Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law has been the subject of much commentary from TV talking heads, internet bloggers, and other “armchair attorneys.” Regardless of what one might think about the wisdom of the law, the fact remains that this law may, in the hands of a skillful Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney, provide a person accused of a serious crime a distinct possibility to avoid a conviction.

A recent case from Manatee County illustrates how helpful and far-reaching “Stand Your Ground” immunity can be. In C.C.’s aggravated battery case, it was undisputed that C.C. and her boyfriend, G.B., went out to a Palmetto biker bar, where they met and partied with Mr. C. and Ms. E.

G.B. and C.C. later invited their new acquaintances to their Palmetto trailer home. There, a disagreement erupted between Mr. C. and G.B. That disagreement devolved into a fight.

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dui-3The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution contains within it many basic rights for people who are on trial for alleged crimes. This is the Amendment from which the accused derives his right to present a defense at trial. That right to present a defense is very broad and significantly limits what the prosecution and/or the courts can do to keep out relevant proof that you think can strengthen your defense case. Recognizing what you can and cannot present in your defense, as well as making the arguments necessary to get that evidence in front of your jury, are just two of the countless critical areas where the experience and knowledge of a skilled Clearwater criminal defense attorney can pay invaluable dividends to you.

Take, for example, a DUI homicide case where you are the driver on trial. That state has evidence that your blood alcohol level was well above the legal limit. But, to convict you of the homicide crime, the state needs proof that you caused the crash, not just that you were driving drunk.

Now imagine if you had proof that the other driver involved was legally drunk, as well. Would not that piece of evidence be valuable to your defense?

social-image-logo-og-300x300Many people have heard about the protections the Constitution provides for people standing trial for alleged crimes. These include the right to a jury trial, the right to counsel and the right confront witnesses, among others. All of these are based on a more fundamental foundation of the American criminal legal system: the right to a fair trial. That fundamental foundation establishes several things that the prosecution cannot do as they try to convict you. Of course, one of the most critical ways to even the playing field is to exercise your right to counsel and arm yourself with representation from a skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney.

Unfairness in a criminal trial can happen in a lot of different ways. Look at this recent Sarasota case as an example. C.T. was on trial in Sarasota for a burglary charge and two sex crime charges. Those charges all stemmed from an incident where C.T. and a homeless friend entered the home of one of C.T.’s cousins to sleep at the home. The pair allegedly entered the home in the middle of the night uninvited by opening a door secured by a broken lock.

Just seven days before C.T.’s trial was supposed to start, the prosecution changed the list of charges it would pursue. Two days later, the state provided notice that it was amending its witness list – by adding three additional law enforcement officers who were going to testify about the alleged burglary. C.T. asked the judge to postpone the trial, arguing that he needed extra time to address these changes in the charges and these newly added witnesses. The judge denied the request and C.T. was convicted on the burglary charge.

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Currently, CCTV cameras are almost everywhere on the highways, in railway stations, bus stations, hotels, resorts, and residential buildings to keep crime at bay. Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are commonly used in public places all over the globe. CCTV video has been used by law enforcement authorities to solve crimes and arrest criminals on several occasions. They’ve proved to be incredibly helpful in monitoring down criminals CCTV captures a truthful image of the events, and the Courts place a high value on its integrity due to its accuracy. The solar security camera is easy to mount without the need to connect electricity or cable. When it detects people, it will begin lighting the camera automatically, and it has local storage and privacy protection. Solar energy cellular surveillance cameras run on 3G/4G cellular data and are intended to function in areas with no hardwired Internet.

Authentication of CCTV Footage:

To be deemed admissible in the Court of law, digital evidence must be properly preserved, authenticated, and in compliance with each state’s different digital evidence policies. Furthermore, the applicability and relevance of the digital evidence to the case must be identified.

931789-Crimes-of-Violence-callout-08-20-10The world is constantly evolving, meaning that the law is evolving. New technologies may mean new avenues for obtaining the evidence you need to prove your innocence in a criminal trial. Getting that evidence, though, requires knowing how to engage in the legal processes properly and in a timely way. To do that, be sure you have representation from a skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney.

One of the modern technological gadgets many people have in their homes these days is a personal assistant device from Amazon or a competitor such as Google. Amazon’s devices come with the well-known “Alexa,” a voice-activated, cloud-based AI service. You can tell Alexa to do many things, from compiling shopping lists to tuning in a radio station to even mimicking the sound of human flatulence, and the Amazon device will perform that task.

Technology like this, as it contains the ability to “listen” and record what is said to the device, has the potential for some unexpected uses. In fact, in one case currently pending in a trial court in Kentucky, Alexa may hold the key to proving a woman’s innocence, according to her attorney. In that case, K.E. was on trial for the April 2020 murder of her mother in the small town of Elizabethtown, KY.

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One of the biggest things you can do to strengthen your defense position in a criminal case is to find ways to get the state’s evidence that was obtained from a search warrant thrown out. This evidence will probably be critical to the state’s case, so if you can get it suppressed, then you have a vastly better chance of obtaining an acquittal. This often means knowing how to attack your search warrant the right way. To give yourself the best chance of attacking a search warrant successfully, be sure you have an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney handling your case.

As an example, consider the case of D.G., a man suspected of possessing and distributing child pornography. The police’s suspicion arose after receiving a tip from an internet chatroom service, which reported that an image depicting child pornography had been uploaded to one of its chatrooms in October 2017 and that it came from a computer registered to D.G.’s home.

During their investigation, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office also learned that a similar anonymous tip about another single image of suspected child pornography from the same computer had been lodged in August 2016.

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When you’ve been accused of a crime, there are several things that can potentially make the prosecution’s case much weaker and your defense position much stronger. One of those is compelling evidence that the alleged victim or another of the state’s key witnesses has a very real reason to lie about you on the stand. If that’s a factor in your case, you need to make sure you have a skilled Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney advocating for you because the difference between getting an acquittal versus a conviction may rest on whether or not you get that evidence of bias before the jury.

Although there are limits to the evidence of bias you can use, the law generally gives you wide latitude in presenting this part of your defense. Recently, a man from Hillsborough County, V. A.-C., was on trial for sexual battery and believed he had strong evidence of bias. The man lived with several other people, including V. A.-C.’s girlfriend, the girlfriend’s sister and the sister’s boyfriend. The sister was also the alleged victim of the sexual battery.

At his trial, the accused man sought to put his girlfriend on the stand to testify about the accuser’s bias. The accuser had a former husband who had been jailed and later deported based on an allegation of sexual battery made by the daughter of V. A.-C.’s girlfriend. The accused man’s theory was that his accuser was bitter about that deportation and developed resentment and bias against her sister (a/k/a V. A.-C.’s girlfriend) and, by extension, V. A.-C as well.

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Florida man” is a social media meme that has rocketed erratically behaving Floridians to internet fame… or infamy. Many of these stories involve encounters with law enforcement; however, it is worth remembering that, just because a person is behaving erratically, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are breaking the law. Sometimes, whether you’re talking about the internet-famous “Florida man” or an average, ordinary citizen, the police may charge a crime when what actually happened does not match the elements that the law requires. When you’re charged with a crime you didn’t commit, you need a skillful legal professional on your side. You need the representation of an experienced Tampa Bay criminal defense attorney.

D.K. was a man who allegedly was having a “Florida man” moment in Brevard County. According to witnesses, D.K. was standing in his driveway. And he was throwing rocks at vehicles as they passed by…. And he was naked. According to ClickOrlando.com, jail records reflected that the man was in jail for “exposure of sexual organs.”

That seems all pretty simple and straightforward, doesn’t it? D.K. was outside in his driveway and he was naked, so his “sexual organs” were “exposed,” right?

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798516-drug-offensesThere are several things that can happen in your drug crime trial that can make the process unfairly tilted against you. Things like a prosecutor’s misstatement of the law in closing arguments may confuse and/or prejudice the jury, thus entitling you to a reversal if you’re eventually convicted. However, it is possible that you could lose your opportunity to make that winning appeals argument if you don’t make the right objections during your trial. In other words, at every step during your criminal trial process, it is essential to know what to do and when. That is one of the many areas where it is invaluable to have a skilled Tampa Bay drug crime defense attorney on your side.

J.L.A.’s case is an example of an appeal that succeeded, in part, due to correct actions that were taken at trial. J.L.A. was on trial for drug trafficking. According to J.L.A., he was riding with his long-time friend, Malcolm, when a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Deputy pulled the pair over in a traffic stop. Malcolm allegedly handed his friend a bottle and said, “Tuck this.” J.L.A. testified that, as he hid the bottle, he though it contained marijuana.

The bottle did not contain marijuana. It contained more than 200 pills, including hydromorphone, oxycodone, and alprazolam. The deputy found the bottle and the pills after conducting a pat-down search.

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As of this writing (March 2020), the Coronavirus aka “Wuhan Virus” is understandably the world’s number one topic.  The purpose of this post is NOT to give health or social distancing advice, rather it is to help criminal defendants, witnesses, victims, et al in the Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco and Manatee counties know what to expect with their cases the next several weeks.

To start, click on the county your case is in: Pinellas, Hillsborough or Manatee County.  Pasco and Pinellas are under the same judicial circuit so the same rules apply. Pasco is here, just in case.

To sum up:  Most courts are shut down for all cases but what is considered “critical matters”.  That means courtrooms will ONLY handle cases of new arrests and certain “in custody” matters where the case can be resolved and a person can be released from county jail, freeing up much needed space.

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