Don’t consent to search of your car or person


Police need to have a good reason to search your car or your person.  If the police have a valid search warrant then they are allowed to search the areas that are specified in the warrant.  However, in most searches of cars and people, police don’t have a warrant because they don’t have time to get a warrant. 

If the police search a person or car without a warrant, they need a legally recognized reason to search.  If the police don’t have a legitimate reason to search, then the court may end up suppressing the evidence that was found. 

The most important thing that a suspected person can do is not to consent to any search.  A lot of people will consent to a search of their person or car because they believe they have no other choice.  What is even more astounding is that many people will consent to the search knowing that there are illegal materials in the car or on their person.

Once a person gives consent, it helps the police greatly.  When a person consents to being searched, the police no longer need a legitimate reason to search.  The police are allowed to search because the person has consented.   The police do not need to warn the suspect that he has the right to refuse to be searched.  The lesson is never consent to a search.  If the police find evidence so be it.  Don’t take away your own rights by consenting to the search and taking away your opportunity to force the police to justify their warrantless search. 

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Search of cell phone text messages without a warrant


A person has a constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizures.  Essentially every person has a right to privacy under the US constitution.  Now the right to privacy is reduced when a person is arrested or under other circumstances. 

Under these rules, police can’t randomly search people to look for drugs or evidence linking them to crimes.  Police need a legitimate reason to search a person or a warrant.  When a person is arrested, police are allowed to do an inventory of the person’s belongings.  This inventory search may lead to the discovery of illegal materials such as weapons or drugs. 

With the new world of technology, courts across the United States are trying to determine the use of warrantless search on technology.  In California, a court ruled that the police don’t need to obtain a warrant to search the text messages of a suspected drug dealer. 

In the 2007 case, the Defendant was arrested by the police on suspicion of drug dealing.  When the Defendant was arrested the police officer took the suspect’s phone out of his pocket and read the text messages without a warrant.  The court ruled that the police didn’t violate the Defendant’s constitutional right. 

States differ on this subject.  The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that arrested suspects phones can’t be searched without a warrant.  This issue is long from being resolved and may end up being reviewed and ruled on by the US Supreme Court.  Until then, it will be interesting to see how the states rule on this subject and other constitutional issues surrounding technology. 

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.    

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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

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.

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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



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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. 

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Tis the season to be road blocks


Summer is here and the weather is going to be great. The Fourth of July makes a wonderful long weekend for everyone. As you go to cookouts and barbecues this weekend, alcohol is a staple for celebration. Just keep in mind that police are out in full force and be prepared for road blocks.

When road blocks are set up, police usually come out in full force. You will usually see several police officers with their flashing cruisers at a road block. The officers at the start of the road block stop traffic and make sure cars are going into the road block in an orderly fashion. These officers also look out for any cars that are trying to turn around and escape detection. If these officers see anyone trying to run, they will usually call for an officer that is sitting in a cruiser to chase the fleeing vehicle.

Other officers stop cars at random, usually every 4th or 5th car and talk to the operator. If the officer stopping cars detect that the operator may be over the limit, the officer then waives the suspected driver to an area for further testing. Cars sent to further testing will find other officers that will ask the suspect several questions and perform field sobriety tests. Finally, there are usually many other police officers assisting in arresting people and securing the area.

If you do see a road block don’t run. By the time you see the road block, the officer in the front of the set up will have seen you. If you run, a cruiser would be sent to stop you. Also let’s face it, if you believe you are under the influence, running away will only make the situation more dangerous. So enjoy your Fourth, but be mindful of those road blocks. Just in case, you may want to put my number in your phone 508-808-8902.

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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.eagletribune.com/local/x546151264/Police-roadblocks-legal-but-some-question-effectiveness

http://www.patriotledger.com/news/cops_and_courts/x1880507907/Memorial-Day-roadblocks

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A horrible rape of Bunny story in Chelsea


Before you read this story, please beware that it is a horrible story and may be too much for most people. This is a real story that happened in Chelsea MA.

The story starts with a female who owned a rabbit and the defendant was her roommate. The female kept her rabbit in the kitchen in a cage. One day when she came home she saw the defendant quickly throw the rabbit in the cage and ran back into his room.

The female started to look around and noticed that the rabbit wasn’t acting right and she started to look around the apartment. In the bathroom she found blood and fur and immediately decided to call the police.

When the police arrived the defendant had already jumped out of the window and ran away from the scene. The defendant was captured and later charged with bestiality and cruelty against animals. The female brought her rabbit to the vet and had pictures taken of her pet.

Later the defendant was convicted of cruelty against animals and closed this extremely weird case once and for all. The rabbit did go on to live a while longer, however, it has died of natural causes since.

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

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For more information http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20100108chelsea_rabbit_rapist_convicted_of_cruelty/

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

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Assault and Battery Cases used a weapon in divorce court


A lot people nowadays are being charged with assault and battery. Sometimes, the alleged victim in an assault and battery case is using it as a weapon in divorce court or probate court. Unfortunately, this problem is not one that can be easily corrected.

Typically, the alleged victim calls the police and the defendant gets arrested. If the defendant does not make bail at the jail, then the defendant will usually be brought in the next available court date. This means that if the defendant is arrested on Friday night, doesn’t make bail and there is a long weekend, the earliest the defendant can get out of jail is Tuesday.

While the defendant is still waiting to be arraigned, the alleged victim may take this opportunity to go to probate court for emergency orders. It is pretty common to have a defendant get released and then find out that he or she has lost custody and has a restraining order to stay away.

This is not to say there are not true victims that only go to the probate court after an incident happens to gain custody of the children. However, there is also a certain population of people out there that seek to have a person arrested just so they can gain an advantage in divorce court.

As stated earlier, this problem is not one that can be easily corrected. The problem is that certain people call the police and make false allegations to gain an advantage; however, it is very difficult for the police to determine if people are telling the truth. Therefore, it is very important to protect yourself at all times and be prepared when false allegations may be brought against you.

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

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For more information: False charges http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/crimprof_blog/2005/05/more_phony_crim.html

http://chat.lawinfo.com/any_penalties_attorneys-t22938/index.html?p=46971

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Should jurors be concerned over the possible sentence?


It is not uncommon for the jury to have questions for the judge during deliberations.  One very common question is what will happen if the defendant is found guilty on these charges.  One lawyer even told me that the jury asked the question that if they find the defendant guilty, can the judge not send the defendant to jail.  The job of the jury is to weigh the evidence and not to determine the sentence a person should receive. 

So once the verdict comes back, the job of the jury is pretty much over.  Most judges will ask the court officer to escort the jury out before sentencing begins.  For the most part, judges don’t mind the jury being in the room during sentencing.  However, most judges will ask the court officer to escort the jury out prior to sentencing because most jurors want to leave.  Some judges will let the jurors know that they can come back into the court room and sit in the audience if they are curious about what will happen to the defendant.  

Whatever happens or whatever can potentially happen to a defendant isn’t something that juries should be concerned over during the trial.  During the trial, the judge and attorneys take tremendous care to avoid bringing up information regarding potential penalties.  Potential consequences to the defendant are irrelevant information in a criminal trial and could prejudice the defendant or even the prosecution. 

Instead, the jury should focus on the evidence at trial and make a determination on whether the prosecution has met its burden.  So, to answer the question posed in the title, the answer is no.  In any criminal case, the jury usually has enough evidence to stay occupied.  The last thing the jury should concern themselves with is the possible sentences to the charges.
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For More information:

Jury Duty and Courts

http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=mg2subtopic&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Resident&L2=Citizen+Involvement&L3=Jury+Duty+and+Courts&sid=massgov2

The deception of conviction rates


As humans we love to try to make sense of things that aren’t easily definable.  In the world of prosecution, conviction rates are a statistic that a lot of people like to point to as a measure success.  Essentially, the conviction rate is the percentage of cases that are won.  Unfortunately, such a simple number fares poorly in giving an accurate picture of the situation. 

 Most people love to bring up conviction rates because it is a simple metric that most people find easily understandable.  Most people like to point to the higher conviction rates and believe that those offices are doing a better job prosecuting the crimes. 

 However, the conviction rate is deceiving for a lot of reasons.  As much as we would like to be able to quantify the legal process, it is much more of an art form than a scientific process.  In order to garner a higher conviction rate, district attorney offices may only try the cases they know are absolute winners.  Now that doesn’t mean that the DA will definitely win those cases, but those are usually the cases that the DA has the most evidence. 

 If a district attorney’s office is only trying cases that it qualifies are absolute winners, this can lead to several issues.  For one, an office may be giving very lenient plea bargains on cases that may have strong evidence, but aren’t absolute winners.  Second, the DA may try to convincing the alleged victims that certain cases are weaker than they actually are in order to plead the case out.   

Finally, in order for justice to take place the people involved in the system need to make the responsible decisions.  The conviction rate doesn’t tell us if the right thing happened in a case.  Conversely, the conviction rate can actually hinder  the wheels of justice.  In the end, we don’t want our district attorneys to be motivated by any other metric other than doing what is right.   There are a lot of factors that go into determining the outcome of a case.  Conviction rates may have their place, but they are fare poorly in showing the true picture.  

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