Criminal Defense News Of The Week
Drug Kingpin Sentenced to Prison for Nationwide Drug Ring
The kingpin of a criminal drug ring was sentenced to five years in prison on August 24th (Business Insider).
Residing in Las Vegas, John Bowen, 68, led an illegal drug franchise that distributed a product known as ‘Spice.’ A drug imitating marijuana’s effects, Spice was imported from China and sprayed on green vegetables before heading to buyers nationwide. Bowen’s sentence concludes a two-year investigation, involving victims ranging from 12 to 70 years old. Drug laws can be tricky to navigate, and these kinds of investigations do not make the process any simpler. In Ohio, however, what constitutes a drug crime is basic and straightforward.
Virginia TV Journalists Killed on Live Television
In the early morning on August 26th, a gunman killed two Virginia TV journalists on live air (Reuters).
Vester Lee Flanagan II, age 41, was the gunman. A disgruntled former employee of WDBJ in Roanoke, Flanagan waited until the cameras were rolling before firing at the reporter and cameraman from point-blank range. Flanagan shot himself thereafter, leaving two victims pronounced dead at the scene. This event serves as the most recent punctuation in an ongoing reality of gun violence in the United States. Homicides have become commonplace, and living in these grim environments is rarely optional. For Ohio’s part, there are several different types of homicide offenses, each of which having its own definition and penalty.
Hour Long Hit-And-Run Spree Unravels in Indiana
On August 26th a suspect reportedly traveled on a hit-and-run driving spree, leaving multiple people injured (Huffington Post).
Fleeing the scene of a stabbing attack in downtown Indianapolis, the male suspect initially struck a woman with his SUV, only to continue driving. He later propelled into a motorcyclist, before succumbing to the authorities. By the time it was over, the reckless campaign had lasted an hour. As well as dangerous, vehicular crimes and their repercussions can be easily misunderstood and conflated with other criminal offenses. Ohio has its own criteria for vehicular crimes, and the breakdown is actually very simple.
Los Angeles Seeks Crackdown on Child Sex Buyers
Officials in Los Angeles County are considering tougher penalties for child sex buyers (New York Times).
As opposed to focusing on the women caught up in prostitution, these new penalties would target the buyers, or ‘johns.’ Treating prostitutes as criminals and prosecuting in that manner has been the status quo in the U.S. for quite some time. The approach outlined in Los Angeles would redirect law enforcement’s energies toward the buyers themselves. Sex trafficking is not a new phenomenon, and has been most prolific in highly populous cities. California would thus leap to the forefront of addressing these kinds of sex crimes. Were one to commit a sex crime in Ohio, the penalties and procedures would assume a different look.
D.C. Police Try Explaining Spike in Homicides
D.C. authorities are seeking to explain and assign motives for the district’s rise in homicides (Washington Post).
Washington D.C. has been experiencing a spiked crime wave over the past couple years, and officials are still trying to tackle the issue. Explanations vary from a focus on repeat offenders to a centering of attention on drug use. These are not new accounts, but D.C. police have been tracking these developments over the course of this past summer. Many officials have pointed to illegal gun sales in the district, which are often tied to the homicide cases. The search for a solution continues, while homicides continue to proliferate. Homicides are not foreign to Ohio, and Ohio state officials have also been in search of solutions. Homicides in D.C., however, are not necessarily defined and treated in the same way as they are in Ohio.