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Williamsport Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Law Blog

Worried about your role in your child's college admission?

Before long, the school year will end, and your family may begin focusing on the matriculation process at the college or university of your child's choice. Like many parents, you want the best for your child, and you may have done whatever you could to give your child the best chances of gaining admission to a prestigious institution of higher learning. Perhaps you helped your child with the essay portion of the admission process, hired a tutor for the SATs or maybe pulled a few strings at your alma mater.

You may have watched with interest as the new stories unfolded related to the college admissions scandals across the country. Dozens of parents now face criminal charges because they wanted to give their own children certain advantages in the college admission process. Unfortunately, the federal government is not finished prosecuting those it suspects participated in criminal activity to get their children into elite colleges across the country.

The staggering statistics on wrongful convictions in America

America’s criminal justice system is supposed to be fair, impartial and above all, as accurate as possible. Unfortunately, the statistics on criminal justice accuracy are not promising. In recent decades, researchers and advocacy groups like the Innocence Project have been tracking (and desperately trying to correct) wrongful convictions in the United States.

What they have found is alarming. The National Registry of Exonerations has been tracking all U.S. exonerations dating back to 1989. According to the most recent report, wrongfully convicted prisoners have lost a combined 20,000 years behind bars.

Pennsylvania seems closer than ever to legalizing marijuana

Pennsylvania may be closer than ever to legalizing recreational marijuana, with two bills in the state Senate that would do just that if enacted. With medical marijuana already legal in the state since 2016 and 59 percent of Pennsylvanians in favor of full legalization, this is an interesting time for people seeking to end the practice of incarcerating individuals for possessing marijuana.

It is not clear if legalization will happen this year, but there is support for it at the top. Gov. Tom Wolf has promised to seriously consider signing a bill to legalize marijuana if one should reach his desk. And Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has been less ambiguous about his support for decriminalizing marijuana use in Pennsylvania. He is current engaged in a listening tour of the state to gauge the public’s view on the issue.

Study claims that drunk driving is on the rise among veterans

A recent study claims that both binge drinking and drunk driving have increased in recent years among veterans. Veterans in Pennsylvania should pay attention to the change in drinking habits and driving while intoxicated.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control, a substance addiction center reviewed records from 2013 to 2017. According to the research, binge drinking among vets increased by nearly 2 percentage points during that time. As a consequence, incidents of driving while intoxicated increased nearly a full percentage point.

Pennsylvania checkpoint results in 16 being taken into custody

There were 16 people taken into custody at a sobriety checkpoint in York County on Nov. 23. The checkpoint took place at the business loop of Interstate 83. While the majority were taken into custody for DUI, police say that they found meth and drug packing materials in one of the vehicles. They also said that there was a stolen gun found and that one person was found with five grams of marijuana.

An individual who was taken into custody for DUI at the checkpoint was arrested again three hours after being released. The checkpoints were announced ahead of time and were also conducted in Adams and Lancaster counties. In 2017, there were 4,509 accidents during the Thanksgiving season, and 26 people lost their lives during that same time period. This was according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

4 common crimes associated with New Year's Day

With 2019 on the way, many people are looking for ways to celebrate. They may attend a house party, go bar-hopping or watch the ball drop at home. Regardless, it is important to be as safe and responsible as possible during the New Year's celebration.

People who partake in illegal activities may end up with fines, jail time and a criminal record. Here are some of the most common New Year offenses. 

Supermarket shooter indicted on federal hate crimes

Pennsylvania residents may have read reports about two African Americans who were shot and killed at a Kentucky supermarket in October. Media outlets reported on Nov. 15 that the 51-year-old white man accused of being the shooter has been indicted by a federal grand jury on firearms and hate crime charges. The man entered not guilty pleas to two murder charges, one count of attempted murder and two counts of wanton endangerment on Nov. 2. The Department of Justice has yet to announce whether or not they will be seeking the death penalty.

The man is said to have entered the Kroger market in Jefferson, Ky., with the intention of killing black people. Police say that they have obtained security camera footage of the man trying to gain admittance to a church with a mostly black congregation just minutes before he allegedly opened fire in the supermarket. Investigators have been unable to identify any motive for the killings other than race, according to reports.

Pennsylvania man pleads guilty in fraud case

One Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges, according to the Department of Justice. The 53-year-old man from Lilly was accused of securities fraud, wire fraud and filing false tax returns in a $4.5 million securities scheme that took place between February 2002 and May 2016. The man, a broker and investment advisor, reportedly created an entire scheme in which others believed that they were investing in high-yield securities. However, the contracts behind the scheme were apparently bogus.

Instead, the man reportedly used other clients' investments to provide "returns" to other clients, giving them the impression that they had legitimate investments of some kind. He offered clients three different options to produce significant returns, presenting false documentation with little clear information. The broker purported to offer investments in a car rental company, coal mining companies and an unspecified tax-free investment with a fixed return. Many of the clients were elderly or retired and apparently had little knowledge about investing.

Man charged with largest meth seizure in Pennsylvania history

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration has made what is believed to be the biggest seizure of meth in western Pennsylvania history. Authorities seized approximately 122 pounds of meth and 10 pounds of cocaine. The drugs were estimated to have a street value of $2.5 million. A 33-year old man was detained in connection with the drug seizure.

DEA agents were watching for drug activity along Interstate 79 and Route 422 when they allegedly spotted suspicious activity at a travel plaza. Officers observed a man park a vehicle with West Virginia license plates near a vehicle with California license plates. The man then went to the trunk of the vehicle while the woman went inside the travel plaza. When the woman returned to the vehicle, the man left. The man then allegedly pulled out onto Interstate 79. DEA agents believed that the man's activity was consistent with drug trafficking, so they decided to continue to follow him.

Effects of white collar crime on society

A person who has been convicted of a white collar crime in Pennsylvania may be facing time in federal prison depending on the nature of the crime. White collar crime differs from street crimes like drug distribution and robbery although there is some disagreement among criminologists about how to classify and define white collar crime.

White collar crimes are associated with business professionals who committed their crimes during the course of a work activity. However, white collar crime can be as devastating to victims as violent crime is. Being a victim of fraud has been linked to an increased risk of depression and suicide.

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