Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Criminal Charges! Can I get diversion?

A diversion can be a useful tool if applied correctly.  Whether it be utilized in a DUI case, a criminal charge, or a speeding ticket diversion can surely help you keep your record clean and avoid some stiff penalties in a criminal case.

Here is a common way this question gets brought up.

Q: I am charged with theft in when I took a few items from a Walmart.  My brother told me I should try to get a diversion.  What is a diversion?

A.  A diversion agreement often referred to as “a diversion” is a contract between you and the prosecutor. When someone has committed a crime sometimes the prosecutor will offer the offender a way to divert the charge; by using a diversion agreement. Basically, if you do everything that the agreement requires you to do and don’t violate any of the conditions of the agreement the prosecutor will not move forward with the case. Additionally, you will usually have to stipulate to the facts you are accused of committing. If you break the agreement the prosecutor will proceed with the case, along with the facts that you stipulated to, making their case much easier to prove. Diversions can work great if you don’t make any more mistakes.  I always advise clients to really look at themselves and their past.  It they are the type of person who gets in trouble often then a diversion may just be setting yourself up for failure.  They have their place but now right for everyone. Just in case you happened to stumble across this blog because of a Kansas Theft case Then here is a video for you.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another City in Kansas is going to the popular e-ticketing system

Wichita is it! Another Kansas city is on the bandwagon and using the popular e-ticketing system. It does avoid some complications with bad handwriting and carbon copies that can't be deciphered by the human eye. It helps courts to more accurately schedule and get tickets processed faster. So we see it as a positive thing. Here is the Article in the Wichita Eagle.

Wichita City Council Approves electronic Traffic ticket system.
By: Rick Plumlee

Say goodbye to bad handwriting. At least when it comes to traffic tickets.  The Wichita City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved startup funding for a system that will allow police to issue traffic tickets electronically instead of writing them out by hand.  The startup cost is $504,300, although $150,000 of that will be paid by a federal grant. There will be an estimated benefit of $1 million over five years because of improved efficiencies, police Capt. Darrell Atteberry told the council.  “It will pay for the project,” he said after the meeting.  Police expect to begin issuing tickets electronically later this year.  The council had considered the project April 10, but it delayed making a decision until more information could be provided on cost savings.

Of the 70,000 traffic handwritten tickets issued each year by Wichita police, city officials have calculated there is a 3.5 percent error rate because the tickets are sometimes illegible, incorrectly coded or misplaced somewhere in the system. That has required extra staff time in sorting through the tickets.  In addition, about 1 percent of the tickets are dismissed each year because of errors in hand-written tickets.  Using the electronic system will free up officers to issue a “conservatively” estimated 2.5 percent more tickets, Atteberry said. That would mean an increase in about 1,750 tickets, which translates into $175,000 in fines, he said.  Enforcing the traffic laws benefits the public’s safety, Atteberry said.

The system will begin paying for itself by the 2013-14 fiscal year, he added. The system also comes with an annual licensing and maintenance fee of $51,300, but Atteberry said the annual savings should cover that cost.  The equipment will digitally download driver information by scanning the driver’s license. The officer will use a touch screen to select the offense and print out a ticket that will look like a cash register receipt.
Police also have said using electronic tickets will make it safer for everyone because it will decrease the time officers and drivers have to spend stopped along the side of the road.

Increased efficiency also means one municipal court clerk position will be eliminated, Municipal Court administrator Donte Martin said. No one will be laid off because the position is vacant, he added.  Brazos Technologies, a 12-year-old company based in College Station, Texas, was picked from five firms that submitted bids for the electronic ticketing. Brazos’ system is used by more than 200 police departments, including Phoenix.  Atteberry said the city is still finalizing the contract with Brazos.  An electronic unit will be purchased for each of the city’s 175 police cars, plus an additional 25 hand-held units. The hand-held ones will be used during such projects as DUI check lanes.

Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2012/05/01/2317939/wichita-city-council-approves.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Have you been charged with an open container in Kansas?

If you have been pulled over and the police found an open container of alcohol in your possession then you have come to the right place for information.  Did you know that current Kansas law allows for a person to go to jail for up to 6 months for having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle? It also carries with it a minimum fine of $200.

If your a minor a conviction has a mandatory driver's license suspension as well.  There are many little twists and turns when it comes to open container law in Kansas.  If you find yourself looking down the barrel of one of these charges you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer and you need to do it quickly.

Don't let a minor mistake cause you to have a criminal record and a possible license suspension. Call our office today!

Here is a video explaining Open Container Charges in Kansas.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Missouri Man gets 25 years in prision for child pornography.

Former law school grad gets 25 years for taking pornographic pictures of a young child...   Here is the article.

KANSAS CITY, MO—David M Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Kansas City, Missouri man was sentenced in federal court today for producing child pornography.

Michael D Toal, 57, of Kansas City, was sentenced by United States Chief District Judge Fernando J Gaitan to 25 years in federal prison without parole. Toal was formerly a respiratory therapist and a law school graduate (although he never passed the bar exam). On September 8, 2010, Toal pleaded guilty to using a minor to produce child pornography. According to the plea agreement, Toal told FBI agents that he sexually abused an 8-year-old child who was in his care at his house. While the victim was asleep, Toal took sexually explicit photographs of the child with his digital camera and then loaded them onto his computer.

The federal investigation began on August 10, 2009, when an agent at the FBI’s Denver, Colorado Field Office conducted an investigation using peer-to-peer file-sharing software and downloaded images of child pornography that were available to be shared from Toal’s computer, which was using a similar software program. When FBI agents interviewed Toal at his home, Toal admitted that he had downloaded, viewed, and then deleted child pornography, including images of the sexual abuse of children under the age of 12 and images of violent sexual content with minors.This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Katharine Fincham. It was investigated by task force officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc.

For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “Resources.”

Reported by: FBI

Friday, April 13, 2012

All Kansas District Courts closed on Royals opening day!

Alright so maybe its so all the Kansas Criminal Lawyers can go to the game... Maybe not.  Looks like budget constraints have forced the courts to close for five days.  Its a welcome break for some attorneys but for most people its just a scheduling mess.  Not to mention its hard on court staff who are already underpaid to take a pay hit this week and more weeks to come.

Here is the article from the associated press.

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss made the official decision Monday. Courts will close this Friday, April 13th, as well as April 27th, May 11th and 25th and June 8th.

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - All Kansas courts will close for five days this year and all 1500 judicial branch employees will be sent home on those days with no pay.

Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Lawton Nuss made the official decision Monday. Courts will close this Friday, April 13th, as well as April 27th, May 11th and 25th and June 8th.
Nuss says the closure is necessary because lawmakers left for break without addressing the court system's request for $1.4 million in extra funding to get through the current fiscal year. When Nuss first announced the furlough plan last week, House Speaker Mike O'Neal said it was unnecessary because money was available from other funds. Nuss, however, said use of those funds was restricted by state law.

Justices and judges are exempt from the furlough and will work on those days. 
Monday's news release from the Judicial Branch announcing the court closure plan:
The Kansas Supreme Court today released its administrative order closing all state courts and sending 1,500 Judicial Branch employees home without pay as a result of a budget shortfall.  The Supreme Court’s decision to close courts and furlough employees was announced by Chief Justice Lawton R. Nuss at a news conference last Wednesday. The next day the Court sent the administrative order to all chief judges and court managers in the state’s 31 judicial districts. That order is being released and posted on the Judicial Branch website today for the public’s information. 

The state courts have been ordered to be closed this Friday, April 13, and April 27, May 11 and 25, and June 8, 2012.
The decision to close the courts was announced after the Legislature adjourned on March 30th without addressing the court system’s request for $1.4 million in supplemental funding, leaving 5 court workdays unfunded. As a result, all employees paid though the Kansas Judicial Branch except justices and judges will be on involuntary unpaid leave on the closure dates. Justices and judges are exempted from the furloughs because of a constitutional provision that states their salaries may not be reduced unless the salaries of all state officers also are reduced. So they will be working in their offices on those days.  The Supreme Court order sets out the limited “critical functions” that can be undertaken by judges for Kansans during the 5 furlough days, including such things as:
Criminal matters that are time and date sensitive, such as issuance of arrest warrants, conducting first appearances for criminal defendants, issuing search warrants and wire taps, and similar situations requiring immediate attention;
• Child in need of care and juvenile offender proceedings that likewise are time sensitive, such as juvenile detention and temporary custody hearings;
• Emergency orders in protection from abuse and protection from stalking, as well as orders for probable cause hearings regarding the commitment of sexually violent predators, and mental illness proceedings.
Judges are being directed that all other court matters, including things ranging from obtaining a marriage license to filing civil cases regardless of the amount being sought, may not be handled during the closures.
Beyond the list of critical functions that judges are authorized to undertake, the order directs the district courts to notify the public, attorneys, law enforcement agencies and other court users of the closures, including via the news media and court websites.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Facing Criminal Charges in Overland Park?

Looking at criminal charges in Overland Park Municipal Court can be frightening.  Not knowing where to go or what to say or who to trust at the municipal court can be just as scary.  If you are looking at criminal charges in the municipal court you need the help of an experienced Overland Park Criminal Lawyer

You need the help of someone who practices law in the Overland Park municipal court regularly.  Someone that knows the processes and procedures of the municipal court.  The Law Office of Brandan Davies LLC represents clients in Overland Park and would be happy to talk with you about your criminal case.  We always offer a free initial consultation.

Here is a video produced by an Overland Park Criminal Lawyer

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vegas Strip Club Mogul Back in Prision for Not Paying Kansas Man

An overcharging scheme at a Las Vegas strip club led to a Kansas man's paralysis.  Which lead to an investigation which led to several people taking plea deals.  Those plea deals included jail time and a criminal defense attorney doing his best to keep a client out of jail.

The convoluted story involving naked women, money, beatings, and the FBI is below as published in the Sparks Tribune.
By Ken Ritter:

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A trio of federal appellate judges prodded a defense attorney Monday to support his claim that a U.S. District Court judge in Las Vegas overstepped his authority in sending a strip club mogul who served time for tax evasion back to prison for violating terms of his supervised release.

Attorney Dominic Gentile asked the three 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges to make a distinction between the one-year-and-one-day sentence that ex-Crazy Horse Too owner Rick Rizzolo served in the tax case and the nine-month sentence that U.S. District Judge Philip Pro imposed after hearing that Rizzolo failed to make restitution to a Kansas tourist who was paralyzed in a scuffle with club bouncers in 2001.

“He committed the acts,” Judge N. Randy Smith of Idaho declared. “On that point, isn’t it the end of the story?” “We are challenging what the court did,” Gentile responded.  “Why shouldn’t we give Judge Pro the benefit to the doubt?” asked Judge Jay Bybee of Nevada.

Gentile replied that the additional sentence amounted to “retribution,” and said Pro abused his discretion. He pointed to Tapia v. United States, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held last year that federal judges can’t add time to a criminal defendant’s sentence in an effort to encourage rehabilitation.  Peter Levitt, an assistant U.S. attorney in Las Vegas, argued that Pro had authority to impose prison time after a lawyer for paralyzed tourist Kirk Henry, of Olathe, Kansas., told Pro that Rizzolo failed to make promised restitution and was instead “squirreling away” assets in offshore accounts.

Levitt noted that Pro also tacked two more years on to Rizzolo’s supervised release, and termed the sentences “reasonable” reactions to Rizzolo’s “secrecy and deceptiveness.”  The judges, based in San Francisco, made no immediate ruling. Rizzolo’s case was one of three heard by the panel, headed by Judge Richard Clifton of Honolulu, before more than 150 students and observers at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Rizzolo was released from federal prison in 2008, after serving time in a plea deal that ended a decade-long federal probe of whether his club was linked to the mob. He had operated the club, with its distinctive white-pillared Roman fa├žade just west of the Las Vegas Strip, for more than two decades after his father opened it in the early 1980s.

Sixteen club employees also pleaded guilty to federal charges as part of the 2006 plea deal. None admitted direct responsibility for paralyzing Henry. The club, using the corporate name The Power Company Inc. and represented by Rizzolo’s trial lawyer, Tony Sgro, pleaded guilty to racketeering and agreed to bear most of some $17 million in fines, forfeitures and restitution.  Under the terms of the deal, Rizzolo agreed to sell the club and agreed not to contest financial penalties.  The company acknowledged that employees padded customers’ bills and used threats and force to compel customers to pay disputed charges.