Showing posts filed under: Crime in the Suites by David S. Yellin

August 11, 2017

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Prosecutors Can Use Pleas to Skirt Constitution

While the endless portrayal of jury trials in media might indicate otherwise, trials are actually quite rare in the U.S. criminal justice system. With 97% of federal cases ending in pleas, the Atticus Finch conception of American justice has been largely confined to books. Ordinarily, when an accused enters into a plea agreement, he waives… Read More

July 19, 2017

You Can’t Run From Justice

Just last week, a Kentucky lawyer by the name of Eric Conn was sentenced to twelve years in prison by a federal judge for bribery and theft of government money.  Though similar sentences are doled out around the country on a daily basis, this was unique because the defendant was not even in the courtroom. … Read More

June 12, 2017

The “Third Party” Catch-22

As the Department of Justice has been doubling down on law enforcement overreach, the Supreme Court has just decided to hear a case that may limit the use of a common tool that law enforcement uses to infringe upon the privacy rights of innocent people. The case, Carpenter v. United States, arises out of a… Read More

January 17, 2017

Alexa: Play Confession

It sits in your house, passively recording everything you say.  It knows what you like.  It knows what you listen to.  It knows what you buy.  It knows who’s in the room with you.  And now, it might tell the police all about it. “It” is the Amazon Echo, a revolution in the “internet of… Read More

June 8, 2016

This Man Is Dodging Wall St.

Rather than confront accusations of baseless zeal and prosecutorial overreach, New York federal prosecutor Preet Bharara would rather spend his energy dodging accountability. In 2010, Bharara launched a crusade against Wall Street, prosecuting several hedge funds he suspected of insider trading. Highly publicized raids followed. In the wake of the financial meltdown, Bharara was hailed… Read More

February 26, 2016

Police Make iPhone Public Enemy No. 1

FBI Director James Comey took a rare break from the posturing typical of investigators and prosecutors in the current showdown between Apple and the FBI.  While prosecutors argue that Apple’s privacy concerns are a smokescreen to avoid “assist[ing] the effort to fully investigate a deadly terrorist attack,” Comey posted a statement over the weekend in… Read More

February 19, 2016

FBI Recruits Apple to Help Unlock Your iPhone

It is a well-known maxim that “bad facts make bad law.”  And as anybody even casually browsing social media this week likely has seen, the incredibly tragic facts surrounding the San Bernadino attacks last December have led to a ruling that jeopardizes the privacy rights of all law-abiding Americans. First, it is important to clearly… Read More

January 15, 2016

Oklahoma Judge Rejects Penalties for Rolling the Dice Before a Jury

As a matter of course, federal prosecutors often pile on charges in order to strong-arm defendants into entering a favorable guilty plea quickly. Those who exercise their jury trial right and put the government to its proof often receive harsh sentences based on these overreaching indictments. But last week, a federal judge in Oklahoma took… Read More

November 4, 2015

Is It Ever Okay to Share Passwords?

If you’ve ever let your kids sign into your Netflix or HBO Go account, or given your marketing department access to your Twitter feed, you may be committing a federal crime, depending on how the Ninth Circuit rules on a case argued before it just last month. The case, United States v. Nosal, is the… Read More