The National Attorneys General Training & Research Institute
Criminal Law Newsletter June 2018
The following is a compendium of news reports over the past month that may be of interest to our AG offices who are involved with criminal law issues. Neither the National Association of Attorneys General nor the National Association of Attorneys General Training & Research Institute expresses a view as to the accuracy of news accounts, nor as to the positions expounded by the authors of the hyperlinked articles.
Items of Interest
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released a report analyzing prisoner recidivism over the course of nine years. The report tracked 67,966 prisoners released from prisons in 30 states in 2005. BJS found that 68% of the prisoners were arrested again within 3 years, 79% within 6 years, and 83% within 9 years. Read the full report (pdf).
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is among a growing number of state and local law enforcement agencies that have acquired Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), frequently referred to as drones, the Atlantic reports. The Sheriff’s Department does not record video streamed from the UAS and strictly limits its use to search and rescue, explosive-ordnance detection missions, armed barricaded suspects, hostage situations, active shooters, hazardous material incidents, and other high-risk tactical operations. In 2017, the Sheriff’s Department employed the UAS in just six service calls out of about one million total.
Modeled after a similar program in Seattle, Washington, retailers and businesses in Baltimore, Maryland have begun to place stickers on their windows which read “safe place.” Under the program, the businesses provide a haven for victims of crime. Victims of crime are permitted to remain on the business’ premises while employees call the police.
California which has over 18,000 people over the age of 55 in its prisons has begun to deal with a consequence of an older prison population—dementia. To address this problem, it has begun taking the steps necessary to create a specialized dementia unit within its prison system.
Bloomberg reports that, based on analysis of data from the NYPD and the ONS, the non-homicide crime levels of London exceed those of New York City. While London is slightly more populous than New York City and spread over an area nearly twice the size, it has 12% fewer police officers and 56% fewer civilian police employees.
On June 22, 2018, the Supreme Court issued a decision on the use of cell phones in criminal investigations. The Court divided 5-4 in United States v. Carpenter (pdf) on the question of whether government access to an individual’s historical cell-site location data spanning a period of at least seven days constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment. The Court ruled that this does constitute a search and held that the government must procure a warrant to historical cell-site location data spanning a period of at least seven days.
Law enforcement officials may soon need to find another way to access information and evidence contained in locked iPhones. Apple announced that an iOS upgrade this fall will prevent law enforcement from using a widely-used method of accessing locked iPhones.
Assistant Attorney General Beth Williams delivered remarks to the National Association of Attorneys General during the summer meeting in Portland, Oregon. General Williams spoke about the danger of contraband cellphones in prisons. She called for collaboration between the Department of Justice and attorneys general “to determine not only what technologies can stop the harm from contraband cellphones in prisons in the most cost-effective manner, but also which technologies can do so without interfering with legitimate users in the surrounding area.” Watch the remarks here or read more here.
US DOJ News
At the request of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, a grand jury indicted a “John Doe” based on his DNA profile. The man, identified only by his DNA profile, is suspected of at least six sexual assaults that took place in D.C.-area hotels between 1998 and 2006. The indictment prevents the 15-year statute of limitations from precluding charges against the suspect if he is later identified. While state prosecutors and other U.S. Attorney's Offices have sought John Doe DNA indictments, this is the first time federal prosecutors in D.C. have done so, according to the FBI. A news account of this story can be found here. Read the full indictment here (pdf).
On June 12, a French national who was an administrator and senior moderator for one of the largest dark web criminal marketplaces pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder money. According to the factual proffer, Vallerius first participated in the conspiracy by becoming a vendor on Dream Market, where he sold Oxycodone and Ritalin under the moniker “Oxymonster.” The prosecution is a result of ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
Andy Wright is the Editor of the Criminal Law Newsletter and may be reached at 202-326-6257.The Criminal Law Newsletter is a publication of the National Association of Attorneys General. Any use and/or copies of this newsletter in whole or part must include the customary bibliographic citation. NAAG retains copyright and all other intellectual property rights in the material presented in this publication. For content submissions or to contact the editor directly, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.