Last week's blog post introduced readers to the idea of mens rea, or the mental state that must be shown by a prosecutor in some cases in order to obtain a conviction. Though not all offenses require the prosecutor to show the appropriate mens rea, many do. This can be a hotly contested area during the course of plea negotiations or a trial and should be dealt with aggressively, as failure to do so could lead to a conviction and serious penalties.
In many criminal cases, the prosecution, in order to obtain a conviction, must show that a defendant possessed a certain mental state when committing the alleged offense. This mental state is often referred to as "mens rea." For example, many statutes state that a defendant must have "willfully" committed the offense in order to be found guilty. But what is a "willful" act?
Workplaces are far from perfect. Nearly every work environment has something go unexpectedly wrong at one moment or another. Employees and customers can get aggressive, a business' building may become structurally unsound, or a company may go out of business. Yet, perhaps no other type of workplace incident garners the amount of attention as alleged theft. Such allegations are serious, and could severely damage an accused individual's life.
Individuals, organizations and corporations are protective of their money. So, when funds go missing or are paid out in a suspicious way, they quickly take note and seek to get to the bottom of the matter. Their investigation and thirst for justice can lead to federal charges and the potential for harsh penalties and long-term consequences.
Some federal charges are significantly more disturbing than others. In fact, in today's political environment, probably one of the most troubling federal charges a person can face is a federal terrorism charge. California readers may have heard about a California college student's recent arrest for federal crimes related to terrorism.
Pubic corruption is a broad term that refers to a breach or abuse of the public's trust by a federal, state or local government official. Common crimes related to public corruption charges include bribery and money laundering, kickbacks and embezzlement, as well as wire and tax fraud. Due to the aggressive prosecution of federal crimes related to public corruption, public officials accused of such crimes face an uphill battle.
California readers may be familiar with Hunter Moore, often referred to as the "revenge porn king." Moore, a California native, created a website, which reportedly posted provocative photos of woman and men that were provided or uploaded by jilted ex-lovers. While the website has long-been a source of controversy, it was reported that Moore and a business associate were just recently indicted for multiple federal crimes in a California federal court that are related to the now notorious website.
In recent years the federal government has placed new efforts on targeting individuals that are believed to be involved in human sex trafficking. Generally speaking human sex trafficking is defined as a form of slavery which involves the sexual exploitation of people for profits, usually through prostitution. Due to an increase in concern among various state legislatures over these issues there is currently a patchwork of state and federal laws that address the crime of human trafficking.
White-collar crime is a broad legal term that includes a variety of criminal activities. One of the most common types of white-collar crime is fraud. While fraud itself is a broad term, it is generally defined as an act involving dishonesty used to induce some behavior or act on behalf of the victim. What distinguishes a white-collar crime involving fraud from other forms of fraud is the motivation. In a white-collar crime the motivation is always financial.
Approximately 90 percent of criminal cases in the United States settle through a plea agreement. A plea agreement is an arrangement negotiated between the defense and the prosecution in order to resolve a criminal case before it goes to trial. In many cases, plea agreements can be beneficial to both defendants and the prosecution. With federal crimes, a well-negotiated plea agreement can mean the difference between years in prison and a long happy life.