St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Criminal law evidence

Evidence from Warrantless Computer Search Correctly Suppressed

Criminal law evidenceMost people understand that for the most part, a warrant is required if the police want to search your belongings. Like you’ve seen on movies and television, the police often need to possess a warrant in order to enter your home, search your car, or examine your belongings. This isn’t always the case, of course, but in the great majority of instances a warrant has to come before the search.

When police officers fail to acquire a warrant the evidence they retrieve can sometimes be suppressed in court. Take, for example, this recent ruling out of the Michigan Supreme Court: a man charged with the possession of child pornography had the evidenced suppressed in court due to the sheriff who searched the computer failing to obtain a search warrant. His criminal defense attorney in Michigan successfully lobbied the court to remove the evidence from the proceedings.

The defendant dropped his computer off for repair at a local Best Buy store. The technician working at the store noticed file names he suspected to be child pornography and contacted the police. Police then came down to the Best Buy and asked the technician to open the files. While pornography involving minors was indeed discovered on the defendant’s computer, at no point did the responding police officers attempt to get a warrant to search those files. Thus, any evidence acquired during that search is not eligible for review in court.

The original court that saw the case elected to suppress the evidence pulled from the computer due to the lack of a warrant. When this decision was challenged (all the way to the Supreme Court), it was upheld. This is one reason enlisting a criminal defense attorney in Michigan is so immensely critical — you must be made aware of any lapses in the law committed by arresting officers or officers on the scene.

If you find yourself in similar circumstances or are seeking a reputable and experienced criminal defense attorney in Michigan, contact The Law Office of Attorney Peter J. Johnson at 269.982.1100 or visit www.attorneypeterjohnson.com for more information.

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kids sue parents

Kids Sue Dad for Using their Money for Bills

kids sue parentsOne Michigan man is in hot water after the Michigan Court of Appeals decided that he can be sued for conversion as a result of using money from his children’s trust account for bills. Here’s the basic explanation of the situation: The defendant had three children and was the custodian of accounts established in their names. When the defendant divorced his wife he became financially unstable, using money from the trust accounts to cover medical bills and legal bills belonging exclusively to him.

When the children, who are no longer minors, realized what had happened, they sued the defendant for conversion. A grand total of more than $20,000 was removed from the accounts. When the courts found that the defendant had taken the money improperly, he appealed under the pretense that he had an obligation to pay the children’s medical expenses. Unfortunately for the defendant, the courts determined that those medical bills were “in addition to” the expenditures of custodial property and thus not a valid reason for removing the funds. A Michigan criminal attorney looking over the case would be hard pressed to disagree.

The appeals court established that the plaintiffs did not need to make a demand of the return of the money, as it was intentionally withdrawn and used rather than withheld by the defendant. There’s no need to demand the return of money that isn’t being withheld.

Sorting out the complexities of trusts and financial obligations is tough work. Even a parent that thinks he’s doing everything right could be making major mistakes along the way. Working with an experienced criminal attorney in Michigan is one of the best ways to handle those mistakes and to get your future moving in the right direction. For more information or inquiries about legal matters such as described above please call The Law Office of Attorney Peter J. Johnson at 269.982.1100 or visit www.attorneypeterjohnson.com for more information.

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