Longmont police didn’t follow procedures with warrantless searches, city concludes

Officials from Longmont have concluded that procedures used by Longmont police to establish consent during warrantless searches did not adhere to the police department’s standards. The tenets of a Longmont apartment building were reportedly not told in advance that they had a right to refuse entry by the police and K-9 dogs that, along with housing authority staff, were conducting the unconstitutional searches. The Weld County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation on the searches, but decided that Longmont police “policies, procedures, training and practices are all in place and appropriate.” Apparently infringing upon the rights of others is “appropriate” in the eyes of the police. The Law Offices of Steven J Pisani specialize in DUI, traffic, and criminal defense. Call our Denver office today for a free consultation at 303-635-6768.


Denver Post, John Fryar, 7/14/2017

Link: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/07/14/longmont-police-didnt-follow-procedures-with-warrantless-searches-city-concludes/

Sessions: Softened approach to drug enforcement led to surge in drug abuse and violent crime

In a recent letter sent to and published by The Washington Post, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions elaborated upon his plan to be tougher on drugs and drug offenders. Sessions blamed the United States’ supposedly rising rate in violent crime on the Justice Department’s increasingly relaxed approach to drug offenders and offenses. According to Sessions, drug prosecutions have decreased from 2011 to 2016 by 23 percent, while the average sentence for a convicted drug offender has decreased 18 percent from 2009 to 2016. This is what he believes is causing the “disturbing trend that could reverse decades of progress,” as violent crime is rising across the country. This rise in violent crime has made Sessions issue a memorandum to all federal prosecutors in which he authorizes prosecutors to charge offenses “as Congress intended.” This memorandum is supposed to allow prosecutors to apply the laws fairly while still exercising discretion, yet seems like it is meant more to punish minor drug offenders and minorities. Sessions’ misguided efforts are due to his fear of this “crime surge” being an ongoing trend in America, and apparently this policy will improve minority neighborhoods and communities that are “disproportionately impacted by violent drug trafficking.” Yet, Sessions does not seem to want to address the root cause of the oppression faced by minority communities, and is instead content attacking minor drug offenders and users who he claims are “infecting their communities.” Jeff Sessions and his “time-tested policy” are supposed to help, but will end up punishing small-time drug users as the United States punitive policies once again become the focus of our justice system. Steven J. Pisani is a Denver Criminal Defense Attorney, Denver DUI Lawyer and Denver Criminal Defense Attorney.


The Cannabist, Jeff Sessions, June 19, 2017
Link: http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/06/19/jeff-sessions-drug-enforcement-violent-crime/81865/#disqus_thread


Greeley Woman gets 20-Years for Dealing Drugs

Elizabeth Navarro was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday. She pleaded guilty to money laundering and possession of illegal drugs with intent to distribute. The task force that made the arrest seized more than 20 pounds of meth, a pound of heroin, 6 pounds of marijuana, 300 marijuana plants, nine handguns and $110,000. Navarro hid the drugs in her child’s bedroom. The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the field of Criminal Defense including felony drug offenses. Call our Denver office today for a Free Consultation.

Cite: Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, 3/1/2017

Link: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/03/01/greeley-woman-dealing-drugs-laundering-money/

Mass. Court Rules that Black Men Fleeing Police is Reasonable

The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts has ruled that a documented “pattern of racial profiling of black males in the city of Boston,” makes an instinctive reaction to flee reasonable. “We do not eliminate flight as a factor in the reasonable suspicion analysis whenever a black male is the subject of an investigatory stop. However, in such circumstances, flight is not necessarily probative of a suspect’s state of mind or consciousness of guilty,” the decision reads. The law goes a long way to protecting common-sense reactions but fails in its scope. Why is this only limited to black males? Surely, given recent events of police shootings and unlawful civil forfeiture, everyone has an instinctive reaction to flee. Earlier, this office wrote a blog about a woman who had plead guilty to Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance after a flawed roadside chemical test read that her Advil was Crack Cocaine. Surely she now has an instinctive miss-trust of police. How about the Police in Mesa County who used a S.W.A.T. team to raid the wrong house? Surely that family has reason to flee from the police. The decision is a step in the right direction but is flawed and inherently racist. All peoples should have this protection. Fleeing the cops should not be used to demonstrate guilt or for reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot. The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the field of Criminal Defense. We know that not all cops are out to protect society. If you have been wrongfully charged with an offense don’t hesitate to give our office a call.


Cite: Kenya Downs, PBS, 9/22/2016

Link: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/black-men-fleeing-police-reasonable-massachusetts-highest-court-rules/

Sonia Sotomayor Takes On the Criminal Justice System

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has written many dissents this year on cases involving the Criminal Justice system. Taken together, they appear to be a remarkable body of work from an increasingly skeptical student on the criminal justice system. The major dissent written was for the case Utah v. Streiff. In this case, a police officer stopped a man for no reason and arrested him on an outstanding warrant, finding illegal drugs in the search and arrest process. The Court ruled that the drugs found were admissible evidence in the case, but Sotomayor dissented. “What stops us,” she asked, “from becoming a police state and just having the police stand on the corner down here and stop every person, ask them for identification, put it through, and, if a warrant comes up, searching them?” In a town like Ferguson, where 80 percent of residents have minor traffic warrants, the potential for a de-facto police state has been created.

Cite: Adam Liptak, The New York Times, 4/4/2016

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/05/us/politics/in-dissents-sonia-sotomayor-takes-on-the-criminal-justice-system.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share

The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC specialize in the field of Criminal Defense and we work actively to promote Criminal Defense Reform. Call our Denver office today for a free consultation.

Private Prisoner Vans’ are an Injustice

In July of 2012, Steven Galack was arrested on an out-of-state warrant for failing to pay child support. He was packed up in a prisoner van run by small private company. From Florida to Ohio, he was crammed into the back of the small van with many other arrestees without a bathroom or room to lie down. The drivers of the van are on a strict schedule. If they are late to one drop off appointment the company starts to lose money. There is no time to pay attention to the men and women piled in back. No time for bathroom breaks, and definitely no time to stop and sleep. It was 90 degrees outside and the Air Conditioning in the van was faulty. Mr. Galack started to become delusional. He began to ramble, scream, and kept the rest of the arrestees awake during the ride. The van stopped in Georgia, and one of the two guards driving the van told the other arrestees “Only body shots,” as they began to take turns beating Mr. Galack. The guard noticed Mr. Galack was dead more than 70 miles later, in Tennessee. Subsequent investigations turned up no convictions, and no reform for the private van company. This is the current state of the extradition process in many Southern and Mid-Western states. The article below details several such incidents. The article does not mention that much is being done to fix the gross injustice of prisoner transportation, and the hellish conditions that it entails.

Cite: Eli Hager and Alysia Santo, The New York Times, 7/6/2016

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/07/us/prisoner-transport-vans.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share

The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the field of Criminal Defense, including warrant quashing. Call our Denver office today for a free consultation.

3 New York Police Commanders Are Arrested on Corruption Charges

Three New York City Police Officers are charged with varying counts of Fraud, Bribery, and Conspiracy. During an investigation it was uncovered that these men received bribes and other lavish gifts including a trip on a private jet to Law Vegas for Super Bowl weekend in 2013, accompanied by a prostitute.

The praise that US Attorney Preet Bharara lavished on the NYPD for having “the courage to police itself” can’t mask the fact that Monday was one of the department’s darkest days since the 1970s.

The wide-ranging bribery and corruption indictments Bharara unveiled involve “some of the highest and most sensitive levels” of the NYPD, he said.

And the charges “tear at the very fabric of society” by making people “wonder whether those entrusted to protect and serve them are actually doing that.”

The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the field of Criminal Defense. We offer a free consultation and flat rate retainer fees. If you have been charged with a crime don’t hesitate to call our Denver office today.


Cite: William K. Rashbaum and Joseph Goldstein, The New York Times, 6/20/2016

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/21/nyregion/nypd-arrests.html



Fear of Guantanamo prisoners coming to mainland U.S.A.

Republican leaders have blocked the closing of the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba because they do not want terrorists held on United States Soil. In fact, there are already 443 convicted terrorists on U.S. Soil, far more than the 89 who remain in Cuba. The supermax in Florence, Colorado actually holds the largest number of terrorists in the nation at 44. Supermax is located 100 miles south of Denver and holds a member of Al Qaeda involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks as well as one of the Boston Marathon Bombers. The shoe bomber and underwear bomber are also being held at supermax. There are many reasons to close Guantanamo. For one, the torture techniques used there are a stain on the virtuous reputation of the United States as a whole. Second, it shows a weakness in our moral fabric in that we are unwilling to give those kept in Cuba due process. If we cannot even fulfill an individual’s right to due process, regardless of their alleged actions, are we really any different than the barbarians we have imprisoned? It is unjust to let that fear cloud our judgment and cause us to give up our ideals of due process.

The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the area of criminal defense. Call our Denver office today for a free consultation.

Cite: Hannah Fairfield and Tim Wallace, The New York Times, 4/7/2016

Police Can Now Shoot at Moving Car as Last Resort, Aurora Says

This month, Aurora gave its police officers the authority to shoot at a moving vehicle when it poses a danger to the officer or members of the public- a shift from previous police that comes when other departments, including Denver, have moved away from such practices. The actual language in the Aurora Police Department policy changed from “will not” to “should not.” The language also states that officers should not shoot at a moving vehicle unless someone in the vehicle is using threatening deadly force by means other than the vehicle itself. “It really changes nothing,” Police Division Chief Jim Puscian said. Aurora Police have said the law comes with strict scrutiny. That being said, the public has seen the inability of Police Departments to hold themselves accountable. What the change in policy did was gave Police Officers the right to shoot at a moving car. It seems very difficult for an officer outside of a moving vehicle to assess a deadly threat from within the vehicle, if the vehicle itself is taken out of the equation. Additionally shooting at moving vehicle is incredibly dangerous public policy. Expecting a Police Officer to make accurate, controlled shots at a moving vehicle is a very tall order. This reminds me of a story I covered last year of an active shooter outside of the Empire State Building in New York City. New York City Police Officers, some of the best trained in the country, fired multiple shots at an armed individual and missed the target several times and hit innocent bystanders. And this is the with the best trained force and a target on foot. Imagine the scene of officers trying to hit a moving vehicle. And that is nothing to say if the officer is lucky enough to hit his target, then what? You have a potentially incapacitated driver at the wheel?  The policy is a move away from other police departments and is probably a move to  reduce police liability.

The Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani specialize in the area of Criminal Defense. We offer Flat Rate Retainers and competitive pricing. Call our office today for a free consultation.

Cite: Carlos Illescas, The Denver Post, 3/8/2016

Link: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29611006/aurora-police-shift-policy-allow-cops-shoot-at

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