George F. Hildebrandt
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May 2015 Archives

Convicted Felons Can Transfer Guns to Approved Third Parties: Henderson v. United States

When an individual is convicted of a felony, he or she loses his right to lawfully possess firearms. If an individual is convicted of a felony drug offense or other felony, he is barred by federal law from possessing guns. The recent Supreme Court case  Henderson v. United States involved the question of whether or not convicted felons are allowed to dictate where their firearms go after their conviction. Can a felon sell his or her previously seized firearms, or does the felon's gift or sale of those firearms constitute the possession that is prohibited by federal law? The Court ruled that a convicted felon can tell federal agencies to transfer his guns to third parties unless this transfer would allow the felon to later control or direct the use of those firearms.

How New York's New White Collar Criminal Task Force May Affect You

In October 2012, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance along with Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen M. Rice created a White Collar Crime Task Force looking to revise New York's current criminal scheme. The experts involved in the task force recommended procedural changes and amendments to the current fraud, cyber-crime, ID-theft, and money-laundering statutes. The results of the report were announced in September of 2013. Those changes were recently codified into proposed legislation after the high profile corruption arrests of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate President Dean Skelos. While these proposed changes are not yet law, they could have lasting effects on future criminal defendants.

Two Types of Traffic Concerns on Interstate 81

Earlier this year, federal agents were alerted to the transport of a large quantity of ecstasy, otherwise known as MDMA, on the New York side of the Canadian border. Based on information provided by a confidential informant, the transfer of over 400 grams of MDMA was to happen at the well-known junction of Interstate 81 and state Route 104. After failing to stop at a red light, officers pulled the car over and a dog sniff alerted them to drugs in the vehicle. Approximately 470 grams of MDMA were recovered from the center console, which would be worth $30,000 on the street. Both passengers in the vehicle were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance in federal court. While significant in amount, this single example pales in comparison to the drug trafficking concerns plaguing Interstate 81, recently nicknamed "Heroin Highway."

Sexual Assault on Campus: Victim Focus Clouds Due Process Rights of Defendant

The White House's visible focus on preventing sexual assault has sparked efforts at both the federally and state level to address sexual violence. The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, the office responsible for dictating procedures regarding investigating sexual assault complaints and Title IX violations, released a "Dear Colleague" letter in April 2011 detailing new procedures to investigate these claims. The new procedures require administrators to determine the guilt or innocence of students independently of the conclusions of the police or court system based on a "preponderance of the evidence," otherwise known as the lowest standard of proof in our legal system. Under a preponderance standard, if the administrative forum finds the student "more likely than not" committed the actions accused of, they must find the student responsible for the assault.

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