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Jailhouse lawyers make my life hard

One of the hardest parts about being a criminal lawyer is fighting the lies spread inside the jail. Inmates have a lot of time on their hands, which means they spend a lot of time thinking about their case and hearing other people talk about their case. This results in some of them believing that they now understand how the system works. On the other hand, there are inmates who like to make up f...

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Catchy news headlines are one of the reasons people are angry at our legal system

I have a weakness. I will admit it. Every time I see a legal story linked on my Facebook feed I know the tittle, story, or comments will make me mad, but I click on it anyway. Sometimes, I get so weak that I even start responding to comments, which is generally a bad idea. A little back story, I saw this headline on my Facebook feed "Magistrate Judge Recommends Not Droppi...

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He told me everything about his case on the jail phone…… why did you sigh and shake your head?

I am often first contacted by a client’s family or friends. If that happens, that normally means that the client is in jail. Most people do not realize that any phone calls from the jail are recorded. This is why I always hate to hear someone tell me that the client has told them all about he case over the phone. People need to realize that the client is basically testifying when the...

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Can I Receive a DUI for Consuming Substances Other Than Alcohol?

In the United States, an average of 1.5 million people are arrested annually for drunk driving. In 2015, an astounding 10,235 people died as a result of driving while drunk. There is a library of statistics and evidence comparing driving under the influence and car accidents. Though alcohol may be the predominant substance consumed in DUI arrests, it is hardly the only subst...

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Just tell me what to do over the phone!

"Call for a free consultation" does not mean the same thing to everyone. When I advertise that, I mean that I will talk with you in generalities about your case, for free, to determine if I can help you out. The only time I charge people money to talk generally about their case, is if I have told them I cannot help them and they insist on meeting to discuss their case further. Many peo...

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Just lie, you're a Lawyer!

If a lawyer lies to the Court, they can face punishment and potential disbarment by their state Bar association. Anytime someone suggests I could lie or misrepresent something, my simple response is "I worked very hard to get my law license and I am not risking it for any case." What may surprise most people is that these suggestions generally do not come from clients, but m...

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She got off on a technicality... you mean they violated her constitutional rights?

Over my three years of law school, I sat through a lot of class time, so not every pearl of wisdom from my professors has stuck with me, but I will always remember when my criminal law professor said "I hate when people say he or she got off on a technicality, those are your constitutional rights, not a technicality."  To be honest, I did not have intentions of going into criminal law ...

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"You must hate prosecutors." Not Really.

People often assume that the relationships between defense attorneys and prosecutors are as dramatic and hateful as you see in the movies and T.V., but that is usually not the case. I think one of the best skills any lawyer can have is the ability to not take a passionate argument from the other side personally. I also think the general public would be better off if they develo...

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Send me a money order and you won't be charged.

If you ever receive a phone call and hear some variation of that sentence, you need to be aware that you are being scammed. Over the last two years, I have received a call about once every few months with a person dealing with a similar situation. The scam I  most often hear is that the victim will meet someone on an online dating website and eventually begin texting...

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Sorry, I do not practice that area of law. But you're a lawyer!

One thing that law school did not prepare me for is how offended people will become when you tell them that you cannot help them. I often get phone calls from people about areas of law that I have no practical experience in. Yes, I did take a property class in law school, but no I will not help your cousin look over and edit his commercial lease. There is a huge difference between rea...

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If they had nothing to hide, they would testify.

A commonly held belief is that if you have nothing to hide, you should not be afraid to answer questions. This leads people to doubt the innocence of someone who is not willing to testify at their own trial. I have heard people say "If I was charged with a crime, I would testify to clear my own name.", which sounds a lot better than it works out in real life. Whether it is true o...

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Why do obviously guilty defendants plead not guilty?

Anytime I see news coverage of a criminal case online, the headline announces that the defendant pleads not guilty and the comment section is flooded with people angry that the defendant had the audacity to not plead guilty. So, I wanted to explain why the clients generally should not plead guilty at first and why some cannot plead guilty at first, even if they wanted to. Your...

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A proposed bill would create a lifetime enhancement for DUIs in Kentucky.

A Bill is currently being considered by the Kentucky Legislature which would change the look back period for DUIs in Kentucky to the lifetime of the defendant when deciding whether it is a first or second offense. In Kentucky, a DUI is known as an "enhanceable" crime, which means that each time you commit the crime your penalties get worse. As an example, a 4th DUI in Kentucky is...

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Are cash bonds a problem?

The state of New Jersey has decided they are and has completely revamped their bail system. The change is so dramatic that in the first four weeks of January, out of 3,382 cases, bail was only required three times and 283 defendants were held with no bond. (New York Times). That means that less than 9% were not given bail at all and less than 1% were required to post a bail. The other...

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"...individuals who carry firearms elect to subject themselves to being frisked when lawfully stopped by law enforcement officers."

On January 23, 2017, in United States v. Robinson, Judge Wynn of the Federal 4th Circuit stated "individuals who carry firearms elect to subject themselves to being frisked when lawfully stopped by law enforcement officers.", in his concurring opinion. In this case, a tip was called in to local police that a man was seen loading a pistol, placing it in his pocket, and then enteri...

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How do you represent "those people"?

That is the one question every criminal defense attorney expects when they tell someone what they do for a living or at least what I have come to expect. People genuinely have a look of puzzlement or may even shake their head when they ask me how I do my job on a daily basis. What is interesting is that my start in the criminal justice system was actually on the other side of the cour...

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Why are mandatory minimums in Federal Court dangerous?

Weldon Angelos can tell you how dangerous mandatory minimums can be, because he was sentenced to 55 years and has been in jail since his sentencing in November 2004. The Judge on the case could also tell you how dangerous they are because when he sentenced Angelos he stated “If he was a child rapist, he would have gotten 11 years in prison. And now I’m supposed to give him a 55...

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Justice Department adds new eyewitness Id requirements.

The Department of justice has created new guidelines for federal agents, when they are collecting eyewitness identifications. The guidelines include recording the eyewitness's confidence in their identification at the time of the ID and to perform "blind" photo arrays, which means that the agent showing the photo array does not know which photo is the actual suspect. The se...

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Is Best Buy a new branch of law enforcement?

No, but some Best Buy employees have decided to team up with the FBI to help uncover child pornography. These employees actually work at a Geek Squad repair show in Brooks, KY and they notify the FBI when they find signs of child pornography on computers. One of the most interesting aspects is that these employees may have been paid by the FBI, for these tips. (See The Washington Post story link...

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When does a search, with consent, still violate the 4th amendment?

In Delaware, the Superior Court held that police had violated a man's 4th amendment rights when they searched his vehicle after he gave them consent. At first blush, this seems to be an absurd ruling by the court, but their reasoning is important when you evaluate the result. The defendant was pulled over for speeding by an officer and was given a ticket for his traffic violation. ...

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