On Wednesday, April 22, Barry Bonds only conviction in a performance-enhancing drug case going back to 2003 was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, according to a recent news article at the New York Times. Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice in 2011 after he gave what was called a “rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question” during a grand jury proceeding. The point in question was whether Bonds had used performance-enhancing drugs during his baseball career, an allegation that has been made against several athletes including Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark McGwire. baseball-and-glove-over-white-1155890-m

According to the article, Bonds was put at the center of baseball’s doping debate because of his involvement in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative scandal. While he never failed a performance-enhancing drug test for the use of steroids administered by Major League Baseball since the testing began in 2003, he was thought to be guilty by a large majority of the public. This public opinion was spurred mostly by books and news media reports that made “strong cases” that Bonds had used steroid drugs to enhance his performance on the field, although he has never admitted to it.

Ultimately, all efforts to link Bonds legally to the sports’ doping saga have failed. The opinion of the appeals court stated that “Because there is insufficient evidence that Statement C (the “rambling, non-responsive answer” mentioned above) was material, defendant’s conviction for obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1503 is not supported by the record. Whatever section 1503’s scope may be in other circumstances, defendant’s conviction here must be reversed.”

Dennis Riordan, Bonds’ appellate attorney, said in a statement to the AP that his client said an enormous weight had been lifted from his body and his soul.

Obstruction of justice is a very serious charge, however a conviction for any criminal offense may be reversed or overturned given the facts of the case and whether errors were made. The criminal justice system must be one of fairness; when a defendant’s legal rights are violated or mistakes are made by prosecutors, judges, jurors, or others involved in the system, it may be advantageous to challenge a conviction. However, it is important to note that winning an appeal is hard-fought and never an easy process.

If you have been wrongfully convicted or feel your rights were violated, errors made at trial, or that your defense attorney was inadequate or ineffective, consult with a Michigan criminal appeals attorney who is experienced and capable with a proven track record in arguing appeals.

On Friday, April 18, NHL star Jarret Stoll of the LA Kings was arrested and charged with drug possession at the swimming pool area of a Las Vegas resort, according to news reports at CNN. Stoll, who is 32 years old, was reportedly charged with possession of ecstasy, cocaine, or other controlled substances. Stoll was taken to the Clark County Detention Center, where he was later released on $5,000 bail. iStock_000022833496XSmall (2)

An additional news article states the charges Stoll faces include possession of controlled substances including class 1, 2, 3, and 4 substances. A native of Melville, Canada, Stoll has played with the LA Kings since 2008. A spokesperson for the team said on Friday that the team was aware of the police reports, and that the organization had begun conducting an internal investigation out of concern. No further comments were made, as facts are continuing to be gathered by the Kings.

A more recent news report at CBS Sports revealed that at the time of his arrest at the Wet Republic pool at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Stoll had 8.1 grams of ecstasy and 3.3 grams of cocaine. The hockey star allegedly tried to hide the drugs while going through a security check point at the pool inside his board shorts. As of Monday, April 20, no criminal charges had been filed against Stoll by the Clark County district attorney. The LA Times reported that while a felony court return date of July 1 had been set, it had not been determined by the district attorney as to whether the case would go forward.

Michigan drug crime attorneys know that for most individuals, charges of possession involving cocaine, ecstasy, and other illegal drugs are serious. For example, a conviction for possession of less than 50 grams of cocaine can leave the offender facing up to four years in prison along with fines of up to $25,000 in the state of Michigan. According to the state’s penal code 333.7403, those found guilty of possessing even a small amount of ecstasy may face a maximum of 10 years in prison. Driver’s license sanctions also apply in drug cases, with the offender’s license being suspended if convicted.

Regardless of the charges against you, it is vital to consult with an experienced and dedicated Michigan drug crime lawyer who will work to obtain the best possible outcome. When arrested on drug charges, your legal rights must be protected, along with your freedom. Do not take chances with your future by failing to speak with an attorney.

Recently, Lt. Edward Zadroga of the Millville, New Jersey Police Department was arrested for driving under the influence. Zadroga, a top ranking officer in charge at the station, was pulling out of a driveway at a popular sports bar when he sideswiped another vehicle. According to news reports, Zadroga was arrested by officers who were under his command. He was charged with reckless driving and DWI, however he will keep his job. glass-of-whiskey-1254218-m

Mayor Michael Santiago appointed Zadroga to the temporary supervisory position in early April, and said that “We’re all human. We make mistakes.” Santiago says that Zadroga will keep his position for now, however some residents feel that the Millville police lieutenant should be held accountable for his actions, just as civilians would. Zadroga was arrested by officer Ralph Satero after he failed a field sobriety test on Sunday evening, April 19 following the crash. No one was injured.

According to a news article at The Daily Journal, two other Millville officers were charged with drunken driving in September of last year, after the Corvette they were driving left the roadway and crashed into a Catholic church on Carmel Road.

News reports do not reveal Zadroga’s blood alcohol content at the time of the incident. In many cases, police officers and others in authority positions lose their jobs after being cited for drunken driving. While it is true we are all human and make mistakes, DUI is a criminal offense that will leave those convicted facing serious penalties. In the state of Michigan, a first DUI can result in substantial fines, up to 93 days in jail, community service, driver’s license suspension, and more. Repeat offenders will face even harsher punishment. Anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence will have a criminal record which can affect employment opportunities and other areas of their lives.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, do not assume it is “no big deal.” It is a big deal, and one that can negatively impact your life more than you imagine. Consult with a capable and aggressive Michigan DUI attorney right away to learn about your legal options, and protect your rights.

On Monday, April 13, Bay City police received a call from a woman claiming domestic assault. The woman was calling from a 7-Eleven store when police arrived at approximately 1:30 in the morning. The 19-year-old woman told police that she was attacked at a South End home by her boyfriend, 25-year-old Jeremiah J. Leffew. Personal Safety Guides Protect Yourself Against Sex Crimes Pic

According to a news article at Mlive.com, Leffew intimidated the victim with a pair of scissors and a frying pan; he now faces several criminal charges, including domestic violence, assault by strangulation, assault with a dangerous weapon, and interfering with an electronics communication device.

The alleged victim told police that an argument began after Leffew dumped a container of trash on the floor of the home. Leffew disputes the allegations, saying that the fracas began after his girlfriend struck him with an empty liquor bottle. Leffew claims that the victim is “crazy,” and that he did grab her wrists at one point during the argument to keep her from hitting him.

The woman claims that Leffew threw her to the ground, hit her with cushions from a couch, brandished a frying pan, came at her with a pair of scissors while threatening to kill her, and eventually choking her after pinning her down. She said that Leffew threatened to kill her and then himself because he couldn’t live without her. Leffew denies all of the allegations; his bond was set at $75,000 cash-surety. His preliminary examination is scheduled on April 30.

With allegations of domestic violence, it is often difficult to determine who actually started the altercation, or whether the person claiming to have been attacked actually attacked the other individual without solid physical evidence. If the couple in this situation had been drinking, the details become even more confused. In Leffew’s case, assault by strangulation is the most serious charge he faces, and could leave him facing up to 10 years behind bars if convicted.

Anyone who is accused of domestic violence or any violent offense should consult with an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney immediately. Your legal rights must be protected from the very beginning; your lawyer will work to have charges dismissed when possible, advise you of your legal options, and vigorously defend your freedom.

In October of 2012, Steven Lawayne Nelson was found guilty of killing Rev. Clint Dobson at North Pointe Baptist Church in Arlington in March of 2011. Nelson testified at trial in his own defense, and denied killing Dobson, saying that he was outside the church when two friends went inside and committed the murder. A church secretary was also badly beaten in the incident. cross-1104793-m

Judy Elliot, the brutally beaten secretary, had her 2007 Mitsubishi Galant stolen in the incident; a computer was also stolen from the church. Security camera footage captured the stolen vehicle on the afternoon of the crime. A witness told jurors in the case that he purchased Clint Dobson’s stolen computer unknowingly when he met Nelson at a tire shop in Arlington. Nelson was captured on video a short time later that same afternoon making a purchase at a convenience store, thought to be made using money from the sale of the computer. Nelson was ultimately found guilty of capital murder, and sentenced to death.

Yesterday it was announced that Nelson’s appeal of his conviction and death sentence had been denied by Texas’ top criminal appeals court. The court upheld Nelson’s conviction, rejecting the arguments brought forth by Nelson’s attorneys that the evidence to convict him was insufficient, that evidence involving text messages was improperly allowed, and that there were problems with both jury selection and instruction.

In all, Nelson’s attorneys argued there were 15 errors made at the 2012 trial in Fort Worth. The appeals court rejected all arguments, upholding Nelson’s conviction and death sentence. Nelson will continue to set on death row.

A conviction for a crime does not mean an individuals has exhausted all of his/her options. If you have been convicted of a crime you did not commit, or feel that errors were made in the criminal justice process, it may be possible to appeal your conviction. However, in choosing a Michigan criminal appeals attorney, it is critical to choose someone with extensive experience in the appeals process and a proven track record. Your freedom is in jeopardy, so make this choice carefully and with much consideration.

Last weekend we celebrated National Pet Day, and there is no better time to feature the most-loved pets (AKA “children,” coworkers, friends, and confidants) of attorneys. Without further ado:

 

Clyde and Cleo (2)

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Clyde and Cleo (left) and Wiggles (AKA Wiggly Monster) (right) from Luke Ciciliano of SEO for Lawyers.

 

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Chloe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20140922_122148 (2) Chloe from Albert Krawczyk of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IMG_0163Joey from Renee Wagenaar of WN Law PLLC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imagejpeg_0 (2)Lady Chatterley from Catherine Battista of Argento and Battista, LLC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sheba and Rio from Tim Stanley of Justia Inc. Follow the pugs on Facebook here.

 

 

 

The Best Cat Ever, PlutoPluto from Tina Willis of Tina Willis Law.

Tina Says:

“Scott Grabel’s post about our pets was my all-time favorite.  The post also took on new meaning for me this year as my most beloved pet ever, Pluto, was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer.  During one of the most difficult phases of the illness to date, several people privately shared Scott’s post with me.  Seeing last year’s photo of Pluto online lifted my spirits when little else could.

This year I have to share a photo of Pluto struggling with this illness.  We may not have him much longer.  But, at least right now, he is still lighting up our lives with his playful, sweet and ever-loving spirit.  So far he isn’t suffering and we will not let that happen.  I have never owned a more special animal, and I truly can’t imagine that one exists, nor ever will again.  Pluto now sleeps between my husband and I (that’s a new thing).

But he has always greeted me first thing in the morning and evening, demanding a face nuzzle session of several minutes, stayed near me wherever I go in the home or office, played with his mouse and other toys several times a day, often run through our yard like a champ, and countless other special moments.  He also has laid on top of me, or on my lap, literally for several hours every day for the last 11 years.  We love each other so much that he has always become jealous, and literally forced his way between my husband and I (even when there were only inches to spare), just about anytime my husband has ever come near me with Pluto around!  That’s been our longtime running household joke.

We hope to beat this thing but the odds are not good.  Right now we are fighting that battle no pet owner ever wants to face.  We went through a very rough period with the diagnosis, open chest surgery, and an extended recovery.  We didn’t sleep much and only performed essential work for about a month.  Now we are spending 3-4 hours daily administering a mixture of holistic treatment, supplements, and a new special diet.  (We have eaten nothing but take-out for dinner for probably 10 weeks as a result.)  He has responded much better than expected so far.  We are also trying to build him a coyote proof fence, since the unfortunate timing is that coyotes have been spotted in our neighborhood.  Pluto needs the sunshine more than ever, and is used to going outside regularly.  So that’s our latest massive project.”

 

Destiny (2)Destiny from James Novak of the Law Office of James Novak, PLLC.

James says:

“Destiny just turned 6 years old.   She has had a rough year.  We nearly lost her to Valley Fever in the fall/winter of 2014, for which there is no cure.  She’s had valley fever since she was 6 months old, but has been on oral medications since that time to suppress the disease.  But she had a near fatal flare-up for which she required all day injections daily/weekly and is still receiving.   She’s quite a fighter.  Her most recent valley fever titer returned negative.  Our vet,  is calling her the “Miracle dog”.    She’s enjoying life again, playing catch,  playing with her toys, and going for walks. When we walk or run, she still has to be in the lead and won’t let me pass her.  If a bike or jogger passes us she still takes off pulling me like a sled to catch up with them.

The first photo is her birthday party, having a bacon and hash brown potato cupcake.  The second photo is of her resting her chin on my lap while waiting for her vet appointment for another IV injection.    The third is us leaving the vet hospital after an all- day IV injection of valley fever medication.”

 

unnamedThe Peking ducks: Princess, Miss Piggy, and [NewComer No. 2] dining from Donald Petersen of the Law Office of Donald E. Petersen.

 

 

 

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Max from Bill Amadeo of BAT Tutoring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

430319_410128892334574_1497554170_nBonnie from Wm Burt Burleson of Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Griffin from Ralph Somma of the Law Office of Ralph A. Somma.

Ralph says:

“Griffin is our two year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

When he was just a puppy, he loved to climb up on my shoulder and join me on my favorite recliner.
While Griffin was a birthday present for our son, he’s taken to me more than anyone else in the family … sorry guys.
Griffin likes to play tug of war and romp in the snow – which he’s had plenty of opportunity to enjoy this winter here in New York.”

382795_2540327141616_203372528_n-2-169x300Ben from Nicholas Leydorf of the Leydorf Law Firm and Grabel & Associates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15 - 1 15 - 2Maggie and Eddie from Stephan Futeral of Futeral & Nelson, LLC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This post wouldn’t be complete without my own Waldo J. Pepper. Here he is in his natural state (at rest, of course) and celebrating his birthday last week (he’s a distinguished eight-years-old).

 

This list is by no means all-inclusive: if you work in the legal field and would like your pet featured, please email me at sgrabellaw@gmail.com.

 

On Saturday, April 11, famous rapper Nelly whose real name is Cornell Haynes was arrested on felony drug charges in Tennessee. white-round-pills-755945-m

According to news reports at ABC News and Fox News, 40-year-old Nelly was riding in a coach bus that lacked the required U.S. Department of Transportation and International Fuel Tax Association sticker. The bus was pulled over by Tennessee Highway Patrol at approximately 9:20 in the morning. Nelly was arrested when a state trooper allegedly noticed the odor of marijuana after pulling the coach bus over.

Scott Rosenblum, Nelly’s attorney, said in a statement to ABC News that his client was one of several individuals who was on the tour bus and searched. He went on to say that during the search, troopers found a small amount of ecstasy or MDMA. Rosenblum said that he is confident Nelly will not be connected with the contraband that was allegedly discovered on the tour bus when the facts of the case are revealed.

While there were reportedly six individuals on the bus, two were arrested – Nelly, and 44-year-old Brian Jones. Nelly was charged with simple possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and felony possession of drugs after troopers claim to have found methamphetamine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and several handguns.

An article at Fox News stated that Nelly was released from Putnam County Jail on a $10,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 19.

In the state of Tennessee, a first-time methamphetamine possession charge is considered a misdemeanor, and will leave the offender facing fines of up to $2,500 along with a maximum of one year in jail.

The punishment for drug crimes vary from state to state; for instance in Michigan, meth possession is a felony offense regardless of the amount involved. Those found guilty of meth possession, even first-time offenders, will face fines of up to $15,000 and up to 10 years in prison.

Anyone under investigation for or charged with a drug offense must take action immediately to protect your freedom, legal rights, and future. Whether you have been charged with marijuana possession or something more serious, consult with an experienced Michigan drug crimes attorney right away.

Recently, Jon Riki Karamatsu resigned his position as deputy prosecutor after he was arrested for DUI for the second time. Karamatsu was arrested for driving under the influence in 2007 after he slammed into a concrete median on the Moanalua Freeway. At that time, he was serving as a state representative for the 41st District, according to news sources. bottles-300369-m

In the most recent incident which occurred at approximately 1:30 a.m. on April 4, Karamatsu was arrested after being stopped at a DUI checkpoint. At the time of news reports, it was not clear whether Karamatsu was under the influence of alcohol or something else, however he refused a blood alcohol or breathalyzer test. Karamatsu resigned as deputy prosecutor saying that he did not want his DUI case to distract from the work of the Honolulu City Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

In Hawaii, a second DUI offense outside of five years of the first offense is considered another first offense. Ultimately Karamatsu will be subject to the same penalties as a first-time DUI offender, which include a fine, community service, possible jail time, and attendance of an alcohol class. Additionally, Karamatsu’s drivers license was revoked for two years.

As anyone can see, drunk driving is a serious matter; in fact, it is a criminal offense that carries harsh penalties for those convicted. Had Karamatsu’s second DUI arrest occurred within five years of the first, he would have faced penalties which are even more severe had he been convicted.

In the state of Michigan, an individual may be charged with a 2nd DUI offense when it occurs within seven years of a first DUI conviction. A person’s driver’s license will be suspended for one year. Criminal penalties may include fines of up to $1,000, up to one year in jail (mandatory five day minimum), community service, attendance of a DUI school, required installation of an ignition interlock device, and more.

Drunk driving is a serious issue. If you have been arrested or charged, it is vital to your freedom and future that you work with an experienced and capable Michigan DUI attorney, who will protect your legal rights and advise you of your options, so that the best possible outcome can be reached.

Recently, it was announced by U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade and Special Agent in Charge Jarod J. Koopman of the IRS – Criminal Investigation unit that former Troy, Michigan resident Irvin Flemming had been convicted of structuring financial transactions by a federal jury. Flemming was involved in a drug trafficking organization orchestrated by Carlos Powell, an organization which was investigated over a period of several years. money-series-3-906662-m

According to the press release, Flemming’s role in the drug operation was to make financial transactions in a way that would prevent law enforcement from detecting the true source of the funds and Powell’s illegal drug activities.

The investigation, which was conducted by agents and officers from various organizations and county, city, and state law enforcement agencies including the DEA, Homeland Security, Michigan State Police, officers from Detroit, Plymouth, Warren, Redford, Northville, and others, led to the discovery that Flemming was structuring, or causing to be structured, nearly $240,000 in cash that belonged to Powell in September and October of 2010. Flemming was structuring deposits into bank accounts he controlled, depositing amounts of $10,000 or less with each deposit so that the banks/financial institutions would not report the transactions. Financial institutions are required under law to file a report regarding deposits of more than $10,000.

Of the $230,824 drug money that was structured by Flemming, a condominium in Atlanta was purchased in October 2010 using a wire transfer authorized by Flemming. Purchase of the Atlanta condo was made in the name of Grand Towers, Inc. Carlos Ellis Powell is the president of Grand Towers, Inc. Other purchases made by Flemming using the structured drug proceeds include a Bentley, Hummer, and Mercedes Benz.

Flemming is scheduled to be sentenced in July of this year by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III. The maximum prison sentence Flemming may face for structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements is five years.

Criminal offenses involving financial transactions, defrauding the IRS, embezzling, money laundering, and similar crimes are often referred to as “white collar crimes.” While generally these crimes are not violent, some may be intertwined with drug crimes, as in the case mentioned above. Regardless, the criminal penalties for committing a financial crime can be extremely harsh, and include substantial prison time, fines, restitution, and more. In addition, those who are convicted will have a criminal record that may impact their reputations and careers forever.

If you have been charged or are under investigation for tax evasion, embezzling, petty theft, structuring financial transactions, or any similar crime, consult with an experienced and aggressive Michigan white collar crimes attorney immediately.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 7, a traffic stop in Red Oak resulted in two individuals’ arrests for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. According to a news report at Kmaland.com, the stop was conducted just north of Villisca near the intersection of Highways 71 and 34 at about 2 a.m. green-wonder-5666-m

One of the men, 19-year-old Alex Kristofer Tucker, is a resident of Cherokee, IA. The driver of the vehicle stopped by deputies is 21-year-old Kevin Eduardo Salinas of San Antonio, TX. Both men were arrested and taken to the Montgomery County Jail in Red Oak, where they are held on $1,000 bond each. Deputies were assisted in the investigation by the county K-9 officer.

Possession of marijuana is a serious drug offense in many states, although some have made the use of marijuana for recreational purposes legal. In Iowa, it is still illegal to possess marijuana. Penalties for first-time offenders include fines of up to $1,000 and a maximum of six months in jail.

In Michigan, the penalties for a conviction on charges of possession of marijuana are a bit more serious. For instance, a first-time offender may face fines of up to $2,000, and jail time of up to one year. Additionally, the possession of marijuana plants could leave someone facing felony cultivation charges. Depending on the amount of marijuana in a person’s possession, prosecutors may also attempt to “trump up” the charge to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute/deliver, which leads to even harsher penalties for those found guilty.

Regardless of the situation you are in, never attempt to go it alone. Police will interrogate you relentlessly in an effort to get you to say something that may incriminate you. You have a right to remain silent – use that right, and contact a Michigan drug crimes attorney immediately to ensure that your legal rights and freedom are protected. A skilled defense lawyer will work to prevent a conviction, advise you of various legal options, and secure positive results.