Caffeine defense in a murder case


Americans love their caffeine.  With Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks scattered all across the US, people can get their fill of caffeine at anytime.  Additionally, products such as energy drinks and 5 hour energy are flying off the shelves. 

Recently, lawyers have begun to use the caffeine as a legal defense in criminal cases.  Lawyers have begun to argue that caffeine has affected the intent of the criminal, their knowledge and their confessions.  It is a novel defense and young defense and it will be interesting to see how the situation works out. 

 The most recent use of this defense is by Woody Sill Smith who is accused of killing his wife by strangulation.  The defense plans to argue that the large amount of caffeine ingested by the defendant resulted in an altered state of mind.  As a result of this temporary altered state of mind, the defendant should be found not guilty of the crime.

 The strategy of this case will be closely examined by both prosecutors and defense attorneys.  Seeing that the defense is so new, it will be interesting to see its development over time.  In the mean time, it may look as though a person should limit their caffeine consumption.   

 For more information

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100920/ap_on_re_us/us_caffeine_defense

http://www.semissourian.com/story/1666443.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/man-caffeinated-psychosis-defense-hit-run/story?id=9306666

http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978533466

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Jurors please wait to tweet or be prepared to pay


Jury duty is something that most people don’t look forward to attending.  However, there are certain cases that may receive a lot of press and jurors actually are interested to be apart of the process.  If you are ever chosen to be on a jury, make sure that you follow the rules of the court. 

One of the most important rules the judge will require is for jurors to not talk about the case until it is over.  If a case takes more than one day, most juries are allowed to go home for the night.  In limited situations, juries are kept away from the public and housed in a hotel until the case is over.  Regardless of where the jurors stay, the rule remains the same.  Don’t talk about the case until the case is over.  This includes not talking to fellow members of the jury until it is time for deliberations. 

With technology, it is much easier to make contact with others than ever before. Most people own cell phones, and smart phones allow people to post messages on the web through Facebook and Twitter to thousands of people at a time.  With these conveniences, it takes more of an effort on a juror’s part to not be tempted to talk about the case he or she is currently apart. 

In Detroit, a juror posted a Facebook message talking about the trial.  When the court discovered this, the juror was fined $250 and was required to write an essay on the constitutional rights to a fair trial.  A fair trial, this is what the rule is trying to protect.  If the fine is not enough to deter you from talking to about the case, then imagine it was you on trial and how it would feel to not receive a fair trial.  It is okay to talk to others while the case is pending, just make sure the trial doesn’t enter the conversation.    

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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For more information:

http://wwj.cbslocal.com/2010/09/02/juror-who-made-facebook-post-due-in-court/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/24/jurors-using-twitter-jeop_n_332648.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/4998004/Juror-tweeted-on-Twitter-during-trial.html

DUI Lifetime look back rule


The penalties for DUI offenses have become more serious over the years.  Essentially, in order for the Commonwealth to figure out what number DUI offense a DUI offender should be charged with, the state “looks back” at the DUI offender’s record.  Since 2002, the DUI rules of “looking back” at a person’s DUI record have changed making the punishments for DUI more severe. 

 The DUI rules prior to 2002 would only look at the DUI offender’s to see if the DUI offender had any DUI’s for the last ten years.  Now for the purposes of counting DUI offenses, the DUI laws counts CWOFs and convictions the same way. (To learn more about CWOFS https://attorneychan.wordpress.com/?s=cwof Under the DUI ten year look back rule, the state would look at the DUI offender’s record and only count DUI offenses that occurred in the last ten years.  So for example, under the old DUI rules, a 50 year old DUI offender has one DUI on his record when he was 25.  Under the old DUI rules, the DUI offender would be charged with a DUI first offense. 

After 2002, the DUI rules no longer just “look back” ten years in the DUI offender’s record.  Now, no matter how much time has lapsed, all the DUIs on a person’s record are counted.  So back to our example of the 50 year old DUI offender with one DUI on his record when he was 25. Under the new DUI rules, the DUI offender would be charged with a DUI second offense. 

This change in the DUI rules is very significant because the penalties for DUI become more severe depending on the number of the DUI offense.  To find out more information regarding the different DUI offenses, you can visit the DUI index.  http://www.attorneychan.com/dui/index.html

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Tough not to get caught-crimes that weren’t so smart. Part III


 Last week’s story was about a bank robber that didn’t take traffic into consideration to say the least. This week’s bank robber story gets caught because of an explosive situation.

Story number 3: heated argument leads to exploding dye packs A bank robber goes into a bank and demands money from the teller. The teller hands the suspect several stacks of money, with one of the stacks containing an exploding dye packet. The suspect takes the money and leaves. Unlike the story from last week, this suspect was wearing disguise and the police is having a difficult time to identify the suspect. The bank tellers didn’t get a good look at the suspect and reviewing the cameras don’t lead to a better description.

Everything is looking pretty good for the suspect so far as he really hasn’t given to police too much to work with. The suspect has a girlfriend and about a week later they are together. During this time, the suspect has used some of his stolen money, but hasn’t used any money from the stack that contains the dye pack.

The suspect’s girlfriend wants to go to the bank, so the suspect drives her and is planning to wait for her in the car. The suspect and his girlfriend arrive at the bank and park in the lot. While in the parking lot the suspect and his girlfriend get into an argument about money. The girlfriend has no idea that the suspect has robbed a bank. However, she does know that the suspect has some money in the bag in the back seat.

The argument escalates and the girlfriend runs out of the car and decides to bring the bag of money with her. The suspect knowing that the money is stolen, quickly runs after her. Both of them start fighting over the bag while they are inside the bank. As they tug at the bag and money the dye packet suddenly explodes. They are both arrested by the police and the girlfriend is later released.

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Tough not to get caught-crimes that weren’t so smart. Part I


During my travels you hear a lot of silly stories.  First, I didn’t represent any of these people.  Second, these stories are much better than my imagination can provide.  And finally, if you ever find yourself wanting to violate the law, please reconsider.  Over the next several weeks, I have four crime stories that will make you scratch your head.

Story number 1: Trying to hit the lottery

A suspect breaks the window of a liquor store.  The suspect probably didn’t think about the situation too clearly because blood is found on the window sill.  Either the person cut his or her hand on the window while breaking it, or the broken glass cut the suspect on the way in.  The suspect didn’t wear gloves leaving DNA and finger prints everywhere.

Once inside, the suspect looks for valuable items to take.  The suspect takes some alcohol and rummages through an empty cash register.  Finally, the suspect comes up with a great idea of taking scratch tickets and lottery tickets.  The problem is that the tickets are numbered and once they are cashed in, the police will know what store cashed the winning tickets.  Moreover, most convenience stores will have cameras.

When the person cashed the winning tickets the police had his face on tape.  In the end, the fingerprints were enough to track the person down, but the police were able to retrieve the tape from the store that cashed the scratch ticket.  The suspect gave the police plenty of evidence to find and to later prosecute him.  This definitely wasn’t one of the best thought out crimes.  If you think this story is silly, just wait as the stories get progressively worse.

 

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Owing the court money or community service could land you in jail


People don’t like court.  Most people want to get their criminal cases done as soon as possible.  As a result, many people are not paying attention to the judge.  Unfortunately, the clerk will reduce into writing the judge’s orders onto the docket (court’s paperwork). 

 A lot of pleas end up in court fines or community service.  Usually, the judge will allow a certain amount of time for the court fines to be paid or community service to be completed.  If the money or community service is paid by a certain date, the defendant usually doesn’t need to show up to court.  However, if the money isn’t paid or community service isn’t completed, the person needs to show up to court to address the situation. 

 If a person fails to show up to court to address the failure to pay or completion of community service, a warrant will be issued for the person’s arrest.  To add to the person’s problems, the court adds extra fees for removing a warrant. 

 Usually, a person won’t be sent to jail for failure to pay court fees or completing community service.  Most judges will give the person another chance to make good on their promise.  However, if the fines or community service have lagged in the court system for some time, judges have locked up people.  If a person is locked up for failure to pay a court fine, the person will usually get credit for about $30 a day.  Meaning if a person owes a $300 fine, the person would be sitting in jail for 10 days.  So the next time you owe the court a fine or community service, make sure you get it done or else you could end up in jail one day. 

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Disgusting drug stories, don’t get into them or it may lead you to one of these places


We have all heard it before, drugs are bad.  Well, it isn’t easy for most people to grasp exactly how bad they really are.  I am not here to preach, but here are a few gross drug user stories I have come across my travels.

I have always found it odd how people can insert a needle into their arm while using heroin.  Seeing that most people are afraid of needles, how can someone constantly volunteer their arm to that torture?  From my travels I have heard that heroin is usually the drug of last resort.

It runs cheaper than other drugs and works quicker.  However, the downsides are huge.  The using of unclean and shared needles have many people contracting different diseases.  A lot of drug users will have hepatitis, HIV, and other horrible diseases.  In one of the worse cases I have seen, a girl had sores all over her body including her face.  Everyday, the sores would bleed and she would look like a bloody pulp.

I hear that Meth users take the drug and rub it across their gums.  As the drug comes in contact with the gum line, it starts rotting the teeth out from the roots.  As a result, a meth user’s teeth will fall out.

Finally, heroin is truly a horrible drug.  Aside from the diseases and bloody sores that come from that, some users will do anything to continue their habit.  One probation officer said that many users will go to extremes to hide their habits from authorities.  Many people will insert the needle between their toes to hide the marks that the needles make.  Females have been known to stick the needle underneath their finger nails then put on nail polish.  Finally, one of the worst stories I have heard, is that of a man who inserted heroin into his own male body part because that was the only good vein left on his body.

As I have heard one person say, the best thing is to never try drugs.  You may like it too much that one time and it may be impossible to stop.

Interes9ted twitter followers please visit- twitter: http://twitter.com/AttorneyChan

 

Interested in becoming a Facebook fan please visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Boston-MA/Law-offices-of-Attorney-Jason-Chan/101494423854?ref=sgm

For more information:

http://www.drugabuse.gov/infofacts/treatmeth.html

http://www.adcare.com/

http://www.theagapecenter.com/Treatment-Centers/Massachusetts.htm

http://www.recoveryconnection.org/find_drug_rehab/Massachusetts.php

http://www.treatment-centers.net/treatment-directory/massachusetts.html



For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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A dollar makes all the difference


As the economy is getting worse, theft rates are going up.  That shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone, but did you know that the cost of the item by a dollar can make a world of difference? 

 In a Massachusetts larceny case, the Commonwealth represented by the prosecutor needs to prove three things.  First, the defendant took and carried away property.  Second, the property was owned by someone else.  And finally, the defendant intended to take and keep the item. 

 Now, the cost of the item is very important when it comes to being the defendant.  If the item taken is worth$250 or more, then a person can be charged with larceny over $250.  If the item is worth $249 or under, then the person is usually charged with larceny under $250. 

 Larceny over $250 is a felony, while the charge of larceny under $250 is considered a misdemeanor.  The burden is on the prosecutor to prove that the item is worth $250 or more. 

 It seems very silly that there is such a difference in the law and potential penalties based on a single dollar.  When the statutes were drafted $250 was a lot of money.  Perhaps the legislature at the time felt as though anyone taking anything worth that much money should be considered a felon.  The reality today is that most people have items that are worth over $250 on their persons.  Most cell phones, Ipods and definitely computers are well over that threshold.  Sometimes one dollar does make all the difference. 

 Interes9ted twitter followers please visit- twitter: http://twitter.com/AttorneyChan

 Interested in becoming a Facebook fan please visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Boston-MA/Law-offices-of-Attorney-Jason-Chan/101494423854?ref=sgm

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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My girlfriend is not looking to press charges


 A person is charged with domestic assault and battery. In a domestic assault and battery, the defendant has an existing relationship with the alleged victim. Domestic assault and batteries most commonly happen between people in married or dating relationships. A person can also be charged with domestic assault and battery on their family member. Whether the assault and battery is characterized as domestic or not the maximum penalty is the same.

When most people get charged with domestic assault and battery they believe that the alleged victim is pressing the charges. As a result, they also believe that if the alleged victim isn’t pursuing the charges, the charges will be dismissed. In actuality, the charges usually came about because the police file application for criminal complaint. The clerk issued the complaint. And now the district attorney’s office is prosecuting the charges. The district attorney office is the entity that is prosecuting the charges and not the alleged victim.

Though the district attorney’s office may take the alleged victim’s wishes into consideration, the prosecution have to do what an allege victim wants. District attorneys around the country are increasing their pursuit in these types of cases. It is becoming much more difficult to resolve these cases even if the alleged victims want them dismissed.

Assault and battery charges are serious and many defendants are being wrongfully accused of these crimes. If you are charged with an assault and battery case, expect it to take at least a few cases even if the alleged victim wants the case dismissed.

Interes9ted twitter followers please visit- twitter: http://twitter.com/AttorneyChan 

Interested in becoming a Facebook fan please visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Boston-MA/Law-offices-of-Attorney-Jason-Chan/101494423854?ref=sgm

For more information regarding domestic violence and help MA laws about domestic violence

http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/subject/about/domviolence.html

Help for domestic violence victims http://www.janedoe.org/ Executive Office for Sexual and Domestic Violence http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eopssubtopic&L=4&sid=Eeops&L0=Home&L1=Crime+Prevention+%26+Personal+Safety&L2=Personal+Safety&L3=Sexual+and+Domestic+Violence

Resources for Domestic Violence and Abuse

http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=mg2subtopic&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Resident&L2=Family&L3=Domestic+Violence+%26+Abuse&sid=massgov2

Women’s Law

http://www.womenslaw.org/gethelp_state.php?state_code=MA

Counseling and Education to Stop Domestic Violence

http://www.emergedv.com/

Domestic Violence Unit

http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/cyp/dv/pt4.htm

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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To plead or not to plead?


This is perhaps one of the most critical decisions on any criminal case. Last week, we talked about why a person would take a plea bargain. This week we aer going to talk about some factors one should consider in making the decision on whether to take a plea bargain.

First of all, a person should never agree to a plea bargain without the help of a defense attorney. This decision will remain with you for the rest of your life and it makes no sense to try to make it without a trained professional. It is fine to look information up on the web and read this blog to be better informed. However, if you need a new transmission for your car, would you do it yourself after reading information about it online?

Alright, so that being said, here is an incomplete list of things one should consider prior to pleading to a case. The potential penalties of the charges are one thing that should be considered by any defendant. One should be aware of what the maximum and potential consequences of the charges verses what the prosecution is offering for a plea bargain.

Another factor that people should consider is the evidence. People should look at what the prosecution has for evidence and how strength of that evidence. This isn’t something that is easy to assess. Most people believe certain aspects of a case are helpful when it isn’t, while others mistakenly believe other parts of a case are useless. This is where an experience attorney can shine and really be helpful to your case.

Finally, people should also consider the collateral consequences to a plea. Some of these consequences include license suspension, immigration issues, loss of financial aid, employment issues, providing DNA samples, GPS monitoring and needing to register as a sex offender. Today, plea bargains are becoming increasingly common, as fewer cases are going to trial. The decision to plead to a case verses demanding a trial is an important decision that shouldn’t be made alone.

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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