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Federal Drug Charges Archives

Marijuana legalization bill debated in Pennsylvania Senate

People in Pittsburgh likely know that the movement to legalize marijuana in the U.S. has gained momentum in recent years, as more people come to believe that the government should not imprison people for medicinal or recreational use. The pace has quickened in recent months as voters Colorado and Washington state passed refernedums legalizing possession, sale and use of certain amounts of marijuana.

Pennsylvania driver arrested at police DUI checkpoint

While police agencies in Pennsylvania are allowed to conduct DUI checkpoints to search for impaired drivers, they must follow specific procedures. For example, to be granted permission by the court to set up a checkpoint, police must establish a mathematical process for stopping vehicles -- say, every fourth vehicle -- to avoid the possibility of profiling, or detaining drivers based on their race, gender or any reason having nothing to do with their possible intoxication.

Former Pennsylvania judge facing drug charges over evidence

A former longtime Pennsylvania county judge is being accused of tampering with evidence in drug cases that he presided over. Prosecutors have levelled several misdemeanor charges against the former judge, including drug possession and theft and felony conflict of interest.

2 Pittsburgh-area suspects facing federal drug charges

While it may not seem to make much difference from the outside, whether a drug crimes suspect is charged in state or federal court can be very important. A guilty verdict could result in prison time in either venue. But federal courts generally rely on federal sentencing guidelines that have become increasingly harsh over the years as politicians seek to portray themselves as "tough on crime."

Partial conviction for ex-police officer accused of drug charges

A former Pittsburgh police officer who faced 17 criminal charges at trial earlier in May was convicted of several charges but was found not guilty of nine of the charges. He was acquitted of promoting prostitution, theft and several other charges, likely reducing the sentence he will face.

Wiz Khalifa makes PSA video in exchange for drug charge dismissal

Pittsburgh-born rapper Wiz Khalifa has avoided prosecution for alleged drug possession through a plead deal. In exchange for prosecutors dropping marijuana possession charges, the popular hip-hop artists made a public-service video encouraging children to make good life choices.

Were drug charges against wrestling coach a frame-up?

After a popular high school wrestling coach in central Pennsylvania was arrested on suspicion of drug crimes recently, parents of some of the athletes on the coach's team rose to his defense. They said that the coach was framed by someone who planted drug paraphernalia at his home and sent an anonymous tip to the police.

SCOTUS: dog sniff of home equals police search, requires warrant

Back on March 6, we discussed a pair of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court that could have a big impact on police powers in Pittsburgh versus the Fourth Amendment's search warrant requirement to prevent random, unlimited government searches of people and their personal property. The cases were heard by the Court simultaneously because they both involved police in the same state using a police dog to search for drugs without a warrant.

Police enter apartment, arrest woman on drug charges

A Pittsburgh-area woman's arrest on suspicion of drug crimes was triggered mostly by a smell in the foyer of the woman's apartment building. Though police say they seized more than five pounds of marijuana and a significant amount of hashish from the woman's apartment, officers' conduct may lead to a challenge of the evidence in court.

Supreme Court may split 2 dog sniff 4th Amendment cases

How much and under what circumstances should police in Pittsburgh and across the U.S. be empowered to search your home or vehicle based on a police dog's nose? That was the question before the Supreme Court last year when it heard oral arguments in two cases involving warrantless police searches justified by dog sniffs. In its first ruling on the cases, the Court unanimously ruled that an accidental identification of drug paraphernalia was rightfully allowed in court -- even though studies have strongly questioned whether dogs actually can be trained to alert police to the presence of illegal drugs.

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