In May of 2013, 35-year-old Moses Grayson was found guilty in a Stoddard County courtroom of first-degree burglary, and forcible sodomy. According to news reports, it took the jury just over an hour to reach the guilty verdicts.kitchen-knives-1375677-m

Grayson is accused of entering the victim’s Dexter home and forcibly raping her in May of 2011. He allegedly parked his van down the road, then walked into the back yard of the 31-year-old victim’s home, where he cut the screen from a window using a pocket knife, then entered and found the woman sleeping in her bed. Grayson is accused of threatening to kill the woman and holding the knife against her throat; he also allegedly struck her in the head when she refused to follow verbal commands.

News reports indicate that Grayson must serve time for the forcible sodomy charge before he begins serving time for the burglary. He must serve a minimum of 25 years and six months for the forcible rape charge, which is 85% of the maximum sentence allowed in Missouri. Once that sentence is served, he will begin serving the burglary sentence.

Although news articles did not reveal the grounds on which Grayson and his attorney appealed his convictions, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the convictions on July 23. If Grayson serves the minimum sentence for both convictions, he will be 71 years old before he is eligible for release. If he serves the maximum sentence, he will be 86 years old before being released from prison.

Individuals who are convicted of a crime have the right to appeal a conviction or sentence. Many who are sentenced to prison time are not aware that they have other options. Like everything else in life that is controlled by humans, mistakes may be made in the criminal justice system. Whether a judge or jury erred, or police collected evidence unlawfully, you may choose to appeal your conviction to the Michigan Court of Appeals. However, it is important to note that winning an appeal is not a simple matter, and can never be guaranteed by any attorney. The process of appealing a conviction or sentence may move even further up from the appeals court, going on to a state supreme court and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court in some cases.

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As experienced Michigan DUI attorneys, we know that individuals who are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol often wonder whether they should fight the charges. Most people who are charged with a drunken driving offense are concerned primarily about two things – possible jail time, and their job. Is it worth hiring a defense lawyer, and should you fight? No two cases are alike, however a seasoned attorney can help you determine the best way to proceed. vodka-2-500156-m

In terms of employment, those who are most affected by a DUI arrest or conviction are individuals who are professionally licenses, such as doctors, lawyers, nurses, insurance agents, CPA’s, and the like. In such cases, it is likely that the DUI arrest/conviction will be reported to the state licensing board, who will then determine the necessary response in accordance with the law. However, even those who are not employed in positions that require a professional license will want to have a skilled DUI lawyer review employee handbooks, contracts, or other documents which may indicate whether an arrest or conviction will impact your employment.

What some people do not give much thought to is that a DUI conviction will result in driver’s license suspension. Even for a first-time offense, your license will be suspended for 30 days, followed by 150 days of restricted driving. How will this impact your life, especially considering that for a solid month you will not be able to drive at all?

While most individuals facing DUI charges for the first time will not face jail time, the maximum sentence is 93 days – and you could face a few days, depending on the judge in the case. If you are arrested for driving under the influence a second or third time, the stakes become even higher – and the penalties more severe. In this case, there is no question as to whether you should seek out legal support and guidance.

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On Sunday, July 27, 33-year-old Wesley Byron Wheeler of Glen Burnie near Baltimore was arrested for having a large quantity of marijuana hidden inside a shed on a family member’s property. According to a news article at CT Now, a tip from a family member led Anne Arundel County Police to arrest Wheeler. pipe-250779-m

Police confiscated 2.4 pounds of marijuana after obtaining a search warrant; the marijuana was estimated to have a street value of more than $22,000. Upon searching the shed, police also found drug paraphernalia and packaging materials that indicated Wheeler was likely selling and distributing the marijuana.

Wheeler was arrested at a Glen Burnie hotel, and charged with one count each of marijuana possession and possession with intent to distribute narcotics. He was also charged with 10 counts of possession of paraphernalia related to controlled dangerous substances, among other charges.

While citizens across the U.S. and even more and more lawmakers are becoming more lenient regarding the legalization of marijuana, it is still a crime in most states today. In the state of Michigan, possessing marijuana or “weed” can result in criminal penalties of up to one year in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. Individuals who are found to be growing marijuana plants will face even harsher penalties including a maximum of four years in jail.

Those who are arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute or deliver face consequences that are even more serious, depending on the amount of weed involved. Individuals convicted of possession with intent involving more than 200 plants or 45 kgs of marijuana will face a maximum of 15 years in prison along with fines of as much as $10,000,000.

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On Friday, July 25, a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint was conducted by San Bernardino Police between 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. in the 300 block of W. Baseline Avenue, according to a news article at Highland Community News. Police departments often conduct unannounced checkpoints in order to not only catch those who drive while under the influence or without driver’s licenses, but to increase awareness of the dangers of driving drunk and help enforce the laws regarding DUI. the-next-day-77427-m

In this checkpoint, police arrested five individuals for driving under the influence, although eight people were arrested in all, three on criminal charges. Of the five arrested for DUI, one was suspected to be under the influence of alcohol, the other four suspected to be impaired by drugs.

Michigan DUI attorneys realize that when the average person thinks of an arrest for driving under the influence, he or she usually assumes alcohol or liquor was involved. The fact is, there are many people who are arrested each year for driving under the influence of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other substances that can impair an individual’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Essentially, “under the influence” can mean any illicit or illegal drug, liquor, or substance that puts the driver’s life in danger, as well as the lives of other motorists or pedestrians around the driver.

In Michigan and across the U.S., drunken driving is a serious matter that is punished severely. In the state of Michigan, a first-time DUI offense can result in criminal penalties that include jail time, fines, community service, and driver’s license suspension, among other things. A second offense will result in increased penalties; a third offense is a felony. If convicted of a third DUI, the individual will face a maximum of five years in prison, fines of up to $5,000, and a revoked driver’s license for a minimum of five years.

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On Wednesday July 24, the murder trial of Theodore Wafer, a white middle-aged man who is charged with shooting 19-year-old Renisha McBride, who is African American, through his screen door began. News reports at the New York Daily News call the Detroit murder case “racially charged.” pistol-1329263-m

Wafer, who is 55 years old, allegedly shot McBride through the screen door of his home after he was awakened by someone banging on his door. Defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter described the scene in a Detroit courtroom on Wednesday, saying that Wafer was sleeping in his recliner when he heard “Boom, boom, boom!” at least four times, jumped up and grabbed his shotgun when he could not find his cell phone. The incident took place just after 4:30 a.m., and according to Wafer’s attorneys, he feared he was about to be robbed.

News reports indicate that McBride had been drinking, perhaps had been involved in a drinking game with a friend earlier in the evening. McBride had been in a one-car accident, and could have been seeking medical help when she banged on Wafer’s door. Others question whether she may have thought she was banging on her parent’s or a friend’s door in her confused and injured state.

In court on Thursday, the handling of evidence by the Dearborn Heights Police Department came into question. Carpenter questioned officer Mark Parrinello as to why the crime scene was not dusted for fingerprints. Parrinello, who is an evidence technician, replied that he was not instructed to dust the scene immediately by his command officers. The scene was dusted 10 days after the incident, which left defense attorneys questioning whether key evidence is contaminated.

Because McBride was involved in a one-car accident prior to the shooting on the defendant’s porch, defense attorneys also wanted to know why the blood in her car was discovered at a Detroit tow yard, and not the day prior when Parrinello had searched the victim’s car for her cell phone. There were also maggots found on the victim’s clothes, a fact that Parrinello attributed to the clothes being stored next to deer meat at the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Contamination of evidence seemed to be the primary topic during the first day of Wafer’s trial. He is charged with second-degree murder.

In Michigan, individuals who are charged with second-degree murder may be sentenced to any number of years to life in prison if found guilty. No doubt in this case defense attorneys will attempt to use the collection and handling of evidence to their client’s advantage.

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If you are reading this right now, you may wonder if that red light ticket you failed to pay could have resulted in your driver’s license being suspended. The fact is, many people in Michigan drive to and from work, school, or on other errands every day, thinking their driver’s license is valid – when in fact it is not. Here is a quick recap of an incident that recently happened in Florida. cruising-1430324-m

Investigative reporter Daralene Jones decided she would do a little investigating regarding motorists who have had their licenses suspended and don’t discover it until it’s too late. One individual was notified that his driver’s license had been suspended because he did not pay a red-light ticket in a timely manner. The problem was, Jean Pierre did not know he had been ticketed, because the notices are sent out by the contractor hired by the camera vendor. Pierre never received the notice. Pierre contacted attorney Corey Cohen immediately.

Cohen told news reporters at Action News that he had a long list of clients in a situation similar to Pierre’s. Motorists are being ticketed for missing a red-light camera by .03 seconds, but the notices are not reaching many of the drivers. Authorities believe part of the problem is that the contractor hired to send out the citations uses addresses corresponding to vehicle registrations, instead of addresses corresponding to driver’s license.

Essentially, many Floridians (approximately 50,000) are having their driver’s licenses suspended for unpaid tickets they do not even know were issued because they are not receiving notification.

In Pierre’s case, a judge and lawyers with Cohen’s firm were working to uncover what happened, and if there is proof that Pierre did actually receive the citation. Until then, Pierre’s driver’s license has been temporarily reinstated.

Michigan driver’s license reinstatement attorneys know that there are frequently situations in which an individual’s license is suspended without his or her knowledge. You may have been pulled over for a simple traffic infraction, and informed by the police officer that your license is suspended. This could be due to failing to pay a court fine, or not being properly notified of the suspension.

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Curtis Flowers, a black man in Mississippi who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1997 for the 1996 killings of four individuals, currently sits on death row and has been tried six times for the slayings, which took place at a furniture store where the defendant had been fired just days earlier. According to a news report at Salem Radio Network News, Flowers’ attorneys are attempting to have his conviction overturned and recently told the Mississippi Supreme Court that their client’s latest trial was unfair. furniture-86036-m

Flowers was convicted of the murders in 1997, 1999, and 2004, each time being sentenced to death. However, each of these convictions was overturned by the Supreme Court, in one instance due to racial discrimination during jury selection, and prosecutorial misconduct in the other two.

In this latest appeal, Flowers’ attorneys claim that the evidence against their client in the 2010 trial was misrepresented by prosecutors, and lacking. They also claim that jury selection was racially biased. Flowers was tried in 2007 and 2008, with both trials ending in a hung jury.

Of the four individuals shot at close range at the Tardy Furniture store in Winona, one was black. Prosecutors claim that the defendant “had a beef” with store owner Bertha Tardy who terminated Flowers and then withheld his pay to cover damage to batteries. Flowers’ defense lawyers claim he was at his home when the shooting occurred, and that he had no hard feelings toward his boss. They also allege that the investigation into the murders was “shoddy,” and that witness testimony was coerced.

Considering the defendant has been tried six times for the same murders and the state Supreme Court has overturned his conviction on three occasions, there is no doubt that there are issues with the case.

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On Saturday morning July 19, 23-year-old Austin Reese Chadwick of Woodstock was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol and fleeing the scene of an accident, according to a news article at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Chadwick had called 911 to obtain medical assistance for injuries he sustained in an accident between himself and a tractor-trailer rig. He is a Cobb County sheriff’s deputy, and was off-duty at the time of the accident. semi-truck-1-232051-m

Chadwick apparently called 911 from his home at approximately the same time that police in Cobb and Cherokee Counties were trying to locate him after discovering Chadwick’s identification inside a vehicle at the crash site. Chadwick suffered a serious leg injury, and was arrested at his home; he confirmed that he had been drinking.

Police claim to have detected a strong odor of alcohol about Chadwick, who agreed to sobriety testing. He was charged with failure to report an accident, failure to maintain lane, and DUI. Chadwick had worked for the Cobb County Sheriff’s Department for over two years, and is currently on administrative leave pending an investigation by Internal Affairs. There was no mention as to whether the driver of the tractor-trailer rig was injured in the accident.

Fleeing the scene of an accident is never a good idea, however when a person is even slightly intoxicated he or she often has poor judgment. When someone chooses to drive after consuming alcohol or drugs, that person puts not only his or her life in danger, but everyone else on the roadways as well.

Driving while under the influence is a very common offense. Even though criminal penalties are tougher than ever and lawmakers continue to fight against drunk driving, people still do it. Many think, “I’ve only had two or three drinks, I’ll be fine to drive home.” Others drink to the point they can barely stand up, and still get behind the wheel.

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Over the weekend, six individuals were arrested in Boston who are believed to be involved in drug dealing near the Boston Common, according to news reports at the Houston Chronicle and NBC News. One of the six people arrested was 42-year-old John Manwaring of Florida, who is a JetBlue pilot. Manwaring was arraigned on Monday on charges of heroin possession.

Manwaring told police that he had arrived in Boston on Sunday, July 20, and that he was a pilot. A woman who was with Manwaring and who was not named in news reports was also charged with heroin possession. Among the others arrested were two men who were charged with selling heroin, and another charged with trespassing and cocaine possession. aircraft-landing-1444411-m

Residents in the area of Boylston and Tremont Streets had begun complaining about suspected drug activity going on in the area, which led police to investigate the allegations. Police had also made numerous drug arrests in the area in the past.

JetBlue Airways Corp., based in New York, announced on Sunday evening that Manwaring had been removed from duty pending the outcome of the investigation. The company is cooperating with investigators, and stated that “In compliance with all FAA and DOT regulations and requirements, JetBlue has in place a rigorous drug testing programs for crew members that includes a strict “no tolerance” program.

Manwaring was released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty in court on Monday.

In Massachusetts, the criminal penalties for a first offense heroin possession conviction include fines of up to $2,000 and up to two years in prison. In the state of Michigan, those found guilty of possessing less than 50 grams of heroin will face up to four years in prison, along with fines of as much as $25,000. The criminal penalties for heroin possession depend on factors including criminal history, amount of heroin involved, and where the crime occurred (such as in close proximity to a school, park, church, etc.).

Possession of a large amount of heroin, or an amount that would be considered by police as more than a person would need for his or her own personal use, could lead to possession with intent charges. When prosecutors trump up a possession charge to possession with intent to distribute or deliver, the situation becomes much more serious.

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While Michigan DUI defense lawyers realize that drunk driving does not always end in tragedy, all too often it does. On Sunday, July 20, a 22-year-old woman was killed in a rollover crash in Santa Rosa. Sarai Torres-Nunez was riding in a Honda SUV driven by Antonio Moreno-Murillo, when Moreno-Murillo took an off-ramp from Highway 12 then sped through a red light before flipping over and crashing into a tree. car-crash-1432754-m

California Highway Police Officer Marcus Hawkins said that the driver of the SUV swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle after running the red light, then drove onto an on-ramp where he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll over before crashing into a metal guardrail and tree. Torres-Nunez was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Moreno-Murillo was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries, although reports do not indicate whether those injuries were serious. He was arrested at the Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and charged with probation violation, driving with a suspended license, gross vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence, and suspicion of driving under the influence causing death.

Antonio Moreno-Murillo is 21 years old, and will now likely face substantial prison time along with other penalties. However, a 22-year-old girl has lost her life because someone who was apparently not sober decided to put both of their lives at risk by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Those who have a had a few drinks often have a false sense of what they are capable of doing. Most people believe they are completely in control, and able to safely operate a vehicle; this is not usually the case. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances such as drugs can result in catastrophe, as indicated in the story above. Even when a crash is not the result, being pulled over on suspicion of DUI is serious, and may result in the driver being arrested and ultimately facing penalties that include jail/prison time, fines, community service, a suspended driver’s license, criminal record, and more.

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