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Federal Felonies Archives

Russian student charged with bomb possession in Altoona

It remains to be seen whether authorities will bring federal charges against an Altoona college student accused of possessing a weapon of mass destruction. According to police, the 19-year-old Russian national was under investigation for allegedly growing marijuana, but when officers entered the young man's residence, they found what they believed to be a bomb and other materials used to make explosives.

Rights violations may occur during arrests on federal charges

Federal authorities do not always satisfy constitutional standards in their law enforcement activities. There are numerous federal agencies operating in Pennsylvania and nationwide that make arrests on federal charges. Various examples of aborted federal arrests teach that consulting early with an attorney experienced in federal procedure is the best course to take.

Federal court: Police must have warrant to track suspects with GPS

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is based in Philadelphia and has jurisdiction over courts in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Recently, with regard to an alleged string of pharmacy burglaries, the federal appeals court ruled that investigators violated a man's Fourth Amendment rights by placing a GPS tracking device on his van without a warrant.

Federal prosecutors charge 4 in connection with horse doping

Where a criminal case is tried -- in state or federal court -- is a matter that could have significant bearing on the outcome of the case. Federal sentencing guidelines are in place to advise judges, but many judges treat the guidelines as if they are mandatory. That means being convicted of a federal crime could lead to a long prison sentence, though it is possible in some cases to obtain a variance from the federal sentencing guidelines.

Philadelphia arrest leads to sentence under federal gun law

The Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 is a federal law that provides for a 15-year minimum sentence for individuals who are convicted of weapons crimes and who have previously been convicted of a violent crime or a "serious" drug offense at least three times. Life in prison is the maximum penalty provided for under the law.

Federal judge gives 20-year sentence for smash-and-grab robberies

Federal authorities aggressively investigate and prosecute property crimes. In these cases, to achieve the best possible outcome for the accused, it is often necessary to look beyond the evidence presented in court. People accused of federal crimes have families and personal stories that could factor into a decision by a judge or a jury, and one defense strategy is to effectively tell the defendant's story.

South Park man accused of Bethel Park bank robbery

The criminal charge of bank robbery carries a federal status, and the penalties for a conviction are very serious. In many cases involving allegations of bank robbery, there are additional charges related to weapons. Prosecutors may file weapons charges even if no weapons were seen or discharged during the alleged robbery. A threat of using a weapon could lead to a gun-related charge.

Pennsylvania family accused of committing federal crimes

Money can sometimes drive people to curious and often illegal courses of action. When these actions involve potentially stealing money from the government, though, then the repercussions for committing such federal crimes can be much more severe. Two Pennsylvania women have recently been accused of obtaining funds from the government to care for a child but spending the money on themselves, instead.

Pennsylvania man makes deal after state, federal crimes case

There is little doubt that, for most Pennsylvania residents, facing allegations of federal crimes can be a scary ordeal to endure. Add in the complications that can arise from also facing accusations of state crimes, and it can be even scarier. One Pennsylvania man recently found himself in this position after being charged with federal crimes of bank robbery and a state crime of stolen property. This situation could have led to the man serving the sentence for each set of allegations separately; but fortunately he was able to work out a more favorable deal with authorities.

Supreme Court decision could lead to warrantless DNA swabs in PA

A recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing police officers to forcibly swab the cheeks of suspects to collect a DNA sample without a warrant could have a direct impact on the rights of people in Pennsylvania. The state currently does not allow these sorts of sampling of body tissues without a search warrant but the ruling could embolden legislators who are trying to change that.

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