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DCF Involvement in Florida Criminal Cases

DCF Involvement in Florida Criminal CasesAs a criminal defense attorney, and also a family/criminal defense attorney who helps people with DCF cases, I many times find criminal cases intertwined with issues that involve intervention by the Department of Children and Families. DCF involvement in criminal cases is at an alarming rate, here in Florida. Alleged criminal activity of the defendant that has no nexus with his or her children many times become the target of DCF. Criminal defendants who have been arrested on drug related crimes, domestic battery accusations or find themselves facing incarceration often times also have a DCF matter to contend with. Florida law is clear on the termination of parental rights: “Termination of parental rights by the state requires clear and convincing evidence of: (1) a statutory ground for termination set forth in section 39.806, Florida Statutes; (2) that termination is in the manifest best interest of the child pursuant to section 39.810; […]
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Criminal Prosecution and the Palm Beach County Mental Health Court

Criminal Prosecution and the Palm Beach County Mental Health CourtAs a criminal defense lawyer, I am faced with questions, concerns and problems that affect those with mental illness on a routine basis. Individuals facing criminal prosecution for allegedly committing unlawfully acts, find themselves in a very stressful time period, those defendants that suffers from mental illness and are facing criminal prosecution can have setbacks that are life threatening because of the stressful period they are now enduring. When those inflicted by mental illness are arrested, many times their mental illness magnifies and exacerbates the situation, so that working with them as a lawyer can be challenging, not because of their illness, but because trying to explain the Florida laws to them and many times their family seems “unrealistic” in their mind. The repeated words of the mentally ill and their family often times are but “he or she is already suffering enough;” or “he or she cannot be prosecuted […]
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Fugitive Warrants and Invocation of Rights in Florida

Fugitive Warrants and Invocation of Rights in FloridaA daily feature in the Palm Beach Post is a link of those individuals wanted for arrest by local, state and federal law enforcement authorities throughout Palm Beach County, FL. The wanted fugitives all have one thing in common; they all have an arrest warrant issued for them. The fugitives of justice are wanted for crimes that range from murder to grand theft. The photos of the wanted individuals are plastered on the local newspaper website palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/fugitives with additional information about what crime they are wanted for, where they were last known to live, their height, weight, and all other pedigree information is provided about the wanted person. If you or a loved one is listed on the Palm Beach Post website or in the local newspaper under the “Wanted Fugitives in Palm Beach County” or crime stoppers you need to contact a Palm Beach County Criminal Defense Lawyer, before […]
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Evidence in Florida DUI Crashes Causing Bodily Injury or Death

Evidence in Florida DUI Crashes Causing Bodily Injury or DeathAs a criminal defense attorney, I am always asked about what types of evidence can be put forward by the accused to show he or she was not the driver of a vehicle involved in a DUI crash causing serious bodily injury or death were the prosecution is alleging that alcohol or illegal drugs played a part in the crime. In other words, the accused DUI driver wants to put forth competent and substantial evidence that he or she was not in control of the motor vehicle at the time of the DUI crash that caused serious bodily injury or death. I am always reminded of my science background on these issues and the term DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid immediately comes to mind for consideration of an affirmative defense. In today’s modern age of automobile safety, almost every automobile on the road has an airbag system that if properly working […]
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When Judges Become the Helping Hand of the Prosecutor

When Judges Become the Helping Hand of the ProsecutorAgain, bad judges who stray from their role as neutral arbiter and become the helping hand of the prosecutor are exposed in Ronnie Williams v. State, 4D12- 3723. Ronnie Williams was a Broward County resident, where law enforcement officers have a standing order from many store and market owners to issue trespass warnings to people loitering on the property. Williams was outside of a market, when a detective approached Williams to trespass him off of the market property. It stead of just trespassing Williams off of the property, the detective also stopped Williams and pat him down for “weapons.” During the “pat down” the detective testified that a container “fell” from William’s pocket and at that time, William’s took a swing at the detective and ran. During the chase, the Detective also testified that another container fell from William’s pocket as he ran away from the law enforcement officer. The […]
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The Right To Defend Yourself Under Florida Law

The Right To Defend Yourself Under Florida LawThe Right to Defend Oneself does not come from Laws passed in a Capital Building. The Right to Defend Oneself comes from Nature. Natural Law provides every living thing, especially human beings, the most intelligent living organisms with the Natural Right to defend themselves with force; including deadly and non-deadly force, when in danger. When Judges in Florida subscribe themselves to the thinking that the right to defend oneself comes from Man, and not Natural Law, their thought process runs amuck with the societal norms that America has held, since its establishment. This was recently the case in Cunningham v. State, an appeal from Broward County, FL in which Judge Usan was again overturned by the 4th District Court of Appeals for not providing a fair trial to a criminal defendant, who was using a firearm in defense of himself. Michael Cunningham challenged his conviction and sentence for aggravated assault […]
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Your Right to a Fair Trial in Palm Beach County

Your Right to a Fair Trial in Palm Beach CountyAs a criminal trial lawyer, I am always fighting to assure that my clients receive a fair trial.  Fair trials are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, but the criminal defense attorney makes the words in the Constitution come alive. One area of concern; to ensure a fair trial for those facing criminal charges, is the right of the criminal defendant to confront those who accuse them of criminal acts. The right of the defendant to face their accuser is born out of the 6th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The 6th Amendment “Confrontation Clause” specifically states: “In all criminal proceedings, the accused shall enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him.” The “Confrontation Clause,” contains very important rights that allow a criminal defendant to have those who are accusing them of crime to: be present at trial through the subpoena power; be made to testify at trial […]
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Undercover Prostitution Stings in South Florida

Undercover Prostitution Stings in South FloridaLaw enforcement officials in South Florida are increasing their efforts to put “Johns” behind bars with their anti-prostitution campaigns.  In Palm Beach County, FL undercover Palm Beach County Sheriff Deputies are walking South Dixie Highway, in the area of Lake-Worth, FL to apprehend individuals who are looking to pay for sex. In South Miami, FL the Dade County Sheriff’s Office is using reverse stings to catch individuals trying to solicit prostitutes from internet websites like Backpage.com and Craigslist.com. Sources close to the prostitution sting being conducted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office in Lake-Worth, FL indicate that undercover female officers walking South Dixie Highway, posing as working girls, have netted well over 30 arrest per day of would be Johns. The South Miami operation is also netting tens of arrest per day as individuals are login onto popular computer websites looking to score an “escort.” These website surfing Johns […]
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Petit Theft or Larceny Charges in Florida

Petit Theft or Larceny Charges in FloridaPetit theft or larceny in Florida occurs when a person: (1) knowingly obtaining or using, or endeavoring to obtain or use; (2) the property of another; (3) with intent to either temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property; (4) with the value of the property being $300.00 or less. F.S.A. § 812.014(1) (a), (3) (a). See also J.B. v. State, No. 4D12-1156, 2014 WL 837006 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Mar. 5, 2014). Basically, Petit theft or larceny occurs when someone takes the property of another without the permission of that person with the value being $300.00 or less. In Florida, petit theft occurs mostly in the form of shop lifting from box stores. Box stores are those locations like Wal-Mart, Target, Publix Shopping Center, CVS and Walgreens Pharmacies, and many of the large stores within the malls and […]
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Prosecutorial Misconduct in the Florida Criminal Justice System

Prosecutorial Misconduct in the Florida Criminal Justice SystemWhen will the Florida courts sanction Assistant State Attorneys, as oppose to writing opinions that allow them to scorm out of making improper arguments, during their prosecutions of criminal trials? The prosecutor’s role in Florida is to fairly administer justice. Their role is not to act improperly to sustain convictions! This role has become blurred and the appellate courts have allowed prosecutors who make improper arguments to juries, during criminal trials, to weasel their way out of sanctions at the detriment of the entire criminal justice system. Take for instance the case of Wimberly v. State. Wimberly was convicted of attempted second degree murder with a firearm in Broward County, FL. During Wimberly’s trial the prosecutor made an improper appeal to racial prejudice. The Assistant State Attorney elicited testimony that Wimberly was also known as “Dread.” Further, the prosecutor had a witness testify that she heard the shooter say, “yeah […]
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