Rapper/Actor Tone Loc Arrested for Felony Domestic Violence

Tone LocAnthony Smith, better known by his stage name, Tone Loc, faces a felony domestic violence charge after a fight with the mother of his child in Burbank, California.

Tone Loc was arrested at about 2:45 p.m. and spent less than three hours behind bars before posting a $50,000 bail bond Saturday, June 18th, according to Burbank Police Sgt. Tracy Sanchez.

Further details about the physical altercation with the mother of his child are unknown at this time and Tone has yet to comment publicly on this weekend’s arrest.

Smith is best known for the 1989 hip-hop hits “Wild Thing” and “Funky Cold Medina” from his debut album, Loc-ed After Dark. The 45-year old rapper’s deep, raspy voice has been used in recent years for television acting and voice work.

“Domestic assault charges are difficult cases to prosecute and defend,” says Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “Evidence normally is testimonial in nature with participants describing the circumstances surrounding the assault and the injuries sustained. In cases like this, the alleged victim’s credibility would be examined. Is there a motivation for her not to be truthful (think money)? Obviously these incidents rarely happen in a vacuum and if there is any chance of reconciliation, a recommendation for clients to explore personal and couples counseling is always beneficial toward resolving the case.”

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Man Robs Bank For $1

Man robs bank for $1Last week, 59-year-old James Verone robbed a bank in Gastonia, N.C. for $1 to receive medical care in jail.

In a statement from inside the Gaston County Jail, James Verone said, “(This is the) first time I’ve ever been in trouble with the law. I’m sort of a logical person and that was my logic.”

On the day of the robbery, Verone handed the teller a note reading, “This is a bank robbery. Please only give me one dollar.” He continued explaining that he, “started to walk away from the teller, then went back and said, ‘I’ll be sitting right over there in the chair waiting for the police.’”

The bank teller was threatened nonetheless and proceeded to call the police.

Verone does not have medical insurance and said this was the only way to get healthcare. He has an unknown growth on his chest, two ruptured back disks and a problem with his left foot. He is 59-years-old, unemployed, and has a fleeting bank account. He reasoned that jail was the best place to find proper medical care.

Verone is hoping for a three-year sentence.

Although he has no regret for what he did, he would not recommend that anyone else do it. He said he is now getting good medical care, but the doctor in jail accused him of manipulating the system.

“If it is called manipulation, then out of necessity because I need medical care then I guess I am manipulating the courts to get medical care,” Verone said.

There may be one flaw in his plan. Because he only demanded one dollar in the robbery, police have charged him not with bank robbery but with larceny from a person. This is a lesser crime and he might not get as much time in the big house as he was hoping for.

“Penalties for larceny are usually based on the value of goods stolen,” says Criminal Defense Lawyer, Stacy Kaye. “Since Verone only stole $1, he will likely receive a short span in local jail. Regardless, this brings to light the sad state of affairs we are in when a man has to rob a bank to receive proper medical coverage.”

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Man Fakes Brain Injury to Get Diaper Changed

diaper manAccording to Police, a New Hampshire man is accused of faking severe head trauma to trick a nurse into changing his soiled adult diaper.

Police investigators in Hooksett, New Hampshire explain that Eric Carrier impersonated his own father via a classified advertisement on Craigslist aiming to acquire an in-home caregiver to assist his son, who allegedly had been injured in a car accident. But, Carrier had no disability and wasn’t in a car accident.

When a respondent to the request for help arrived at his house in March simply to discuss future care arrangements, she could not find his father (the man who had hired her), but rather the 23-year-old suspect who acted as though he was suffering from a mental disability.

The nurse, believing Carrier had been left home alone and was unable to care for himself, changed his soiled diaper. Suspicion arose when she did not hear back from anyone to arrange future visits. She proceeded to alert police. Carrier has since been charged with indecent exposure.

“He exposed himself and it caused alarm to this nurse,” Police detective Janet Bouchard said. “He brought her there under false pretenses.”

Unfortunately this isn’t the first incident of this very nature. According to reports, a 40-year-old Florida resident, Sean Kelly, pleaded guilty to charges after he had been caught faking a mental disability which falsely led healthcare workers to believe he had the mental capacity of a 5-year-old. He told workers he needed his diapers changed and failed to pay them for their assistance.

The so-called original “Diaper Man” was sentenced to one year of house arrest and four years of probation. Eric Carrier will likely receive a similar sentence.

“The real punishment may be that these men have to register as predatory offenders,” says attorney Avery Appelman. “With that, they would also have to notify any health care providers that they are predatory offenders, or face felony failure to register charges, putting a serious damper on any future attempts at luring unsuspecting home health aides into their lair.”

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Felony Stalking Case Dismissed Due to Stacy Kaye’s Arguments

Court RoomAppelman Law Firm Attorney, Stacy Kaye, had a big victory this week in court.

Stacy’s client, Bob (client’s name has been changed to protect identity) was charged with a felony stalking offense. The incident occurred last September when Bob, who has a history of drug addiction, was driving around North Minneapolis looking for someone to sell him drugs. He saw a young woman, rolled down his window, and asked if she could help him out. She said no, and he kept driving.

After circling the block, Bob came upon the same woman. Not realizing it was the same person, he asked again if he could buy drugs from her. The woman then called the police and had the man arrested. Bob was subsequently charged with felony stalking.

Bob retained Appelman Law Firm to defend his case, and Stacy Kaye went to work. After refusing several deals from the prosecution, the case went to trial. The first day in court, Stacy outlined a compelling argument for why her client’s actions did not amount to stalking. For the man to be found guilty of felony stalking charges, the prosecution had to prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That Bob followed, monitored, and/or pursued the woman
  2. That Bob knew or had reason to know that his actions would cause the woman to feel afraid
  3. That Bob’s actions actually caused the woman to feel afraid

Stacy successfully argued that Bob did not follow, monitor, or pursue the young woman. It was an accidental incident between two strangers. While his actions apparently caused fear in the woman, he couldn’t have been expected to know they would, considering his long-standing pattern of acquiring drugs in this manner and his lack of knowledge that he had ever caused fear as a result in the past.

The prosecution acknowledged that it was unlikely to be able to prove these three facts beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, the prosecution dropped the felony stalking charges and the case was dismissed, all due to the hard work and strategic legal tact of Criminal Trial Lawyer, Stacy Kaye.

Read more Appelman Law Firm Case Successes.

Iconic “M-A-S-H” Restaurant in Ownership Battle

Packo'sFamily owned hot dog joint, Packo’s, is topped with accusations of financial misdeeds which could threaten the future of the iconic Ohio restaurant whose hot dogs were made famous by Cpl. Max Klinger on the television show “M-A-S-H.”

The restaurant continues to thrive nearly three decades after the television show ended its run serving Hungarian-style chili hot dogs, stuffed cabbage, and roast beef platters.

A fight between the son and the grandson of original founder, Tony Packo, put the restaurant’s future in jeopardy. Each party has been trading accusations for nearly a year and each is trying to buy the company. Up to this point the restaurant’s lender foreclosed on its loans, and a judge put a third party in charge of the establishment while he sorts out the facts. Both sides are due in court on Friday, June 14 to establish how to proceed.

The restaurant first opened in 1932 on a $100 loan to Tony Packo and his wife from a relative. The restaurant gained public attention, endured tough times, and finally prospered. Trouble mounted in 2003 when a shareholder and great-grandson of the founder, Robin Horvath, sued Tony Packo Jr., and his son, Tony Packo III, accusing them of blocking him from looking at company financial records. Horvath claimed to have found $400,000 in unauthorized payments dating to 2006.

The Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp has since foreclosed on almost $4 million in loans to the bar and grill and seized about $100,000 that Horvath had at the bank. A bank attorney said last February that Packo’s lost a lot of money last year but did not disclose exactly how much. He also said that its future was uncertain if management continued business under the court-appointed third party. An attempt to resolve the dispute had already failed this past spring.

The Packos have not talked publicly since the dispute and messages seeking comment are left with their attorneys.

“With dollar amounts that high, the Packos may find themselves facing criminal fraud charges as well,” says defense attorney Avery Appelman. “They could certainly try to follow in Corporal Klinger’s footsteps and plead insanity; unfortunately, the standard is so high that even with full drag attire they will probably have much the same success as Cpl. Klinger did trying to get his Section 8.”

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The War on Drugs has Failed

War on DrugsAccording to a new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the global war on drugs has failed and governments should explore legalizing marijuana and other controlled substances.

The report contends that the world-wide “war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.” The report explicates that “Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won.”

The panel includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. official George P. Schultz, former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former presidents of Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, U.K. business mogul Richard Branson, the current prime minister of Greece, and others.

The report argues that governments should end the criminalization of drug use and experiment with models that would undermine organized crime. They believe countries should not punish drug users who do no harm to others and should offer treatment services for those in need. Moreover, the report details how criminalization and other repressive measures have failed to deter supply and consumption. When one trafficking organization is negated another almost instantly emerges.

On the other side, an Office of National Drug Control Policy spokesman, Rafael Lemaitre, argues against the report saying, “Drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated. Making drugs more available—as this report suggests—will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe.”

Statistics in the U.N. report estimate that from 1998 to 2008, opiate use increased 34.5% worldwide, cocaine use jumped 27%,  and marijuana use was up 8.5%.

“Incarceration for many of these offenders simply means putting a few months or years between the next hit off the crack pipe, or spike in the arm,” says Criminal Defense Lawyer Avery Appelman. “Unless we treat the underlying problem, a problem that Rafael Lamaitre readily admits is a disease, we will not make any progress in this so-called war on drugs.”

Do you think Drugs should be legalized in the US?

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Supreme Court Rules Fleeing Police is a “Violent Felony”

Fleeing PoliceIn an appeals case this month, Supreme Court justices ruled that fleeing the police is a violent felony.

Justices dismissed an appeal from an Indiana man, Marcus Sykes, who received an enhanced federal sentence because of prior serious offenses, including one for trying to escape officers in a motor vehicle.

According to reports, officers noticed Sykes driving without headlights. When police attempted to pull him over, he fled and a chase ensued. Sykes drove on the wrong side of the road, through resident yards, rammed a fence, and finally crashed into a house before proceeding on foot. He was captured soon after.

Sykes, under the federal Armed Criminal, Career Criminal Act, received a mandatory minimum 15 year prison term for gun possession. He appealed, admitting he fled police and that it was a felony, but argued that it was non-violent. Federal law labels violent felonies as:

  • Burglary
  • Arson
  • Extortion
  • Any offense where there is “conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another”

Justice Anthony Kennedy said the federal law in question does not specifically mention dangerous car chases, but they are the kind of crime that deserves to be treated with harsher consequences.

“Risk of violence is inherent to vehicle flight,” Kennedy said. “It is well known that when offenders use motor vehicles as their means of escape they create serious potential risks of physical injury to others. Flight from a law enforcement officer invites, even demands, pursuit.”

At least 7,737 police chases were recorded nationwide from 2001 through 2007. Of those, 313 police or bystanders were injured.

“Fleeing the police is already an aggravating factor,” says MN Defense Lawyer, Stacy Kaye. “Now that fleeing is considered a violent felony, both current and prior offenses will have harsher mandatory minimum sentences. This makes fleeing law enforcement a much more serious offense.”

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Arizona’s “Walmart of Weed.” Is it legal?

WeGrowweGrow, a company dedicated to selling marijuana growing materials, is set to open its biggest outlet in Phoenix, Arizona on July 8. It is the biggest of its kind and is being hailed as the “Walmart of Weed.”

Arizona voters recently approved the sale and consumption of medical marijuana last fall.

The chain of stores boldly promotes medical marijuana by offering everything cultivators need to grow the substance. What sets weGrow apart from other stores selling growing supplies is the fact that weGrow openly states their equipment is intended for marijuana, whereas other stores claim their equipment is used for small indoor vegetable cultivation. Currently 90% of marijuana revenue comes from cannabis growers, said Melissa DiGianfilippo, a weGrow spokeswoman.

While 16 states and the District of Columbia allow some sort of medical marijuana, there remains the question of whether U.S. authorities would ever enforce federal laws against marijuana distribution.

The federal government considers marijuana a controlled substance. U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke warned state officials that, “growing, distributing and possessing marijuana, in any capacity, other than as a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law regardless of state laws that purport to permit such activities.” Moreover, Burke states that his office would “vigorously prosecute individuals and organizations that participate in unlawful manufacturing, distribution and marketing activity involving marijuana, even if such activities are permitted under state law.”

As of June 2, 3,696 Arizonans have obtained cards allowing them to possess and grow marijuana for medical issues.

“This is an issue of State vs. Federal laws,” says Criminal Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “It all boils down to who has the trump card, the State or Federal Government? Many states, including Arizona, are creating laws that marginalize the federal marijuana laws, thus making it difficult to prosecute. If the Feds do try to push this issue, they will go after the suppliers, not the growers.”

What do you think? Should state laws trump federal laws in this case?

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Utah Man Cited for Paying Bill with 2,500 Pennies

2,500 PenniesA Utah resident has been charged for disorderly conduct after demanding medical staff count the 2,500 pennies he used to pay a medical bill.

A local news source reports Jason West went to Basin Clinic in Vernal, Utah on May 27th prepared to settle a $25 bill. Assistant Police Chief Keith Campbell maintains that, after asking staff members whether or not they take cash, West proceeded to dump 2,500 pennies on the counter and demanded that they be counted.

Campbell says the issue was not about the form of payment but rather the method they were exchanged. The staff says that West dumped the pennies all over the counter and floor and that his actions served “no legitimate purpose.”

Police issued West a citation for disorderly conduct, which carries a fine of up to $140 (or 14,000 pennies).

“Obviously Mr. West was upset and did this as a passive aggressive form of objection,” says Minnesota Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “Disorderly conduct is defined as an action that causes alarm or disturbs the peace. I’m not sure West was disturbing anyone in this case. Consequently, the disorderly conduct charge is confusing and will be difficult to prosecute.”

What do you think? Did West’s actions cross the line?

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New Utah Law Outlaws Acting Sexy

Utah ProstitutionTwo escort companies in Salt Lake City, Utah are suing the state over a recent amendment to its prostitution laws.

The amendment in question, which went into effect last month, changed the state’s sexual solicitation laws to include a person indicating that they intend to exchange money for sex through lewd acts, such as exposing themselves.

The law was meant to prevent undercover officers in police prostitution stings from having to expose themselves to prove they aren’t police officers. But the law is now so broad that it could potentially incriminate people in the entertainment business, such as exotic dancers. Under the new law, a stripper could be arrested for exposing her breasts, or shaking her hips in a suggestive way.

“Most girls who touch their breasts are not telling you they’re open for sex,” said Andrew McCullough, the attorney attacking the new amendment. McCullough claims the law is “virtually identical” to one ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in 1988.

“This new law seems overly broad,” says MN Defense Attorney, Avery Appelman. “It is too expansive to accomplish law enforcements’ goals, as it implicates and incriminates certain professions. There must be better ways for the Utah government to spend taxpayer money.”

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