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Author Archives: Joseph Tacopina

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Mitigation in Capital Punishment Cases

This past August, a jury in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, decided on a death penalty verdict for 22-year-old Melvin Knight, who pleaded guilty to murder in the torture killing of a mentally disabled woman he held captive in a dingy western Pennsylvania apartment. The prosecutor had argued Knight deserved the death penalty because his crimes were… Read More »

When Do Social Media Comments Become Defamation on the Internet?

It was reported that a 14-year-old Georgia middle school student is suing two of her classmates for libel after they created a phony Facebook page for her. The page had her name and information, with her profile picture doctored to make her face appear bloated. The page suggested she smoked marijuana and spoke a made-up… Read More »

How NOT to Plead in a Civil RICO Complaint

On October 12, 2012, two affiliated companies that operate nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Connecticut jointly filed a RICO lawsuitagainst two local union affiliates in U.S. District Court in New Jersey. They allege the defendants engaged in a long-term pattern of criminal sabotage, intimidation and other acts of extortion in a coordinated illegal… Read More »

Years in the Making, Brokers Charged for Securities Fraud

The financial meltdown in Wall Street and the subsequent bailout of major financial institutions by the U.S. government has placed undue pressure on white collar defendants, particularly those charged with securities fraud. Such is the case for three New York City brokers under the employ of Linkbrokers Derivatives Corporation, a subsidiary of London-based ICAP PLC… Read More »