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During our last post, we briefly gave an overview of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and spoke about some consequences of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) portion of the federal law. The federal sex offender registry has raised questions about sex crime punishment and rehabilitation and has grown state registries and burdened law enforcement departments.
Last week was the deadline for U.S. states and territories to be in compliance with the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. The overall purpose of the federal law is the development of a national standard to keep track of those who have committed sex crimes. States were given five years to be in compliance with the law or face a 10 percent deduction in federal justice funding. So far, only 14 states are substantially in compliance with a portion of the law called the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
In order to prevent wrongful convictions, the United States legal system is designed to give the benefit of the doubt to the accused in a criminal case. Put another way, the system is sometimes said to be designed with the thought that it’s better to have a guilty person be acquitted than have an innocent person found guilty. Unfortunately, innocent people are sometimes found guilty, due to any number of reasons, such as the use of unreliable scientific testing, the use of less than truthful witnesses, and attorney error. When all three deficiencies are found in one trial, a person can find themselves incarcerated for a crime they did not commit.
Violent crime across the city of Minneapolis has dropped significantly over the last year. The trend over the past year is a continuation of declining violent crime rates that began two decades ago. In addition, the most popular crime on the University of Minnesota’s campus, theft, is also on the decline. Despite the reduction in crime levels, experts are not entirely sure what is causing the reduction in crime.
The beginning of the last decade and the end of the last decade are marked with different bookends in terms of legal strategy for the Department of Justice. The beginning of the 2000’s was marked with aggressive white-collar criminal cases against firms like Arthur Anderson, Enron and Tyco. By 2008, the Department of Justice had officially taken a much softer approach in policing financial fraud cases.
Previously, we spoke about drug crimes related to pill mills where pain treatment centers illegally sell narcotics. Over the years, the state of Florida has become the epicenter of drug crimes associated with pill mills but a new state law there bans doctors and clinics from selling pain pills. Law enforcement officials believe the enforcement of the new law will reduce the number of pill mill drug crimes.
In the past, the difference between the drug crimes sentencing of cocaine and crack was a legal and political talking point that demonstrated the unfairness of treating two similar illegal drugs differently based on the users of the drugs. Under the Obama Administration the sentencing laws addressing crack cocaine were rewritten but did not affect those currently in prison for crack cocaine crimes. Recently, the United States Sentencing Commission voted to retroactively reduce the prison terms of prisoners serving time for crack cocaine.
Unlike many people who have been charged with allegations of a crime, the man from North Carolina who purposefully robbed a bank for one dollar probably does not want any criminal defense help. The reasoning behind the man’s plan was to get caught robbing a bank so that he could receive health care while in jail.