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Judges Usurping the Providence of the Jury

Courtroom-150x150You or a loved one has been arrested. You pled not guilty. You want to go to trial for the criminal charges you are facing. You have prepared your case for trial. The trial has now begun. The trial goes smoothly and the Judge is charging the Jury. Charging the jury means that the Judge is instructing the jurors on the laws of your case. During jury instructions, the Judge states: “you cannot find for or against; guilty or not guilty; because you like or dislike the Defendant or the Government.”

This charging of the jury is inconsistent with Florida Law; and according to West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine this charge by the Judge to the Jury is Unconstitutional. The Florida Constitution and U.S. Constitution allow members of the community, when acting in their capacity as a jury to “Pardon” the accused. Experienced Criminal Lawyers will object in writing at the reading of this portion of the jury instruction by the judge regarding “you cannot find for or against guilty or not guilty because you like or dislike the Defendant or the Government.” Judges, who normally are appointed from the Prosecutorial position and have rarely been elected by their community, have little respect for the Florida or U.S. Constitutions, when they tell jurors you cannot find for the accused because you like him or her. The most experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers, like Andrew D. Stine, of West Palm Beach, FL will make the tough objections during trial. These objections must be made on the record and clearly articulate why the objection is being made. The record is made for appellate purposes, so if the accused loses at trial, then he or she may appeal the adverse rulings to the Appellate Court for review.

The Appellate Courts of Florida, including the Florida Supreme Court, have long reasoned that the jury when acting as a whole, may Pardon any criminal defendant it wishes. Jury Pardons occur more often than not and more often than not it are the by-product of the State Attorney overcharging the accused or bringing unwarranted criminal actions against an individual who is no better or worse than the crime victim. Like when the accused was charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, attempted second degree murder and attempted second murder with a firearm in a drug deal gone bad.

The facts of the case show that someone shot the victim who was selling drugs. The defendant who was alleged to have shot the victim was also buying drugs from the victim. The case proceeded to trial and the State was seeking enhanced penalties under Florida’s 10, 20, life law.  The facts are as follows: the defendant sold impure cocaine to the victim, and the two individuals later got into an altercation over the drugs.  Although the defendant flashed a gun before the altercation, the victim testified that he did not think the defendant would use it. During the altercation, the defendant again pulled out the gun and shot the victim. The jury verdict form or instructions from the Judge to the Jury, as to the crimes charged included: the offenses of attempted second-degree murder with a firearm, attempted second-degree murder, and aggravated battery. The jury was instructed that if they found the defendant guilty of any of the three offenses, they had to determine whether the defendant possessed a firearm, discharged the firearm, and/or inflicted great bodily harm as a result of the discharge of the firearm.  The latter portion of the jury charge or instructions is the infamous 10, 20, life portion of Florida Law.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty to aggravated battery, but “inexplicably determined that the defendant did not possess a firearm.”  The jury came back with an inconsistent verdict. The jury found that the defendant “DID NOT POSSESS THE FIREARM.” But the jury also found that the defendant committed the crime of Aggravated Battery which included the jury instruction “severe bodily injury from the use of a firearm.”  Therefore, the two verdicts are inconsistent with each other from the plain reading of the words.

Now, the above is a great example of a Jury Pardon. This Jury acted as a whole and told the Prosecutor and the Judge that they were not dumb, they knew the defendant did this crime but were not punishing him under the severe penalties of the 10, 20 Life Law of Florida, and instead Pardon him for his crimes. On Appeal by the State Prosecutor the 4th DCA stated that this was a “lawful exercise of the jury pardon process.”

Do not ever underestimate the power of a Jury or the Juror system in America. Make sure you or a loved one hires the most experienced criminal defense trial lawyer, when you are seeking legal help in the area of criminal defense law. Hiring a lawyer who does not have the skills, determination and grit to go to trial on your Criminal Case, is like buying a boat that does not float, it is foolish. So, if you have been arrested for a felony, misdemeanor, dui or Federal crime anywhere in Florida, you owe it to yourself or your loved one to have the experienced West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew D. Stine in your corner. With over ten years of Criminal Defense Trial Experience and the handling of thousands of files, trial and appeals, you will get the best criminal lawyer in Florida at your service. Stine tries cases, Stine makes objections, Stine files motions and Stine wins at trial. Hire Stine or do the Time.

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