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Kalamazoo Criminal Defense Law Blog

Attorney fights extradition of client on sex crime charges

Would extraditing a 94-year-old man with a failing heart to another state to face decades-old child sex abuse charges be unwise? The answer might depend on your point of view of justice. From the point of view of the man's attorney, the answer is that it would not only be unwise, it could be a death sentence.

The current social attitude concerning child sex abuse is one that seems to call for the greatest level of prosecution allowable. In many people's minds child sex abuse is the only crime worse than murder. 

How are drug trafficking, sales and distribution different?

Drug charges of any kind are serious and those facing such charges need to be proactive in finding experienced legal counsel to ensure that their rights are protected.

The array of possible drug charges that can be brought in Michigan is broad. At one end you have the charge of drug possession. More serious cases might involve charges of possession with intent to deliver. Then, there are charges that might relate to the actual distribution or sale of drugs. These might include drug trafficking.

The type of drug and the amount involved can also play a role in the severity of penalties in the event of a conviction. 

Years of effort yet to deliver on medical marijuana rule changes

Michigan voters put the state on the list of those that allow the use of medical marijuana in 2008. Many other states and the District of Columbia have taken action in this regard to varying degrees. Some have even gone so far as to allow the regulated sale of recreational marijuana.

As we have noted in a number of articles, the movement has been a bit more stilted in Michigan. In 2011, the Attorney General issued the opinion that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does not make cooperative growing efforts legal, even for product that is to be used strictly for medical purposes.

Then, last year, we wrote about how three communities, Ferndale, Lansing and Jackson, joined Detroit and Flint in allowing individuals to possess up to one ounce of marijuana while on their private property without fear of facing the level of penalty normally called for under state law.

Food stamp fraud: A white collar crime with meat in it

As we highlighted in a post about a month ago, the umbrella under which white collar crime charges exist is a big one. The term, which was only coined around 1939 and referred at the time to occupational crimes committed by respectable individuals, has come to be associated with just about everything from money laundering, embezzlement, internet crimes and racketeering.

The tag is also associated with illegal trading in food stamps provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal program designed to help people in the low-income range buy nutritious foods for a healthier life. 

Array of possible Michigan DUI charges demands strong defense

If you are facing criminal court action as a result of an alleged alcohol-related driving offense in Michigan the one reaction you should not have to the situation is one of, "Well, it's just a drunk driving charge."

To gain an appreciation of how serious the state is about cracking down on any form of driving while impaired all you have to do is run down the list of possible charges that can be brought. It's a long one, running the gamut from having an open container in your vehicle or driving on a suspended license to operating a vehicle while impaired and causing serious injury or death.

A blurry line separates parental discipline from child abuse

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," the old saying goes. In a lot of ways, so is ugliness. Particularly, consider the ugly reality of child abuse. It does happen all too often. And when it does, it justifiably raises the hackles of people in Kalamazoo. The trouble is that it is a little hard to clearly define.

According to Michigan law, parents, guardians and anyone else to whom they give authority, has the right to employ some measure of corporal punishment when disciplining a child. The use of force is not ruled out, but the law says it must be "reasonable force." So, the next question becomes, what constitutes reasonableness?

What illegal drug trends are federal officials tracking?

The U.S. is engaged in a war on drugs. It's being fought on a lot of different fronts. It has international components, of course, but it is also being waged on the domestic front.

One such program in this regard is called the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program through which assistance is coordinated so that law enforcement agencies at all levels; federal, state, local and tribal, remain focused on what have been identified as the common threats.

Is racial profiling any less of a concern in Kalamazoo?

Racial profiling is one of those practices that a lot of police departments disavow. For some reason, though, it seems to continue to be a problem in Michigan and elsewhere. Where it is practiced, statistics tend to show that it results in people of color being the focus of a disproportionate number of traffic stops, unwarranted searches and arrests.

Sometimes criminal charges follow. But many times the traffic stops don't even result in the driver being issued a citation. While that might be offered up by some as reason to dismiss concerns about the practice, it really tends to feed the perception in a community that race plays a bigger role in how police enforce the law.

Michigan judiciary studying how to break debt-punishment cycle

The justice system says that if you are found to have broken the law you have to pay a price. A lot of times that price is a fine. Sometimes it includes charges to the defendant for the cost of the court proceedings or other fees.

In Michigan, we see that happening with many different crimes. Consider that a conviction of a first offense for operating a vehicle while intoxicated can result in a fine of up to $500. The amount of the fine rises with subsequent convictions for OWI to a point where if you are facing a charge of felony OWI you could face a fine of up to $5,000.

How has the concept of white collar crime evolved over time?

Prior to World War II, few people had ever heard the term "white collar crime." According to historic record, it only came into being as a category of crime in 1939 when sociologist and criminologist Edwin Sutherland used it in a speech before the American Sociological Society.

In Sutherland's original context white collar crime was used to describe "a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation." Since that time, though, the list of crimes being lumped under the category has grown a lot and now encompasses individuals at many different levels of society. 

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