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Upper Marlboro Criminal Defense Law Blog

Billionaire faces drug charges after hotel-room raid

While many people in Maryland may think of drug charges as something more likely to affect poor or marginalized people, one billionaire was arrested on drug trafficking charges in Las Vegas on Aug. 9. Henry Nicholas, the founder of Broadcom Inc., was arrested by police at the Encore hotel. They allege that heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine were all found in his hotel room. Nicholas was arrested along with another woman in the room.

Nicholas was later released from custody, and a hearing in the case was scheduled for September. His lawyer noted that they were currently gathering facts before making a statement about the case. This is not Nicholas' first brush with the law. Previously, he was accused of other drug offenses as well as improperly backdating stock options. He previously entered rehab for alcoholism, and media outlets tracked allegations against him by former colleagues and co-workers. However, he has also advocated for legislation to increase the rights of crime victims.

States taking extreme measures to fight drug problems

Maryland may be a small state, but it has a big problem. This tiny state has one of the highest rates of fatal drug overdoses in the country.  If your child struggles with an opioid addiction, you live with this fear every day. Unfortunately, not only do you have reason to worry about your child's health and well-being, you also may fear the legal ramifications of his or her drug dependency.

More states, including Maryland, are taking drastic steps to gain control over the raging problem of addiction. Drug use in any region brings with it sickness, violence and crime, and law enforcement often tries to break the cycle by focusing on the most vulnerable in the chain: the addicts. You may be shocked to learn the criminal charges your child may face if his or her drug use leads to an overdose.

The truth about wearing ankle monitor devices

The use of electronic monitoring devices doubled between 2005 and 2015, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. These devices use GPS to monitor a person whether he or she is in Maryland or any other state. They are considered to be more humane than simply locking an offender behind bars. For those who have been required to use an ankle bracelet, however, it is often described as akin to being incarcerated.

Since a person's every move can be monitored, it is possible that his or her rights may not always be respected. One person was taken into custody after an issue with his GPS signal caused it to report incorrect information about his location. In some cases, simply removing the device to relieve skin irritation can result in criminal charges. Individuals may also not be able to remove the device to get an MRI or an X-ray scan. This is true even if the alleged offender wearing the monitor hasn't been convicted of a crime yet.

The implications of drug possession in Maryland

Drug possession charges are serious, and if convicted of this crime in Maryland, it can lead to consequences that can alter the course of your life. If you are facing these charges, it is prudent not to underestimate the potential impact of the case against you. Instead, it is smart to take immediate action to start building a strong defense.

This specific type of criminal charge can range in severity, depending on the amount of drugs in your possession and other factors at the time of your arrest. The right approach for your defense depends on the details of your individual situation. With help, you may be able to effectively fight the allegations against you.

Racial bias can affect bail hearing outcomes

Black defendants may face racial bias in Maryland and across the country at bail hearings regardless of the race of the judge involved. This is the conclusion of a study conducted in Philadelphia and Miami that examined over 250,000 court cases in which bail was at issue. Both black and white judges were, according to the study, more likely to detain black defendants until their court hearings, a step that can have a negative impact on the perception of the defendant and the likelihood of conviction. In addition, black defendants were charged an average of $7,281 more for bail than white defendants.

The study's authors said these figures indicate that bail judges may be relying on racial stereotype in order to estimate the risk of release for particular defendants. The bail process is supposed to identify which defendants are more likely to commit another crime or leave the area if released. However, despite black defendants being denied bail more frequently, white defendants were actually more likely to be rearrested while released on bail. Referencing other research into racial bias when setting bail, the study noted that it is likely that judges rely, even unconsciously, on racial stereotypes when evaluating the risk factors associated with a particular defendant.

Maryland cocaine ring busted by police

According to authorities with the Queen Anne County Sheriff's Office, a cocaine distribution ring in the Maryland county was reportedly busted by law enforcement officers, resulting in more than 12 arrests. The agency announced the bust and the arrests on July 24.

The Queen Anne County Drug Task Force had reportedly been investigating the ring since the spring together with a number of allied police agencies. Officers allege that a 31-year-old Centreville man was importing large amounts of heroin, crack cocaine and powder cocaine into Queene Anne County and then distributing it. The man worked with some co-conspirators to import and distribute 3 pounds of cocaine and other narcotics between April 30 and June 1.

Police changing lineup procedures to reduce errors

Research shows that criminal eyewitness identifications tend to be unreliable, meaning defendants in Maryland and elsewhere could be wrongfully convicted if such evidence is used in a trial. As a result, many police departments are finally changing the way they conduct police lineups.

Eyewitness testimony has been questioned since at least the 1930s. Experts say that, unlike a tape recording, memory is not fixed. Instead, it can be influenced by a number of factors, including a suspect's race, the instructions given to the witness and the body language of police officers during a lineup. Even though these problems have long been known, most law enforcement agencies resisted making changes until DNA evidence began exonerating wrongfully convicted people. For example, in January, a 58-year-old man was released from a Louisiana prison after new DNA evidence showed he was not the man who raped a woman in 1979.

Driver and passenger face drug charges after traffic stop

Two men were taken into custody by authorities after a traffic stop that took place in Salisbury, Maryland. A vehicle driven by a 34-year-old was stopped at about 11:20 on July 4 on the 1100 block of S. Division Street. The vehicle was stopped because it had an expired registration, and officers observed signs of illegal substances in the car.

This lead to a K-9 unit being sent to the scene to search for controlled substances. A police dog eventually found an odor of drugs that were determined to be crack cocaine and heroin. The search also turned up a syringe and another object used to smoke the substances found. Although both men claimed that the items weren't theirs, they were both charged with possession of heroin, cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Individuals now have more control over cellphone data

According to the Supreme Court, a warrant is necessary to access a cellphone's location history. This is considered a major victory for the privacy rights of Maryland residents and all Americans. Its 5-4 decision in Carpenter v. United States is also seen as widening the scope and updating the Fourth Amendment. Under the Stored Communications Act, police could obtain cell site location information, or CSLI, as long as it could reasonably be used to find data relevant to an investigation.

The Carpenter case involved a man who had been taken into custody based on 127 days of cellphone location data. He argued that the data allowed authorities to violate his privacy in ways that were not available in times before cellphones. Therefore, the third-party doctrine usually used by the court should not apply in this case. Chief Justice Roberts agreed with the four liberal justices that a person has an expectation to privacy as it relates to CSLI.

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