The Court and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Supreme_Court_US_2010Robers v. United States is one of the few cases that came out of the subprime mortgage crisis to make it to the Supreme Court. The outcome will determine how much restitution is due from the defendant who is convicted of wire fraud related to a home mortgage loan.

The issue comes down to statutory interpretation. Robers was part of a mortgage-fraud scheme. He submitted for multiple loan applications for mortgages that he had no intention of repaying. After they realized he wasn’t going to pay, the lenders held foreclosure sales, where they bought the homes that the fraudulent loans purchased. Because of a statute, Robers has to pay restitution for the difference between the property value he “returned” to the lenders and the money he borrowed. Robers case is that the homes lost value in the time that they foreclosed and the lenders actually sold them. So the case stands whether Robers should be credited for the value of the homes when foreclosure occurred or what price they sold for.

This case could be hard for Robers to win. Throughout the statute, it refers to “property.” In this case, the property that was stolen is the money that Robers fraudulently borrowed. Although, Robers argues that the property, indicating the homes were returned at the time of foreclosure, he will not be able to convince the justices he returned the borrowed money at that time. The justices will try to read the statute in a way that will allow them to rule against the malfeasor. Since the decision of the court already seems to be in the bag, it is curious that the Court took the case at all since they are most likely to agree with the ruling of the Seventh Circuit. In the Ninth Circuit this case would have squarely conflicted with previous verdicts. It may be that the Supreme Court wanted to resolve it before it made its way into the Ninth.

DUI Crackdown in Ohio

Rhys Cartwright-JonesAs an attorney who specializes in DUI defense, I make sure that I am aware of any changes, modifications, or increases in law enforcement, law enforcement policies and laws themselves that affect the state of Ohio.  I came across this article detailing some important updates within the state of Ohio.  Recently, the law enforcement of Ohio has been added to the countless number of highway safety partners who are supporting the campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over,” which aims to implement stricter laws and policies regarding driving while intoxicated and driving under the influence.  The heavy patrolling of highways is scheduled to start on August 16 and last throughout the rest of summer.

This period is supposed to have over 7,000 hours of enforcement by law officers in the area and upwards of 900 DWI checkpoints at various locations across the state of Ohio.  The Ohio Department of Public Safety Director has said that this time period, late in summer, is when a lot of people are on vacation or traveling, and is when they see an increase in the number of incidents related to DUI/DWI.  Law enforcement wants to make it clear that they take these laws very seriously and will not tolerate any violations.

Similarly, officers will not only be on high alert for intoxicated drivers, but will also be extremely vigilant about looking for those who may be carrying illegal drugs on them as well.  Just recently these efforts have already made drug seizures for heroin, marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

While it is understandable why law enforcement wants to take extra precautions during this time, this inevitably means there will be an increase in issues with accusations and convictions.  What if you are pulled over and treated unfairly or taken advantage of? Now is the time to be aware of these upcoming changes but also be aware that if you find yourself being pulled over, you have the resources to help you fight your case.  I am a skilled defense lawyer in DUI and have extensive experience defending various types of DUI/DWI and in confident in my abilities to refute and or lessen a conviction.  Please see my page for my private practice, located here, for more information.

DEA hiding evidence: How it Affects the Case for Defense Lawyers

Rhys Cartwright-JonesRecently I came across this article, which discusses the practice of “Parallel Construction,” which is when a person of group creates an alternate investigative path to cover how a case initially came to be. This is a practice that has never been truly tried in court.  However, recently it has become more of a questioned issue, since Reuters this week reported that agents are told not disclose any case information received from the the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA.  Instead, agents are instructed to recreate the information to appear similar, but by other means.

The specific unit of the DEA that is posing an issue is the Special Operations Division, or the SOD.  This division acquires information via intercepts, wiretaps, phone records and other various means.  Agents interviewed have disclosed the use of parallel construction in their cases, for example, staging what appeared to be a routine traffic stop and discovering reasons for suspicion, when in actuality, the stop was due to an informative tip from the SOD. [Read more…]