Criminal Defense Blog

Charges Dismissed Against Rick Perry

I’m not a big fan of the former Texas governor Rick Perry, or of Texas for that matter. But I’ve got to say that I sympathize with him. Last fall, Rick Perry ran for President of the United States, but dropped out of the race because his name and reputation were tainted by pending criminal […]

Is the president gonna take away my guns?

The other day a client asked me whether I thought he should go out and buy a firearm. “Why do you want to buy a gun?” I asked. “With everything you’re hearing about Obama trying to take our guns away,” he replied, “Do you think it’s true? Do you think I should buy a firearm?” […]

Do IIDs prevent drunk driving?

An “ignition interlock device” (IID) is a device that can be installed in a car which prevents the car from operating if the driver has alcohol on his breath. In order to turn on the car, the driver must first blow into the IID, which detects breath alcohol. In 2010, a pilot program was begun […]

Nebraska Ends Death Penalty

This month was surprising. The federal jury in Massachusetts that heard the evidence against Dzokhar Tsarnaev chose to sentence the Boston Marathon bomber to death. In Massachusetts, capital punishment was abolished in 1984. A majority of citizens are opposed to the death penalty. Because the Boston Marathon bombing trial was a federal case, however, federal […]

In 1996 California voters passed the landmark Compassionate Use Act which allows individuals to possess or cultivate marijuana for personal medical use if they have the recommendation of a physician. In 2003 the Medical Marijuana Program Act was passed. The intent of this law was to “enhance the access of patients and caregivers to medical […]

Reductions in sentences for federal drug offenses

The United States Sentencing Commission has reduced the penalty for most federal drug crimes. Effective November 1st of last year, the number of points assigned to drug crimes in the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines was reduced by 2 points. This matters, because judges are required to consider the Guidelines when rendering a sentence. Under the Guidelines, […]

Voters pass Prop 47: minor offenders shouldn’t be felons

This year, California voters made clear that they don’t think it’s costly or wise to send people who commit minor offenses to prison. In November voters passed Prop 47, “the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” which reclassifies many drug possession crimes and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and dedicates the money saved to mental […]

Second Amendment right to bear arms

Six years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court held in District of Columbia versus Heller that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution protects an individual’s right to bear firearms. This decision was significant, in that some cases had held that the right to bear firearms was a collective right. These cases held that the […]

Senator Mark Leno proposes cell phone kill switch

A bill introduced by California Senator Mark Leno was approved by the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee yesterday. If passed, it would be the first of its kind in the nation. It would require cell phone and tablet manufacturers to include a “kill switch” in portable devices, which would enable consumers to remotely deactivate […]

Rap song or confession to murder?

I read in the New York Times today about Antwain Steward from Newport News, Virginia. Mr. Steward was arrested for an unsolved double murder, based on little more than rap lyrics from a video he performed on YouTube which went, “But nobody saw when I smoked him. Roped him, sharpened up the shank, then I […]