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Criminal Defense In Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington Criminal Defense Law Blog

President backs new sentencing guidelines

President Trump has put his backing behind a new bill that has tentative bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress. If signed into law, this bill would be the most substantial change to federal sentencing guidelines since 1994. The law would boost rehabilitation measures and give judges more flexibility in handling mandatory minimums that have disproportionately affected minorities. It would also reduce the expense and size of the penal system, which has three times the inmates it did 30 years ago. There are a details in this bill, but the highlights include:

  • No more stacking: Current federal laws “stack” charges if there are weapons involved. This means that the prosecution adds weapons charges to a drug charge if a firearm was found in possession of the defendant. This is regardless of whether the firearm was used or the defendant was a non-violent offender.
  • Crack cocaine treated same as powdered version: The new law would treat sentencing for powdered cocaine and crack cocaine to be the same. The change was initially made in 2010 but would be confirmed here. As with stacking, this change is an equalization of sentencing that previously punished minorities at a higher rate.
  • Rehabilitation instead of incarceration: Redemption is a powerful narrative here in the U.S. This bill would boost systemic rehabilitation efforts and give judges more leeway on sentencing of non-violent offenders.

Videotaping can lead to arrest

A janitor working at Bloomington High School North was arrested recently for secretly videotaping 13-year-old girls in the school’s locker room. According to news reports, the janitor placed his personal cell phone in a bag of laundry and left it in the girls’ locker room. The bag had a hole in it that enabled the device to videotape the girls while they were in the locker room changing out of their swimsuits.

The eagle-eyed teens noticed the hole and what looked like the lens of an iPhone camera inside. They then dug the camera out of the bag, realized it was videotaping and gave it to their coach. The janitor then came back to the locker room looking for his phone, which he then received from the coach. Parents subsequently called the police.

A refresher on IU guns laws

Hunting season is upon us once again. It is a great way to get out of town and experience nature with the company of friends and family. However, it is important to remember that those on campus must adhere to specific rules regarding weapons. This includes those who live in Indiana University housing, attend classes, are employed by the school or are simply on the IU property.

Possession of a firearm is prohibited

AG Curtiss Hill's a victory for due process

The #MeToo movement has toppled Hollywood celebrities and captains of industry. It also impacted political figures, including our own Attorney General Curtis Hill. Whereas many have been removed or stepped down, Hill survived an inquiry by special prosecution.

He faced accusations of groping and inappropriate comments by four women at an Indianapolis bar last March after the last night of the Indiana General Assembly. According to multiple local and national news sources, these complaints were deemed credible, but it looks like Indiana voters will determine whether Hill gets to keep his job when he goes up for reelection. While some may complain that a guilty man goes free, this is actually a victory for the state’s criminal justice system.

Schooling: Harder with a criminal past

If you are graduating from high school and have been accepted into the university of your choice, you're probably on cloud nine. You're ready to move forward in your life and to begin living independently. You want to be successful and to have a great career.

Your plans might be wasted if you commit a crime, however. A conviction can actually result in a college rescinding its offer to attend their institution. Even if it doesn't rescind its offer, it may take away scholarships. Criminal convictions also sometimes limit your access to federal funds for loans and support throughout school.

Parking tickets can get you arrested

It is not uncommon to see a car double-parked, parked too far from the curb or parked in a no parking zone. Typically, this can lead to parking ticket. Now the case of Johnson v. United States heard in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose jurisdiction includes Indiana) that examines whether a bad parking job is probable cause for search or seizure of a vehicle, which subsequently could lead to arrest and jail if the officials find anything illegal.

Law enforcement already has probable cause for pulling drivers over if they see something they deem to be suspicious, such as reckless driving, weaving in the lane or even forgetting to use a turn signal.

3 Indiana counties top nation in DUI fatalities

Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties here in Indiana have the dubious distinction of being the top in the nation for drunk driving fatalities. According to a recent review by the newspaper in Munster, 140 of the 373 fatal crashes in these counties (between 2010-2014) involved drunk driving. This is 35 percent, which is considerably higher than the rest of the state’s average of 25 percent and the national average of 28 percent.

Why so dangerous?

Arrests involving marijuana are up nationally

The legalization of marijuana in several states in recent years has dominated the conversation about marijuana use. There are also stories and rumors about the de-criminalization of cannabis even if it does stay on the books. Nevertheless, marijuana-related charges make up 40 percent of drug busts, totaling 1.63 million charges.

There are new statistics provided by the FBI, however, that indicates that marijuana busts are up from 653,249 in 2016 to 659,700 in 2017. These arrests include the infraction of simply possessing the drug as opposed to more serious charges of growing or selling the drug. The numbers for possession are 599,282 in 22017, up from 587,516 in 2016. Perhaps impacted by legalization (four states legalized in 2016), arrests for dealing or growing/manufacturing is down from 65,734 in 2017 to 60,418 in the previous year.

Why do some college students turn to study drugs?

College students who are trying to get their studies done might need to figure out how to stay awake. Often, they are juggling their schoolwork with having a job and remaining active on campus. This is challenging and studying or working on projects might take a backseat to the need to make money and be social.

For some college students, turning to study drugs seems like the best option at the time. What these young adults don't realize is that they are actually doing something illegal when they take them. You can face criminal charges for this, which can negatively impact your future.

Supreme Court Judge nominee's comments about drinking scrutinized

It is fun to tell stories about crazy college shenanigans. It can be just trading stories in-between classes or sitting around with friends. Those stories, however, can be used by public speakers for light-hearted asides speaking to large groups of alumni or professionals.

Supreme Court Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh would never consider making light conversation about his behavior around fellow high school student Christine Blasey Ford, who now claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. However, the judge has gone on record for speaking at several different events about alcohol-fueled merry-making done during his college years, and that could also come back to haunt his chances of joining the highest court in the land.

For experienced help in criminal defense, including DUI defense, call Shapiro & Lozano at 812-336-8192.

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