RICO (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act)

RICO (The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act)United States Federal Law does everything in its power in order to combat the continuing growth of criminal organizations. One of the countermeasures initiated in 1970, is an Act relating to the control of organized crime in the United States, also known as RICO (OCCA).

RICO stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. This term applies to a Federal Law, designed to combat organized groups running illegal business (i.e. racketeering), which may include the importation and sale of illegal drugs, gambling, money laundering, prostitution rings, bribery, drug trafficking, slavery, or any act involving murder, kidnapping, arson, robbery, extortion, dealing with obscene matter, terrorism, bankruptcy or security fraud, helping aliens to enter illegally the country, dealing with controlled substance, etc. Continue reading

Defining Illegal Behavior: Felonies Vs. Misdemeanors Vs. Infractions

The common criminal law abolished by most states is defining illegal behavior depending on the severity of the crime. A criminal offense may be a felony, misdemeanor or an infraction.  Let’s try to explain each type of the offense and make difference between them.


Felonies are considered to be the most serious class of offense throughout the United States because they typically violate the moral standards of the community. Felonies are usually punishable by fines, imprisonment in a state prison lasting more that one year or both. Felonies include:

  • terrorism
  • murder
  • arson
  • kidnapping
  • rape
  • treason and others.

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Has your child been accused of a crime? Find out what you should know about Juvenile Crimes

Juvenile delinquency known as juvenile offending or youth crime is participation in illegal behavior by minors.

Criminal defendants who haven’t quite reached the age of majority (18 in most states) go through a different criminal justice system than the one most people are familiar with.

juvenile (1)Let’s find out the differences between Juvenile Proceedings and Adult Criminal Proceedings:

Juveniles commit “delinquent acts” not “crimes,” and juvenile offenders have “adjudication hearings” not “trials.” The punishment of juvenile offenders also differs significantly from the punishment of adult criminals. The purpose of an adult sentence is to PUNISH, when the purpose of a juvenile sentence is primarily to REHABILITATE the juvenile so that he can go on to live a productive adult life.


The juvenile justice system is much different than the adult system and you need a lawyer who can give your child the best chances of success throughout the complex legal process.

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Justice: Can you be sued and “not guilty” at the same time?

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How can a civil court force someone to pay a settlement when another court has already said they are not guilty? Guilty – But Not Guilty? It’s true that a person can win a criminal action, but then go on to lose the civil action. It’s because the two actions are brought by different parties and subject to different standards of proof.

The Difference Between Criminal Guilt and Civil Liability

The law distinguishes between criminal guilt and civil liability. In 1995, Simpson was found not guilty of murdering Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman, but then two years later was found liable to Goldman’s parents for causing Ron’s “wrongful death.”

The explanation is that a “Murder” is a crime, whereas “wrongful death” is a civil wrong, otherwise known as a “tort.” Generally speaking, crimes are established so that society can punish (and, one hopes, deter) morally culpable behavior. Torts, on the other hand, are created to provide compensation to the injured.

not-guilty-graphic-33377572The Difference Between Torts and Crimes

It just so happens that many acts – like killing somebody – are both crimes and torts. But this is not always the case. For example, a failed attempt to commit a murder constitutes a crime (attempted murder), but if the intended victim is not harmed by the attempt, there’s no tort – because there’s nothing to compensate. Conversely, there are plenty of torts that aren’t crimes. Defamation, for example, is the publication of words that damage a person’s reputation. You can be sued for it, but in most jurisdictions there is no corresponding crime.

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The FBI Reports An Increase Of Crimes Throughout The Country

Is there a day that crime isn’t in the news? Is there any doubt in your mind how dangerous the world we live in is?

Crime is an unfortunate reality everywhere! Big cities, small towns, even rural communities.

Statistics released in the FBI’s Preliminary Semiannual Uniform Crime Report indicate that the number of violent crimes reported in the first six months of 2012 increased 1.9 % when compared with figures from the first six months of 2011. The number of property crimes increased 1.5 % for the same time frame. The report is based on information from more than 13,300 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six comparable months of data to the FBI in the first six months of 2011 and 2012.

Violent Crime

  • Two of the four offenses in the violent crime category—murder and non-negligent manslaughter and forcible rape—show decreases when data from the first six months of 2012 are compared with data from the first six months of 2011. The number of murders declined 1.7 %, and the number of rapes decreased 1.4%. But the number of robberies increased 2.0 % and aggravated assaults 2.3 %.
  • Cities with populations of 250,000 to 499,999 showed an increase in violent crime of 4.7 %, the largest increase among the city population groups. Cities with less than 10,000 inhabitants experienced the only decline (0.7 %) in violent crime offenses.

  • Violent crime increased 0.7 % in metropolitan counties and 0.6 % in non-metropolitan counties.

  • Violent crime increased in each of the nation’s four regions. The largest increase, 3.1 %, was in the West, followed by 2.5 % in the Midwest, 1.1 % in the South, and 1.1 % in the Northeast.

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Baltimore Prison Scandal – Sex, Drugs & Racketeering

The Washington Post article written by Anne E. Marimow and John Wagner entitled: 13 corrections officers indicted in Md., accused of aiding gang’s drug scheme presents a shocking account of the Prisoners Running the Prison.Thirteen female correction officers at the Baltimore City Detention Center essentially turned over the facility to Tavon (a/k/a “Bulldog” and “Tay”) White, leader of the Black Guerilla Family Gang. 

On April 23, 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a Press Release announcing that a federal grand jury returned a racketeering indictment charging 25 individuals, including 13 correctional officers with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, for conspiring to run operations of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF) gang inside correctional facilities. All 25 defendants also are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute drugs, and 20 of the defendants are charged with money laundering conspiracy.

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Constitutional Reprieve For California Death Row Inmate

On December 01, 1989, Hector Ayala joined his brother Ronaldo on Death Row when a judge affirmed a jury’s recommendation for the death penalty for a drug related killing of three men in a Southeast Dan Diego garage on April 26, 1985.  At the time of the conviction, lawyers for Mr. Ayala alleged that prosecutors struck jurors from hearing the case on the basis of their race.  The judge who presided over he case heard the prosecutors arguments for disqualifying certain jurors but failed to reveal these reasons to either Mr. Ayala or his lawyers.

On Wednesday, August 28th, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the trial judge’s handling of the juror strikes violated Mr. Ayala’s constitutional rights and ordered Mr. Ayala released from custody unless the state decides to retry him.

For further information about this ruling, please refer to the Wall Street Journal Law BlogPosting written by Steve Eder entitled Death Row Inmate Scores Legal Victory in the Ninth Circuit. 

Bride stabs groom just before wedding

In a recent Yahoo News article written by Sydney Lupkin, entitled: Bride Accused in Murdering Groom Hours Before Wedding is stated that a bride-to-be is accused in stabbing the groom a few hours before their wedding. The wedding was to start near Whitehall, Pa.

According to Steve Luksa, first deputy to the Lehigh County District Attorney, Na Cola Darcel Franklin, 31 and her fiance Billy Rafael Brewster, 36, were going to conduct the wedding ceremony at 10 a.m. On Saturday, but the couple began arguing the night before the wedding.

In the heat of the argument, Franklin allegedly stabbed Brewster twice with a kitchen knife, police said.

Luksa said that one of the stab wounds had punctured his heart.

When police arrived at about 2 a.m., they found Brewster bleeding from chest wounds on the second floor landing.

He was immediatly brought to the Lehigh County Trauma center and pronounced dead at 3:24 a.m., less than seven hours before the wedding.

The couple was not alone in the apartment when the murder took place. Their children and extended family members were also there.

Franklin was arrested and charged with one count of criminal homicide, Luksa said.

During her arraignment Saturday afternoon, Frankling could not believe Brewster was dead. She told District Judge Donna Butler “You have to check again”. She cried, rocked herself back and forth and ultimately choked out, “I… did… not… kill… him… on… purpose.”

She is being held in Lehigh County Prison without bail and according to the Judge Donna Butler, she is not going home any time in the near future.