Saturday, December 8, 2012

Spice and K2: Not good gifts to give or receive.

Michigan banned the sales of Spice, K2 and all of it's chemical derivatives. The law was passed in record time as a reaction to the public's outcry that Spice and K2 was causing many teens who were using the substance to act violently. While there has never been solid proof linking violent behavior to the use of the so called synthetic marijuana, national and local headlines prompted legislators in Michigan to act now and ask questions later. The so called "synthetic marijuana" was widely sold in most gas stations, party stores and mini marts all over the country. Commonly referred to as Spice or K2, the substance was created by chemists who tried to duplicate the effect marijuana had on its users. The various compounds used in the creation of this drug were legal and the mixture of ingredients were constantly changing to keep one step ahead of the law. The law finally banned all forms of Spice, K2 and each one of their derivatives. The penalties for this once legal compound are very stiff. Possession of this controlled substance analogue is a two year felony under MCL 333.7403(2)(b)(ii). Delivery of this chemical compound is a seven year felony per MCL 333.7408a. Either charge can derail a young persons dreams of going to college or getting a good job. Since the drug is still legal in many other states including Ohio, teens are simply driving less than an hour across the Michigan border to purchase this substance. Despite the pretty little tins and packages Spice and K2 comes wrapped in, these items are NOT good to give or receive. Our job as attorneys is to let teens know that the chemical compounds science has created can be dangerous to their health and their careers. Questions or comments

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Drinking, driving and Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for what we have. It is also the busiest drinking holiday of the year. The night before Thanksgiving is by far the heaviest drinking night of all. Most people have the following day off, so they drink. The problem is that many people drink after work and then drive home. Guess what, the police also know that it is the greatest opportunity to arrest drunk drivers. They will be out in force pulling weaving cars over and having occupants perform sobriety tests. Good advice for those that are pulled over for suspected drunk driving is not to admit that you have been drinking. Resisting the temptation to answer a police officer's question is harder than you think. The common answer is "I only had a couple of beers Officer." This admission makes the officer's job in determining probable cause to arrest you very easy. Be polite, but do not admit to consuming alcohol. Without your admission the officer may not have enough to arrest you on suspected drunk driving. We will discuss more tips to avoid drunk driving arrest in future articles. Happy Thanksgiving. Check out our web site at By Raymond A. Cassar, Attorney at Law

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Detroit passes city ordinance allowing marijuana possession.

Detroit Michigan kept a low profile on their recent marijuana referrendum that passed last week. It allows adults to possess up to an ounce of Marijuana. While this was not a Statewide mandate like Colorado or Washington had last week, it clearly shows the continuing trend to legalize marijuana. Proponents of the law and marijuana users are gaining momentum but the legal land mines are still present. The new City Ordinance requires that the amount of marijuana be less than one once and be possessed on private property by an adult 21 or older. However the public must be aware that the ordinace does not prevent state or federal charges from being brought against individuals who possess marijuana. The newly passed ordinance gives a false sense of security to marijuana users in the City of Detroit, but it does not exempt someone from being charged with delivery of marijuana. This begs the question, " how do people get the marijuana in the first place? Someone has to deliver it to customers. Also does private property mean one's own home? Or does it mean any place that is not open to the public? From a criminal attorney's perspective, this recent referrendum is filled with problems that should have been addressed before it was placed on the ballot. As it stands now, there are serious issues with the ordinance that will have to be figured out on a case by case basis in the courts. My advice is to be careful if you decide to be one of the first people to test out the city ordinance. For more information see my web site at

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sexting Can Land You In Prison

Sexting is a combination of texting with sexually driven conversations. The widespread use of the internet and text enabled cell phones, has made this a popular trend amoung many teens. However law enforcement agencies are prosecuting teens for sexting at an alarming rate. The penalties are incredibly serious and the long term consequences of a conviction can prevent teens from going to college and getting a good job. No one wants their teen on a Sex Offender Registry. Sexting between teens often leads to the sharing of nude photos. While the sharing of the photos may have been consensual, most states consider nude photos of anyone under the age of 18 to be child pornography. A teen who begs his girlfriend for a nude picture can be charged with Accostiong a Minor for Immoral Purposes. Even worse, a teen who can not resist the temptation to share the photo with his best friends, can be charged with Distribution of Child Pornography. These cases usually come to the attention of authorities as a result of an upset teen who finds out that everyone in her school has seen the nude photo she thought she gave to her boyfriend "privately". More commonly it is a parent who finds disturbing text messages on their child's phone or computer, coupled with a disturbing image of their son or daughter. They want to protect the child's reputation, so they go to the authorities. It all goes downhill from there. Teenagers simply do not realize the potential dangers of sexting. Parents need to be more vigilant than ever, even if they feel uncomfortable about invading their child's privacy. They need to explain the dangers of sexting. If parents don't check up on their teens and set them straight, the police certainly will. For more information on sexting and computer crimes visit our website at

Life Without Parole For Juveniles Unconstitutional

Juvenile Law gets some serious attention. Last June the U.S. Supreme Court held that a sentence of mandatory life without parole for juveniles was a violation of the Eight Amendment's ban against cruel and unusual punishmnet. In the case of Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012), the court talked about a juvenile's lack of maturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility which often leads to recklessness and impulsivity. However Michigan courts are now dealing with the issue of whether this ruling should be applied retroactively. Michigan has approximately 350 cases where juveniles were sentenced to life without parole. It makes sense to apply the new ruling retroactively, but the court has to also decide how these individuals should be resentenced. The case before the Michigan Court of Appeals is People v. Raymond Carp, No.307758. This decision will have a profound impact on how we treat juvenile defendants in Michigan. This case will force the courts to take a good look at how Juveniles were sentenced in the past and to come up with some new thoughts about sentencing. Prior to Miller, judges had no chioce but to impose mandatory life without parole for juveniles convicted of first degree murder. Now courts may be able to take into consideration the age of the offender and the fact that children are more vulnerable to negative influences because of their lack of maturity. Wisdom generally comes with age. Let's see what wisdom comes from the Michigan courts when it come to sentencing juveniles. Stay tuned and visit our web site at

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Priest Penitent Privilege challenged

The Law Offices of Raymond A. Cassar, PLC won a hard fought victory in the case of State of Michigan v Samuel Bragg (Michigan Court of Appeals). In a recent decision, the Court of Appeals upheld the Priest-Penitent Privilege preventing the use of testimony by a pastor against a parishioner. Many articles on this case have focused on the allegations of sex crimes. Sometimes the public is so blinded by the nature of the charge, they lose sight of what this case is all about. The real issue in this case is whether a Pastor or any other member of the Clergy can reveal confidential communications made to him while acting as a Pastor.

The Priest/Penitent Privilege has been in existence for over 1500 years. The goal behind the privilege is to allow people to unburden their souls and seek spiritual guidance. This has always been a socially desirable goal and is supported by all forms of religions. The recent challenge to this privilege should send shock waves to all religions and all people. Our society needs to be able to go to their respective clergy and discuss things that are troublesome without worry that their private disclosure may become public and worse possibly used against them in court.

If you take away that trust, few people will seek spiritual guidance. The issue in this case is whether the privilege should be breached. It only takes a small leak to breach a huge dam. This fight will continue.