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March 2012 Archives

Judge dismisses conspiracy charges against militia members

The federal judge presiding over the trial of seven member of a Michigan militia who were accused by prosecutors of plotting a rebellion against the government dismissed the charges on March 27 for lack of evidence. In granting the defendants' motion to dismiss, the judge said that secret recordings of their conversations were merely evidence of protected speech, not a criminal conspiracy.

Government pursing conspiracy charges despite no 'specific plan'

Despite admitting that seven members of a Michigan militia did not have a "specific plan" to commit a crime, federal prosecutors claimed in court on March 26 that the defendants' conspiracy trial should continue. The arguments were part of an unusual move by the trial judge to hold a day of hearings before determining whether to dismiss the charges against the defendants. The case against one defendant in particular appears especially uncertain as it is not clear she actively joined the alleged conspiracy.

Accused 'jihadist' arrested over gun in photograph

A photograph and video that federal prosecutors say depict an Allegheny County man holding a rifle was the primary evidence used to arrest the man on March 15. FBI agents claim that the suspect is a Taliban sympathizer and potential terrorist, but his attorney said that his client is all talk and that he does not possess a gun.

Bad affidavit is the source of lawsuit against former officers

A resident of a Pittsburgh suburb whose drug charges were thrown out after it was proven the arresting police officers lied on the arrest affidavit has filed a lawsuit against the officers and the City of Pittsburgh. In the lawsuit, the man says his Constitutional rights were violated by the arrest, which revealed dozens of false arrest affidavits filed by the officers but no criminal charges against either man.

Man admits carrying gun to respond to threat

A Pennsylvania man facing weapons charges after being arrested in a mall said that he was carrying his father's handgun because someone had threatened him. Police say the man was found dressed as a polifce officer assigned to Amtrak, including a partial uniform, a bulletproof vest and a handheld radio.

Pennsylvania man charged with embezzling from company

An Indiana County, Pennsylvania, man was arrested and charged with of embezzling close to $1 million from his employer, a drilling company. The white collar arrest came after the company's controller told police that the man had been having her write checks and create false invoices. The 51-year-old man was arrested on Feb. 13 and arraigned that same day on 29 counts of theft by unlawful taking and 29 counts of receiving stolen property.

Pennsylvania jury convicts man on drug charge from 1997

Despite problems with the case against a 62-year-old former resident of Greene County, Pennsylvania, a jury recently convicted the man on charges related to a 1997 arrest. The length of time between the arrest and trial -- along with the death of the prosecution's main witness and the conviction of the state police officer who made the arrest on an unrelated matter -- did not prevent the jury from reaching their decision after 35 minutes of deliberation. They found the man guilty of drug possession with intent to deliver for allegedly possessing more than two pounds of marijuana.

Pennsylvania man charged after vehicle enters airport runway

Federal prosecutors say that an eastern Pennsylvania man was intoxicated when he drove his Jeep onto the tarmac of an airport on March 1. The incident disrupted air traffic, though no injuries were reported and authorities said there was no reason to believe the incident was an attempted act of terrorism.

Staged traffic stop leads to child pornography charges

A suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, man who recently pleaded guilty to charges of possessing child pornography was initially arrested after police officers staged a traffic stop against him, according to news reports. Few details of the traffic stop are available, including how the sting was carried out and whether officers had an arrest warrant prior to the stop.

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