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Drug Crimes

September 25, 2013

No Warrant Needed for Inventory Search of Unresponsive Crash Victim’s Vehicle

Danielle Gatlos was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Pennsylvania. When the police arrived on the scene, she was unconscious and unresponsive. The officers went into Danielle Gatlos’ vehicle and handbag to obtain her identity and to inventory her belongings. During this investigation, the police discovered marijuana. Danielle was eventually charged with possession of marijuana and DUI. Before trial, a motion to suppress the physical evidence was presented to the court where the defense attorney argued that...

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September 13, 2013

Attorney General Proposes Drug Sentencing Reforms

Attorney General Eric Holder has approached the Justice Department with a new initiative called “Smart On Crime.” Mr. Holder is calling for major changes to the nation’s criminal justice system that would hopefully scale back the use of harsh mandatory sentences for certain drug-related crimes. Mandatory minimum prison sentences were initiated in the 1980's during the government’s war on drugs. The result of these mandatory sentences limited the discretion of judges to impose shorter prison sentences and has...

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September 3, 2013

Third Circuit Grants a New Trial in Drug Distribution Case

In Unites States v. Terrell Davis, Police arrested Terrell Davis after finding him in a Jeep with nearly a kilo of cocaine in the backseat. The arrest led to a conviction for possession with intent to distribute. As evidence that Davis recognized the cocaine in the Jeep, the government proved at trial that he had two prior convictions for possessing cocaine. However, the government never proved that the cocaine from his past was similar in...

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March 28, 2013

Seventh Circuit Reiterates the Importance of a Suspect Invoking Right to Counsel

In United States v. Hunter, officers stopped a truck after they witnessed occupants apparently engaging in a drug deal. Hunter fled from the passenger seat with something resembling a gun in his hand. Officers ordered Hunter to stop, but Hunter continued to run. The officers heard a gunshot and fired at Hunter, striking him in the left buttock and in the foot. Hunter fell to the ground and was handcuffed. Police recovered a revolver from the ground close to Hunter, with one spent shell casing in the cylinder. Hunter was...

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December 21, 2012

What You “Need to Know” to Help Make Meth

In United States v. Munguia, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24294 (9th Cir. Nov. 27, 2012), Appellant was charged with drug conspiracy and possession. She was alleged to have purchased a significant amount of pseudoephedrine at the direction of one of her co-defendants. Pseudoephedrine is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter cold medications, including Sudafed, Claritin-D, and similar cold-and-allergy medications. Pseudoephedrine is also a methamphetamine precursor, and is therefore strictly regulated. The key issue at trial was...

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