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 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.
Cyber crimes encompass many criminal activities that happen online or through computer networks. These crimes include the hacking theft of valuable data and proprietary information, ransomware attacks, identity theft and distribution of child pornography. The FBI has the task of monitoring and intervening in these activities. The bureau established the National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance in 1997. From its base of operations in Pennsylvania, the alliance shares resources and expertise and develops strategies for counteracting cyber criminals.
In Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the U.S., hate crimes are a punishable offense. Hate crimes are defined as traditional offenses that range from arson and vandalism to murder, with the exception that there is an additional element of bias. For example, if a person vandalized a piece of property due to the owner's race, disability, religion, gender or sexual orientation, that person may be charged with a hate crime.
Motorists in Pennsylvania typically watch out for traffic hazards, but sometimes a thief directly tries to steal a vehicle from a driver. The thief usually uses some type of weapon to intimidate the driver into giving up the vehicle. Since 1992, federal criminal law has established potentially harsh penalties for people convicted of this form of automobile theft known as carjacking.
Pennsylvania residents who are taken into custody after a DUI are likely going to be charged with a misdemeanor offense. However, there are some cases in which a DUI could be upgraded to a felony, which comes with enhanced penalties and long-term ramifications. A DUI is sometimes considered a felony based on a driver's blood alcohol content at the time he or she is pulled over.
In Pennsylvania and throughout the United States, it is illegal for people to access a computer in excess of the authorization that they have been granted or without authorization. In the employment context, there is a split among the federal circuits about the reach of the law that prohibits the unauthorized access of computers by current or former employees.