Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial is Underway

A jury has been selected in the murder trial of former NE Patriot and Florida Gator Aaron Hernandez. CNN has a live feed:

Collier County Teen Shoots Friend in Penis

With friends like these…

Several 15-year-old Golden Gates Estates teens were playing with a handgun, and apparently one of them loaded it without the other knowing. During the shenanigans, one of them accidentally shot the other one, with the bullet striking his arm and penis.

.38 Revolver

.38 Revolver

Eesh. Don’t play with guns, they’re not toys.

At least one of the teens has been arrested for an obstruction charge, no word on where the gun came from, but other charges may come down.

via Naples News. Thanks again Mike, for sharing!

Marissa Alexander Released from Custody Today

Marissa Alexander

Marissa Alexander

Marissa Alexander, who garnered national news for the prosecution and 20-year sentence she received for firing a warning shot near hear abusive ex-husband, with 2 other people in the room, was released today. She lost at trial and received 20 years, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. However, she would have faced a 60 year sentence if she had been convicted on the retrial. By taking a plea to 3 years, she finished her time on the case today, though she will still have community control (essentially house arrest), with ankle bracelet monitoring.

Alexander coverage:

The Feds Have Been Spying on Cars Since 2008

Millions of cars have been spotted by license plate scanners, and logged into massive government databases for several years now. Also, they make the information available to any law enforcement agency that makes a request. Details are limited, and its unclear how many detentions, arrests, or convictions have resulted from the program.

Lee County has its own license plate scanning program, as we discussed in Big Brother post a while back. I suspect Collier County does as well, due to the nature of some police stops I have seen, but I haven’t seen any public information about it: that remains my suspicion. Meanwhile, only a small percentage of deputies have cameras in their cars.

via Jalopnik

CNN Takes a Look at the Practice of Property Seizure by Police

CNN did a decent story on an issue we have covered several times on Crimcourts. It’s worth checking out, be sure to check the video for the setup, in addition to the text story. The guys featured were legally carrying money for poker, and the cops grabbed it all. The Justice Department has been stepping back from participating in these civil asset forfeitures. There is a private company running seminars teaching cops how to do this… officers are literally planning to come up with ways to seize citizen property: that’s scary.

Thanks for sharing, Michael.

Update on the Easters: the Drug-Planting-Attorney-Parents

Jill and Kent Easter

Jill and Kent Easter

You might remember Jill and Kent Easter, a pair of married attorneys (and she a part-time novelist), who were charged with planting drugs in the vehicle of a rival PTA volunteer. Jill plead guilty, and was sentenced to jail, and Kent took his case to trial. Kent’s first trial ended in a hung jury, with Kent claiming that he was pushed around by his controlling wife, and that he didn’t know that drugs were planted in the vehicle. It went back to trial in September, amid revelations that Jill was cheating on Kent with a firefighter, and Kent was convicted the second time around. He was sentenced to six months in jail, a couple months more than Jill got, thanks to her plea deal.

ABC News decided to dig deep, and did a whole 20/20 feature on the case just last week. It’s worth checking out, as well.

Cops Have a New Way to Spy Inside Your Home

Law Enforcement Agencies have started buying new, portable radar devices that allow them to detect movement through walls. Essentially, they can tell how many people are in a house without going inside. They were initially developed for the military, but are spreading through law enforcement agencies across the country.

Radar by L3

Radar by L3

This is inherently problematic, because there is an expectation of privacy in one’s home. The Supreme Court has previously made it clear that such an invasion of the sanctity of one’s home requires a warrant, or is otherwise unreasonable. USA Today correctly covers the law on this: while the radars are new, the Court has previously and unequivocally declared that similar means of looking inside homes is not Constitutional without a warrant. The court issued a ruling several years ago about using infared scanners on homes, and more recently prohibiting dog sniffs of homes without warrant.

This can be an effective tool for law enforcement, provided they do it right. They need to get a warrant before utilizing radars and other devices that provide information from inside the home, and they need to make explicit in their application that they wish to use the device, and why there is probable cause to support it: otherwise any evidence obtained from such as search will be inadmissible.

via USA Today

US DOJ Announces Policy Change on Seizures, Limits Sharing with Local Cops

US Attorney General has announced that the Department of Justice will stop allowing local and state police from using Federal law to conduct seizures and forfeitures of property. More than $3 billion in property have been seized since 2008 in a program known as equitable sharing. According to the Washington Post: A Justice official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the attorney general’s motivation, said Holder “also believes that the new policy will eliminate any possibility that the adoption process might unintentionally incentivize unnecessary stops and seizures.”

Agencies are still allowed to seek forfeitures under State laws. Florida has pretty broad forfeiture statutes. Florida authorities have and will continue to seize property, even after warrantless searches where no drugs or contraband are found. This just means the Federal Government decided to stop assisting and encouraging these and other local authorities.

From the Washington Post, via

Police Action in North Fort Myers [Update]


You may have noticed the 8 police cars along 41 in North Fort Myers tonight. Witnesses tell crimcourts that officers stopped a vehicle next to rib City, and one or more occupants took off running. One of the suspects ducked into the restaurant, and deputies were concerned that she the man, who was wearing a dress, may have flushed something. Diners were shocked when s/he was tackled exiting the front of the restaurant. My cousin visitng from up north was impressed that we got dinner AND a show!

Update: I didn’t get a good luck at the suspect, but the staff heard that it may have been a male, though wearing a dress.

Check Out the Typo on these Rugs for the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office

Rugs at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

Rugs at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

The misprint on the rug reads “In Dog We Trust”. We do trust in dog.

via Concourse.