad reactions to the drug to poison control centers around the country are increasing, despite the efforts to ban the drugs. A DEA employee told the AP that the agency has never dealt before with a drug product that is just out on the shelves.

Lacrosse players wrongly tried on rape charges sue prosecutor, city

The previous post discussed the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn a lower court's award of damages to a man who spent 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit because of prosecutorial misconduct. The Supreme Court ruled in 1963 that prosecutors are constitutionally obligated to disclose evidence that could prove a defendant's innocence. The Supreme Court also has a history of ruling that prosecutors are immune from liability.

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