Thursday, 26. May 2011
Cleveland Indians outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo, was charge with drunk driving earlier this month in Ohio, making him the 6th MLB player to be charged with DUI this year.
Choo blew a blood alcohol content of 0.201—well over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Choo was pulled over in Sheffield Lakes, Ohio after his white Cadillac SUV crossed the double yellow lines several times. The arresting officer reports that Choo failed several field sobriety tests, including the heel-to-toe walking test, after being pulled over.
The 28-year-old South Korean is regretful and apologetic about what happened. “I am hopeful that this incident will not be a distraction to the Indians organization while we remain focused on continuing to play winning baseball,” he said
Choo joins the ranks of five other MLB players cited with DUI this year: Austin Kearns, Seattle’s Adam Kennedy, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, Oakland’s Coco Crisp and Atlanta’s Derek Lowe
In Minnesota a BAC level of 0.2 or higher is considered an aggravating factor, and will likely result in a higher degree of DWI. This would, in turn, bring steeper fines and possible jail time.
“If arrested in Minnesota, Choo would be facing double the driver’s license revocation period and a minimum bail of $12,000,” says DWI Defense Lawyer, Avery Appelman. “Choo’s best plan is to attain a chemical dependency evaluation and follow the subsequent recommendations.”
Check out video of Choo’s Field Sobriety Test.
Tuesday, 24. May 2011
On Monday, May 23, just before midnight, Model/Actress Estella Warren was arrested in L.A. for a laundry list of charges including DUI, felony escape, hit & run, and assaulting a police officer—a fair amount of violations for one night’s work.
Police say Warren was driving her Prius around L.A. when she hit three parked cars. Officers quickly found her and subsequently arrested her for DUI. Warren apparently did not like this, so she kicked the arresting officer, racking up additional charges.
She was cuffed and brought to the station. During the booking process, she somehow got out of her restraints and ran right out the door. It wasn’t difficult for police to recapture her.
One officer says she was “really hammered.”
Warren has appeared in several films, including Kangaroo Jack and Planet of the Apes. She has modeled for Vogue and Sports Illustrated, among others.
“It’s obvious that Ms. Warren has alcohol issues,” says MN Defense Attorney, Stacy Kaye. “Her best option for defense is to take proactive steps to address her chemical dependency issues. Acknowledging the problem and taking steps to prevent it show a judge you’re taking the issue seriously and may mitigate the consequences.”
Thursday, 19. May 2011
A 26-year-old Woodbury man is currently on trial for hacking into a woman’s Facebook profile, stealing photos of her, and posting them on sexually explicit websites.
Timothy P. Noirjean faces 13 counts of identity theft.
Authorities seized Noirjean’s computer and found evidence of 13 female victims. One in particular, a 20-year-old woman reported her complaint to the police. She claimed that someone had hacked into her Facebook profile and changed her password. Noirjean, posing under the pseudonym “Steve Mills” pretended to be her friend and hacked her account while instant messaging with the girl. He then took several photos of the girl and posted them on sexual sites.
Noirjean admitted to these acts after being confronted by police officers, yet he claims he didn’t know he was doing anything illegal. In addition to the 13 victims Noirjean is being charged with, police found hundreds of other computer files with names, addresses, and pictures of other women.
Identity theft is a serious crime. Below is the Minnesota statute outlining the definition of, and penalties for identity theft in Minnesota.
Minnesota Statute Section 609.527 IDENTITY THEFT
Subd. 5a.Crime of electronic use of false pretense to obtain identity.
- A person who, with intent to obtain the identity of another, uses a false pretense in an e-mail to another person or in a Web page, electronic communication, advertisement, or any other communication on the Internet, is guilty of a crime.
- Whoever commits such offense may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.
- In a prosecution under this subdivision, it is not a defense that:
- the person committing the offense did not obtain the identity of another
- the person committing the offense did not use the identity; or
- the offense did not result in financial loss or any other loss to any person.
“This is a very serious charge with equally serious consequences,” says Minnesota Defense Lawyer, Avery Appelman. “Electronic crimes such as this case of identity theft are easy to prosecute because the offender often leaves a trail of proof that is easy to trace. I hope Noirjean has invested in a good attorney—he’s going to need one.”
Monday, 16. May 2011
Hennepin County has passed a new ordinance that bans smoking on County property. A ban previously existed restricting smoking in public places, but this new ordinance includes any outdoor property—even a person sitting in their own vehicle.
The Hennepin County Board passed the new ban in a 6-1 vote last month. Specifically, the ordinance bans smoking on all property where the County is the sole tenant. Previously, smoking was banned within 45 feet of the entrance to any government building. Now even people in privately owned cars may not smoke on County property.
County Commissioner, Jeff Johnson, was the only negative vote. He argues that the ordinance goes too far and should be changed to exclude the smoking-in-your-own-car clause.
This new ban goes into effect on July 1, 2011. The law exempts people smoking while driving down County roads.
“Although I’m disappointed with my county of residence for legislating morals, I don’t think there is any constitutional basis on which to fight this statute,” says Minneapolis Defense Attorney, Geoff Saltzstein. “If you decide to light up on county property, make sure you bring your checkbook—it’s going to be an expensive cigarette.”
What do you think? Does this ordinance restrict civil rights too much?
Tuesday, 10. May 2011
On April 15, the U.S. Government shut down several popular online poker sites for operating illegal gambling services.
Full Tilt Poker, Pokerstars, and Absolute Poker, which make up 70 percent of the U.S. online poker market, were the primary websites targeted. Their domains were immediately seized and frozen by the FBI upon being charged. The government is asking for $3 billion in restitution fees and fines.
“As charged, these defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits,” said U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara.
Users were initially blocked from these sites, leaving millions of dollars of winnings up in the air. Many players feared they wouldn’t be able to cash in on the money they won. Fortunately for them, the government agreed to unfreeze player accounts for a short time to allow users to cash out.
The site owners and operators that were charged face serious consequences that could amount to decades of prison time. 11 site operators have been charged with a slew of offenses including money laundering, conspiracy, and of course, illegal gambling.
Thursday, 5. May 2011
Last month, a 15-month-old child was accidentally served alcohol at a Michigan Applebee’s restaurant. Now the toddler’s parents have decided to press charges.
The incident occurred when Taylor Dill-Reese and Dominic Wilson brought their child, Dominic Lacey Wilson, out to a family dinner at Applebee’s. The Wilsons ordered a kids meal for their son that was supposed to come with apple juice. Due to a mix-up by the wait staff, the child was served alcoholic margarita mix instead.
After the Wilsons finally figured out what was going on, they took their son to a hospital where his blood alcohol content was allegedly measured at 0.10—just over the legal driving limit of 0.08. The child reportedly experienced hangover-like symptoms (headaches, nausea) for days following the incident.
The Wilsons’ attorney, William Stern, claims that the restaurant has a history of serving alcohol to infants. “It’s happened to them on multiple occasions,” Stern said. “This is an occasion that came really close to being tragic if the child had ingested a little more alcohol. Fortunately they caught it, when the child was acting drunk and the father tasted it and realized it wasn’t apple juice.”
Applebee’s is cooperating with the investigation and lawsuit, though they claim that the reports of the child’s intoxication are exaggerated.
“This appears to be another example of a lawsuit run amuck,” says Criminal Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “In order to pursue a lawsuit, there need to be damages. There don’t appear to be any legitimate damages in this case. This is essentially a legalized shakedown.”
Is this a justified lawsuit? Or are the parents trying to “shakedown” Applebee’s for some extra cash?
Tuesday, 3. May 2011
A recent study done by the Pew Center revealed that Minnesota has the highest recidivism rate in the country. Recidivism is the tendency of a convicted criminal to relapse into criminal behavior.
The study collected data from 41 of the 50 United States. Minnesota was the “winner” with a recidivism rate of 61 percent. That’s nearly 10 percent higher than the runners up. Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, and Vermont reported rates around 50 percent. Oregon and Wyoming had the lowest rates at around 25 percent.
“These statistics show that our legal system needs to focus on education rather than incarceration,” says Criminal Trial Lawyer, Geoff Saltzstein. “Incarceration only puts more time between crimes.”
These results highlight the growing rate of recidivism in the United States. The numbers show that standard prison time is simply not working. This is proof that our legal system needs to seriously consider alternative treatment options, such as rehab, for nonviolent criminal offenders.
If these states could cut their recidivism levels by only 10 percent, they could save hundreds of millions of dollars each year in prison costs.
“Recidivism statistics are usually compiled by crime, not holistically” says Minnesota Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “Our high level of DWI rates in Minnesota likely skewed the data. In reality, our recidivism rates for more severe, violent crimes are lower. Regardless, jail-time should always be a last resort. Prisons simply band-aid a criminal’s underlying issues. They are short-term solutions to long-term problems.”
What do you think? Do these statistics prove that prisons are simply not working? Sound off in the comments section below!