Idaho Criminal Defense Blog

Idaho Criminal Defense Blog

Information and Insight on Criminal Law and Civil Rights

Archives: Criminal Defense

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There’s A Problem With DNA Testing At Crime Labs – They Often Get It Wrong.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Evidence
Boise State University Professor Dr. Greg Hampikian is a  Biologist whose work has identified persons wrongly accused and convicted of crimes. He is regarded as one of the foremost forensic DNA experts in the United States and beyond. He is the founder of the Idaho Innocence Project, which, along with other state Innocence Projects, has… Continue Reading

There’s a problem if you buy CBD oil in Idaho – it may be a crime.

Posted in Criminal Defense, Marijuana, Politics
Yesterday I posted about Idaho’s tough marijuana laws.  Is Idaho any closer to legalizing marijuana-based products? How about cannabidiol (CBD) oil? I don’t think so. It seems like every week I receive an email solicitation offering to sell me CBD oil, ordered online and delivered by mail to my home or office.  Each such offering… Continue Reading

Idaho’s Marijuana Laws Are Tough!

Posted in Criminal Defense, Marijuana
Idaho’s Marijuana Laws Are Tough – Maybe Even Unfair! I spent time yesterday driving to and from a rural courthouse in Western Idaho for a hearing on a marijuana case. The charge – felony possession of marijuana – arises out of a car having been stopped near the Oregon border during early morning hours for… Continue Reading

That Medical Marijuana Card Can Prevent You From Buying A Gun!

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Firearms
In 2016 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Wilson v. Lynch (9th Cir. Case No. 14-15799) that medical marijuana cardholders are prohibited from purchasing firearms based on federal regulations.  The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) sent an Open Letter to gun dealers in 2011 stating that, “If you are aware… Continue Reading

“She said she was 19. How can I be charged with RAPE?”

Posted in Criminal Defense
I frequently get this question – “how can they charge me with rape? She said she was 19!” The answer is simple, a representation of the age of an apparently consenting person means nothing! Bupkis! Nada! Absolutely nothing! What matters is the age of the person – that is – the ACTUAL age. The law… Continue Reading

Stand Your Ground – when, where and who?

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Firearms, News, Politics, Uncategorized
Among the changes to Idaho law taking effect on July 1, 2018, is an important clarification of when you can and cannot use deadly force to defend yourself, others or perhaps, your “habitation.”  The newest version of Idaho Code 18-4009 lays out the places and people you have a right to defend with deadly force.… Continue Reading

Federal Prisons Are A Terrible Place to Live and An Even Worse Place To Wait For Death!

Posted in Criminal Defense, Federal Sentencing, News, Trials, Uncategorized
I just finished reading a news story in the NY Times titled “Frail, Old and Dying, but Their Only Way Out of Prison Is In A Coffin.” It follows reporting by The Marshall Project on the same topic. The bottom line, accurately told by both is this: there are far too many old prisoners who… Continue Reading

Idaho Supreme Court Rules Admission and Drugs Inadmissible After Pat-Down Search

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Search and Seizure
People frequently ask questions about search and seizure, particularly when the search is not conducted pursuant to a warrant. The Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches. A warrantless search is unreasonable unless an exception to the warrant requirement applies. One common exception permits an officer to conduct a limited “pat-down” search of a detained person for weapons.… Continue Reading

Lawyer Prepare! Challenge Suggestive Lineups.

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense
The Idaho Supreme Court once again points out the importance of challenging line-up identifications whenever the issue arises. Many people do not understand how common such evidence is, or how often jurors rely on the identification as the basis for their decisions. Eyewitness identification evidence can destroy a defense case with little more effort than… Continue Reading

“So how do I get my record expunged?” Here’s help.

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Criminal Defense
We receive daily inquires regarding the expungement of convictions, dismissing convictions, and reducing felony judgments to misdemeanors. Here are the Idaho options for someone who has completed probation. I hope this post helps demystify the procedures. Withheld judgment: Idaho generally allows each person one withheld judgment, but not every offense will support a withheld judgment. For example… Continue Reading

Exigent circumstances justify warrantless search of apartment

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense
Just how far does the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution go to protect against a warrantless search of an apartment? That question was again considered this week by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in US v. Yoga Almonte-Baez, a case in which the petitioner was convicted of drug trafficking crimes and sentenced to 156 months… Continue Reading

Beware the prescription drug DUI – get a lawyer to win your case

Posted in Criminal Defense, DUI, Hire a Lawyer
  Today’s question: “What happens if you are arrested and charged with driving under the influence of drugs? Let’s say prescription drugs. What does the prosecutor have to prove to obtain a conviction?” This question comes to me more frequently today than ever before, probably because more and more people who are taking medications prescribed… Continue Reading

State Security Manager NOT GUILTY of Theft of $31,000 from Ada County Treasurer’s Office

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Criminal Defense, Trials
The two best words for any criminal defense lawyer and any defendant – NOT GUILTY. Heard them again to day in the case of State vs. April Rice. Ms. Rice was charged with grand theft after she received a check from the County that belonged to the estate of another person. Eight months after it… Continue Reading

“Officers threw him to the ground, got on top of him and shot him dead!”

Posted in Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Crime Victims, Criminal Defense, News
I am packing for the weekend and watching a little TV news this morning, and from that box a witness to a fatal shooting in Louisiana offered this explanation for the dramatic killing of a black man by a police officer there: “Officers threw him to the ground, got on top of him and shot… Continue Reading

The preliminary hearing – to waive or not to waive, that is the question.

Posted in Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense, Trials
The decision whether to waive a preliminary hearing, and give up a review of the probable cause determination, can often be a tough one for clients to make. Every client hopes a win at preliminary hearing means the whole case goes away before it really ever started. Unfortunately, the truth is the State’s burden at… Continue Reading

Twin Prosecutor – “it is the State’s conclusion Mr. Holland … did not commit the crime of rape…”

Posted in Criminal Defense, News
After a fully contested prelim by which the State barely had enough evidence to establish probable cause, and after we found witnesses to contest the basic premise of the State’s case against Jack Holland, a weather man for a Twin Falls television station, the State today filed its motion to dismiss. Included within that motion… Continue Reading

“I’m not trying to be respectful. I’m trying to win.” Johnnie Cochran.

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Criminal Defense, Domestic Violence, Trials
In my split brained world a month or so ago, I had just finished watching another episode of The People vs. O. J. Simpson and reading an article in the New York Times describing the Supreme Court decision overturning a 1987 death penalty case in which prosecutors had, according to every Justice except Clarence Thomas, excluded… Continue Reading

How can it have been so long since I last posted? Answer – too much to do, too little time!

Posted in Civil Rights, Criminal Defense, News, Uncategorized
Yesterday I was complaining to Courtney and Will that we needed to get writing. “Why haven’t you two been posting anything to the blog? It’s not like there isn’t interest out there about our cases and the law generally!” Then I looked at my posts – or the lack thereof this year. Where does the… Continue Reading

Record Number of False Convictions in 2015 – Who Says You Don’t Need the Best Lawyer You Can Afford!

Posted in Assistance of Counsel, Constitutional Law, Criminal Defense
After 35 years practicing criminal defense, I am sometimes cynical about our system of justice. Prosecutors overcharge offenses in an attempt to prompt a plea from defendants. Defendants are seldom “presumed innocent” in the eyes of the arraigning judge, many of whom impose restrictions on pretrial release that are as onerous as the penalty for… Continue Reading
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