Backpage Being Sued By 3 Young Girls Forced Into Prostitution’s adult services section is back under fire, once again being called a safe haven for sex traffickers and pimps. The free classified website is now being sued by three teenage girls who claim that they were forced into prostitution.  The three girls claim that the website should have taken actions to help the girls, but instead enabled and even profited from their sexual exploitation.

The lawsuit was brought into a Washington state court on Friday. The girls, aged 13, 13, and 15 were shown in numerous photos, advertised as escorts. It is estimated that makes approximately $22 million per year from escort and adult advertisements alone and accounts for nearly 70% of all online sex advertisement. The Village Voice Media-owned website is no stranger to harsh criticism, and this is hardly the company’s first march through court. As part of an ongoing effort to curb child sex trafficking and prostitution, Washington state recently passed a law requiring the site and ones like it to verify the ages of all escorts advertised on the site to verify that they are adults. However, a judge granted an injunction on Friday which halts the new law.

According to attorneys for Village Voice Media, the new law actually prohibits such a lawsuit, and they do not believe that the case will hold up in court.

Related Sources:

Seattle Times

LA Times

Department of Corrections Program Profile: On Your Feet!

On Your Feet! is a project created by the Minnesota Department of Corrections and the Veterans Justice Corps. The program is designed to help assist incarcerated veterans transition back into the community.

The program is modeled after a similar project in Canada, designed by the Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) in 1994. The Canadian model has proven highly effective and a study of its effects has shown that offenders within the program had a 57% reduction in violent crime recidivism and a 35% reduction in overall recidivism.

Recidivism is a major concern within the criminal justice community, and the Obama administration’s 2012 National Drug Control Strategy addresses the urgent need to reduce repeat offenses in the United States.

The On Your Feet! program is staffed by volunteers and run in small groups of 407. Meetings are held 1-2 times weekly for one year, on average.

According toMN criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman, “Programs such as this which help smooth the transition from prison into the community are an integral part of the effort to reduce recidivism. On Your Feet! is tailored to address the special needs of veterans going through this process, but there are many other programs available which are designed to help a number of other demographics through the re-entry process.”

MSP airport worker charged with DWI

airportJohn Korab, a fifty-four year old ground worker at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport was arrested for drunk driving on the tarmac.

On July 19, 2012 Korab was driving a truck for the ground services company Servisair when he failed to yield to an Air Tran jet that was backing up from the gate. According to police reports, his blood alcohol level was .21, more than twice the legal limit for driving in Minnesota. The report also said he has a prior DWI conviction from 2008.

In Minnesota a DWI is an “enhanceable” offense, meaning that certain aggravating factors make a DWI charge more serious. The degree of the drunk driving offense depends on the amount of aggravating factors present. As the degree of the DWI rises the penalties become much more severe, making it very important to contact a criminal defense attorney. Minnesota DWI law defines aggravating factors as any one or combination of the following:

• A blood alcohol content of .20 or more

• The presence of a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the offense

• A prior DWI conviction within 10 years

Criminal defense attorney Stacy Kaye says, “with one prior within 10 years and being above .20, he’s looking at 2 aggravating factors, which will bring him up to a second degree DWI. As such, unless he is able to successfully fight the case, he’s looking at a mandatory minimum executed sentence of 30 days (48 hours must be in custody, the rest can be served via alternatives). The civil penalties are also severe, especially if he has a commercial driver’s license. It’s unlikely that the prosecution will be inclined to offer a generous deal either, considering that he was posing a serious threat not just to cars on a roadway but to an entire airport.” If you or someone you know is charged with a crime, contact the experienced criminal trial lawyers at the Appelman Law Firm.

Related Sources:

Kare 11 News
Minneapolis Star Tribune

What is Ignition Interlock?

The ignition interlock system involves those who are punished for DUI. If convicted of a DWI, a judge may order a mandatory ignition interlock device to be installed in the offender’s car.

The device requires the driver to perform a breath test every time they attempt to start the car. An additional test is required while they are driving to prevent another driver from starting the car and then allowing the owner of the car to takeover with alcohol in their system. Interlock systems report any and all violations to your probation officer or judge. Once the device is installed, routine maintenance must be performed monthly at the location where it was first installed.

Remember, if you have been ordered by a judge to install an ignition interlock device in your car, then you must follow through. Considering other potential punishments for DUI, an ignition interlock system can be one of the best options. Benefits include:

  • affordability
  • reliability
  • efficient installation
  • routine maintenance
  • small design
  • cutting-edge, tamper-proof technology.

As long as there are no violations on the driver’s part, the system will allow you to continue with your day-to-day life without license suspension, expensive fines, or jail time. Based upon the offence and the judge’s orders, this system may be a good alternative for certain offenders. Check your state laws concerning an ignition interlock system to learn more.



Premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” Turns Deadly

batmanAt a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” a 24 year old graduate student at University of Colorado-Denver, opened gun fire at the Century 16 theater in Aurora Colorado, killing 12 people and injuring 59 others, making it the largest mass shooting in U.S. History.

James Holmes entered the movie theater wearing a bullet proof vest, bullet proof leggings, a ballistics helmet, gas mask and gloves.  He set off several smoke bombs and began shooting movie watchers in the auditorium.

Witnesses in the movie theater said they saw smoke and heard gunshots that they assumed were part of the movie until they saw Holmes standing in front of the screen.  Holmes then walked up and down the aisles, shooting anyone he came into contact with.

Thankfully, Holmes was taken into custody minutes after the shooting. Police found him decked out in riot gear by his car behind the theater carrying three weapons: an AR 15 assault rifle, a Remington gauge shot gun and a .40 Glock handgun.

According to police, Holmes told arresting officers that he was “The Joker” from the second movie in the Batman movie trilogy, “The Dark Knight”.  He also told police that he had booby trapped his apartment.  Police chief Dan Oates confirmed that police and bomb squads have found an ample amount of explosive devices at Holmes’ apartment. “It’s something I’ve never seen before,” said Oates.

Federal law enforcement sources say that Holmes bought a ticket to the movie, snuck out of the theater once the previews started, and propped the emergency exit door open while he gathered his weapons and gear.  Once he came back inside, he opened fire.

Minnesota criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman says, “The danger in conclusory journalism – finding James Holmes guilty prior to any sort of judicial process – is not that we may have the wrong guy, or that there may be some technicality that allows him to walk free.  The danger is that we close our eyes to what the bigger picture is.  Why did this happen? Could it have been prevented? Were there any signs that he was at a breaking point? From the sounds of it, his mother knew that he was on the verge of catastrophic outrage.  We need to find out why this went unnoticed.  Not only so actual justice can be served, but for the victims, so they may find some solace and maybe some semblance of closure some day.”

Related News Sources:
CBS News
ABC News


Reports of Botched Drug Testing Within St. Paul Crime Lab

A private St. Paul Crime lab has suspended drug testing after reports of botched analysis and questionable procedures. The news has cost the lab some of its biggest customers, namely the MN state patrol and Washington and Dakota counties. Washington county attorney Pete Orbut has since advised all law enforcement agencies to use the BCA for their testing needs.

On Wednesday, St. Paul police chief Thomas Smith informed mayor Chris Coleman that he would be suspending testing at the lab. During a hearing in district court, experts testified that the lab was performing “insufficient, unvalidated testing being done by untrained analysts who are using equipment that’s not being cared for.” The St. Paul public defender’s office has since added that re-evaluation of many of the state’s drug cases may now be in order.

According to Mn criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman, this is yet another example of the prosecutions willingness to forgo proper protocol in pursuit of the swift administration of justice. “It’s obvious here that the  outcomes of perhaps thousands of cases may have been compromised as a result of subpar scientific procedure. This further illustrates the absolute need for vigilance and integrity throughout criminal trials.”

Related Sources:

Pioneer Press

Seattle Seahawks Marshawn Lynch Arrested on Suspicion of DWI

SeahawksMarshawn Lynch, running back for the Seattle Seahawks, was arrested in Oakland, CA on suspicion of a DWI over the weekend.  According to police records, he was arrested by the California Highway Patrol early Saturday morning and transported to the Santa Rita jail.  

Lynch was traded to the Seahawks in 2010, and last season he rushed 1,204 yards making him the first Seahawk in six years to rush more than 1,000 yards in a season. In March 2012, Lynch signed a four-year $31 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks.

Lynch first found himself in legal trouble when he was playing for the Buffalo Bills.  In 2008, he pled guilty to a ‘failure to drive with due care”, after he accidently hit a woman with his car outside a bar in Buffalo, NY.  In 2009, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor weapons charge in Culver City CA.

 Other than the typical criminal consequences associated with DWI’s, Lynch may have some complicated driver’s license issues. Criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman says, “Usually the state where the incident occurs revokes the driving privileges of the offender shortly after the incident (7 days in MN).  Ultimately the state that issued the offender their drivers license will also take action on their driver’s license once their criminal case is resolved and they have received notice of the conviction. When this happens the offender can expect to lose their privilege to drive in the issuing state for the period associated with their level of DWI.”

When confronted with out of state driver’s with a DWI charge, lawyers should communicate with the offender’s state DMV to determine the length of DL revocation their client could face and what options are available to prevent a revocation. If you are charged with a DWI in Minnesota, call the experienced criminal trial lawyers at the Appelman Law Firm. 

Jason Kidd and Kerry Kennedy Cuffed for DWI

This weekend, two different inebriated celebrities–Jason Kidd and Kerry Kennedy–got behind the wheel.. and were slapped with DWI charges. New York Knicks star Jason Kidd was arrested on suspicion of DWI after he drove his car into a telephone pole. Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert Kennedy, was charged with driving under the influence after crashing into a tractor trailer.

According to police, Jason Kidd was dazed and confused following his accident. The police report states that we as unaware of what happened, reeked heavily of alcohol, and was very unsteady on his feet. According to Kidd’s attorney, he has entered a not-guilty plea.

Kerry Kennedy is reportedly blaming Ambien for her incident, telling police that she may have taken the sedative the night before. According to MN criminal defense attorney Stacy Kaye, a person is allowed to drive while taking prescription medication provided that the drug was prescribed to them, it is being taken as prescribed, and no other intoxicants are present in the body.  If all these factors were in place for Kerry Kennedy, she may very well have a viable defense.

Bath Salts: New Federal Legislation Not Enough

On Monday, President Obama signed new legislation which bans the two primary components of bath salts in an effort to curb the sale and subsequent use of the new designer drug. Because synthetic drug manufacturers are notorious for tweaking their formulas to circumvent current laws, the legislation also allows for the ban to include any future formulas which produce a similar effect.

Many officials argue that the ban doesn’t go far enough, however according to NY director of public education Gail Banach, “Certainly there’ll be new compounds… But if you build the higher wall, it makes it a little more difficult for the water to get over.”

Currently, one of the greatest hurdles to state legislation against bath salts is the inability to curb online sales. With federal law now presiding over the matter, interstate transfer and sale of synthetic drugs can be more readily combated.

Specifically, the federal ban targets the primary active ingredients of bath salts: mephedrone and methylenedioxpryovalerone, adding them to the FDA no-sale list. The legislation also names 31 other synthetic compounds, 10 of which are bath salts varieties.

Bath salts have received considerable attention lately after a rash of grisly crimes committed under the influence of the designer drug.

According to MN criminal defense attorney Avery Appelman, increased legal intervention may not be the solution:

“Due to the addictive qualities of bath salts and the corresponding antisocial behavior associated with their consumption, the government was forced to respond, making yet another substance unlawful to possess and distribute in Reagan’s  never ending “war on drugs.” To enforce these prohibitions law enforcement will need education and additional resources.

The best method  to prevent the use of any controlled substance is education of the end user. We need to promote a rehabilitative system to  educate and treat the users. Another law, prohibiting yet another substance that harshly punishes the users is counterproductive.”

Related Sources:

CBN News