Three college friends of the alleged Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been arrested and charged with lying to investigators and obstruction of justice. Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadrybayev have formally been charged with conspiring to obstruct justice while Robel Phillipos has been charged with making false statements. The three young men are said to be friends of Tsarnaev and all students at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Phillipos has reportedly been friends with Tsarnaev since they attended the same high school in Cambridge. Prosecutors claim that the three young men recognized Tsarnaev from video footage of the bombing which was released by the FBI shortly after the incident. Kadrybayev is said to have texted Tsarnaev about it multiple times. At one point, Tsarnaev is said to have texted his friends to come to his dormitory room on campus and take whatever possessions of his they wanted. The three young men were allowed into the room by Tsarnaev’s roommate, whose name has not been released. They allegedly watched a movie, and then found a backpack filled with fireworks that had been emptied of their explosive powder. Along with the backpack, the three friends are said to have taken Tsarnaev’s laptop computer before exiting the building. Investigators claim the three young men then began to get frightened when they realized that Tsarnaev was actually wanted by authorities. Prosecutors claim that the three friends collectively decided to throw away the items they had taken from Tsarnaev’s room so the evidence would not be collected by investigators. Statements from the three young men differ, but the backpack and the laptop were placed in a plastic garbage bag then left in a dumpster outside of Kadrybayev’s off-campus apartment building either the night of April 18th, or the morning of April 19th, before Tsarnaev was formally identified by investigators as the bomber. Investigators stated that there was no indication that any of the three friends had any prior knowledge of Tsarnaev’s bombing plot before it occurred on April 15th, though court documents do indicate that about one month before the bombing, Tsarnaev told Kadrybayev and Tazhayakov that he knew how to make a bomb. If convicted, both Kadrybayev and Tazhayakov are facing up to five years in prison while Phillipos faces up to eight years in prison. The two Tsarnaev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens and have been legal residents in the United States for over ten years, are said to have planted two homemade bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The resulting blasts killed three people and injured over 200 more.
Tagged as: federal crimes, making false statments, obstruction of justice
A South Carolina man was arrested on suspicion of possessing and distributing child pornography last week. According to reports, 67-year-old Richard Rau of Conway, South Carolina, was arrested as part of an undercover operation targeting the production and sharing of child pornography online. Federal investigators with Homeland Security would post non-illicit photographs of children on an image hosting site and then contact other users on the site to trade illegal images. Homeland Security agents claim that Rau registered an account on the site back in November of 2012, and then began posting photos of a recent trip he had taken to Aruba. Rau also began posting suggestive comments on other people’s photos. Federal agents then obtained a search warrant in February and began a search of Rau’s home, where they seized two tablets, two computers, an Apple iPhone and several computer discs, among other items. Investigators claim that there was sexually explicit material on many of the items they seized and that Rau had e-mailed sexually explicit images of children to many people on at least seven occasions between December 11,, 2012 and January 21st of this year. Rau is now facing seven felony criminal charges of distributing child pornography via a computer and one felony charge of the possession of child pornography. Rau is facing up to 20 years in prison for each count of distribution and up to 10 years in prison for the possession of child pornography. In all, Rau is facing up to 150 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Rau appeared in a South Carolina court last week and pleaded not guilty to charges. In addition to Rau, federal investigators are said to have served search warrants to as many as 54 others in connection to the same image hosting website, 52 of them specifically because of child pornography charges. Court records indicate that 53 victims have been identified and rescued from further abuse. Child pornography is a crime with devastating consequences. As sex crimes go, it is typically a felony criminal offense, but because much of what exists in today’s world as child pornography is transmitted and shared over the internet, it can also be labeled a computer crime. Because sharing child pornography tends to be an online activity that often passes state borders, it can also count as a federal criminal offense, subjecting a defendant to the possibility of time spent in a federal prison. For all of these reasons and more, if you find yourself charged with the possession, production or distribution of child pornography, you need an aggressive and experienced attorney right away.
Tagged as: child pornography pc 311_11, los angeles child pornography defense attorney, sex crimes
A Tennessee man has been arrested this past Saturday after telling local police that he stole a big-rig truck in order to flee from zombies. Jerimiah Hartline, who is just 19 years old, is said to have been an acquaintance of the truck’s driver. Hartline stowed away in the back of the truck when it left Tennessee, but since the driver knew him, was allowed to come along for the ride to California after being discovered. The truck’s driver stopped at a weighing station in Rainbow, California, just south of Temecula on the 15 freeway and exited the truck when it was on the weigh station’s scales. It was at that point that Hartline hopped into the driver’s seat and took off. Hartline crashed the truck, which was filled with strawberries, several times before the truck finally overturned. Seven people were reportedly injured as a result of Hartline’s driving. When questioned by local police, Hartline told them he was being chased by zombies and that he stole the truck in order to get away. Hartline is still in police custody and no date has been announced as to when he is next expected in court. It is not every day that you hear such an unusual reason for someone to commit a crime, but just because Hartline claims to have had a good reason to steal a big-rig truck does not mean it will be a solid legal defense if he finds himself in court facing criminal charges. Of the many different types of theft that are described and made illegal by legislation, theft of any type of automobile, regardless of its condition or value, is typically considered Grand Theft, which is a felony criminal offense and typically punishable by a minimum of 16 months and a maximum of three years in jail or even state prison. One possible defense to theft crimes of this type might be what is called “lack of intent.” When lack of intent is the case, it usually means that the defendant did not intend to permanently deprive the owner of the truck of his property, but meant to give it back at some point. This is not a viable defense, however, if the intent to return the truck was formed after it was stolen. It would be difficult to tell whether or not Hartline had actually intended to return the truck unharmed after fleeing from zombies, which might make this a weak defense strategy for him.
Tagged as: Grand Theft
In a very sad case, an 86-year-old man was given just two years of probation after admitting to killing his wife in what has been termed a mercy killing. George Sanders admitted openly to investigators in the case that he killed his wife last fall after she begged him to kill her. The Sanders’ story is a sad one: Virginia Sanders was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969, and was confined to a wheelchair shortly thereafter. George Sanders, a World War II veteran, quickly became her sole caregiver. The couple left their home in the state of Washington in 1970 for the drier climate in Arizona. George Sanders cared for his wife, cleaned the home they shared, prepared their meals and even applied her make-up and held her hands up while she got her nails done at a local salon. Several years ago, however, George Sanders’ health also began to deteriorate: he had a pacemaker installed to help with an ailing heart, and shortly afterwards, his wife was diagnosed with gangrene in one foot. Arrangements were made to admit Virginia Sanders to a local hospital for treatment, then to a nursing home where she was expected to spend the rest of her life. George Sanders told investigators that, while home together, his wife told him that she did not want to go to the hospital and asked him to kill her. He at first refused, but his wife insisted. Sanders admitted to loading his gun and then shooting his wife. Virginia Sanders was 81 years old when she died. Prosecutors had at first charged Sanders with first-degree murder, but offered him a plea deal in which he instead pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter. Sanders was facing up to 12 years in a state prison for his guilty plea, but after hearing statements from family members who described the Sanders’ lives together as a “great love story” and pleaded for mercy for him, even prosecutors favored a more compassionate sentence. Steve Sanders, George and Virginia Sanders’ son, stated at the hearing that he and the rest of his family had never wanted to press criminal charges against George Sanders to begin with. The presiding judge in the case ultimately gave Sanders two years of unsupervised probation. The Sanders’ case is proof that the criminal court system is full of surprises. Even in a murder case, unlikely resolutions or punishments are given, mostly based on the particulars of each case.
Tagged as: Murder
Pop singer Justin Bieber has been accused of battery and making threats by a neighbor. Bieber, who owns a home in Calabasas just outside of Los Angeles, has not been arrested as a result of the incident. According to reports from local police, officers were called to the scene around 9 o’clock in the morning on Tuesday. An unidentified person who lives near the singer told police that Bieber had attacked them as well as threatened them. Official reports have not mentioned whether or not the singer was at the scene when officers arrived, but Bieber’s website listed a blistering European concert schedule, which would have placed the singer in Poland on Monday night. No official charges have been filed against the now-19-year-old singer, and authorities have not released information about any type of arrest warrant for him. The teen singer has had several run-ins with law enforcement agents as well as a few well-publicized public relations gaffes in the last year or so. Last summer Bieber was given a speeding ticket after reportedly driving at high speeds on a Los Angeles freeway in order to avoid a throng of paparazzi who were following him. In May of last year, Bieber was accused of kicking and punching a paparazzo at a movie theater in Calabasas, though no criminal charges were filed in that case. Earlier this year the teen pop idol was sued by a former bodyguard for assault and over$400,000 in unpaid wages. The former bodyguard claims that Bieber repeatedly punched him in the chest after an argument erupted in the singer’s entourage. The singer also is said to have collapsed backstage at a concert in London and subsequently cancelled a scheduled performance in Portugal. Battery is a common, but frequently misunderstood criminal charge. Battery takes place when a person is touched in an unwanted manner, even if the touch left no injury or was non-violent. Assault, by contrast, is a crime that covers both the attempt at an unwanted touching or striking as well as the actual commission of the touching or striking. In many cases, there is little to no difference between assault and battery and the terms are often interchangeable. While this may sound fairly straightforward, even battery has many degrees and types, each with its own punishment. For example, battery resulting in serious bodily injury can land you in jail or prison for up to four years as well as cost you up to $10,000 in fines. Battery committed at a school, public park or hospital can send you to a county jail for up to one year and cost as much as $2,000 in fines.
Tagged as: assault, battery
An unidentified man dressed as a FedEx deliveryman is said to have robbed a Pasadena jewelry store at gunpoint earlier this month. According to reports, the unidentified man entered Prestige Jewelry store on Colorado Boulevard near the Paseo Colorado mall around 11:30 in the morning on March 2nd. The man asked the store’s owner, Jeffrey Tran, to show him a box of loose diamonds, and then pulled out a gun. The unidentified man made off with the box of loose diamonds. Tran and his wife, who have owned the jewelry store for 10 years, did not know the exact value of the diamonds stolen, or even how many were in the box at the time. Tran said this is the first time his jewelry store had been robbed. There are many, many different types of theft in the eyes of the law. From stealing a pack of gum at the corner store to car-jacking to a jewelry heist, theft crimes have many different “levels” and nearly as many punishments if you are convicted. The only common feature of theft crimes, in effect, is the fact that some property, money or critical information is illegally taken from its rightful owner. What tends the make the criminal charges against you more or less serious, however, is the monetary value attached to whatever you were accused of stealing. In California, the magic number that can push your theft charges from plain, old theft into the Grand Theft category is $950: if the value of the goods you are accused of stealing totals $950 or more, then you may be facing grand theft criminal charges. Grand Theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Interestingly enough, the state of California also has laws in place that, regardless of their monetary value, make it Grand Theft to steal an automobile, a firearm, certain types of farm animals such as horses, cows, goats and sheep, aircraft and “trade secrets.” These items may not sell in an open market for anything close to $950, but have been given legal protection nonetheless. California does big business in farming and agriculture, so legal protection of crops and farm animals comes as no surprise. Trade secrets, which may not require being stolen at gunpoint, however, can be vital to a new and growing business in any industry and have been given legal protection. The actual value of the stolen item or items, along with your prior criminal history will likely figure in to what type and the length of the punishment you are given if convicted. Being convicted of misdemeanor Grand Theft carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in a county jail, as well as fines, restitution and up to three years of informal probation. Felony Grand Theft, however, carries a penalty of between 16 months and three years in jail, with additional time possible depending on the value of the items stolen.
Tagged as: armed robbery, Grand Theft, theft
An Ohio man who pleaded guilty to charges of raping and prostituting his adoptive children is facing this week. The man, whose name is being withheld in order to protect the privacy of his three adopted children, pleaded guilty in an Ohio court to charges of child rape and prostituting a child and is facing 50 years in prison. The unidentified man had adopted three children, two boys and a girl, all between the ages of 9 and 12 and was in the process of adopting a fourth child, a nine-year-old boy. All of the children were originally from the state of Texas and had been adopted through a Dayton, Ohio-based private adoption agency, Action, Inc. Investigators have taken a hard look at Action, Inc. to see if there was any wrongdoing on their part, and so far have found a few procedural violations, but no infractions worthy of suspending or revoking the agency’s license. The adoptive father, who is single, and 40 years old, claims that he never had any intention to hurt his children, and certainly did not intend to prostitute his then-10-year-old son. The man had worked for years as a substitute teacher and youth basketball coach, as well as fostering several other children without any hint of problems. By way of explanation, he has admitted in interviews that he had been sexually abused by a close male relative as a very young child and his abuse of his own children started out as a twisted way of showing his love. The situation worsened, however, when the adoptive father began allowing other men to rape one or both of the boys. In one instance, a man was allowed to rape one of the boys in the family’s home, while in another instance the adoptive father took one of his sons to another man’s home to be raped. How the adoptive father made the leap from sexually abusing his own children to prostituting his son to other men is unknown. The children never made any accusations or told anyone else about what was going on in their family. By all accounts, all of the children were active in after school sports, a local church and did well enough in school. Neighbors were stunned to hear of the abuse as the adoptive father was known in his community for being a generous and caring neighbor. The adoptive father was arrested about one year ago after local police in an undercover operation responded to an online ad for “taboo sex.” The victim initially refused to confirm to police that any wrongdoing had occurred, but eventually admitted that he had not said anything to authorities because he was afraid of being separated from his new brothers and sister.
Tagged as: sex crimes
It seems the famed Pistorius family of South Africa just cannot catch a break lately. Oscar Pistorius, one of the most famous disabled athletes in the world, was charged with premeditated murder earlier this month after his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was shot inside the runner’s home. In this latest twist, the runner’s older brother, Carl Pistorius, has been officially charged with culpable homicide stemming from an alleged traffic accident in which a female motorcyclist collided with Carl Pistorius’ car in 2008. According to reports, blood tests showed that Carl Pistorius was not driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. Charges in the case had been dropped once before, only to be reinstated later. Carl Pistorius is expected to be in court in South Africa later this month to deal with his criminal charges. It is unclear what type of punishment he could receive if convicted on charges of culpable homicide. As for Oscar Pistorius, the case against him has seen its own share of twists recently. Pistorius was charged with premeditated murder and released on bail last Friday after a bail hearing that lasted two days. Pistorius is accused of shooting his girlfriend to death in his Pretoria home. Some initial reports indicated that Oscar Pistorius may have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder and shot her. Pistorius himself is claiming that he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder and that he did not realize that it was Steenkamp in the bathroom when he shot four rounds through the door. Other sources, however offer different opinions. Reports indicate that Steenkamp was shot four times through a bathroom door in Pistorius’ home, including in the hand and the hip. Early investigations reported that Steenkamp had locked herself in the small bathroom, suggesting that she was afraid of some danger, possibly from an enraged Pistorius. Some accounts also say that Pistorius used a cricket bat to break down the bathroom door after shooting his 9mm pistol into it. Neighbors had reportedly heard the couple arguing loudly at times before the incident. In a strange twist, The South African Police Service removed the lead investigator in the Pistorius case, Hilton Botha, after attempted murder charges were reinstated against him. Botha is accused of chasing a minibus full of people then firing his gun at the bus in a drunken rage in 2011. Botha is being charged with seven counts of attempted murder as a result. Law enforcement officials also recently admitted that they may have contaminated the crime scene at Oscar Pistorius’ home and had also possibly failed to properly catalogue evidence collected from the area. Oscar Pistorius made history as the first disabled runner to compete in the London Olympics last year alongside able-bodied runners. Oscar Pistorius had been born without fibula bones in both legs and had had his legs amputated below the knees when he was a small child. Pistorius ran with the use of prosthetic legs, earning him the nickname of “Bladerunner.”
Tagged as: Murder, police misconduct
Actor Jason London was arrested outside an Arizona club this past weekend and allegedly took quite the beating in the process. According to police reports, the trouble started when London walked by a bouncer in a nightclub and sneezed on him. Whether or not it was intentional, the bouncer claims he asked the actor for an apology. In response, the actor allegedly punched the bouncer in the face. The 40-year-old actor was said to have been thrown out of the club while kicking and screaming and sustained injuries while being thrown out of the nightclub. Local law enforcement officers responded to a call from the club shortly before two o’clock in the morning on Sunday and found London outside the nightclub bleeding and nursing a swollen eye. Paramedics were called to the scene to treat London for his injuries, but the actor reportedly got aggressive with them and even shoved one. One of the officers admitted to having to deliver a knee strike to London’s right thigh in order to be able to seat the actor on the ground. The fun reportedly did not stop there, however. Officers at the scene handcuffed London and place him under arrest on suspicion of disorderly conduct and assault. The actor reportedly called the officers names and used homophobic slurs against them. After being seated in a police car, London complained to officers about the smell inside the car and proceeded to purposely defecate in the back seat of the vehicle For his part, London claims that what actually happened was very different from the police report that was filed. In the actor’s version of events, he claims to have been jumped by several big, burly club bouncers who knocked him unconscious and beat him for several minutes. London took to Twitter the day after the incident and told people that he would never say or do any of the things he was accused of the night before. London claimed that he was attacked because a man in the club thought he was hitting on his friend’s girlfriend. The actor even went so far as to call the police report a complete lie. London has worked steadily as an actor since the early 1990s. He is perhaps best known for playing both Court Foster in the film “The Man in the Moon” in 1991 and Randall “Pink” Floyd in the comedy “Dazed and Confused” in 1993. Most recently he has appeared on popular television shows “Dallas” and “Scandal.”
Tagged as: assault
Troubled actor Lane Garrison has successfully avoiding having to return to jail after striking a plea deal with prosecutors in a domestic violence case. Garrison was accused of striking his former girlfriend, former Playboy Playmate Ashley Mattingly in front of her apartment building during an argument. The incident took place last April and could have put the actor in serious legal trouble as he was on parole for a 2007 criminal conviction. Instead of jail time, however, Garrison has pleaded no contest to misdemeanor domestic battery and was sentenced to 36 months of unsupervised probation, eight hours of community service and a full years’-worth of weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and domestic violence classes. Garrison was also ordered by the court to stay away from Mattingly at all times. While video surveillance footage from Mattingly’s apartment building certainly seemed to show Garrison striking his then-girlfriend, Garrison has maintained his innocence since his arrest. Garrison claims he was simply trying to take his cell phone back from Mattingly after she had snatched it out of his hand. Garrison, who is perhaps best known for his work as David “Tweener” Apolskis on the hit television show “Prison Break,” had previously pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2007. After an alcohol-related car crash in 2006 left a teenager dead, Garrison was charged with vehicular manslaughter, driving under the influence of alcohol and providing a minor with alcohol. Garrison was sentenced to 40 months in prison. He was released in 2009, well short of his sentence, for good behavior. Upon being released from prison, Garrison was said to have enrolled in a substance abuse program to deal with an alcohol and drug addiction. As Garrison’s case demonstrates, there are always two sides to every domestic dispute. While video footage may appear to show Garrison striking his then-girlfriend, even video footage is not always enough to convince a jury that domestic abuse occurred. Small details such as camera angles and lighting can trick the eye and make a person think they are seeing something that they really are not. If you have been accused of domestic violence, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. A good attorney knows that many types of evidence can be excluded from your trial because they were improperly or even illegally obtained. Even the police and law enforcement officials have strict guidelines as to how and when they can obtain evidence against you. If the evidence does not meet the requirements, it may be barred from being used in your trial.
Tagged as: domestic violence pc 273_5
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