Maine speeding tickets, moving violations, traffic infractions and other similar driving offenses are not crimes but they carry some of the same consequences as criminal charges. As a Maine traffic ticket lawyer, I can tell you that even a simple speeding ticket will almost certainly add points to a driver’s license, expense to insurance premiums and can even trigger a license suspension. [Read more…]
The Marshall project launched last weekend. Though it sounds like a cross between a country/rock band and a plan to rebuild Europe, it’s actually a journalism non-profit focusing on criminal justice. Their first pieces examined federal habeas corpus petitions, those are a key way that federal courts review state criminal convictions. A 1996 law puts significant limits on habeas petitions including a one year filing deadline. The Marshall project notes that the deadline caused some death row prisoners to miss the cut off and and to die without a federal court reviewing their case. But the deadline is not the real problem, and a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision shows how even those who file on time are destined to lose on habeas review. [Read more…]
This term, the U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments on October 6, 2014. Thier first case, Heien v North Carolina, presents a pretty interesting criminal law issue: can a police officer’s reasonable, but mistaken understanding of the law be a valid basis for detaining a citizen? [Read more…]
On 7/3/14, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court decided Bank of America v. Greenleaf and dropped a bomb on residential mortgage foreclosure in Maine. The opinion vacates the trial court’s $560,000 foreclosure judgment against the Greenleafs. The court found that the bank had no authority to foreclose and that the evidence they offered at trial was insufficient. [Read more…]
As a federal drug trafficking defense attorney, I see the damage caused by harsh drug sentencing guidelines. Reductions in those guidelines have been approved and are set to take effect this fall. In Maine, federal courts are already using the reduced drug distribution guidelines. But will these reduced federal drug sentences be applied retroactively? The U.S. Sentencing Commission held a hearing Tuesday, June 10, 2014 to consider that very issue. At the hearing, the U.S. Department of Justice came out in support of some limited retroactivity.
In recent years, Maine prostitution defense attorneys have seen a major increase in prostitution enforcement. In 2013, Maine’s legislature created two new crimes: sex trafficking and aggravated sex trafficking. Aggravated sex trafficking is a serious felony crime charged agains those who promote prostitution in Maine by “compelling” a person to engage in prostitution. Compulsion is defined very broadly so that a wide range of defendants can be charged with the crime. A new law now uses that same definition to create a defense for those charged with engaging in prostitution. [Read more…]
Sex trafficking became a crime in Maine in 2013. This law absorbs the old promotion of prostitution crime and uses many of the same terms and definitions. Compelling a person into prostitution has always been a serious felony in Maine, but the sex trafficking law expands the definition of “compelling” and provides many more ways for this conduct to be charged as a felony offense. That crime is now called aggravated sex trafficking and it has a 10 year maximum prison sentence. [Read more…]
A Maine drug trafficking attorney must sometimes deal with the most fundamental question: is this actually drug trafficking? In cases where the defendant is charged with manufacturing methamphetamine or synthesizing other drugs, this can be the key issue.
Until recently, Maine drug trafficking law allowed a conviction if the defendant started a process which could lead to production of a scheduled drug. Now, Maine’s Supreme Court has held that trafficking by manufacturing requires proof the end product was produced.
The so called “Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013” was voted through the Senate Judiciary Committee on 1/30/14. You can read the text of the bill here. If it becomes law, the act will make some important changes to Federal Drug Trafficking sentencing by:
Assault in Maine is normally a misdemeanor but prior convictions, injuries, use of a weapon and other factors can increase the crime to a felony or an aggravated assault. The class of crime and the sentences depend on the circumstances of the incident and what facts the prosecutor can prove.
While assault sounds simple, it’s actually a complicated crime to prove and to defend. There are always factual disputes about what really happened, witnesses are often intoxicated, and defenses like self-defense often apply. To understand Maine assault charges, you need to know a bit about the law. This article covers the following topics, use the links to jump to that section: [Read more…]