Alleged Charges

Competency in the “Slender Man” Stabbing Case

Recently the 12-year-old Wisconsin girl, accused of organizing the “slender man” stabbing was found fit to stand trial. She is accused on carrying out a stabbing of a friend based on directions from a fictional urban myth character, “Slender Man.”

The idea of a 12-year-old girl standing trial as an adult seems unorthodox at best. This case highlights many competency issues and how complicated competency can be when dealing with minors. Attorney Benjamin Van Severen highlights some of the major questions surrounds the “slender man” stabbing case:

“There are a number of competing issues here.  First, you have to wonder if the girl is mentally stable without even considering the criminal proceedings.  She talks of unicorns and imaginary creatures so that is one major concern.  The second issue is the fact that she’s 12 years old.  Can she really assist her attorneys in her defense or even understand the gravity of the crime she is charged with?  Third, even if she’s fit to stand trial, is there going to be some form of insanity defense?  Ultimately, just because this doctor declared her fit to stand trial, I don’t think this will be the last time competency becomes an issue in this case.”

Will I Be Convicted? | Milwaukee Defense Attorney

Many people ask Attorney Theodore Perlick Molinari of Birdsall Law Offices if they will be convicted of the crime they are charged with.  In this video, Theodore will explain what factors may play a part in determining that.

If you or a loved one was just arrested

Being arrested and charged with a crime is most often a very difficult experience for someone to go through.  It is important that you contact and EXPERIENCED  defense attorney to make sure that your rights are preserved during the legal process.  Birdsall Law Offices can offer you protection in the best defense for your particular case.  If we cannot defend your case, we will refer you to someone that can.  However, the attorneys at Birdsall Law Offices have many years of experience with successful outcomes for clients.

If you or a loved one was just arrested you need to read this:
http://ow.ly/7vVp2

Always Encrypt Your Cellphone

Why you should always encrypt your smartphone

SUBMITTED BY STEVE SILVERMAN ON TUE, 01/18/2011 – 22:12

I recently moved to Los Angeles with my girlfriend, and my parents visited this weekend. Over dinner we discussed the California Supreme Court ruling which held that police officers don’t need a warrant to lawfully search mobile phones of arrestees.

All four of us own a smartphone, but I was the only one who encrypted mine. So I obnoxiously brandished my Android device to demonstrate how easy it is to swipe a simple pattern to turn the phone on.

My girlfriend, a UCLA MBA candidate, scoffed that it was inefficient and not worth her time. But I countered that the split-second motion quickly becomes effortless. On the other end, my parents thought they had nothing to hide. (Have I taught these people nothing!?)

For the more cynical among us, Ryan Radia at the Ars Technica blog presents a thorough analysis of the relevant court cases impacting your smartphone privacy rights. He also lays out simple strategies that can protect your mobile device from police searches, even if you’re under arrest.

His tips should be common sense to Flex Your Rights fans.

While the [Fourth Amendment’s] search incident to arrest exception gives police free rein to search and seize mobile phones found on arrestees’ persons, police generally cannot lawfully compel suspects to disclose or enter their mobile phone passwords. That’s because the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination bars the government from compelling an individual to divulge any information or engage in any action considered to be “testimonial”—that is, predicated on potentially incriminating knowledge contained solely within the suspect’s mind.

As such, if you are arrested or detained by a law enforcement officer, you cannot lawfully be compelled to tell the officer anything other than your basic identifying information—even if the officer has not read you the Miranda warning. Exercising your right to remain silent cannot be held against you in a court of law, nor can it be used to establish probable cause for a search warrant.

However, if you voluntarily disclose or enter your mobile phone password in response to police interrogation, any evidence of illegal activity found on (or by way of) your phone is admissible in court, regardless of whether or not you’ve been Mirandized.

If you’ve read this far and your smartphone is still not password protected, do it now!

For more information check out our facebook page @ www.facebook.com/BirdsallLaw or our website @ www.birdsall-law.com

The Police are at my door right now and want to question me. Should I talk?

In a word: No
1

Do Not Succumb to Seemingly Informal Questioning

Most cases that end up being charged criminally are the result of interrogations such as this. It’s almost always a bad idea to talk to police until after you know what they’re looking for, even if you believe you’re not in trouble or that you’ve done nothing wrong.

2

Be Wary of Your Words

Keep in mind that anything you say may be used to incriminate you. Seemingly harmless statements such as “I may have hit the guy” and “I had a beer a few hours ago” may turn into “the suspect admitted to hitting the victim” and “the suspect had been drinking.”

3

Get, Help, Get Help, Get Help

It’s vital to seek the help of a lawyer who specializes in criminal law and understands police tactics. When interrogating you, the police will often lie about evidence, pressure you, threaten you with arrest, assure you that all will be easier if you simply confess, or even tell you that you will “feel better after you confess.” An experienced criminal defense attorney can guide you through this process and advise you on what to say, and what to not say.

4

Silence Is Golden

Especially if you are nervous, tired, scared, or under the influence, it is best to exercise your Fifth Amendment right to silence until you’ve consulted a lawyer.

When will learn not to talk to the police?

Tiger Woods is just the latest example why it is NEVER a good idea to talk to the police.  Check this story from CBS News.  Apparently, Mrs. Woods tells some conflicting stories (Hmm, maybe I didn’t break out the window with a golf club after all) that could result in obstructing charges against her and domestic violence charges against both – possibly.  The story attaches a wonderful video by by James Duane, a professor at the Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach and former criminal defense attorney who argues very persuasively that you will NEVER help yourself by talking to the police.   The video is found here.

Reliance on Snitches a Great Danger to Justice

This post on the Snitching Blog underscores the inherent danger in relying on snitches to provide testimony to make a case

Cleared of murder charges after serving 18 years, Fernando Bermudez was freed on Friday. See NYT story here and my previous post. Four witnesses recanted their testimony, stating that they had been pressured by the government into identifying Mr. Bermudez as the shooter. The main witness, Efraim Lopez, testified falsely under a cooperation agreement guaranteeing that he would not be charged with any crimes, even though he was centrally involved in the shooting. Judge Cataldo concluded that the government either knew or should have known Lopez was lying. Judge Cataldo’s opinion is available here. Although the government concedes that its main witness Lopez perjured himself at trial, it has announced that it intends to appeal.

This is the same problem that has plagued the criminal just system for decades – especially with the huge increase in the prosecution of drug conspiracies.  The are almost universally built on snitch testimony.