A woman in Oklahoma City was recently arrested for allegedly stealing a state trooper’s vehicle. Reports say that the woman was not handcuffed while she was sitting in the trooper’s scout vehicle. She allegedly slid behind the wheel and took off while the trooper was not in the vehicle. The incident brings to mind a number of questions related to the incident. The trooper’s car was later found abandoned. Officers, including a K-9 unit, then searched the area until the suspect was found and apprehended while hiding in a trash can. Charges against the suspect include auto larceny, a driving under the influence (DUI) of narcotics charge and other warrants.
If someone has outstanding warrants on their record and they are stopped by police or a trooper for an unrelated reason, this brings to mind a number of legal issues.
- Law enforcement officials can take the person into custody based on outstanding warrants.
- The person can also be charged with crimes related to the reason they were stopped or detained in the first place. This might include suspicion of DUI, being drunk in public, theft or possession of illegal drugs.
- Any alleged crimes they commit while detained or in an attempt to escape custody can also result in criminal charges.
In this case, there were reportedly several firearms present in the trooper’s vehicles, which made the situation even more complicated.
One thing to keep in mind is that outstanding warrants can greatly affect how a person is treated in an unrelated incident. A single charge holds less fuel for troopers or officers than multiple issues appearing on a background check. However, when there are other charges involved, a seemingly simple situation can quickly accelerate into a much more complex problem.
One way to address or wrap up outstanding warrants before they become a larger problem is to seek legal counsel. Consulting an attorney for criminal charges in or near where the warrants were issued is usually a good starting point. This ensures that the lawyer is familiar with the nuances of that court and the laws that apply. This also prevents a situation that can turn into a more serious problem if the person is stopped by police for an unrelated reason.
The first sex offender registration law in the United States was passed by the state of California in 1947. More than 50 years later, the Federal Government followed suit with the Jacob Wetterling Act, and then strengthened the requirements by implementing “Megan’s Laws” in 1996 and the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act in 2007.
The theory behind these laws is that they can help prevent future crimes by making local authorities aware of offenders who may be likely to re-offend. But in practice these laws can often create more problems than they solve.
One of the most prominent issues surrounding registration is the difficulties that homeless individuals find when registering. Registration requires that the individual report his or her residence. But how can a homeless individual report a residence? It’s not possible.
Thus, in many ways, being homeless is itself a violation of sex offender registration requirements. As homeless individuals are also much more likely not to have legal counsel for their situation (few can afford a sex crimes attorney, and the court does not specifically appoint them without a case), this conflict between their homelessness and their requirement to update their residence can often lead to being convicted of violating the terms of registration.
Some states, like Washington, have a provision that accounts for homelessness among sex offenders. But here in Oklahoma, the system doesn’t have any strict way of considering it as a factor. As News Channel 4 discovered during an investigation this past January, some offenders give police a basic location and check in more frequently. Others simply report local shelters as their residence, regardless of whether they’ve got any kind of relationship with the shelter.
The current system places an undue burden on the homeless and doesn’t meet the goals of sex offender registration for communities. Although there is no clear, ideal solution, it would benefit all residents of Oklahoma to work toward finding one.
In a recent New York Times article, reporters covered the release of a man who had been imprisoned for more than 30 years on charges of arson. Louis C. Taylor, just 16 at the time of his conviction, was sentenced to serve 28 life sentences.
What led to his release? His case certainly raised procedural questions (Taylor is black, and was convicted by an all-white jury, based in part on racially-charged testimony.) But beyond these procedural questions was a deeper factor: today’s scientists questioned much of what was once standard scientific practice for arson investigation, and their new opinions helped reverse Taylor’s conviction.
Technology has undergone a seismic shift in the last 100 years. We’ve seen techniques for conviction and defense advance to a point that would have been inconceivable at the turn of the last century. But to us, DNA evidence, scientific testing, materials analysis, event reconstruction, and even digital forensics are simply a part of life.
But it’s important to remember that even these advanced techniques may someday become outdated. Nothing in science is ever considered hard fact; it stands only until it is disproven. Today’s standard practices could go the way of the now-rejected theories of arson investigation, based on a single new discovery, which could effectively change the way we view criminal activity, motives, or methods. And as scientific standards change, some convictions may be cast into doubt. As was the case with Mr. Taylor, the new science may not point to a more likely suspect, but it can help show that the evidence leading to a conviction was never actually strong enough to meet the prosecution’s burden of proof.
New evidence isn’t the only possible cause for an overturned conviction – even in Mr. Taylor’s case, there were other factors. That’s why it is important not to pursue an appeals process or seek to have a conviction overturned without experienced legal assistance. The defense lawyers of M.K. Bailey Law Offices can help you pursue appeals and criminal record expungement across a variety of convictions.
We all agree that the amount of mass shootings that have played out in America is out of control, and lawmakers and citizens both agree that something must be done. Naturally, lawmakers take measures by proposing new laws. The measure seems fair enough, and the issue is certainly pressing enough. But naysayers question if another law is really the solution.
In at least 6 states, including California and New York, there are legislations being proposed that would require gun owners to buy liability insurance, placing heavy responsibility on insurance companies to estimate risk factors, set appropriate premiums, and qualify “certain” owners with “certain” weapons with “certain” rates (i.e. safety locks and less dangerous weapons).
- Supporters of these bills say if the private sector and insurance companies were to get involved, tragedies can be prevented and accidental shootings could be reduced.
- Those against this legislative effort believe this is but another way for government to micro-manage adult behavior and infringe upon a constitutional right – the right to bear arms.
For insurance companies, making gun insurance mandatory is a bit of a gray area. Consider home insurance for instance. Insurance will typically cover a home if it burns down in an electrical fire, but will not cover you burning down your own home, even if for a good reason. Gun insurance might cover an accident, but judgments on whether a shooting is willful or not should be determined by a court of law.
Interestingly, some gun groups do sell policies to cover a portion of legal fees stemming from self-defense. The National Rifle Association even endorses voluntary liability policies for their members. But the debate remains whether the burden is a fair one to place on insurance agencies and if citizens (whom are already law-abiding) should be forced to pay the $200 to $300 premium a year.
Currently Oklahoma has no mandatory law that states guns must be insured, so if you do find yourself in a self-defense situation, schedule a consult with one of our defense lawyers immediately.
Back in the 90s, few hesitated to draw conclusions about sex offenders. For the first time in modern American history, children were targets in a series of heinous crimes – abduction, rape, and murder acts.
The perpetrators of those crimes shared certain patterns. Most noticeably, they were repeat criminals. In response, strict laws and Sex Offender Registries were created to keep lawbreakers with those tendencies away from children and apparent to the public.
Since, the restrictions placed on registered sex offenders have become plentiful, tight, and one-size-fits-all. Many of them are birthed out of panic and can even reverse rehabilitation. Make no mistake – We support local government’s role in deterring crime and assigning due punishment. But when bills are flat-out unnecessary and violate liberties of America’s easiest targets, we take notice.
According to the New York Times, registries have grown to nearly 3 quarters of a million sex offenders. Because of certain law maker’s scare tactics, many other citizens don’t even know that a great majority of these registrants are not perverts and pedophiles. They are first time offenders who made mistakes that didn’t involve coercion or force. Common examples include:
- Teenagers who engaged in consensual sex
- Adults who urinated in public
- Texting lewd content, otherwise known as “Sexting” – This doesn’t even involve touching!
The problem is that the influxes of new sex offender laws do not distinguish people who’ve made mistakes from habitual sex criminals. Should teenagers who made the mistake of engaging in consensual sex really live with the same ramifications as a child molester?
A recent proposed bill would require DNA samples be taken from anyone arrested for a felony (and in drug or domestic abuse misdemeanors), prior to conviction. Senate Bill 618 was introduced by state senator Clark Jolley (Edmond-R), who stated that the proposed legislation would be crucial in solving cold cases.
“It allows us to solve crimes. It helps us get rapists and murderers off the street,” Senator Jolley told KOKH Fox 25.
If the bill passes, the DNA sampling will occur regardless of whether the arrest was made by mistake, the case is dismissed without charges filed, or whether or not the individual is acquitted of the charges.
Supporters of the bill say that taking a suspect’s DNA sample is no different from taking fingerprints, or mugshots. However, critics argue that DNA analysis is far more invasive and reveals far more information about a person than fingerprints do. There are also constitutional issues which arise from the mandatory taking of DNA from individuals who, by law, are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Under the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, citizens are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the United States Supreme Court has previously ruled that prior to conviction, forced DNA or blood sampling is too invasive to merit without a search warrant. However, Senator Jolley argues that the public safety interest encompassed in this proposed bill far outweighs the invasive nature of mandatory DNA sampling following arrest.
Although the DNA samples taken from arrestees will be sent to a database, Jolley contends that the information stored in the database will only be used to cross-reference the DNA against samples taken from other cases. The Oklahoma branch of the American Civil Liberties Union is calling for a rejection of the legislation, which is scheduled to go before the Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Committee and may be modified to apply only to violent felony arrests. The ACLU-OK has attacked the measure for “attempt[ing] to build a database with the DNA of innocent Oklahomans.”
Currently, DNA sampling is not allowed at the time of arrest and must be compelled by court order. If you or a family member has been forced to submit DNA during the course of your arrest or during booking, call M.K. Bailey Law Offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss the legal effects of your arrest.
An unconfirmed report by researchers and doctors at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections indicates that over two years ago, a newborn infant was “aggressively treated” with HIV retrovirals and has now been effectively cured of HIV. The child was given HIV retroviral treatment within 30 hours of birth. According to the New York Times, this is only the second reported cured case of HIV, and the first case for a pediatric cure. The child, whose name and sex have not been reported, has not required any HIV treatment for a year, and has presented no symptoms of HIV.
It is still unknown exactly how the child’s HIV infection was reduced, but researchers hypothesize that the large amount of retrovirals given to the child so close after birth may have effectively killed the virus before it had a chance to spread in the body. After 18 months, the child’s mother stopped treating the child, which doctors believed would result in an increase in the child’s HIV viral load. Surprisingly, the presence of HIV in the child was gone- and subsequent tests have found no sign of the virus’ return. The early treatment is being called a “functional cure” because the child’s HIV viral load is presumed to be in long-term remission, though more research is required to make any definitive conclusions about expanding this treatment method to other children born with HIV.
In Oklahoma, mothers who transmit HIV to their unborn children during pregnancy are exempt from felony prosecution for intentional transmission. This new treatment may be a great benefit to children born with HIV, and may help to ease new mothers’ apprehensions about potential HIV transmission to their babies. M.K. Bailey Law will keep you updated on any future discoveries about this new possible treatment.
“Made In Oklahoma” firearms, accessories and ammunition may be exempt from federal regulations in the near future, depending on a full house vote by the Oklahoma Legislature on House Bill 2021. The Firearms Freedom Act which unanimously passed the House Public Safety Committee on February 20, 2013, would keep any “personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition” out of federal reach for regulations or taxes, as long as the item is manufactured in Oklahoma and kept solely within the state’s borders. The gun, ammunition, or accessory must also be clearly stamped with “Made In Oklahoma,” similar to other locally created goods in the state.
The proposed law is similar to other Firearms Freedom Acts (FFAs) enacted by other states, most notably in Montana, Wyoming and Tennessee. So far, eight states have enacted FFAs, and twenty-four states have proposed FFAs pending. Currently, the federal government has challenged Montana’s FFA for violating the Commerce Clause power of the federal government, which allows federal authorities to regulate any commerce (including manufacturing) which occurs over state lines or involves out-of-state goods or parts. Oral arguments for the Montana case are scheduled for March 4, 2013, in the Ninth Circuit. As the first FFA to be enacted, the outcome of the Montana case may be a strong indicator of how much possible federal resistance may be used if Oklahoma’s FFA is enacted.
M.K. Bailey Law Offices will keep you updated on the development of this new law and the possible federal implications.
Since Oklahoma became the 44th state to allow unconcealed weapons to be carried, there’s been a bit of a shuffle and bustle amongst merchants, law enforcement, and Oklahomans, both in favor of and against the new law. Business owners have been scurrying to figure out how their establishments fit with Open Carry rights. Licensed gun owners who normally wear small weapons have flocked to purchase larger ones, and just about everyone has an opinion about it.
Even a few Oklahoma police officers have come forward to express concern that the new law makes it difficult for them to distinguish between the good guys and bad guys in criminal scenes. At any rate, the issue is nothing new for Oklahoma. In 2010, democratic governor Brad Henry vetoed a similar law in favor of those concerns. Current republican governor Mary Fallin, however, is a gun owner and sides with open carry advocates.
The truth is that an estimated 142,000 Oklahomans are already licensed gun owners. That is, for the most part, 142,000 law abiding citizens that have taken a firearms training course and passed a criminal background check by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Besides, if we judge from the other 43 states, nothing much will change.
The majority of gun owners will not take advantage of the right on a daily basis. People most likely to indulge in the new freedom are those in position to scare off possible criminals in areas where extra protection is legitimately needed. Responsible owners aren’t exactly rushing to show off their unconcealed weapons for shock factor.
For those who are still concerned that the states’ new open carry law might be sending the wrong message or simply fearful of being in the same room with an exposed weapon, there really is no need to fear. The overall attitude of Open Carry is that it’s better to have it and not need it than to not have it and need it.
For registered sex offenders in the state of Oklahoma, life could potentially get harder. As of now, anyone can view their name, image, criminal history, and home or work address online. Those whose cases involved persons younger than 13 years of age are restricted from being within 500 feet of schools, daycares, playgrounds, and anywhere children might be. Since last month, one law maker has put his focus on changing that.
Senator John Ford is pushing to up the bill to include registered offenders whose victims were 18 and under. But not everyone thinks that’s the best way to use Oklahoma tax payers’ dollars. Opposers argue that registered sex offenders are easily singled out because they‘re an easy target and that this potential bill uses them to push a separate agenda.
Is the bill a well-needed effort to enforce child safety or will it just create a false sense of security for parents and brand those registered even more? It’s unlikely anyone will disagree with the idea behind the law, but whether it is necessary is the question. The fact of the matter is that it is unsafe to allow anyone to loiter around schools, daycares, and playgrounds.
Registered sex offenders live with a stigma unlike that of any other criminal. Where other offenders are released back into society on account of a second shot at redemption, people convicted of sexual misconduct are negatively branded permanently.
There is little chance that society will judge registered sex offenders based on genuine character turnaround as the judicial system does. If you are charged with a sex crime in Oklahoma, you may be subject to these new restrictions. Contact one of our sexual assault lawyers to protect your rights.