Tag Archives: Criminal Justice

Nonprofit funds Drug Prosecutor and Cops, who Turn Addicts into Informants

(Debra Cassens Weiss) A nonprofit group formed by business leaders in Altoona, Pennsylvania, has funded a drug prosecutor and police efforts to fight the drug trade.

The nonprofit, Operation Our Town, and the drug-busting operations it funds are drawing some critics, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. They argue the group is funding police tactics that turn drug users into informants, and other users into drug dealers, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports in a separate story.

Altoona uses so many informants, one informant told the newspaper, that the joke is that the city’s new name is “Al-tell-on-ya.”

Operation Our Town has received more than $2 million in donations in its eight-year existence, and typically more than half of the money goes to the Blair County District Attorney’s office, the story says. The money covers the salary of a prosecutor hired for drug cases, as well as support staff.

The DA also uses the money to help the police department buy equipment and pay for police overtime.

One informant, 27-year-old Juniper Eugene Robbins of Altoona, told the Post-Gazette that he made about 20 drug purchases while working undercover. “I picked certain people based on crap they did to me or my friends,” Robbins told the newspaper. “I didn’t want to take anybody big down,” he said, because he feared retaliation.

According to the story, it was common for crime victims to hire prosecutors in the 1800s, but the idea has lost favor.

If you have been accused of criminal intent and you are going into criminal litigation, your top and only priority will be to find an experienced, knowledgeable, and aggressive criminal lawyer to go to bat for you.

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The Duty to Rescue and the Registry for Caregivers: A Guest Post

We have recently featured several guest posts (here, here, and here) by the authors of a new book about criminal justice and the family called Privilege or Punish: Criminal Justice and the Challenge of Family Ties. The authors are Ethan Leib, who is a scholar-in-residence at Columbia Law School, and an associate professor of law at theUniversity of California-Hastings College of the Law; Dan Markel, the D’Alemberte Professor of Law at the Florida State University in Tallahassee; and Jennifer Collins, a professor of law at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. Leib and Markel usually blog at Prawfs.com. Markel has offered to send interested parties a free PDF of their new book upon request. This is their final post, and we thank them for their stirring contributions.

The Duty to Rescue and the Registry for Caregivers
A Guest Post
By Jennifer Collins, Ethan J. Leib, and Dan Markel

In two previous posts, we examined laws exempting family members from prosecution for harboring fugitives and laws either granting or permitting sentencing discounts on account of one’s family status, ties, or responsibilities. These are two of the benefits defendants receive on account of their family status in the criminal justice system.

Today, we explore one of the burdens defendants face in the criminal justice system as a result of their family status. Specifically, we’ll look at the phenomenon of omissions liability, a legal doctrine which places criminal responsibility on certain persons because they didn’t do anything; they’re punished, in other words, because they had a duty to perform a relatively costless rescue, and they breached that duty. We will focus our discussion on the spousal obligation in particular.

The Law and Its Rationale

Generally speaking, most American citizens are under no obligation to rescue each other from peril. Two well-known exceptions to the rule in most jurisdictions (in the U.S.) exist: parents must make (relatively costless) efforts to save children, and spouses must make the same efforts to save each other.

Often people who try to handle serious charges on their own wind up with more serious convictions than those who engage a seasoned attorney to fight on their behalf. Hiring a Detroit domestic violence lawyer (DetroitCriminalLawyer.org) means having a strong advocate to defend you.

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