One of the facts that may get lost in a lot of the spectacle of the last year in U.S. politics is that crime rates have actually declined over the last quarter-century. And actually, that doesn't quite get the sentiment across. Crime rates have been plummeting since 1993. According to FBI data, from 1993 to 2015 the number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents in the U.S. has fallen from 747.1 to 372.6.
On January 27, a total of 5,000 individual packets containing heroin were seized by the Hernando County Sheriff's Department. A related package of 550 packets was intercepted in May 2016 through the U.S. Postal Service. With a combined weight of 3.3 lbs, this has been called the largest bust in Hernando County history.
When have the police officially begun a "search?" This is an important question because the Fourth Amendment explicitly says that the people are protected from unreasonable search and seizures. Now, the police need to search and seize property given their jobs -- but the people have a right to privacy and protections against a search and seizure that is deemed illegal in the eyes of the law.
One of the cliches about drugs and the war on drugs is the fear that the media and lawmakers generate when they discuss certain drugs. While there is certainly an abusive and seedy element to drugs, the way drugs are depicted makes it seem as though the world will end if we continue to let these drugs exist and be used by people.
Drug charges are very serious. The people accused of these crimes are placed in a very difficult situation, because if they are convicted of what they are accused of, their lives will change forever. They may not be able to retain their driver's license, or obtain professional certifications, or receive approval from landlords to live in certain areas, or even retain or find new jobs. A criminal conviction is a massive blow to anyone, especially if the conviction is centered on drug charges.
You may not know the name Annie Dookhan, but she has become an important figure in the world of criminal justice. A former lab technician at a drug testing facility, Dookhan was eventually charged with misconduct, tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, falsifying records. She was sentenced to prison for three to five years. What did she do to earn these penalties and scathing charges?
Earlier this year, a man was pulled over by police on the highway. The highway was known for being a popular route for drug trafficking and this incident appeared to be no different. Police conducted a search of the man's car after apparently witnessing some suspicious behavior and found 11 pounds of methamphetamine.
We have often discussed the fact that hundreds of thousands of individuals are incarcerated every year due to drug-related convictions. In many cases, the individuals in jail are believed to be part of larger operations and networks manufacturing and distributing drugs. In an effort to get to those at the center of these alleged rings, police and prosecutors will often go to great lengths to capture, question and convict anyone believed to be associated with drug trafficking and sales.
Florida residents are likely aware of the incredible resources state and federal law enforcement agencies dedicate to the enforcement of drug laws, from massive sting operations to aggressive arrest and search efforts. Because of all that goes into drug enforcement, police and prosecutors have a distinct interest in pursuing serious charges any time a person is arrested.
Millions of Americans struggle with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol. These powerful addictions have a dramatic impact on a person's lifestyle and decisions. For instance, people addicted to drugs like methamphetamine can easily find themselves manufacturing or selling the drug in order to support their habit.