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September 30, 2016

The SCOTUS recently addressed several issues that will impact blood alcohol testing in Pennsylvania Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. ___ (2016)

This decision consolidates three appeals dealing with petitioners’ refusal to take a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, either via breathalyzer or drawn blood. Case 1: A North Dakota state trooper arrested Birchfield for driving while impaired. He told Birchfield that refusing to take a blood test would expose him to criminal penalties. Birchfield refused and was convicted. On appeal to the state court, he argued that the Fourth Amendment prohibited criminalizing his refusal to submit to the blood test. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the conviction. Held: Birchfield was...

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Posted in: Driving under the influence (DUI)

September 16, 2016

Third Circuit Rules Senator’s Acts Not Protected

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez was indicted by a grand jury for soliciting and accepting gifts from friend Dr. Salomon Melgen in exchange for influencing an enforcement action against Melgen for Medicare overbilling, and intervening on Melgen’s behalf in a contract dispute between Melgen and the Dominican Republic. Menendez also failed to disclose reportable gifts from Melgen, as required by the Ethics Act. Menendez moved to dismiss the indictment in federal district court, which was denied. He appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services...

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August 18, 2016

Third Circuit Says Government Can’t Infringe upon the Right of Allocution (U.S. v. Jason Moreno)

From July 2005 to November 2007, the defendant (Moreno) was an appraiser in a mortgage fraud scheme who for payment provided inflated appraisals to other scheme members. He also acted as broker, buyer, or seller in other fraudulent transactions. A federal jury convicted him of multiple counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. After receiving a 96-month prison, he appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Two main issues: The Confrontation Clause and Moreno’s...

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Posted in: Federal White Collar Crime

July 21, 2016

A defendant who is convicted for committing federal sexual exploitation and child pornography crimes and who pays criminal restitution to the victim can be sued in a civil action by the victim for damages for the same offense (under 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2225)

The plaintiff-appellant (“Doe”) was adopted by the defendant-appellee (“Mancuso”) when she was five years old. During the next five years, the Mancuso sexually abused her, photographed and videotaped the acts, and distributed the media in internet chat rooms. He was investigated and eventually arrested. Under a plea agreement, he pled guilty to the charge of sexual exploitation, and the government dismissed the possession of child pornography charge. He also agreed to pay “mandatory...

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June 14, 2016

Arizona’s Highest Court Resolves Questions regarding DUI Convictions of Medical Marijuana Users (Dobson v. McClennen, 238 Ariz. 389 (2015))

The two petitioners were each charged with and convicted of two counts of driving under the influence:  first, driving while impaired to the slightest degree under ARS Sec. 28-1381(A)(1); and second, driving while any amount of an impermissible drug or its metabolite is in the body under ARS Sec. 28-1381(A)(3) (emphasis added). Arizona’s DUI laws identify these as separate offenses. The trial court denied their motions to present their state-issued medical marijuana cards as evidence. The state...

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Posted in: Driving under the influence (DUI), Drug Crimes