Cops, bars, gear up for Thanksgiving weekend

The night before Thanksgiving is often called the biggest bar night of the year, which is one reason why police will be out in force during the entire holiday weekend.

Michigan State Police have announced their largest ever Combined Accident Reduction Effort (CARE) in an effort to make area roads and highways safer in what they say is the second deadliest holiday in Michigan for traffic crashes.

MSP district commander Capt. Monica Yesh said starting Wednesday, troopers across the state will conduct high visibility enforcement, focusing on impaired driving, seat belt use, careless driving and speeding.

“It will be hard not to see the Michigan State Police at work” during the Thanksgiving weekend, she said.

According to the State Police, there were 12 traffic-related fatalities on Michigan roads and highways for the 2013 Thanksgiving weekend, a 30-percent increase over the nine fatalities reported the year before.

Bar operators say they got the message.

While bar owners want their customers to have fun, they are also mindful about making sure no one drinks too much if they have to get behind the wheel for the ride home.

Frank Sgroi, owner of three Dooleys Irish Taverns in Macomb County, said while the turnout is high on Thanksgiving Eve, attendance actually is on the decline.

“Years ago, you’d see lines of people out the door,” Sgroi said. “That’s no longer the case. There’s been a lot more attention to the dangers or drinking and driving, so a lot of people stay home now if they intend to party.”

At Roger’s Roost in Sterling Heights, servers are certified in TIPS the (Training for Intervention Procedures) program that trains them to recognize alcohol-related problems, according to general manager Carl Louis Schmidt. He said waitresses and door staff monitor customers throughout the night and will take steps to cut off anyone who has had too much to drink.

Of course, there is one sure way to avoid any trouble — don’t drive after you’ve consumed any amount of alcohol. That’s the message from Southfield-based criminal attorney Neil Rockind.

Rockind said while Michigan lacks reliable public transportation, there is the Uber ridesharing service and plenty of taxis available. A designated driver is also a good idea to avoid being arrested for drunken driving, he said.

If a driver is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, their words and actions can be used against them by the police, Rockind said in a news release.

“The police don’t like it, but it is legally acceptable for individuals who are pulled over to avoid incriminating themselves against a crime they may not have committed by politely declining to answer questions or submit to roadside sobriety tests until they are able to have a lawyer present,” he said in the release.

Those hitting the road should give thanks for the lowest seasonal gas prices since 2009, according to AAA Michigan.

Gas prices are at $2.87 per gallon, which is down 13 cents from last week and about 42 cents cheaper than this same time last year, AAA reported.

AAA Michigan estimates 1.5 million people in the state plan to travel 50 miles or more during the holiday weekend — 5 percent more than last year. They’ll encounter cold conditions as the National Weather Service indicates temperatures will be in the low 30s or upper 20s through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

Aftab Borka of the Oakland Press contributed to this report.

via: Macomb Daily

Defense attorney Neil Rockind attends forensics chromatography seminar to help provide scientific clarity in DUI and other criminal cases

Southfield, Mich. — October 20, 2014 — Attorney Neil Rockind, founder of Neil Rockind, P.C., a criminal defense law firm that aggressively pursues justice for individuals facing serious criminal charges, participated in a scientific forensics course held by the American Chemical Society in Chicago from Oct. 14 through Oct 17.

The hands-on class, the majority of which was conducted in a lab with participants working with their own Gas Chromatograph – Flame Ionization Detector machines, educated attending attorneys on the use of blood testing instruments and the science behind forensics chromatography, a method used to separate organic and inorganic compounds in both liquid and gas.  After separating the compounds, police, FBI and other authorities can then analyze the chemicals, such as drugs or alcohol, that are present in breath, blood and urine.

Only 200 attorneys in the U.S. have completed this coursework and are qualified to explain the science of gas chromatography in DUI ethanol-based cases. Completion of the course now allows Rockind to test blood from the lab and verify or challenge the court’s experts.

“This course has given me not only the theory behind chromatography, but provided knowledge and perspective that will enable to me to better defend and serve my clients,” Rockind said.

Trial attorneys attending the class also gained critical advocacy skills to help judges and juries discern which evidential science is valid and what professed science should be rejected. Learn more about chromatography here.

About Neil Rockind, P.C. 

Neil Rockind, P.C., is a Southfield, Michigan-based criminal defense law firm aggressively pursuing justice for adults and juveniles facing criminal charges, including white collar crime and school discipline matters.  To find out more about the firm’s services and resources, visit http://www.rockindlaw.com/.

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Neil attended the 4-day Forensic Chromatography Seminar in Chicago!

Neil at conference

Neil’s 2014 Recognitions!

As of Today’s date, Neil Rockind has received these recognition’s in 2014:

Super Lawyers Top 100 in Michigan – LexisNexis
Super Lawyers Top 50 Consumer Lawyers in Michigan – LexisNexus
Leading Lawyer in Michigan – Leading Lawyers
Top Attorneys in Michigan – Crain’s Detroit
Top Attorneys in Michigan – Hour Detroit
Top Attorneys in Michigan – New York Times
Top Criminal Defense Lawyer in Michigan – DBusiness Detroit
Top White Collar Defense Lawyer in Michigan – DBusiness Detroit
Top OWI Defense Lawyer in Michigan – DBusiness Detroit
Top 100 Trial Lawyer – National Trial Lawyer’s Association
Top 100 OWI Attorneys in Michigan – National Advocacy for DUI Defense
Superb 10 Rating on AVVO

And Neil Rockind, P.C. has the results to back them up!

Congrats Neil!

Supreme Court dodges gay marriage, allowing weddings in five more states

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to decide once and for all whether states can ban gay marriage, a surprising move that will allow gay men and women to get married in five additional states, with more likely to follow quickly.

On the first day of its new term, the high court without comment rejected appeals in cases involving five states – Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana – that had prohibited gay marriage, leaving intact lower-court rulings striking down those bans.

As a result, the number of states permitting gay marriage would jump from 19 to 24, likely soon to be followed by six more states that are bound by the regional federal appeals court rulings that had struck down other bans. That would leave another 20 states that prohibit same-sex marriage.

But the move by the nine justices to sidestep the contentious issue means there will be no imminent national ruling on the matter, with litigation likely to continue in states with bans.

“Any time same-sex couples are extended marriage equality is something to celebrate, and today is a joyous day for thousands of couples across America who will immediately feel the impact of today’s Supreme Court action,” said Chad Griffin, president of the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.

Evan Wolfson, who heads the group Freedom to Marry, said while Monday’s action provided “a bright green light” to gay marriage in more states, gay rights advocates still want the high court to intervene and provide a definitive ruling covering all 50 states. “The Supreme Court should bring the country to a nationwide resolution,” Wolfson said.

Officials in states whose bans were overturned had also wanted the high court to decide the matter. The justices could take up a future case, but their move on Monday could send a strong signal to lower court judges that rulings striking down gay marriage bans are consistent with the U.S. Constitution.

Gay couples in affected states are expected to seek marriage licenses immediately because the high court’s action means the appeals court’s rulings are no longer on hold. Virginia began issuing licenses within hours of the court’s action.

The other states that are likely to be imminently affected are North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina, Wyoming, Kansas and Colorado.

NO EXPLANATION

The court did not explain why it was not taking up the issue. Among the possibilities are that a majority believes it would be premature to intervene and wants to see more lower court action, or that on this deeply polarized court neither the liberals nor the conservatives could be certain of how the issue would resolved and did not want to risk forcing a national precedent now.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who has officiated at a same-sex wedding, said last month that for the justices there is “no need for us to rush” unless a split emerges in the regional federal appeals courts and one of them decides to uphold a state ban on gay marriage.

In order for the Supreme Court to hear a case, at least four of the nine justices must vote to hear it.

Most legal experts had believed the justices would want to weigh in on a question of national importance that focuses on whether the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment under the law means gay marriage bans were unlawful.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that “there may ultimately be a role for the Supreme Court to play” on gay marriage and that the justices must make that call. Earnest emphasized that President Barack Obama’s view is that “it’s wrong to prevent same-sex couples who are in loving, committed relationships and want to marry from doing so.”

Opponents of gay marriage said they would continue to defend state bans in court. “The people should decide this issue, not the courts,” said Byron Babione, a lawyer with the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom.

In June 2013, the justices ruled 5-4 to strike down a key part of a federal law called the Defense of Marriage Act that had restricted the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples for the purpose of federal government benefits.

But in a separate case decided that day, the justices also sidestepped the broader question of whether state bans violated the Constitution, but allowed gay marriage in California.

The momentum within America’s courts in favor of gay marriage reflects a sea-change in public opinion in the past decade, with polls showing a steady increase in support. It was only as recently as 2004 that Massachusetts became the first state to allow gay marriage following a state court ruling.

State officials defending their bans say the Constitution does not dictate how states should define marriage and that there is no deeply rooted legal tradition that supports a right to gay marriage.

When the nine justices ascended their mahogany bench at 10 a.m., they betrayed no concern for the possible uncertainty or confusion arising from their orders rejecting the same-sex marriage cases. Proceeding with the usual practice, Chief Justice John Roberts announced only that “orders have been duly entered and certified” and were on file with the clerk’s office.

The justices then heard an hour of arguments in a case involving a police search.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Joan Biskupic in Washington, Heide Brandes in Oklahoma City and Marti Anne Maguire in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Will Dunham)

via Reuters

The Reid Interrogation Technique OR How to Elicit a False Confession

Unless you are a police officer you probably haven’t heard of the Reid Interrogation Technique. I don’t want to re-invent the wheel, so instead of trying to explain what exactly this technique is, I’ll simply direct you to the Wikipedia page – which gives a pretty good explanation:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reid_technique

“In the Reid technique, interrogation is an accusatory process in which the investigator tells the suspect that there is no doubt as to his or her guilt.” Further, during the interrogation, the cop (or interrogator) repeatedly tries to separate the accused from “people who are even worse” and tries to minimize the alleged conduct of the accused. For example, if the allegation is that the accused raped someone, the interrogator will repeatedly tell the accused that he believes the accused is not a serial rapist, but only someone that did it one time and therefore it’s not that bad.

The interrogation itself can last for several hours, and the goal is simple: To wear the person down and get them to confess.

But herein lies the problem.

If I told you that you murdered someone, of course you would adamantly deny it, because it’s simply not true. But if I kept you in a room, and told you that there were witnesses, and that I knew for a fact you have murdered someone, and I gave you explicit details about how you had done it, and I sympathized with you (“well, the person you murdered was a horrible person”), and I promised leniency (“if it was only one time, the prosecutor will go easy on you,” and “we won’t let the details go outside this office”), and I kept you there for hours – repeatedly telling you that I know you did it, and I told you that this interrogation would stop as soon as you admitted what you had done, you may eventually admit to something that you HADN’T ACTUALLY DONE just to make the interrogation stop.

Right now you may be thinking, “but I would never admit to something that I hadn’t done.” Yet, the fact of the matter is that people do. The Technique plays with your mind, alters your sense of what is right and wrong, repeatedly accuses you of something, wears you down, and eventually convinces you that you are guilty; that you actually did do what the police are accusing you of having done.

This is the Reid Technique.

The problem is that we know that the Reid Technique has produced numerous false confessions. There are many, many cases where a person confessed, and later the confession was found to be false. If you want to read a very good article about some of these false-confession cases, click here —> http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/12/09/the-interview-7

In fact, the use of the Reid Technique has been banned in several countries because it routinely produces false confessions. “In Canada, a Provincial Court judge ruled in 2012 that “stripped to its bare essentials, the Reid Technique is a guilt-presumptive, confrontational, psychologically manipulative procedure whose purpose is to extract a confession.” This is scary stuff!

Neil and I, and another attorney – Shannon Smith, began the defense of a case a few months ago in which the Reid Technique was utilized by local police. After doing a lot of research, we believe that the police officer improperly utilized the Technique and that his improper use resulted in a false confession. Now we have to prove it.