Tag Archive for: Crime

7 Reasons People Talk To The Police – And Why You Shouldn’t. Often, one of our first encounters with a potential client involves them telling us that the police want to talk to them. What should they do? Thankfully, they’ve gotten in touch with us before making a big mistake. What do we tell those people (and are now telling you at no charge)?

If you think it is even remotely possible that you are under suspicion for a crime, NEVER talk to the police without first speaking to an attorney. Most people, especially innocent clients, usually don’t understand this advice at first.

First, they say they have “nothing to hide.”

The purpose of every interview is to get you to confess to a crime. Investigators go through hours of training on how to get people to confess. They are trained on how to ask questions. All with the goal of getting a confession or at least get you to say something inconsistent or against your interests. Part of the Miranda warning people are usually given before they talk to police is: “Anything you say can and WILL be used AGAINST you in a court of law.” Whatever you say will be used against you. That’s a pretty good reason not to talk.

Believe it or not, it is common for innocent people to confess. Some studies suggest that up to 25% of confessions are “false confessions” given by a defendant who is confused, tired, misheard the question, is misunderstood by the detective or is simply wanting to get out of the interview room because they’ve been there for hours.

Many people are surprised to learn that the FBI usually does not record their interviews with suspects. (They have suggested a change to this policy, but many agents still follow the old protocol.) They have two agents sit in a room with the suspect. One agent asks questions and the other takes notes. Because they don’t record the conversation with you, it is their word versus your word about what exactly you said. What happens if they misunderstand something you say and tell the jury that you confessed? A jury will probably believe them, and not you.

Next, they say that by not talking to the police it “makes me look guilty.” If the police suspect you are involved in a crime and want to talk to you, something they know ALREADY makes you look guilty. They are already suspicious of you. Further, the fact that you do not talk to them and request an attorney instead is not admissible in court.

They also talk to police because “it will look good” for them. Once you have an attorney representing you, you will have plenty of opportunities to cooperate as the case progresses, if that is the best strategy. In more than 35 years of criminal law practice, we’ve never seen a judge punish a defendant because they asked to speak to an attorney before talking to a detective.

They talk to police because “they promised” not to charge them or give them a deal in court if they would just tell the truth. People are shocked to learn that the law allows police to lie to you. Investigators know this and use this to their advantage. They will tell you that evidence points to your guilt, even if such evidence doesn’t exist, just to get you to confess. They will make you promises that they won’t charge you or will help you get a good deal if you just confess.

This is a lie because they don’t have that authority. No police officer can give you a deal, only the prosecutor can do so and usually a prosecutor is not even involved in the case when the police are asking to speak to you. If cooperation appears to be your best option, then a good attorney will negotiate that cooperation with the prosecutor, who unlike police, is required to keep their promise.

The police “already know everything.” This doesn’t mean that what they know will be admissible or even available in 18 months or more when your case goes to trial. Yet if YOU give them evidence against yourself, the prosecution will probably still be able to move forward against you even if other star witnesses are no longer available or evidence goes missing.

“I need them to know my side of the story.” This is a valid reason to want to talk to the police, but not to actually talk to the police. A good attorney will be able to get your story to the police on your behalf. By allowing the attorney to do it for you, the detectives can’t manipulate what they are told and use it against you. You also get your story to them without subjecting yourself to a lengthy interrogation.

“I can lie my way out of this.” This is the worst reason for someone to talk to the police. The only thing worse than talking to the police about your case is LYING to the police about the case. To do so is actually a separate crime. Remember Martha Stewart? She did not go to jail for insider trading. She went to jail because she tried to talk her way out of a situation. However, got caught lying to federal investigators. Barry Bonds was not convicted of steroid use, but of obstruction of justice for lying.

If you give a statement to detectives, they are trained to prove you are lying and will likely be able to do so. And remember, they can’t say you lied, if you simply refuse to talk to them.

Suspected of a crime? Do not talk. Do not lie.

If the police want to talk to you, tell them you want your attorney and call us immediately.

Birmingham Police Arrest 15 in Operation Recoil. A total of 15 individuals have been arrested in an ongoing attempt by law enforcement to crack down on the illegal sales of firearms and drugs.  United States Marshals and ATF agents teamed up with Birmingham Police Department’s Crime Reduction and Neighborhood Enforcement teams to apprehend the suspects in a round-up that is part of bigger effort known as, “Operation Recoil”.

The suspects arrested are accused of a variety of crimes ranging from drug trafficking to felony possession of firearms.  Authorities also allege that seven individuals were involved in a nationwide scheme that used stolen credit card numbers to buy guns online.  These firearms were sent to Birmingham where another group illegally sold them, often to convicted felons. According to police, much of this activity was going on in the eastern portion of Birmingham.

However, Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper said the following in a released statement:  “Our department’s number priority is reducing violent crime. We’ve reported historic crime reductions in the City of Birmingham but much work remains to be done,”

The 15 suspects arrested by police are:

  • Lance Alexander – Conspiracy to Obtain Illegal firearm
  • Brian Beasley – Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Quantrey Bryant – Credit Card Fraud, Illegally Obtaining a Firearm, Wire Fraud
  • Michael Chavis – Federal Indictments
  • Christopher Collins – Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Marquette Harris – Conspiracy to Obtain Illegal Firearm
  • Eric Jones – Felon in Possession Conspiracy, Possession of a Firearm during Drug Trafficking Crime, 2 counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute  Methamphetamine
  • Christiana Peavy – Federal Indictment
  • Curtis Robinson – Federal Indictment
  • Mizell Sanders – Felon in Possession of a Firearm
  • Clifford Smith – Felon in Possession
  • Norman Stanton – Federal Indictment
  • Larry Steel – 4 Counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 3 counts of Possession of a Firearm during Drug Trafficking Crime, 2 counts of Possession with Intent to Distribute  Cocaine
  • Lerrell Dowdell – 2 counts of Felon in Possession of a Firearm, 2 counts of Distribution of Heroin,  Felon in Possession of a Firearm/Heroin
  • Antonio Watkins – Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Police Charge Two Suspects in Death of Retired Birmingham Firefighter. Hueytown police have charged two men with murder in connection to the death of a 66-year-old retired firefighter who was slain in his home on April 23rd.  Kamal Potts, 23, and Romell Cunningham, 28. Both facing one felony count of capital murder during a burglary. In addition, one felony count of capital murder during a robbery.

Potts, his girlfriend Shamara Sankey, and Cunningham, went to the home of Haward Arthur McKee at around 2:45 p.m. on April 23rd to carry out a burglary.  The robbers kicked down McKee’s front door and attempted to steal a television before McKee chased them from his home using a machete.  The suspects got into an escape vehicle and Cunningham fired several shots at McKee using a .38 caliber handgun.  One of the rounds struck McKee who collapsed and was later pronounced dead at around 3:08 p.m. that afternoon.

Investigators believe that this was a “random crime”. They do not think either suspect had any connection to McKee prior to the day of the shooting.

Potts was taken into custody on April 30th by Hueytown police and the Birmingham Police Department’s Crime Reduction Team.  Cunningham turned himself into authorities in Bessemer on May 2nd. However, after learning of an all-night search by United States Marshals to find him.  Both men are currently being held in the Jefferson County Jail without bond.

Court records show that Potts and Cunningham are both awaiting trial on separate 2013 charges of receiving stolen property.  Cunningham has also previously been convicted of obstruction of justice, carrying a pistol without a license, and cocaine possession.  

Police Charge Two Suspects in Death of Retired Birmingham Firefighter conclusion: He received a one-year suspended sentence in the drug possession case.

Alabama Man Receives Life Sentence for Heroin Trafficking. Charles Askew Williams, 28, of Birmingham, was sentenced to Life without Parole last week after being convicted of heroin trafficking. A sentence of life without parole for a drug crime is a rare case.  Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Virginia Vinson even commented on how extreme the sentence was in her order. Judge Vinson stated that after looking at the law. She was left with no choice but to impose a sentence that would keep the man in prison for the rest of his natural life. The Judge further stated that if she “were able to give [him] a lesser sentence [she] would.”

Sentences for Life without Parole are usually reserved for the worst of the worst crimes in this state, such as Murder. However, under the Alabama Code, one convicted of drug trafficking, if the weight meets certain statutory guidelines, can also be sentenced in this manner.  Alabama Code § 13A-12-231 (1)(d) requires a mandatory sentence of life without parole for trafficking in marijuana if the total weight is over 1000 pounds. Therefore, in Alabama, even when considering the state’s new mandatory sentencing guidelines for drug offenses. One can still be sent to prison for life without parole for a first offence.

Similar mandatory sentencing provisions exist for trafficking in excess of 10 kilos of cocaine or amphetamines. In addition, 56 grams or more of opium; 10,000 pills of methaqualone. Furthermore, hydromophone; or 56 grams or more of LSD.

If you have been charged with a drug crime, figuring out your minimum and maximum punishments is one of the most important steps to take. Contact the Birmingham Legal Team at Boles Holmes White today for a free consolation. Let us get the help you need for your case. Even if your case is much smaller than the one discussed above, the Birmingham Legal Team can help.

Montgomery Fugitive Captured in Norfolk by US Marshals. United States Marshals for the Eastern District of Virginia announced on Thursday that they had captured an Alabama fugitive that had been eluding capture for the last 23 years.  Jeffrey Martin, now 52, was charged with first-degree robbery in 1990 and arrested.  However, after posting bond, Martin stopped coming to court and disappeared.  He had been wanted in Montgomery County for the last two decades. For instance, on a criminal charge of failure to appear on charges of first-degree robbery.  Deputy United States Marshall Timothy Alley said that Martin was able to elude capture by constantly moving around the country.

Martin was profiled last month on Central Alabama Crime Stoppers.  The piece produced numerous tips which helped to lead investigators to Norfolk.  Jeffrey Martin was arrested on Thursday with assistance from the United States Marshal Service’s Gulf Coast Regional Task force.

Montgomery Fugitive Captured in Norfolk by US Marshals Conclusion: He is currently being held in Norfolk while he waits to be extradited back to Montgomery.

“The arrest of Jeffrey Martin is a great example of federal, state, and local law enforcement working together,” Arthur D. Baylor, United States Marshal for the Middle District of Alabama, stated. “It does not matter how far or how long you run from law enforcement. The United States Marshals Service will continue to work with our partners in tracking down and apprehending federal and state fugitives.”

Shelby County Woman Charged with Murder and DUI. Amanda Rhoden Kizzire, 31, is facing charges that include murder, driving under the influence, and reckless driving, after she was involved in a head on crash that killed a motorcyclist last Friday on U.S. Highway 31 in Chilton County.  Kizzire had her initial appearance in Chilton County District Court on Tuesday after police issued an arrest warrant Monday on a murder-reckless charge stemming from the crash.

The incident took place on September 6th when Kizzire’s SUV collided with David Thomas Bryant, 35, who was driving a motorcycle.  Although the wreck happened inside Chilton County, the portion of road near the wreck is patrolled by the Calera Police Department within the city of Calera’s jurisdiction.   Deven Heathcock, who is an investigator with the department’s homicide unit, reported that Kizzire was traveling northbound in the southbound lane” when she collided with Bryant.  David Bryant was killed at the scene and Kizzire was transported to UAB hospital to be treated for injuries.  She was released later that day.

Kizzire was arrested and brought to the Chilton County jail where she is currently being held on bonds totaling over $150,000.  Her preliminary hearing has been set for September 25, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. at the Chilton County Courthouse.

C.J. Robinson of the Chilton County District Attorney’s office said the investigation is still ongoing and further details could be released at this time.

Milwaukee Brewers Pitcher Arrested for DUI. Yovani Gallardo, a right handed starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers, was arrested early on Tuesday morning and cited with drunken driving.  According to the report, Gallardo had a blood alcohol level of .22, which is nearly three times the legal limit in Wisconsin.

A Sheriff’s spokeswoman said another driver called 911 to report a suspected drunken driver.  Gallardo’s black Ford-150 pickup track was pulled over at 2:10 a.m. On I-94 in Milwaukee after the deputy spotted it driving very slowly. In addition, making erratic lane changes.  Gallardo told the deputy he had been drinking at a local bar nearby that is frequented by Brewers fans.  He was booked at the Milwaukee County Jail after failing a field sobriety test. Furthermore, his pickup truck was towed to an impound lot. Although, he issued a public apology on Tuesday afternoon.

“I just want to apologize to the fans, my teammates, my family,” Gallardo said in a brief media session on the field at Miller Park. “It’s just a bad call. It’s something I shouldn’t have done. I regret it. But at this point there’s nothing I can do about it now. Sadly, it happened.

Milwaukee Brewers Pitcher Arrested for DUI Conclusion: In Wisconsin, as a first-time offender, drunken driving is a citation and not a misdemeanor or felony DUI charge.  However, Gallardo faces nearly $778 in fines for drunken driving and for unsafe driving.  The fines consisted of:

  • $300 for his DUI charge
  • $300 for his level of intoxication
  • $178.80 for deviating lanes

In Major League Baseball, part of the collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union requires that a player charged with drunken driving or off-field violent contact be referred to a treatment board. Which will establish and supervise an individual treatment program.

For more informative blogs by Alabama Outside Counsel click here.

Mississippi Governor to Sign Bill Strengthening DUI Laws. Phil Bryant, the current Republican governor of Mississippi, intends to sign a bill aimed at strengthening state laws against drunk driving.  The bill is expected to hit Bryant’s desk within the next several days. Therefore, would become a law on July 1, 2013 with his signature.

The bill would cause someone convicted of a first-offense DUI to have their driver’s license suspended for 90 days. Moreover, a judge could order a 30-day license suspension or require the person to use an ignition interlock device for six months.  However, the bill also would make the fourth offense DUI automatically be a felony charge which would carry two to ten years in prison.  Under the new law, it would no longer matter how many years had passed between the previous convictions and the fourth one.  Currently under Mississippi law, a person can face a felony charge by having three or more DUI convictions within five years.

The bill is sponsored by House Speaker Philip Gunn, whose parents and sister were killed by a drunk driver 30 years ago.  Mark Formby, one of the co-sponsors, also faced tragedy when his young niece was killed two months ago when her parent’s car was hit by a driver who had previous DUI convictions.

Mississippi Governor to Sign Bill Strengthening DUI Laws Conclusion: Gunn told reporters last week that he considers this bill one of the top accomplishments of the 2013 legislative session, which ended last Thursday.

The final version of the bill passed the House 112-4 and the Senate 52-0.

For more informative blogs by Alabama Outside Counsel click here.

Florida Mayor Arrested for DUI. Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe was arrested on DUI charges and property damage after he was found asleep behind the wheel of his car at the scene of a crash last Thursday.

A state trooper was called to the accident near the intersection of Northeast 21st street and Northeast 156th avenue.  When officials arrived on the scene at around 3:45am, they said Lowe appeared to be intoxicated. His silver Honda Civic was heavily damaged.  A field sobriety test was performed which showed Lowe to be under the legal limit.  The arresting officer concluded that Lowe was impaired at the time of the crash and he was later booked into the Alachua County Jail.  He was released later that afternoon on his own recognizance.

Lowe did admit to having three beers earlier that night, troopers said.

Craig Lowe, who is headed toward a runoff election against Ed Braddy on April 16th, issued a prepared statement Friday assuring residents and supporters that he would remain on the ballot.  “Over the next few days and weeks, I will continue to perform my duties as Mayor. Furthermore, work hard as a candidate for re-election,” said Lowe.

He is scheduled to reappear in court on April 11th for his arraignment.  “I will accept the consequences of my actions and face the sanctions that are deemed appropriate,” he said.

Tennessee May Be Next to Add New Penalties for Drunk Driving Convictions. Tennessee legislators are now considering tougher laws in an attempt to decrease the number of driving under the influence. In addition, driving while intoxicated violations in the state.  One of the biggest changes to the proposed law would require ignition interlock devices for all people convicted of drunk driving, not just repeat offenders of those who had high BAC levels.

As of January 1, 2011, Tennessee law requires the following people to purchase and install ignition interlock devices if they want to have their driving rights reinstated after a suspension:

  • Those convicted of DUI offenses with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of 0.15 or higher
  • Those who have received multiple DUI or DWI convictions
  • First-time offenders are subject to stiff penalties such as:
  • Jail time of over 360 days
  • Fines as high as $1,500
  • Driver’s license suspension of one year
  • Community service

Tennessee May Be Next to Add New Penalties for Drunk Driving Convictions Conclusion: The biggest change to the proposed law would require ignition interlock devices for all people convicted of drunk driving, not just repeat offenders of those who had high BAC levels.

The added expense of the ignition interlock system drastically raises the bar for those convicted of a DUI or a DWI.  Installation of these devices can be expensive. However, monthly fees and testing costs are also required from those who are required to have them.  Total costs can sometimes exceed $1500.  The added expense also makes the cost of an occupational license prohibitive.