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Tag Archives: criminal process

The Independent Act: Co-Defendants Can Be Arrested, Charged and Convicted

In the State of Florida, co-defendants can be arrested, charged and convicted for the actions of their cohorts; even if one co-defendant knew of the elements of the criminal enterprise, but did not actually commit the crime itself. But isn’t it a defense in Florida to argue that the co-defendant who did not “know” of the plan to further the criminal episode is in fact protected by Florida’s “independent act doctrine.” The answer is yes, and more importantly was just written about extensively in an opinion from the 4th District Courts of Appeals that overturned Palm Beach Circuit Judge Stephen A. Rapp’s decision that condemn a woman for life. At the onset, there is nothing nice or good to say about Judge Rapp and in fact he has caused the… […]

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Are the Rights of the Accused Being Diminished by a Weak Judiciary Through the Mob Mentality of Protesting and Petition Signing on the Likes of Facebook and other Social Media Sites?

Are the Rights of the Accused Being Diminished by a Weak Judiciary Through the Mob Mentality of Protesting and Petition Signing on the Likes of Facebook and other Social Media Sites?

There are very few judicial actions, other than criminal trials, that stir the social media crowds. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and local newspaper blogs are froth with petitions to “bring” justice to the accused, when certain special interest groups get involved in the criminal process. Over the past eight to ten years, the courts have seen an increase in petitions signed by online “registrants or guests” to bring swift and exact justice, against citizens charged with committing certain criminal acts that their group believes is so repulsive that Due Process of Law should take a side step to the protestors demands. But what does the U.S. and Florida Constitutions have to say about these issues? The issues of protesting and petitions in the criminal justice arenas are not new,… […]

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The Art of the Plea Deal

The Art of the Plea Deal

Criminal defendants, those charged with a criminal offense, have no right to a plea deal with the prosecutor acting on behalf of the State of Florida. The right to a jury trial is guaranteed by the U.S. and Florida Constitutions.  The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” Nowhere… […]

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Florida Criminal Sentencing and Departures: Part II the Appeal

Florida Criminal Sentencing and Departures: Part II the Appeal

In the first part of this blog, Florida Criminal Sentencing and Departures, we learned the laws and policies at the trial court level, as it relates to trial judges departing from the Florida criminal sentencing guidelines. The second part of the blog will now discuss the appellate process and how the appeals courts review the departed sentence from the lower court. If the lower court, also known as the sentencing court, downward departs on a criminal sentence the State of Florida through the Office of the State Attorney, for the county in which the crime occurred, will likely appeal the lower court’s ruling to depart to the District Court of Appeals. The principle behind this appeal is set out in the separation of powers of the Florida and United States… […]

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Florida Criminal Sentencing and Departures

Florida Criminal Sentencing and Departures

Under Florida law the sentencing guidelines and laws are in place to provide uniformity of sentence. This uniformity was born out when political activists argued that certain races in Florida were being treated differently under the previous criminal sentencing scheme, because of race or skin color. Basically, black activists argued for “Florida Sentencing Guidelines” that would provide equal sentences for all races of people, touting what they believed was disparaging sentences that blacks faced for crack cocaine possession versus whites for powder cocaine possession. Since the sentencing guidelines have been enacted in Florida, at the behest of the activists, sentencing judges have a very difficult time meting out a sentence below the guidelines. Experienced criminal defense attorneys have crafted ways to persuade trial judges to go below the guidelines, but… […]

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Judges Usurping the Providence of the Jury

You 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… […]

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Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Be The Difference Between Your Freedom and Incarceration

Hiring a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Be The Difference Between Your Freedom and Incarceration

You often hear the phrase you pay for what you get. That could never be more truthful then when hiring a lawyer. When hiring a lawyer, make sure you understand that you can ask questions like; how many criminal cases have you had in your career? How many times have you actually gone to trial? Have you written appellate briefs? These questions are important because it shows whether or not you are hiring experience and this experience pays off. Take for example the difference between a properly written motion to suppress and State of Florida v. Christine Christmas. In State v. Christmas, the defendant was stopped for traffic violations for faulty equipment in Broward County, Florida. While the law enforcement officer was writing the traffic citations, the officer called for… […]

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Criminal Charges And Their Impact

Criminal Charges And Their Impact

A criminal conviction can have a very serious impact on your life, affecting your professional status, personal relationships, financial situation, and any future opportunities. A conviction can be especially serious if you are a professional, who must possess a licensed to legally practice your profession, within your state. Even a criminal charge without a conviction can have a negative impact on your career, possibly resulting in suspension or even revocation of your professional license. Criminal charges and wrongs are typically classified as infractions, misdemeanors or felonies depending on the severity of the wrong.  The more serious the charges, the more serious the punishment usually is as well.  Crimes against moral turpitude are also very viewed as sanction able against your professional license. Infractions  Infractions are violations of law or ordinances that are typically… […]

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Legal Guide For First Time Offenders in Florida

Legal Guide For First Time Offenders in Florida

As the name implies, a first offender is a person who is convicted of a crime for the first time. Both adults and juveniles can be first time offenders. Punishment always depends on the type of crime committed. Sentencing guidelines are often more lenient for people who committed crimes for the first time. Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney with years of experience can make the difference as to whether you will have a criminal record or not. So, in Palm Beach County, Martin County, Okeechobee County, St. Lucie County and all of South Florida, if you have been arrested and are a first time offender get legal advice from Criminal Defense Lawyer Andrew D. Stine and help position yourself for a clean record. To meet the condition of a 1st… […]

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Consult With Attorney To Understand The Nature Of Your Criminal Charges

Consult With Attorney To Understand The Nature Of Your Criminal Charges

Few people understand the criminal justice process. Our criminal justice system can be overwhelming and frightening. The incarceration rate in the United States is much higher than that of other industrialized countries. Prison sentences are getting longer and more frequent. If you face the possibility of being accused of a crime, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as early in the process as possible, preferably even before questioning or investigation by the police. A skilled attorney can fight for your legal and constitutional rights. Police Stops You may be stopped for questioning by the police. A stop isn’t considered an arrest if you’re briefly detained and not moved to a different location. Maintain your legal rights when stopped by the police: Remain calm and polite. Keep your hands in view… […]

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