Tuesday, 31. August 2010
In late July Nicole Polizzi, better known as ‘Snooki’ on MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” was arrested in the New Jersey beach town of Seaside Heights and was ultimately charged on Wednesday, August 18 with disorderly conduct, public nuisance, and…annoying people.
The self-proclaimed ‘guidette’ was reportedly drinking tequila since noon that July day and drunkenly made her way to the beach. After fellow beachgoers complained to the police that Polizzi was bothering them, she was arrested at 3:30 p.m. and taken into custody.While annoying people may not be a charge in Minnesota, disorderly conduct sure is. Polizzi was reportedly disturbing other beachgoers in a public setting which, under Minnesota disorderly conduct statute 609.72, is a misdemeanor. Any person who “engages in offensive, obscene, abusive, boisterous, or noisy conduct or in offensive, obscene, or abusive language tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others” is guilty of this crime.
Polizzi pled not guilty to all three charges. Her attorney, Raymond Raya, declined to make a comment to the media regarding the case. Polizzi faces up to $2,000 in fines if convicted of these crimes. Her trial is scheduled for September 8.
Polizzi’s punishment will likely depend on the explicit nature of her actions and her overall intent regarding the situation. While New Jersey criminal code 2C:33-2 does not specifically state that public drunkeness constitutes disorderly conduct, there is an implicit understanding that with public drunkeness, comes public inconvenience.
Seaside Heights’ Borough Administrator, John Camera, mentioned that Polizzi’s arrest was the first in connection with the show this summer. Luckily for reality television junkies, summer on the Jersey Shore doesn’t end until Labor Day.
Monday, 30. August 2010
Roger Clemens, the most decorated pitcher in Major League Baseball history, was indicted on Thursday, August 19 on charges of lying to Congress two years ago when he testified that he never used performance-enhancing drugs.
The indictment against Clemens includes three charges in connection with his testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform back in February 2008:
- One count of obstruction of Congress
- Two counts of perjury
- Three counts of making false statements
In 2003 more than 100 baseball players tested positive for steroid use; which did not include the seven-time Cy Young award winner, Roger Clemens. However, Congress proceeded to hold hearings on steroid use in baseball, and in 2007 Clemens was named by other players in an MLB investigation of steroid use. After 82 allegations, he voluntarily went to Congress in an attempt to clear his name.
Besides his interest in being placed into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Clemens has an acclaimed all-star reputation to defend. He has already been asked to end his involvement with various philanthropic organizations, and his name has been removed from the Houston-based Roger Clemens Institute for Sports Medicine.
It will, however, be difficult to convict Clemens of these charges. The government will have to employ the testimony of former Yankees’ Strength Coach Brian McNamee, who has proven that he’s willing to do and say anything to protect himself. To avoid federal charges of steroids distribution, McNamee has been assisting the investigators and testified against Clemens.
In addition to McNamee’s questionable testimony, Clemens will bring into court a parade of former and current MLB all-stars who will testify that their former teammate never took HGH or steroids. Given these facts it will be hard to convict Clemens. If convicted though, Clemens faces 15 to 21 months in prison.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter what we all know or what we all think we know. The ultimate verdict will come down to what the government can prove in trial.
Wednesday, 18. August 2010
We all know table-flippin’ Teresa Giudice from Bravo’s hit TV series, “The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” but we haven’t heard much from her husband, Joe Giudice—that is until this season revealed his January auto accident, resulting in a DUI conviction. Joe crashed his family’s SUV into telephone pole not far from his Jersey estate. He was reportedly out earlier with his wife and other ‘Bravo-lebrities’ from current and past ‘Housewives” seasons.
As the officers booked in Giudice at the station, they determined he had some outstanding warrants in another New Jersey county. He was then turned over to officials in that county and booked on undisclosed violations of city ordinances. Giudice was finally released from jail around 6 a.m. after posting bail around $2,000. He was ultimately charged with a misdemeanor (fourth degree) DUI, which is the lowest level.
During his sentencing, a New Jersey judge imposed $864 in penalties, ordered Giudice to perform 30 days of community service, and sentenced him to 30 days of jail. However, Giudice will not have to serve any jail time, provided he completes the community service. In addition Joe Giudice will not be allowed to drive for one year; his driver’s license was revoked for a period of 12 months. He is currently appealing (or trying to overturn) his DUI conviction, claiming he was not drinking on the night of the incident.
A misdemeanor DWI conviction in Minnesota (same as a DUI in New Jersey) would typically result in no jail time, two days of community service, a $200 fine, and possible license revocation for a maximum of 90 days. Even though it appears that Giudice got a much steeper sentence for his similar conviction, there were his priors to consider.
Over a span of the last 20 years, Giudice’s driver’s license has been suspended a total of 9.4 years—almost a decade! According to an undisclosed New Jersey state DUI attorney and an officer with the Franklin Lakes Police Department in NJ, drivers should definitely be concerned with around 15 – 17 points on their licenses. At the time of his municipal court trial, Giudice had 39 points on his license. Considering points are only based on violations received within the past 18 months, that’s very impressive, Mr. Joe Giudice!
Tuesday, 17. August 2010
This October Judge Jerome Abrams of Scott County will begin hearing arguments on the validity of the breath tests administered by police to measure blood alcohol content of suspected DWI offenders. Over 3,000 Minnesota DWI cases spanning the last 30 months have been placed in limbo until the validity of the instrument’s software source code is determined.
The machine in question is the Intoxilyzer 5000EN, a breath test administered by police at the stations to measure individuals’ blood alcohol content (BAC). Over the past few years, the accuracy of the breath test has been under debate. Discrepancies in the code could lead to inaccurately high BAC readings.
Attorneys, representing individuals charged with DWI’s based on Intoxilyzer measurements, are arguing that this discrepancy has led to wrongful and more severe DWI charges.
For criminal defense attorneys and those who have been charged with DWI’s alike, the prolonged resolution of this case is discouraging. Since the code was first disputed back in 2008, defense attorneys throughout Minnesota have petitioned DWI cases leaving many clients in a state of uncertainty and anxiously awaiting the outcomes of their cases.
What will the resolution mean for those who have been charged with DWI’s? If Judge Abrams rules the Intoxilyzer readings unreliable, the result is unknown. Even if the breath tests are found to be inaccurate under his ruling, the pending cases will not necessarily be dismissed; however, the defense attorneys will have grounds to argue their clients’ cases dropped or—at least—charges reduced.
If the Intoxilyzer’s code is ruled accurate and reliable, each of the 3000 pending DWI cases will move forward as normal with the original charges.
Tuesday, 10. August 2010
Charlie Sheen earned his bad boy reputation long before any of his marriages crumbled. With a number of run-ins with the law under his belt, he has done it again. His third wife of two years, Brooke Mueller Sheen, filed a domestic assault claim against the “Two and a Half Men” star, based on an incident stemming from December 2009. She informed Aspen, Colorado police that he threatened to kill her and proceeded to take out a knife after she told him she wanted a divorce.
Sheen was subsequently charged and pled guilty to misdemeanor third degree assault. The judge sentenced him to 30 days in a rehabilitation center, 30 days of probation, and 36 hours of anger management. Sheen has no prior record in the state of Colorado, and his attorney said the actor has already spent 93 days at a California rehab facility earlier this year. The judge ruled the time spent in that facility would be credited towards his sentence.
It is not atypical for credit to be awarded if an individual has already served part of his or her sentence before the judge hands down his ruling. This credit has nothing to do with Sheen’s celebrity status, but more to do with admitting his fault and seeking treatment on his own.
Based on his testimony in court, Sheen clearly recognizes that his actions were dangerous, and he accepts responsibility as well as the associated consequences. He enrolled himself in treatment, stayed there for over three months, and upon release reconciled with Mueller-Sheen, who then agreed to modify her restraining order against Sheen.
The judge’s ruling on Sheen’s case was not lenient—it is consistent to other court rulings for non-celebrities in similar circumstances. Sheen has been placed on probation and he must abide by several other long term consequences. Despite the rumor mills, celebrities are not treated preferentially in a court of law.