Mental Disorders and the Legal System

There are many ethical decisions made daily in the psychology field. Whether these decisions are made to protect patients or others, to keep a mentally ill person from receiving a prison sentence and getting them the mental help they need, helping those with cultural differences, or making sure that a potential patient or study participant has given informed consent, making the correct ethical decisions can be difficult for mental health professionals. Because of this, many laws have been created to put some of these ethical decisions into stone thus relieving some of the difficult decisions that a mental health professional may face.

Psychology and the law spans a number of areas including that of prosecuting of those with mental illness. There have been many legal cases where the defendant had a mental illness that caused them to hurt or murder others. Because of these legal cases and ethics in psychology, a number of laws have been created in order to protect both those with mental health problems and the general public. For example, if someone is declared to have been "legally insane" while the person commits a crime, the crime can be considered as an accident. Instead of the person going to prison, he or she is instead sent to a mental health care facility to be treated. This law protects the mentally ill who, had he or she not been stricken with mental illness, may not have committed the crime.

The laws surrounding prosecuting the mentally ill bring up a number of questions. Deciding whether or not a particular defendant is to be found innocent or guilty of their crimes based on their psychological state when the crime was committed is a difficult choice for mental heal care professionals, judges, and juries. These decisions not only weigh heavily on the defendant's future life, but also can weigh on the lives of judges and juries as these decisions can have mental consequences. Furthermore, these decisions an also have a consequence on the general public either by protecting them from future harm or by creating a legal precedent that can make changes in human rights.

As there is some gray area in these laws, the laws are constantly changing to keep up with the changes in the mental health field. As the mental health field grows, many laws change to reflect this so that patients, professionals, and the public can receive the full rights and protection they deserve.
About this Author

Melanie writes articles on HubPages on topics such as cultural psychology and informed consent in research and a number of other topics.

Criminal Defense Attorneys and Court Appointed Attorneys

Quite frankly the top criminal defense attorneys and court appointed attorneys are the ones that win the most cases and get the most satisfying results for their clients. Court appointed attorneys do not publish their case results so their success in court is obscure. You should choose a criminal defense attorney that gets the best case results for their clients, not an attorney that gets the highest opinion or recommendation of a judge or other attorneys. The opinions of judges or other attorneys can always be swayed by personal meetings and relationships. It makes complete logical sense to choose a criminal defense attorney that wins the most cases or gets the best results for their clients in the same way that a top boxer or athlete is the one that wins the most.

Many articles have been written on choosing between hiring a criminal ddfense attorney and getting a free court appointed attorney. A misconception is that a court appointed attorney will fiercely fight for you and give effective counsel. Court appointed attorneys have heavy case loads and very limited time to work on your case. The limited time they have to work on your case will affect the success or failure of your case results and ultimately your life.

A private criminal defense attorney that works on a team of criminal lawyers and experts that communicate thoroughly with you and have the resources and time dedicated to your case is going to maximize the potential of a good outcome. Providing you with the best legal counsel to win your case is the responsibility and probably the intention of every criminal defense attorney, whether public or not. However, governmental budget restraints and an overloaded judicial criminal court system is the reality that a public defender and defendants that choose them must accept.

If you decide to get a court appointed attorney you are also taking a risk because that particular one may not specialize in the type of criminal law that you have been charged with or have meager or no experience at all. Court appointed attorneys that have insufficient experience defending criminal cases are not likely to have a comprehensive understanding of the rules of evidence, especially if they have no experience with the criminal charges you are facing. Attorneys deficient in experience will also have difficulty identifying the strengths and weaknesses of your case, trying your case in the court room, and will also have little credibility negotiating a good deal for you.

There are also court appointed attorneys and law students who have no experience at all and that is why they're working in the public defenders' office; to gain experience. As you can expect this is the worst possible scenario as law schools are not what the real world is like, and the criminal law courtroom is extremely different than a classroom. A court appointed attorney may be a law student or brand new attorney standing up in court for the very first time. He may be more scared than you are and be intimidated by a prosecutor with years of experience in criminal law, the courtroom, with trials and plea bargains. This is not the situation that you want to find yourself in when you're life and liberty is on the line.

A criminal defense attorney having experience in criminal law and the criminal charges that you are facing is extremely valuable when deciding on whether or not your case goes to trial and plea bargaining. A criminal defense attorney that has thoroughly reviewed your case with other criminal lawyers and experts in the field will pool their experiences and expertise giving you the advantage of a very knowledgeable criminal defense team fighting for you. A good criminal defense attorney will also have your case investigated by experts to assure that he or she is making the appropriate decision on whether or not your case has enough probable and sufficient evidence to seek the advantages of going to trial or the alternative decision to take a plea bargain. Either way knowing your case from the inside out and all possible scenarios will enable your attorney to effectively represent you in criminal court and get you the best case results.

You may get very lucky with a court appointed attorney with a light work load, but chances of this happening are not likely. Problems of low salaries and excessive case loads commonly plague many state public defenders' offices. Some court appointed attorneys juggle over two hundred cases. In Los Angeles County it is very common to have one public defense attorney handle over 300 cases, which is well over the maximum caseload size of one hundred recommended by the American Bar Association for a full-time practicing attorney. Even the most well-intentioned and passionate court appointed attorney may be overwhelmed and jeopardize their client's constitutional right to effective counsel.

Gambling your life on an already overburdened criminal court system could land you in jail with heavy fines and few answers. You may even find yourself with a severely jeopardized future or no future at all. You owe it to yourself to retain a criminal defense attorney that is meticulously dedicated in representing you so that you may go on living your life.
About this Author

An expert on criminal defense from wrote this article. Read about our criminal defense attorneys, their case results, recent case wins in the news, and our criminal law areas of distinction.

How A Criminal Attorney Is Able To Help You

In the United States, criminal law is arguably the most complex area of law, since it comprises a wide range of concepts. As a result of this, there are a wide range of available attorneys that specialize in criminal defense. A good criminal attorney will advocate on behalf of their client in court and defend them to the best of their abilities against criminal charges.

Several offenses are deemed to be illicit and immoral in nature because of the gravity of their consequences. The most representative crimes falling under this legal area include homicide, assault, theft, drug trafficking and sexual offenses. Certain lawyers specialize in a specific kind of crime, whereas others widen their area of practice to include all illegal acts.

Choosing the right lawyer to represent you in your case is a decisive factor in whether you will succeed or not. As may be expected, there are various types of lawyers specializing in different areas, so choosing the right lawyer will mean greater efficiency and competence. A strong defense is much more likely when the lawyer you choose already has expertise in the defense of the crime you're accused of.

When a person is arrested and charged with a criminal act, they will inevitably feel crushed by the harsh reality. Indeed, persons who go through such an ordeal often describe it as the most traumatic period in their lives. Furthermore, the family of the accused will also share the burden of fear and anxiety.

It therefore becomes crucial to appoint a reliable defense lawyer to take care of your legal issues in these troubled times. The shock will make an individual feel helpless and at a loss as to what to do, so having a lawyer by your side will allow you feel more at ease and confident that the matter is in a professional's hands.

Apart from the emotional blow, a person facing such serious charges also has their reputation at stake. It is inevitable that when a person is arrested and accused, his record will suffer an indelible mark, which might well influence their life later on. It is only through a sound criminal defense that an individual can safeguard their reputation and professional credibility.

The most common fear of defendants is being sentenced to time in prison. Being forced to spend a period of time incarcerated will mean a harsh separation from loved ones, as well as a huge blow to one's reputation. Most people faced with a criminal charge tend to panic and imagine themselves in jail before a criminal defense lawyer is hired. Fortunately, a good attorney will manage to eliminate the certainty of jail, or at least lessen the period which must be served.

Browsing the internet will help you make an informed choice in your time of need. Many lawyers today have their own website through which they can advertise to potential clients. Such websites will contain all the relevant information which prospective client would need. Certain lawyers also offer free consultation to anyone wishing to make use of such service in order to better understand his legal position in such an important time.
About this Author

When hiring a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer, ensure that you meet with more than one so that you can make an informed decision on who to hire.

If you've been arrested for a crime you've committed in Broward county, you will need the representation of an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney to ensure that you won't fall victim to an aggressive and zealous prosecution. Being sentenced to a period of incarceration is devastating for most people. To learn more, please visit

Understanding Federal Sex Crimes

In the United States, there are two kinds of courts - state courts and federal courts. State courts have been established by each state and are located in cities and counties. In contrast, federal courts are established under the U.S. Constitution to handle disputes involving the Constitution and laws which were passed by Congress.

State courts have a lot of power, so most cases involving individuals will be heard in state courts. For example, the state courts will handle cases involving family law disputes, robberies, burglaries, theft and broken contracts. The state courts will not hear cases involving specific federal laws such as criminal, antitrust, bankruptcy, patent and copyrights.

A vast majority of criminal cases involving violations of state laws are heard in state courts, but cases which
involve violations of federal laws can be diverted to federal court. There are some instances where both federal and state courts have jurisdiction. When this occurs, the parties choose whether to go to state or federal court.

A federal crime or federal offense is a crime which is made illegal by federal legislation. In the U.S., people can be prosecuted at either the state or federal level. As stated above, the majority of criminal offenses are prosecuted on the state level; however, a "federal offense" will be prosecuted on in federal court.

Certain aggravated or more serious sex crimes are federal offenses in this country. If a person is convicted of a federal sex crime, they could be facing mandatory minimum sentencing. In addition to spending years in prison, probation or parole, and fines, they are also facing mandatory sex offender registration.

When a person is required to register on the national sex offender registry, their name, address, headshot and description of their offense will be publicly posted. This means that anyone can have access to such private information for years to come. Sex offender registration can also limit where you live and where you can be. Limits can be placed on how close you go to a school campus or a public park.

Another less widely known fact about being convicted of a federal sex crime is that you might be sent to a Federal Medical Center, which is a Federal Bureau of Prisons Facility. These facilities treat the terminally ill, the mentally ill and sex offenders. Inmates with a sex offender history are enrolled in the residential Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-R) or Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP). Whether inmates like it or not, they are expected to submit to these "intensive" treatment programs along with other sex offenders.

What sex crimes fall under the category of federal sex crimes? First of all, most sex crimes involving children such as sexual assault, rape, possession of child pornography or distribution of child pornography are considered federal crimes. The list of federal sex crimes is quite extensive, however some common examples of federal sex crimes include aggravated sexual abuse, repeat offenders, sexual exploitation of children, human trafficking, sexual abuse of a minor, sexual abuse resulting in death, selling or buying children for sexual purposes, and many more.

Being convicted of a federal sex crime can ruin your reputation and your livelihood. Not only would you be facing years in prison, but mandatory sex offender registration as well. Being labeled a "sex offender" will affect your ability to get housing, employment and higher education. No matter what brought you to these charges, it's essential that you consult with an experienced federal criminal attorney who defends such complex cases.
About this Author

Guy L. Womack & Associates, P.C. is a federal criminal defenses firm which represents clients throughout the U.S. in federal court cases. When you are being charged with a federal crime, you cannot afford to hire an attorney who has little to no experience in defending federal criminal charges. Your case may be under scrutiny by a large federal agency such as the FBI, DEA or CIA. If this is true, you need a highly respected federal crime defense lawyer by your side. With nearly thirty years legal experience, and a background as a former federal prosecutor, Guy Womack has the requirements you need to defend your case in federal court. To learn more about how you can fight your charges, contact an attorney from our firm by calling toll free at (800) 990-8762 or by visiting the firm's website at

Finding The Best Criminal Lawyer To Represent You

When referring to criminal law, reference would need to be made to the various aspects which make up such a vast legal area. Consequently, a criminal lawyer refers to an attorney whose studies concentrated on criminal law and its several branches. Defense attorneys are the professionals required for anyone seeking to be well-defended against any criminal accusations.

Crimes are obviously serious violations of the law, which damage an individual either physically or morally. The sort of crimes which are commonly prosecuted are generally homicide, drug trafficking, theft and sexual offenses. However, criminal law is certainly not limited to these alone, and that is why there are several criminal lawyers that specialize in particular areas.

As can be imagined, hiring a lawyer who has sufficient experience in the particular area under which your case falls is crucial. Choosing the right lawyer to represent you will have a determinate effect on the outcome of your case. For this reason you obviously should do a little research on who would be the best attorney for you.

There are few experiences as traumatic as being accused of a crime. This is true both for the accused as well as for their loved ones. Preparing a solid defense requires time, effort, energy and financial means. Trusting your case in the hands of a reliable lawyer will relieve you of much anxiety, since you would know that an experienced professional would be in charge of your defense.

The benefit of having a good defense attorney on your side is that they will be professionally and objectively involved, with no emotional shackles to cloud their determination. Seasoned lawyers would have dealt with several similar cases in their past, so they would know what best to do.

Apart from the emotionally demanding time, facing a criminal charge would mean that your reputation is at risk. This is obviously a very serious aspect, especially as it regards your future professional endeavors. A criminal defense lawyer will know what to do to safeguard your personal record from harmful conviction records. Having a conviction on your record will influence where you can get a job and where you can live considerably.

While having charges dropped is a rare event, a criminal defense lawyer can often negotiate an equitable plea deal in which the charges would be reduced. This is naturally very much dependent on the facts of the case, but in general defense lawyers will manage to secure a much better outcome than what you would have initially imagined. The fear of facing time in jail is predominant amongst accused persons, but it is generally disposed of altogether by an able lawyer.

A very useful tool which anyone looking for a criminal attorney can make use of is the internet. A quick search will give you a wide range of websites of different criminal lawyers and their personal information. This will allow you to compare the different potential choices and to opt for the lawyer who seems best able to defend your rights. Apart from information, you can also use such websites to contact the lawyer directly and ask anything you wish. It is also possible to obtain a free consultation session with the lawyer of your choice so that you will be able to get to know how he approaches your case. Choosing the right criminal lawyer will be instrumental in your case.
About this Author

If you've been arrested in Broward county, you will need the representation of a Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected in the course of your case. A good criminal lawyer can get you a great plea deal when taking the case to trial is not a good option. To read more visit

One Side of a Story

One of the unending frustrations of a criminal lawyer is watching his clients' reputations being smeared in the media, among the clients' friends or family, and with the clients' employer.

Unfortunately in our society, when someone is arrested, charged, or indicted, people assume there must be some reason for the charge. This is a natural reaction, but unfortunate, especially given how easy it is to arrest, charge, and indict someone.

An arrest is based on probable cause, which basically amounts to an opinion by the charging officer based on some specific facts that the person had or was in the process of committing a crime. The problem is that the specific facts are in many cases innocent, and only interpreted as suspicious by a police officer trained to arrest people.

Let's take a simple example from DWI law. Let's say a person was driving slowly, and at some point his car started straddling two lanes for 300 feet, causing the officer to pull the car over. Let's assume upon pulling the car over, the officer approaches and smells a "strong odor" of alcohol coming from the car. Let's then assume that the officer then asks the person to step out of the car and asks the person whether he's been drinking tonight. Let's assume that the person admits that he has had four beers.

Let's further assume that this interview occurs on the side of a major street (where there is moderate to light traffic) at 2:00 am in the morning in the middle of winter.

Let's assume that this person has never been in trouble with the law before. Let's assume that this person then is asked to perform some field sobriety tests. The person is very polite and cooperative, and wants to do everything he can to help the officer out. But the person has trouble keeping his head still during the eye exam - called the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test (HGN). Given that the person failed to keep his head still, the officer marks down on his report that person "failed to comply." (More about that later!)

Let's then assume that the person is asked to do the Walk and Turn test (WAT), the second in the battery of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests. The officer instructs the person to take nine steps heel to toe on an imaginary line, execute a turn, all while keeping his arms by his side, and then return nine steps. The person performs this test, but, according to the officer, fails to make contact heel-to-toe (even though contact is not required according to NHTSA in order to perform well on that aspect of the test). Let's assume that the person, trying to follow the officer's commands, takes his time and keeps his arms by his side. The officer writes in his report that the person "took abnormally long" to complete the test and kept his hands "glued bizarrely" to his side.

Next the officer asks the person to complete the One Legged Stand (OLS) test, the third in the battery of three SFST tests. The person has trouble keeping his balance for more than 6 seconds, let alone the 30 required by the test. The officer fails to note that the ground on the side of the road had loose rocks.

On the basis of those three test, the officer charges the person with a DWI.

The person's performance on those tests - as described by the officer - and his answers to the questions look pretty bad.

And that's why it's important to have competent, aggressive defense lawyers. Because, seen another way, the driver's performance was completely normal and not indicative of impairment.

For instance, the person was driving slowly, but that's because the person was from out-of-town. The person did have four beers, but over a seven hour period (that's about a drink every two hours). The odor was strong, but that's because there were three other drunk people in the car when the officer stuck his head down to the driver's side window.

The driver had trouble keeping his car in his lane for about 300 feet (incidentally, that's only 1/20th of a mile, not very long at all) because the driver was changing the radio station.

The driver did have trouble keeping his head still during the eye test, because the officer was telling him to follow a pen with his eyes and the person's contacts were extremely dry. The person's eyes were bloodshot, he'd gotten up for work at about 8 the previous morning, and had been up for about 14 hours by the point he was stopped on the side of the road.

And so on.

There are two sides to every story. Before you judge someone for having been arrested, stop to consider what you haven't heard.
About this Author

Raleigh DWI Lawyer Damon Chetson helps people charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, and DWI or Driving While Impaired charges in state and federal courts in North Carolina. He fights aggressively for his clients to help them achieve the best results. He can be reached at (919) 352-9411 day or night. Initial consultations are free.

Appealing Case With DUI Attorney

For those that have ever been pulled over for driving under the influence, then they have more than likely went to court for their wrong doings, and many people are given jail time for this behavior. However, there are those times in which many people feel as though their sentence is a bit harsh or that they were accused wrongly. When this happens, the person is going to have to work with their DUI attorney in order to appeal the decision that the court has made and see if they can get a sentencing that is more in their favor. But when should they go through the process of appealing to the courts?

When to do this appeal is easy since you should do this almost immediately after receiving a decision that you do not agree with. The DUI attorney that you are working with is going to have the information that they need in order to appeal, which may involve letting the court system and the local government know of what you plan to do. As well as, the paperwork that needs to be done in order to make sure that the appeal goes through and is considered as it should be. So what should you expect with the appeal?

First things first, the appeal process is going to take months at a time. It is not unheard of for the person to not have another court date for months after the initial sentencing, and many times the person is already starting the community service or other sentencing before their appeal date rolls around. Therefore, the person must have some patience when it comes to completing the process. The thing about appeals is that you are not able to introduce any new facts that may help your case. The court is simply going to take a second look at the information, and listen to the information that was provided during the first trial. So what are the ways in which a DUI attorney is going to argue an appeal is necessary?

They could argue that the court was biased for whatever reason. For example, the judge knew the defendant, the jury knew the defendant or the information obtained to prosecute was not obtained legally. There is a slew of reasons that an attorney may seem fit to use as a way to make sure that the person gets another trial. However, the person should not expect to be going up against no one. The original court hearing is going to have officials giving information as to why the person should not be tried again and so forth.

The DUI attorney that the person is working with is the person that should handle every aspect of the appeal since they know what they are doing and how to make sure that they are doing everything possible to make an appeal work for their client.
About this Author is an online law information site and delivers unbiased articles, analysis and other developments of the legal landscape. Read more about DUI Attorney.

Tennessee Sex Crimes

Sex crimes in the state of Tennessee are codified in Title 39, Chapter 13 of the Tennessee Code Annotated. These crimes can include rape, aggravated rape, sexual battery, statutory rape, solicitation of a minor, and patronizing prostitution. Perhaps the most serious consequence of being convicted of a Tennessee Sex Crime is having to go on the sex offender registry list. Under Tennessee law, anyone classified as either a "sex offender" or "violent sex offender" must register. The difference between the two is in the type of crime. A sex offender can be anyone who has committed crimes such as sexual battery, certain types of statutory rape, aggravated prostitution, sexual exploitation of a minor, and others. Violent sex offenders, as the name implies, are for more violent crimes such as aggravated rape, rape, and aggravated sexual battery.

Both violent and non-violent sex offenders must register upon being convicted of a Tennessee sex crime. Registration is usually done at a local law enforcement office. Violent offenders must report in person during the months of March, June, September and December. Non-violent sexual offenders must report in person annually between seven days before and seven days after their birthday. All offenders must report in person within 48 hours of changing their residence, job, or school.

Violent offenders must remain on the registry for life. Non-violent offenders may petition for removal after ten years from the end of their sentence, whether the sentence was probation or prison time. If the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation determines that the applicant has not been convicted of any additional sex offenses and has substantially complied with the requirements of registration, it will remove the offender from the registry.

One exception to the ten-year rule is where the offender is placed on judicial diversion. Diversion is the process of having a criminal charged dismissed and removed from the defendant's record upon completing probation. Diversion is a special procedure and is not available to all defendants or for all charges. However, certain sex offenses in Tennessee are diversion eligible, and for those offenses the offender may be immediately removed from the registry upon expungement of the charge. For instance, both sexual battery and statutory rape are diversion eligible sex crimes in Tennessee. Both are Class E felonies punishable from one to six years. If the defendant is sentenced to one year and is granted diversion, at the end of the year they may have the charge removed from their criminal record and also may request to be taken off the sex offender registry.

This is not the case with most sex crimes in Tennessee, however. Most sex crimes cannot be removed from the individual's record through diversion, and will require either lifetime or at least ten-year registration.

Offenders may find it hard to get a job or even a place to live. Under the law in Tennessee, registrants whose victim was a minor cannot live, work or undergo sex offender treatment within 1000 feet of a school, day care center, public park, recreation center or athletic field. All offenders, whether violent or non-violent and regardless of the victim's age, must stay off school property, day care centers, public parks and recreation facilities when the offender has reason to believe children under 18 are present. In other words sex offenders can't even go to the park.

Because of the serious and lasting consequences of a sex crime, individuals charged with one of these offenses should consult a Tennessee sex crimes lawyer to review the case.
About this Author

Patrick Stegall is a Memphis sex crimes lawyer. He helps individuals charged with violent and non-violent sex offenses.

Great Criminal Defense Lawyers Are Worth The Expense

If you have been accused of a crime, whether you have done it or not, it is wise to get the help of a lawyer to defend you. There are a lot of criminal defense lawyers available willing to fight your corner, whether you are guilty of a serious crime, such as murder, or not. Using a good lawyer can prevent you from being imprisoned for a crime that you did not commit. They can also help to reduce the sentence, if you are found guilty.

If you have been convicted of a crime, when you are trying to find a lawyer to defend you, there are a lot of things that you have to bear in mind. Experience is one of the most important things. It is better if you can find somebody who is experienced in the field of which you have been charged with. This will help you enormously, and not just their criminal knowledge. It is also an advantage to you if they have come up against the same legal opponents, and judge, before.

You should also find out if the attorney works alone, or has the support of a good research team. Some of the most brilliant lawyers accept that a lot of their success is due to the work done behind-the-scenes. A defense lawyer, that has been comprehensively briefed by their researchers, is able to work more efficiently in resolving your case.

Sadly, there are some people who will be keen to charge you with a crime, whether they believe you did it or not. This is where you really need a great defense attorney. They will be able to prevent the prosecution from using a string of false allegations to get you committed. There are a lot of people serving sentences in prison for crimes that they did not commit.

Justice will never seem very straightforward, however much they try to simplify it. There are a lot of people in this world, however much they feel what they have done is right, have committed a crime. They have acted on impulse in order to help somebody, but in error. This is where you need a competent legal representative to convince the court that even though you are guilty of the offense, there are mitigating reasons.

Never look for the funny side of a legal problem, because you are not going to find one. To be accused of a crime and come before the court can be very frightening. Even though you are innocent, the prosecuting counsel will do as much as they can to prove you are guilty to the jury for this reason, it is very important that you find the best attorney you can. Whether you like it or not, you are in a situation that can change your life incredibly..

Whatever you feel is the truth does not matter, it is the decision of the jury whether you are guilty or not. Your lawyer can only present the facts, and the court decides to believe them or not. The punishment you are given, if found guilty, largely depends on how skillful a defense lawyer you had on your side.

The results you get in your court case can ultimately rely on your choice of legal representation. Criminal defense lawyers who are highly qualified are more likely to get a result that favors you. The decision of the court will be final, and it is up to your legal representative to convince them that you really are innocent.
About this Author

Looking for a Surrey criminal lawyer or criminal lawyer Vancouver? Then be sure to visit - a leading criminal defence lawyer practicing in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby and across British Columbia.

Some of the Biggest Things Ever Stolen

When most of us think "elaborate heist" we think of The Thomas Crown Affair or Ocean's 11, with money or art being stolen - the kind of thing you can walk out the door with, put in your car, and just drive off with. Some thieves, however, think bigger, and by bigger I mean they steal items that probably require a forklift and a big rig truck to get away with. How big are we talking? Well...

In 2007, visitors to a Jamaican beach noticed a lack of sand at what was a usually sandy area. Roughly half a mile of beach had up and disappeared - that's about 500 dump trucks worth of sand that was there one day and gone the next. Officials checked to make sure that it wasn't a natural occurrence such as the ocean taking out the sand, but in the end it was confirmed that somebody stole the sand, which was never recovered.

In Russia, a 38 foot long bridge built for automobiles was taken in the space of one night. Yes, you read that correctly - a 38 foot long STEEL bridge was stolen in the middle of the night. While probably taken to sell the steel as scrap, this wasn't the only bridge taken that year and you'd think that eventually the Russian police would start making inquiries at places buying scrap metal.

The one that really takes the cake though was a fully loaded oil tanker that was stolen. I'm not talking about Somali pirates hijacking and ransoming back a tanker, I'm talking about it being stolen and never recovered, which is impressive when you consider that you can't exactly hide an oil tanker in your garage and hope nobody walks in.

The MV Asterious was being guarded by the Nigerian Navy while moored at an oil field in Ghana and while details are sketchy, it is known that therd have never been any leads or suspects to aid in the recovery of the ship. Oh, and the crew of the tanker? Russians. Gotta love it.

Now I'm not advocating that you go out and steal something huge to make it on a list like this, but I think everybody can agree that these "heists" are impressive if nothing else and you have to admire the ingenuity that goes into pulling something like this off since you can't exactly fit an oil tanker or bridge in your pocket and just walk away.
About this Author

Steve Falco is a trucker that specializes in shipping hazardous materials and oversized loads. To learn more about shipping visit:

Domestic Violence - Criminal Defense

The term is used in family law matters to describe violence (either actual or threatened) which occurs within a family including physical, verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, financial or social abuse. Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse or intimate partner violence, can be broadly defined as a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both partners in an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, family, friends or cohabitation.

It is a crime for any person to cause any physical injury or harm EVEN if that person is a member or former member of your family or household. If the investigator is in your house, let him know if you, your child, or any other household resident has being injured. If you feel that you will be in danger when the officer leaves or later, you have the right to: "Ask the local attorney prosecutor (DA) to file a criminal complaint against the person committing family violence"; and "Apply to a court for an order to protect you (you should consult a legal aid office, a prosecuting attorney, or an experienced private attorney ). If a family or household member assaults you and is arrested, you may request that a magistrate's order for emergency protection be issued. Please inform the investigating officer if you want an order for emergency protection. You need not be present when the order is issued. You cannot be charged a fee by a court in connection with filing, serving or entering a protective order. For example, the court can enter an order that:

1.The abuser not commit further acts of violence;
2. The abuser not threaten, harass, or contact you at home;
3. Directs the abuser to leave you household; and
4. Establishes temporary custody of the children and directs the abuser not to interfere with the children or property.

When a family violence occurs and the officer appears at the scene, they will always arrest one person, regardless if this person is the aggressor or not.

Domestic violence is a violation of certain provisions of court-ordered protection - may be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the injuries and allegations. If you are being charged with domestic violence, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. A bond will be conditioned, and you will have to appear in front of the judge. In the event you are arrested and no bond has been set, you can contact a private attorney to file an attorney writ bond for your release.
About this Author

Carla Starr is an Accountant with MBA in Management and Marketing Coordinator for Kent Starr Law Firm. is a Dallas law firm specialized in CRIMINAL DEFENSE, PERSONAL INJURY, INSURANCE DISPUTES, LANDLORD and EMPLOYER DEFENSE. Kent Starr, Dallas federal criminal attorney, handles state and federal cases ranging from drunk driving to murder.

The Secret About Criminal Lawyers

Criminal lawyers are the ones who specialize in dealing with cases involving individuals or organizations with criminal allegations to their name. The main aim of the best criminal lawyers is to help their clients form such a strategic legal defense so that there is no scope of losing the case. Regardless of the criminal offences a person is charged with, hiring the top crimin`l lawyers of the city will definitely pay off for the good of the respective client.

Importance of criminal lawyers

Criminal defense lawyers are always ready to help their clients in case they are charged with any sort of criminal offence. Since they are experts in their field of knowledge, they are able to provide high quality service to clients who need them. There are 24 hour criminal law firms that suggest best lawyers to people, as per their needs.

The criminal defense lawyers study the case presented to them thoroughly and look for any loopholes in their favor. Then they use these strong points and form a good argument to be presented in the court at the time of hearing. With their experience and skill, they are able to help people charged with criminal offence to win the case in court.

How to get good criminal lawyers

It is not necessary that all lawyers you contact are extremely good in their field. To hire the services of the top lawyers of the city or the country, you must conduct a detailed research on the performance history of 24 hour criminal law firms. These criminal law firms must have the top notch lawyers who are highly experienced and are dedicated in their field of work and whose main goal is to satisfy their clients better than any other criminal defense lawyer.

Providing the best criminal defense service does not mean that top criminal lawyers should charge extremely high rates for their services. Besides delivering high quality service to clients charged with criminal offences, these talented lawyers must also see that they do not put a financial burden on their clients.

All lawyers must also try to explain the legal aspects of the case to their clients and not try to fool them. It is important that people understand how their lawyer is fighting for the case so that they can provide necessary help whenever required. Communication must be rock solid and useful to both lawyer as well as client. Expertise is the key to look out for, while hiring a lawyer.

In a nutshell, criminal lawyers help people win criminal cases but only if they are extremely skilled in their field of knowledge.
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Criminal Law and Criminals of Authority Discussed

It seems that every day we read in the newspaper where someone of authority was caught embezzling money from a government agency, or there was a dirty cop involved in the crime. I suppose any time this happens it makes the newr, because it is rather an ironic situation, and shows the hypocrisy of authority. Here the United States we have freedom of the press, and we rely on the press to point out things that go wrong in the government, and in many regards that is a safeguard keeping our Republic strong.

Some say there are more and more people in government who are committing crimes. I'm not so sure that is true, but I do believe we are better at detecting it, and the media is always on alert to dig up dirt. In fact, it seems like major media outlets compete with each other to dig up stories like this. Not long ago, there was an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times where someone in the police department had embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of parking ticket violations.

No, I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone, but it is a good case in point. There was an interesting story that same day on the East Coast where a schoolteacher was having sex with one of their underage students. We are taught in the United States to respect authority, but criminals know and realize that once they can get into an authority position, they can really benefit from the situation. I'd like to point out three areas where criminals can advance their careers fastest, and why we need to be on the lookout, to protect ourselves as citizens.

1. Some Criminals Become Cops
2. Smart Criminals Become Lawyers
3. Smart Criminal Sociopaths Become Politicians

Obviously, most police officers join the force because they wish to protect people, and do something good for our society. However, some reports show that 33% of those that go through the police academy are less than ethical in some way. Luckily, most of the bad ones get weeded out during training, or in the first few years on the force. That's a good thing, but you can understand if someone was of a criminal mind, why they might like to be a police officer in the first place.

Now then, if someone was a criminal and they wanted to become a lawyer, they might make quite a bit of money. Of course, the good thing is that most criminals are lazy, and it takes a lot to go through law school, get a law degree, and pass the bar. Then there are the super smart criminals who are also sociopaths, sometimes they become politicians, and this can cause absolute havoc for the jurisdictions they control, and their constituents. If we get too many of them at higher levels of government, it becomes a real problem for our society and civilization. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.
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Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes writing 24,444 articles by September 4th at 4:44 PM will be difficult because all the letters on his keyboard are now worn off now..

Department of Justice Judicial Selection

Upon taking a look at the methods used in the United States by the Department of Justice for judicial selection, what is truly remarkable is that various methods have been used over the years. At present, different methods are used at both the federal and state levels. For example, at the federal level the Department of Justice gives the President of the United States the privilege of nominating judges; the Senate must confirm the President's nominations by a majority vote. Now, when talking about judge selection at the state level, it must be said that the process is not quite as simple given the fact that states can choose between different systems, which can be grouped into five major categories: gubernatorial appointment (the governor appoints the judges directly); legislative election (judges are chosen by the legislature); partisan election (voters choose between party nominees in general elections); nonpartisan election (voters choose judges in a general election); Missouri Plan (a commission creates a short list of nominees; the governor chooses from that list).

Thus far it has been made clear that the systems used, both at the federal and state levels, are different; these differences, however, are only observable in theory, but in practice, there is no way to either observe, or measure, such differences. Why? Because in the end, the procedure through which judges are appointed remains invariable; the Department of Justice, in the end is only concerned with political accountability, not with justice independence. In other words, the United States has a judiciary system that is conditioned by politics; parties elect judges that share their ideologies (and block the appointment of those that do not), political favors are given (and taken) in exchange for appointments, and in the end the result is that the United States' legal system works to support political agendas (the defense of the laws themselves, and the quality and knowledge of those appointed as judges with what has to do with laws, are matters of secondary importance).

Justice and politics are in fact related, but they are two fundamentally different institutions, and as such, it should not happen that one uses (abuses even) the other in order to satisfy its own needs and wants. Justice was created by man to watch over, to defend and guarantee, the preservation of his rights and liberties, despite of what such defense might do to politics or party interests, for that matter. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that judiciary appointments, both at the federal and state level (both under the watchful eye of the Department of Justice), should be performed using the same system. Why? Ultimately, because regardless of it being a Supreme Court Justice appointment, or a municipal court judge appointment, justice must be exercised in the same way (with the same rigor and efficiency).

Justice is a social institution that man created hundreds of years ago, when societies were first set up; given its important for the maintenance of the social establishment, justice has grown and developed over time, but its development has not been without problems. Justice and politics are two separate matters; in order to have effectiveness and justice in the exercise of the law, it is important to establish a new system, one that is homogeneous (for all levels of justice) and that is independent from the other branches of government. This is a task that the Department of Justice will need to see completed before justice can truly be served objectively and righteously.
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