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Chicago Criminal Law Blog

ATF remains committed to preventing gun sales in pot-friendly states -- II

In our last post, we provided a bit of a history lesson concerning the landmark Gun Control Act of 1968, which outlaws any "unlawful user and/or an addict of any controlled substance" from purchasing a firearm.

Specifically, we discussed how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the law enforcement agency tasked with carrying out the law, has adopted a particularly draconian stance toward marijuana users, outlawing any sale of guns and ammunition to users of this Schedule I drug owing to the risk of "irrational and unpredictable behavior."

ATF remains committed to preventing gun sales in pot-friendly states

When it comes to gun ownership and illegal narcotics, it would be no surprise to anyone anywhere to learn that the federal government has a zero tolerance policy. Indeed, this stance can be traced all the way back to 1968 when Congress passed the landmark Gun Control Act of 1968, which makes it illegal for an "unlawful user and/or an addict of any controlled substance" to purchase any sort of firearm.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, tasked with carrying out the law, set strict limits thereafter, including the introduction of a longstanding provision outlawing the sale of guns and ammunition to users of marijuana, a Schedule I drug, citing the risk of "irrational and unpredictable behavior."

How the federal government diagnoses Medicare fraud - II

Last week, we discussed just how shocking it can be for medical professionals, who have spent so much time pursuing their education, advancing their careers and building a reputation, to discover that they are under investigation or facing federal charges for some manner of Medicaid fraud or abuse.

Specifically, we spent some time exploring how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines these two broad and incredibly important terms. In today's post, we'll continue delving deeper into this issue, examining the types of conduct that fall under either heading.      

Trial date set for prosecution of felonies against lawmaker

The federal prosecution of a former United States congressman from Illinois could take months to complete. This is particularly true where the charges involve 24 counts of the misuse of government and campaign money for personal use. The prosecution involves former Congressman Aaron Schock, who faces trial on various serious felonies, including wire fraud, theft of government funds, and filing false tax returns.

Recently, his attorneys filed for a delay in the criminal trial that was scheduled to start on Feb.7. The defense claimed that there are voluminous documents that must be studied and used as evidence in the case. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois responded that it did not object to a continuance, and a trial date was set for July 11.

How the federal government diagnoses Medicare fraud

As a medical professional -- physician, nurse or pharmacist -- there was perhaps no more satisfying moment than when you walked across the graduation stage to receive your diploma, the personification of all your academic achievements.

However gratifying as this moment was, it really represented only the first step on an otherwise demanding career path that has necessitated the acquisition of professional licensure, the establishment of a strong professional reputation among peers, and, of course, the building of trusting relationships with patients.

State's criminal justice commission releases its final report

In recognition of the fact that Illinois' prison population had spiked dramatically over the last four decades from less than 10,000 inmates to roughly 49,000, Governor Bruce Rauner signed an executive order back in February 2015 calling for the creation of the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform.

The commission, which was tasked with producing viable recommendations to help lower the state's prison population by 25 percent by 2025, thereafter conducted a comprehensive examination of all levels of the state's criminal justice system. These efforts culminated in the issuance of an initial report outlining 14 recommendations in December 2015, and, just last week, a final report supplying 13 additional recommendations.

Feds arrest man for felonies of transporting child pornography

Federal authorities are intent on arresting child pornographers and sex traffickers. The accused will face a long prison sentence if convicted of these felonies, and often, a virtual lifetime of reporting as a sex offender thereafter. The law, however, does not adequately make a distinction between an actual producer of child pornography and a passive user of such material on the internet.

An Illinois man was recently indicted by a federal grand jury on child pornography charges. The indictment was generated by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, along with a special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) in Chicago. The charges are three counts of transporting child pornography over the internet.

Is the DEA altering its stance toward marijuana extracts?

During the chaos of the holiday season, many people might have missed what turned out to be a significant announcement by the Drug Enforcement Administration concerning marijuana extracts, including cannabidiol, or CBD.

For those unfamiliar with CBD, it's one of the naturally occurring and primary active chemical compounds in marijuana that, unlike its more widely known counterpart tetrahydrocannabinol (i.e., THC), doesn't produce a hallucinogenic effect. Indeed, it's being increasingly utilized in scientific research as a possible treatment for everything from cancer and chronic pain to epilepsy and muscle inflammation.

Know your rights when interacting with law enforcement - III

In a series of ongoing posts, we've been discussing how the U.S. Constitution provides every person with certain inalienable rights regardless of whether they are confronted by federal agents, state troopers or local police officers, and regardless of whether this confrontation takes place in their vehicle or at their front door.

In today's post, our final in this series, we'll discuss how these constitutional protections also extend to arrests, and how those who find themselves in police custody must understand that they are under no obligation to assist with any investigatory efforts. 

Why you can't misjudge the federal government's position on marijuana

Thanks to a significant amount of news coverage, most people are now well aware that even though many states -- Illinois included -- have adopted what could best be described as a progressive approach to marijuana, it nevertheless remains illegal under federal law.

While this is encouraging to see, there are other popular myths relating to marijuana that continue to persist, perhaps leading individuals to gravely underestimate the potential consequences of federal drug crimes. 

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