Author: Nicole Hanratty

Journalist. No Cuffs Report Contributor.
@1800NoCuffs (3) Fall in Federal Prison Population is Drop in Very Broken Bucket

Fall in Federal Prison Population is Drop in Very Broken Bucket

@1800NoCuffs (3) Fall in Federal Prison Population is Drop in Very Broken BucketThe federal prison population has been on the rise in the United States since the Carter Administration. But a recent study released by PEW Research Center study shows that President Obama turned that trend downward.

John Gramlich’s report “Federal prison population fell during Obama’s term, reversing recent trend” shows that the biggest uptick in the federal prison population occurred during the Reagan years. [1]

Federal Prison

John Gramlich reports, “Obama has made criminal justice issues a focus of his presidency. Among other things, he has overseen a Justice Department initiative that emphasizes lighter sentences for those convicted of lower-level crimes and used his executive clemency power more frequently than any other modern chief executive.” [1]

Of the decrease, criminal defense lawyer and TV legal analyst Darren Kavinoky says, “As a criminal defense lawyer who represents people accused of crimes in both state and federal courts, the headline, the statistics, and many of Obama’s policies concerning the justice system are encouraging. That said, when you peel away a layer of the onion to look at the actual numbers, while they’re encouraging in terms of a directional signal, it’s really like a morbidly obese person weighing 800 lbs. who has lost 5 of them: it’s good news, but just a drop in a very broken bucket.

Kavinoky adds, “The dramatic spike in federal criminal offenders really began its massive acceleration during the Reagan era, which brought us a war on drugs and ‘just say no’ notions that, with 20-20 hindsight, were catastrophic failures. The numbers continued to rise dramatically (through both Republican and Democrat presidencies) until we’ve now seen this slight reduction.”

Federal Prison

Federal prison population declines during Obama's presidency

“Sadly,” comments Kavinoky, “so much of the criminal justice world, and especially the way we deal with crime fueled by drugs and addiction, is like rearranging the deck chairs on a ship called the Titanic. If your ship has struck an iceberg, you can rearrange those deck chairs into any configuration you like, but if you don’t deal with your iceberg problem, the ship is going down. Similarly, it seems to me that we’ve been asking ourselves the wrong questions when it comes to federal criminal offenders. Instead of wondering how to most effectively punish those convicted of a crime, perhaps we can reallocate some of that effort to addressing demand-side issues, and balancing justice with mercy to achieve long-term benefit for all of us.”

ft_17-01-03_prisonpopulation_change

SOURCES
1. John Gramlich. January 5, 2017. PEW Research Center. “Federal prison population fell during Obama’s term, reversing recent trend.” http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/01/05/federal-prison-population-fell-during-obamas-term-reversing-recent-trend/.

drone laws, crime scene, criminal court case, federal case

Your New Drone May Cost You Thousands in Fines: FAA Drone Laws

crime scene, criminal court case, federal case
If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of new drone owners, (600,000 private drones were registered last year), your new drone may cost you thousands in fines if you don’t educate yourself on the FAA’s drone laws. The penalty for failing to register an unmanned aircraft alone is steep. According to the FAA, “Failure to register an unmanned aircraft may result in regulatory and criminal penalties.” While the FAA’s website says that every case is handled differently considering the circumstances, it also warns that the FAA may assess “civil penalties up to $27,500.” That’s a number that should get the attention of new drone owners. But that’s not all, if you are found liable for criminal penalties, you can face, “fines of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to three years.” [1]
 
Drones may seem like a cool birthday gift or something fun to play with on Christmas day, but without proper training, it can land its pilot in hot water. The Consumer Technology Association reports that 9% of holiday shoppers planned on purchasing a drone in 2016. [5] What are the dangers a drone pose? It can fly too high and interfere with commercial aircraft by getting caught in the engine. It can fly over an active crime or fire area and interfere with helicopters working to put out a fire or police department following a high-speed chase from the air. A drone can injure people or property if it falls out of the sky. And, it can violate the privacy of others, especially if it is flown over private property. All of these situations can lead to criminal and civil charges being filed.
 
If you use your drone for commercial use or non-recreational use, the FAA issued new rules as of August, 2016, making it easier to begin operating a drone for business purposes. Operators must follow outlined FAA regulations but only need to apply for the previously mandatory commercial exemption waiver if their flight plan does not meet the outlined FAA restrictions. “Before [August 29, 2016], people needed a pilot’s license to fly a commercial drone. Under the new rules, people over age 16 can take an aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved facility and pass a background check to qualify for a remote pilot certificate.” [6] The FAA website specifically states that to “fly for work,” the pilot must have a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate, be 16 years of age, and pass TSA vetting. The drone and any package it may be carrying, must be under 55 pounds in weight and only flight in Class 6 airspace. Several other operating rules apply, for instance, the drone must not fly over people or fly from a moving vehicle.
 
Not sure if you are flying for fun or if your flight is considered commercial? Visit the FAQ section of faa.gov to read more.
 
With drone sales expected to explode in 2017, new drone pilots may face thousands in fines if they violate federal laws. And these laws are subject to change as the use of drones evolves. In fact, a bill to ban flying over someone else’s property is currently up for consideration in the Washington’s State Legislature. [2]
 
Privacy, property rights, federal law aviation concerns, and safety concerns are all taken into account in the creation of laws surrounding flying drones in the United States. The first stop for every new drone pilot is the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) where UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) must be registered. (You can follow the latest UAS news here.)
 

FAA Drone Registration

How many people in the United States have filed a regitration of their drone with the FAA? This interactive graph highlights states where drones are most popular.


 
Per the FAA, “You need to register your aircraft if it weighs between 0.55 lbs. (250 grams) and up to 55 lbs. (25 kg) You will be subject to civil and criminal penalties if you meet the criteria to register an unmanned aircraft and do not register.” [3]
 

Drone Laws and Criminal Charges

Here are a few recent articles about drone laws and cases where drone pilots faced or potentially face criminal charges:
 
1. Criminal charges filed against two LA drone pilots http://www.itworld.com/article/3024955/criminal-charges-filed-against-two-la-drone-pilots.html
 
2. Women struck by drone at wedding sues groom http://www.wkbw.com/news/national/women-struck-by-drone-at-wedding-sues-groom
 
3. How some drone companies are creating virtual fences for security http://www.cbsnews.com/news/drone-safety-holiday-sales-dji-gps-geofence-virtual-fence
 
4. Man suspected of flying drone over Trailhead Fire arrested
 
5. The Pentagon’s ‘Terminator Conundrum’: Robots That Could Kill on Their Own http://nyti.ms/2eGK0Ar
 
If you find yourself facing federal charges for flying your drone in violation of FAA regulations, call 1.800.NoCuffs.
 
 
SOURCES
1. Retrieved on January 9, 2017 via .
 
2. John Stang. January 4, 2017. Geek Wire. “Drone no-no: State legislation could ban flying over someone else’s property.” Retrieved via http://www.geekwire.com/2017/drone-ban-property-state-legislation/
 
3. Retrieved on January 9, 2017 via https://registermyuas.faa.gov/.
 
4. Retrieved on January 9, 2017 via .
 
5. Retrieved on January 9, 2017 via .
6. Samantha Masunaga. August 29, 2016. LA Times. Retrieved on January 9, 2017 via http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-drone-rules-20160829-snap-htmlstory.html.
 
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For more information on 1.800.NoCuffs founding attorney Darren Kavinoky, please visit:
http://www.darrenkavinoky.com
http://www.twitter.com/DarrenKavinoky
http://www.facebook.com/DarrenKavinokyFanPage

1.800.NoCuffs Founding Criminal Defense Attorney Darren Kavinoky on CNN International discussing police teen beatings January 4, 2016.

Crime Broadcast on Facebook Live is Definition of Felony Stupid, Says Kavinoky

A gruesome attack on Facebook Live raises new legal questions as felony crimes and hate crimes play out on social media. 1.800.NoCuffs founding criminal defense attorney Darren Kavinoky appears on CNN International January 4, 2017, to delve into the recent Facebook Live beating of one man, who CNN reports has mental health challenges, live on social media resulting in the arrest of four people. Kavinoky calls it, “the definition of felony stupid.” [1] Facebook took down the original video of the attack.
Watch Darren Kavinoky’s appearance on CNN International live below.
 


 

Felony on Social Media

Criminal Defense Attorney Darren Kavinoky says, “I think we more and more of these social media channels that are available, we’re actually going to see more and more of this. This isn’t the first time that crimes have been resolved thanks to social media.” On the rise in frequency of video evidence due to citizen journalists and officer body or dash cams, Kavinoky says, “It does one of two things. I’ve seen several examples where the video tape contradicts what the officer wrote in a narrative report which is great for me as a defense lawyer. Or, it allows me to have a very frank realistic conversation with my client and say, ‘Hey look, this is a crime that was captured on video tape. So let’s talk about a graceful elegant exit to this case and how we can settle it in the most favorable way.'”
 

Legal Issues of Hate Crimes

When asked if the crime is worse because it is broadcast live and is possibly a hate crime, Darren Kavinoky replies, “Hate crimes can be motivated by race but hate crimes are motivated by things that are more than just race or ethnic group, it could be motivated by somebody’s disability status. And so, if this is a crime that was motivated in whole or in part by this young mans special needs that can be used to enhance whatever sentence a judge is inclinded to hand out.”
 
On felony sentencing of cases like this Kavinoky adds, “In the United States criminal justice system, it’s routine that a judge or a prosecutor when they’re considering what kind of settlement to enter into are going to look at what’s called factors of aggravation, (things that make it worse), or factors of mitigation, (things that would tend to lesson someone’s culpability.) Somebody being a special needs person is certainly a factor in aggravation because here we have people that are exploiting the unique vulnerability of this young man.”
 
 
SOURCES
1. CNN International.
 
 

1.800.NoCuffs Founding Criminal Defense Attorney Darren Kavinoky on CNN International discussing police teen beatings January 4, 2016.
1.800.NoCuffs Founding Criminal Defense Attorney Darren Kavinoky on CNN International January 4, 2016.

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For more information on 1.800.NoCuffs founding attorney Darren Kavinoky, please visit:
http://www.darrenkavinoky.com
http://www.twitter.com/DarrenKavinoky
http://www.facebook.com/DarrenKavinokyFanPage

Police Teen Beatings “A Tale of Two Cases” Says Kavinoky on CNN International

Two recent teen beatings stories making headlines of police officers involved in the beatings of teenage girls in two different cities are calling attention to the potentially criminal police encounters and the legal issues surrounding just and unjust police reactions in chaotic situations. What is the proper course of action for a police officer when dealing with a teen and when does the officer’s reaction cross into criminal territory? 1.800.NoCuffs founding criminal defense attorney Darren Kavinoky appears on CNN International on January 4, 2017, to delve into issues calling them, “a tale of two cases.” [1]
 
Watch Darren Kavinoky on CNN discussing teen beatings by police.

 

Teen Beatings

Kavinoky says, “The first one from Philadelphia, leaves me with a lot more questions than answers. And I’ve seen that video several times. That shows the difficulty of law enforcement where you’ve got a crowd seemingly out of control. And in some of the versions, it sounds like you hear the words, ‘gun gun gun,’ being repeated. And one of the most dangerous things for a police officer is to be in a crowd setting where somebody can get access to that officer’s weapon, now you’ve got an armed ‘crazy person’ and an unarmed officer. That’s a bad and dangerous situation.”
 

Police Violence

When asked if age and gender should play into an officer’s reaction to avoid teen beatings, Darren Kavinoky replies, “I believe that it should. What ultimately we need to be concerned with is whether the officer’s conduct was reasonable given the totality of the circumstances. So that suggests that the circumstances are going to have a very significant impact on the appropriateness of the officer’s behavior. So for instance, in the second [North Carolina] clip where that girl gets body slammed, I don’t know that there’s any good excuse for what happened in that second situation and that’s why I say this is a tale of two very different cases.”
 
 
SOURCES
1. CNN International.
2. http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/04/us/philadelphia-police-teen-brawl/index.html
3. http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/04/us/north-carolina-officer-body-slams-student/
 
 

1.800.NoCuffs Founding Criminal Defense Attorney Darren Kavinoky on CNN International discussing police teen beatings January 4, 2016.
1.800.NoCuffs Founding Criminal Defense Attorney Darren Kavinoky on CNN International discussing police teen beatings January 4, 2016.

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For more information on 1.800.NoCuffs founding attorney Darren Kavinoky, please visit:
http://www.darrenkavinoky.com
http://www.twitter.com/DarrenKavinoky
http://www.facebook.com/DarrenKavinokyFanPage

drone laws, crime scene, criminal court case, federal case

California Rings In 2017 With New Criminal Laws

California has new criminal laws taking effect beginning January 1, 2017. From gun control to cell phone regulations and underage prostitution laws, new restrictions will be implemented when the 31st state admitted to the Union rings in the new year.
 

Three New Criminal Laws for 2017 in California

 
1. Powdered Alcohol. Assembly Bill No. 1554 regulates the sale of a little-known product, powdered alcohol, and creates a new criminal law. “This bill would prohibit the department from issuing a license to manufacture, distribute, or sell powdered alcohol, as defined. This bill would prohibit the possession, purchase, sale, offer for sale, distribution, manufacture, or use of powdered alcohol and would make the specified violation of these provisions punishable as an infraction.
This bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime.” [1]
 
theft-and-fraud2. Sexual assault. Probation will no longer be an option in criminal cases of sexual assault wherein the victim was either unconscious or severely intoxicated. The new law AB2888 states that a victim can’t consent to have sex while unconscious, drugged, medicated, or intoxicated by alcohol. The bill “prohibit[s] a court from granting probation or suspending the execution or imposition of a sentence if a person is convicted of rape, sodomy, penetration with a foreign object, or oral copulation if the victim was either unconscious or incapable of giving consent due to intoxication.” [2]
 
3. Sex Crimes In a move that protects young people, anyone under the age of 18 will no longer be charged criminally for prostitution. Instead, children under the age of 18 will be treated as victims under new criminal law SB1322. The bill “authorizes the minor to be taken into temporary custody under limited circumstances.” The bill also states “(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), this subdivision does not apply to a child under 18 years of age who is alleged to have engaged in conduct to receive money or other consideration that would, if committed by an adult, violate this subdivision. A commercially exploited child under this paragraph may be adjudged a dependent child of the court pursuant to paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 300 of the Welfare and Institutions Code and may be taken into temporary custody pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 305 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, if the conditions allowing temporary custody without warrant are met.”[3]
 
4. Hands-Free Cell Phone Use While Driving. With over 39 million residents in the state of California, cell phone mount sales will certainly see a spike with the new laws governing texting and driving. With the passage of AB1785, any motion on the phone other than a one finger swipe will be illegal starting January 1st. You will no longer be able to hold your phone in your hand while driving. Using the speaker phone function and voice commands are still allowed so long as the phone is not in your hand. Fines for first offense begin at twenty dollars ($20) and increase to fifty dollars ($50) for subsequent offenses. “(e) This section does not apply to an emergency services professional using an electronic wireless communications device while operating an authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in Section 165, in the course and scope of his or her duties.” [4]
 

California Cell Phone Laws and Restrictions

 
The law that will be enacted on January 1, 2017, also states:
 
23123.5. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while holding and operating a handheld wireless telephone or an electronic wireless communications device unless the wireless telephone or electronic wireless communications device is specifically designed and configured to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation, and it is used in that manner while driving.
 
(2) The driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger. [4]
 
 
SOURCES
1. AB-1554 Powdered alcohol.(2015-2016). Retrieved on December 28, 2016 via https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1554&search_keywords=powdered+alcohol.
 
2. AB-2888 Sex crimes: mandatory prison sentence.(2015-2016). Retrieved on December 28, 2016 via https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB2888.
 
3. SB-1322 Commercial sex acts: minors.(2015-2016). Retrieved on December 28, 2016 via http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB1322.
 
4. AB-1785 Vehicles: use of wireless electronic devices.(2015-2016). Retrieved on December 28, 2016 via http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB1785.
 
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