Articles Tagged with Criminal Charge

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?”

Criminal cases are seldom very exciting. Though TV and movies would have you believe differently, the reality is that court rules and procedures restrict what participants are able to do spur of the moment and instead try and make the process more predictable. It is quite rare for a prosecutor or defense attorney, even more so, a judge, to make a decision or take an action seemingly out of the blue.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question:”What is an expungement?”

Most people do not spend time worrying about things like the discovery process. It is legalistic and confusing to those not familiar with the criminal justice system. Though it can be complicated, it is incredibly important and worth understanding. Discovery is meant to shed light on evidence, creating transparency in a justice system that can, at times, be troublingly opaque. As a recent article in the New York Times demonstrates, the discovery process can sometimes go wrong and, when it does, it can have serious consequences.

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Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

It can sometimes seem like we have seen it all before. This is especially true in the criminal law world, where crimes are seldom novel, but often sad cycles continually repeating themselves. Though this is true in some cases, a recent prosecution in Massachusetts demonstrates that individuals can still find new ways to run afoul of the law and, when that happens, it can raise important questions about how these groundbreaking cases ought to be handled.

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Charlotte DWI and Criminal Defense Attorney J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question: “What are the long term effects of being convicted of a crime?”

A woman from Tennessee recently made headlines across the country when she claimed that she blacked out and woke up hours later in Arden, North Carolina. After disappearing, her husband reported the woman’s absence to police. The 25-year-old, Ciara Mae Holt, then told authorities that she had been kidnapped.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC responds to “The person that called the police doesn’t want to press charges, can I still be prosecuted?”

Dave Pollizi and his wife noticed something unusual while at their Lake Wylie home the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  Cars were parked in the backyard of the vacant mansion next door.

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Charlotte DWI and Criminal Defense Attorney J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”

It’s often the most dramatic scene in any legal TV show or movie: the moment when the witness on the stand points to the person who committed the crime. Though this moment can make for great TV and is often portrayed as an authoritative identification, the reality is far murkier. Critics of current law enforcement practices involving witness identification say that reform is badly needed as innocent men and women go to prison due to faulty IDs. To find out more about the current process and the changes some say are needed, keep reading.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “If I have an outstanding warrant, what should I do?”

 

The “Hands up, don’t shoot!” moniker is all the rage in the United States, with prominent professional athletes in the National Basketball Association and National Football League, as well as well-known celebrities, politicians, political pundits and media figures adopting the meme—some displaying the same on tee shirts proclaiming the phrase.

Police stop Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Mecklenburg DWI AttorneyLong before the rage—before Michael Brown was shot to death by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, and before New Yorker Eric Garner died after being wrestled to the ground by a small team of New York City police officers—an unarmed backseat passenger in Billings, Montana was shot to death for failing to raise his hands during what began as a simple traffic stop.

Officer Grant Morrison said that on the night of April 14, 2014 he saw a car “turn quickly and decided to follow it.” After following it, Morrison said, he pulled the car over because of a “light violation.” Richard Ramirez was a passenger in the car.

Morrison testified at a hearing that after pulling the car over, he noticed that the back right passenger was pushing against the door. Morrison ordered all of the car’s occupants to raise their hands, but the 38-year-old Ramirez kept fumbling for something in his pocket.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Should I talk to the police?”

 

Americans are well informed of the facts—and the rhetoric—surrounding the high-profile police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City this past summer. Most are just as familiar with killing of two New York City police officers last weekend by a man who said the point-blank shootings were retribution for Garner’s killing.

Man on computer Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyThe man—Ismaaiyl Brinsley—allegedly posted on the website Instagram some three hours before fatally shooting officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos that he was “Putting Wings on Pigs Today.” The term “pig” is an insulting form of slang that refers to a law-enforcement officer. One gives someone wings—a reference to angel’s wings—by murdering someone. Brinsely’s post, translated, meant he planned to kill some police officers.

Now police in Chicopee, Massachusetts are seeking a criminal complaint against a 27-year-old man who also allegedly used the phrase “put wings on pigs” in a post on his Facebook page. That man—Charles DiRosa—is not accused of killing anyone, but police view the comment as a threat, according to Chicopee Police Department spokesman Michael Wilk.

The complaint, filed by members of the detective bureau in Chicopee District Court, is described as a “show-cause” complaint. A report by the local CBS affiliate described the charge against DiRosa as a “Threat To Commit A Crime.” At the show-cause hearing, the District Court will decide whether the complaint is valid. If so, DiRosa will be entitled to have a trial to answer and defend against the charge.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

 

A 30-year-old Montana man has been convicted of deliberate homicide in the April 27, 2014 shooting death of a German foreign-exchange student.

Old man with shotgun Charlotte Mecklenburg DWI Lawyer North Carolina homicide AttorneyThe man, Markus Kaarma of Missoula, Montana, found 17-year-old Diren Dede in his garage after Dede triggered motion sensors. Witnesses testified at Kaarma’s trial that the man fired four shotgun blasts at Dede. Prosecutors argued at trial that Kaarma paused before taking the fourth shot, allegedly adjusting his aim before firing a blast into Dede’s head. Dede was unarmed at the time.

Kaarma’s neighbors testified that the man was disappointed by the response of local police to previous break-ins at his home. His girlfriend, Janelle Pflager, allegedly told neighbors that Kaarma set out to bait an intruder and catch one himself. Prosecutors argued that Kaarma wanted to do more than catch a burglar; they said he was intent on “luring an intruder into his garage” in order to harm the person. On the night of Dede’s shooting, Kaarma had left the garage door partially open with a purse visible inside.

Kaarma argued at trial that he feared for his life and could not tell whether the intruder was armed or not at the time he fired the shot. His lawyers also pointed out that Kaarma had been on edge after his garage was burglarized at least once in the weeks before the shooting.

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J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I be arrested without evidence against me?”

 

The move is on—in the wake of riots and protests over police shooting and choking deaths of two unarmed men in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City—to equip police officers nationwide with body cameras. Privacy advocates, police chiefs and at least one police union, however, are expressing concerns about the plan.

Police Camera Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Mecklenburg DWI AttorneyThe Washington Post reported Wednesday that the Obama Administration has proposed spending $75 million on 50,000 body cameras to be fitted upon law-enforcement officers across the United States.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is well ahead of the curve on body cameras. Earlier this year, CMPD Chief Rodney Monroe announced that all officers in Charlotte would be equipped with body cameras. (See related blog: “CMPD police body cameras may mean Ferguson never comes to Charlotte”).

This, Monroe said, would increase the trust the community has in police and, at the same time, would provide the State with crucial evidence regarding the circumstances of crimes and the conduct of responding officers.

The Post, citing NBC News, which in turn cited St. Louis hip-hop artist and activist Antoine White, said police body cameras might not be all they are cracked up to be. White, who met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday to discuss the recent events in Ferguson, told NBC News that “Giving a policeman a camera does not prevent him from shooting me in the head.”

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