Criminal Law Blog & News
Check this page often for the latest in Florida criminal law info & crime history of the day!
On February 5, 2013 , the First District Court of Appeals reversed convictions for felony charges of Burglary and Aggravated Assault and remanded the case back to the trial court to be retried as a result of the trial court judge improperly excusing a prospective juror based on their engagement status to a public defender.
On Friday , January 25, 2013, the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Florida issued an opinion vacating two of the four convictions previously imposed against Casey Anthony for the crimes of furnishing false information to law enforcement during an investigation. The court noted that both the United States Constitution and the Florida Constitution contain “double jeopardy” clauses prohibiting multiple prosecutions , convictions, and punishments for the same criminal offense.
Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals has recently asked the Florida Supreme Court to answer the following as a question of great public importance:
Where the presiding judge in a criminal case has accepted the prosecutor assigned to the case as a Facebook “friend,”would a reasonably prudent person fear that he could not get a fair and impartial trial, so that the defendant’s motion for disqualification should be granted?
In a sharply worded dissent in the case of State v. Luke Jarrod Adkins, Florida Supreme Court Justice James E.C. Perry criticizes the majority of the Court and refers to their opinion as being built on a foundation of flawed “common sense” which shatters bedrock constitutional principles.
On Tuesday , April 11, 2012, the so-called former attorneys of George Zimmerman announced to the media, and thus the public at large, they were withdrawing from further representation of the man under investigation for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
Although attorneys have the ability to withdraw from cases under certain circumstances and although there really wasn’t an actual case to withdraw from as of Tuesday, questions remain regarding the decision to publicly disclose certain matters which may have the potential to negatively impact the defense.
In an editorial published on 10-13-11, the Herald-Tribune cites a host of problems associated with the Intoxilyzer currently being used throughout the State of Florida including incorrect measurements of breath volume, unreliable results, increased government costs, and wasted court time.
On Thursday September 29. 2011, in an editorial entitled “ An Invitation to Overreach”, the New York Times joins the American Bar Association, the Judicial Conference of the United States , and every major organization focusing on criminal justice in opposing mandatory minimum sentences. The Times stated the rise in mandatory minimum sentences has damaged the integrity of the justice system , reduced the role of judges in meting out punishment, and has increased the power of prosecutors beyond their proper role.
On Monday, September 26, 2011, the New York Times reported in a front page story that as a result of decades of passing laws to increase punishments, prosecutors have gained greater leverage to extract guilty pleas from defendants which has dramatically reduced the number of cases proceeding to trial. The Times examined statistics from the National Center for State Courts and the Bureau of Justice Statistics which illustrate this trend towards lower trial rates
On September 16th the Fifth District Court of Appeals declared Florida Statute 316.3045 (1 ) ( a ) unconstitutionally overbroad and found that it restricted the right of free expression. This ruling was consistent with a prior ruling of the Second District Court of Appeals from May of this year in a case styled as State of Florida v. Catalano 60 So. 3d 1139 ( Fla. 2nd DCA , 2011).
Whether you are a litigant in a civil case or a defendant facing criminal charges, there will be difficult decisions you must face. Maintaining good relations with your attorney and assisting throughout the process can make your tough decisions easier.
In May 2011, the Second District Court of Appeals ruled that the Florida Statute which makes it unlawful to have your car stereo plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more from the motor vehicle is unconstitutional. The Court stated that the term “plainly audible” is too vague and invites arbitrary enforcement. Additionally, the Court stated that this statute was a restriction on free speech.
Although it remains a violation of law in the city limits of Gainesville to either possess an alcoholic beverage in an open container or to publicly consume an alcoholic beverage, a change in the law earlier this year may affect the manner in which this ordinance is enforced.