Sam Shapiro Law Office
Criminal Defense In Bloomington, Indiana

drug charges Archives

What Michigan’s marijuana laws mean for Indiana residents

Michigan voters approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in the 2018 election. While the state is still sorting out some of the infrastructure involved, such as the regulation of the businesses, Indiana residents have already started going north to legally buy pot.

Is marijuana legalization coming to Indiana?

Advocates for the legalization medical and recreational marijuana have made inroads across the United States. There are currently 33 states and Washington, DC that allow medical marijuana and 11 (including DC) that legalized cannabis for recreational use. As many know, Indiana does not make either of these lists, but there was some optimism at the beginning of the 2019 legislative session that there could be some changes to laws regarding marijuana.

Jurors can bring personal beliefs into the courtroom

Judges typically have a list of factors it considers before dismissing a juror, but at the top of the list is that person’s ability to remain impartial when hearing evidence. Massachusetts Justice Kimberly Budd wrote as much, saying in her decision: “Asking a prospective juror to put aside his or her preconceived notions about the case to be tried is entirely appropriate (and indeed necessary); however, asking him or her to put aside opinions formed based on his or her life experiences or belief system is not.” 

Supreme Court rules that states cannot impose excessive fees

The United States Supreme Court rarely rules unanimously these days. Nevertheless, it did so recently when it passed down a decision that makes it clear that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of excessive fines, fees and forfeitures applies to states.

Many roadside drug tests are inaccurate

A Florida sheriff’s deputy recently made national news for a string of arrests based on inaccurate drug tests. The now-dismissed man made 81 arrests in his first 11 months on the job, and now he faces criminal charges for false arrest. While it is still unclear whether deputy is guilty of ineptitude or malicious intent and faked results, the fact remains that the deputy is responsible for putting many innocent people behind bars for days, weeks or months.

Some DAs use blacklist for lying cops

Statements from law enforcement usually carry a lot of weight in a court room or during pretrial negotiations. These officers’ jobs are to protect and serve as well as relay the details of a case in a way that is factual and unbiased. This, however, is not always the case. Sometimes law enforcement is guilty of lying under oath, abuse of power or corruption.

Elkhart police chief resigns

Police Chief Ed Windbigler recently announced his resignation. This comes in light of video of two officers under his command beating a handcuffed man who tried to spit on them. The chief downplayed the situation during a review last June. The officers were reprimanded at that time; however, they were subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery after news outlets attained a copy of the video.

Some prosecutors changing their approach

The federal government is in the middle of passing First Step, a major bi-partisan bill that will change the structure of sentencing guidelines. However, there are also reports that District Attorneys overseeing prosecutions at the local level are already on board with many of the changes. According to a recent article in the New York Times, there is a movement across the country among DAs of varying political backgrounds that are taking a restorative approach to prosecution and sentencing similar to First Step.

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:

For experienced help in criminal defense, including DUI defense, call Sam Shapiro Law Office at 812-336-8192.

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