Articles Posted in Legal Humor

Like the lawsuits against big tobacco in the 1980s and following in the footsteps of a nearby Indian reservation, five inmates in the Idaho Department of Corrections are suing major beer companies. Why? They are blaming their legal troubles on alcoholism and claiming they were not warned about the dangers of drinking…

According to the Idaho Statesman, the five Idaho inmates filed the lawsuit without a lawyer. It names a total of eight defendants including Coors, Miller brewing and Jim Bean.

The inmates, Keith Brown and co-plaintiffs Jeremy Joseph Brown, Woodrow John Grant Cory Alan Baugh, and Steven Todd Thompson also wrote affidavits explaining how alcohol has affected their lives.

Keith Brown, after fleeing to Florida, was found and later convicted of voluntary manslaughter. He has spent nearly 30 years behind bars. In his affidavit, Mr. Brown claims that he spent all this time in prison because of alcohol and people being intoxicated. He continued, “At no time in my life, prior to me becoming an alcoholic, was I ever informed that alcohol was habit forming and addictive.”

Another potential Plaintiff, 34 year-old Jeremy Brown is currently serving 20-30 years for aggravated battery against a man in 2001. He claims he was drunk at the time and if it wasn’t for that fact, he never would have shot the man. He too is claiming he had no idea that alcohol is potentially habit forming!

Mr. Baugh is serving 7-10 years for a grand theft and drug convictions. Mr. Grant is serving time for aggravated battery and drug charges. 44 year-old Mr. Thompson is serving three more years of prison for grand theft and multiple drug charges. They all say the same thing: because of alcohol, they fear that they cannot be productive members of society and so want someone to blame…What are the legal odds of this case being a winner? As a Pinellas county law firm that specializes is criminal defense and personal injury, this case looks like it is going nowhere fast. Unlike the infamous McDonald’s hot coffee case there should be no surprises even if this case gets to a jury. Alcohol consumption and it’s possible side affects have been widly known for hundreds of years. Unlike “Big Tobacco”, there is no evidence that alcohol companies have purposely tried to hide their dangers.

Finally, this case should put off a large percentage of any jurors. It looks like these men are not taking responsibility for their actions, rather they look like they are just after a quick payday!
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Like a scene out of a bad Hollywood “dark” comedy, a Pasco man was arrested for domestic assault, aggravated assault and tampering with a witness for kidnapping his wife and forcing her to go to dinner with him. per the baynews9 online article, the wife was fortunate, as this could have turned deadly…

Pasco sheriff’s detectives say a 49 year-old man invited his estranged wife over to his house, hoping to reconcile and put aside their differences. At his place, when his wife admitted that she didn’t love him anymore, her day quickly took a turn for the worse…

The man committed a battery by punching her in the head. He then picked up a tampering with a victim charge by taking her car keys and her cell phone, leaving her unable to either leave or call for help. For this lady, her nightmare was just beginning.

Detectives claim that the husband then forced his wife to sit and watch television with him at knifepoint. He then decided to try and win her back by forcing her to accompany him to the famed gourmet restaurant the Golden Corral. After dinner, he continued this romantic “date” by forcing her to accompany him to Walmart where he purchased new shoes for himself.

After the dinner and shopping excursion, the man headed back to his house, forcing his soon to be ex-wife to come back with him. Once home, he continued to force her to watch more television with him.Around that time, the woman’s father came by the house. He was suspicious as the victim did not return any of her father’s calls the past several hours. The father managed to help his daughter get out of the house and into his car.

As they were driving away, the Defendant got a rifle, pointed it at the escaping vehicle and fired a shot into the air, thereby commiting an aggravated assault. This crime, normally a third degree felony with no mandatory prison, may have a three year minimum/mandatory prison sentence attached. This would occur only if the suspect pointed the firearm directly at the wife or her father.

As of this publication, the wife is safe and resting while the Defendant is still in the Pasco County jail…
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A humorous bit first seen in the Tampa Times website

A Pinellas county man told police he needed help with a “domestic situation”. The police rushed over expecting to find a domestic battery, instead they found a man wanting a beer!

Pinellas deputies received a 911 call late Thursday night from a 56 year old Seminole man detailing the above situation. The man claimed his daughter was hitting him and using drugs. When they arrived to the home, they found the man was intoxicated and his story quickly unraveled.

The man’s daughter said the Defendant called the police when she wouldn’t buy him a beer. When she produced audio recordings of the Defendant threatening to make fake statements to the police about her the police had heard enough. The man was arrested for making a false report of a crime and was sent to Pinellas county jail. It looks like he better cut back on the beer and save his money for a defense attorney!
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Like a bad episode of “Doogie Howser, M.D.” except in this case the teenager was NOT a doctor. Per an article on CNN, this pint-sized wanna be medical man may soon be in a world of trouble…

Matthew Scheidt, 18, is currently on trial in Florida on four counts of practicing medicine without a license and two counts of impersonating a physician assistant during time he spent at the Osceola Regional Medical Center. He is accused of getting a medical badge through a clerical error and working “rounds” as a doctor, going so far as giving CPR to a suspected drug overdose victim.

His defense? The hospital was to blame for giving him an badge identifying him as a doctor! The suspect claimed that he went to the hospital to get a badge to work as a clerk at a doctor’s office across the street. Due to a clerical error, he was given a badge identifying him as a physician assistant. During an interview, the suspect did not sound remorseful.

“Their error was putting me in apparently as a physician assistant into their computer,” Scheidt told investigators. “Let’s even say that I said I was a physician assistant. Let’s even say that I was. Are you that stupid that you are just going to put me in the system as that, without any credentials or any paperwork or nothing?”

The State attorneys prosecting the case claims that the suspect used the incorrect badge to spend weeks working in the hospital, helping to conduct medical exams and changing bandages.

Despite an alleged full confession and a mountain of evidence against him, he has pled “not guilty” and has maintained his innocence. One thing that may not help him? Just a few months after bonding out on these charges, he was arrested and put back in jail for a new count of impersonating a police officer! Forget “Doogie Howser”, this is sounding more like a bad version of the ’80s classic, “The Secret of My Sucess“…
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A humorous story posted in the Tampa Bay Times website about a jail visitor. This man was visiting his incarcerated wife over video when he decided the video visitation should be a XXX one. The man, 46, was arrested for exposing his sexual organs, a misdemeanor. This carefree husband was booked into Pinellas county jail…the same place where this exposure took place.

While this story is humorous, it brings up a broader point. What rights do visitors have in jail? That depends on if the visitor is a loved one or if he/she is the accused’s criminal defense lawyer. As a Pinellas criminal defense attorney, we are able to speak with our incarcerated clients face-to-face. Because of the attorney-client privilege, the meetings we have with clients or prospective clients can NOT be revealed, taped or recorded to ANYONE without the client’s permission. This means when we are visiting a client who is locked up, we have special areas where there is no sound or video recordings and the guards can not listen in to our conversation. This protects both the client and the legal process.

Lastly, this article is another reminder of what else NOT to do if one is incarcerated. While exposing your sexual organs is never a good idea when in jail, one must be careful to not expose any information on their case to cellmates. The jail can be a lonely place and it is common to reach out to other people locked up with you. However, if one starts giving information about their charges, these same “friends” may quickly flip on you. These “informants” may testify against you in your criminal case, hoping that their testimony may convince the state to depart from their guideline sentence. The thinking is, if an informant helps the state put away a criminal on a big crime (such as murder or a sexual assault), then the state may agree to reduce the informant’s sentence.

With that in mind, a friendly reminder that if one is ever so unfortunate as to be a “guest” in the local county jail, keep your pants up and your mouth shut!
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A story that is so scary its funny… According to an article on the website guyism, we may have a new BAC record…

The man, James Henderson, was first arrested for public intoxication when he was found passed out in a ditch. His Blood-alcohol level was an astonishing 0.552%! This is amazing as it is generally thought that death can occur when the BAC gets in the high 0.200s or 0.3. You generally fall into a coma if your BAC reaches around .400. What makes the story more interesting is that not only did this man make a full recovery but he was again arrested on a disorderly intoxication charge. That time he had a .297!

As a St. Petersburg DUI defense lawyer, I have often been asked to explain BAC and what the limits are in Florida to be convicted of a DUI. BAC (Blood-alcohol content or sometimes breath-alcohol content) is basically measured as a percentage of alcohol in a person’s blood.Generally, in Florida a .08 BAC is considered impaired. This means that 1/8 of one percent of a person’s blood is alcohol, by volume. A BAC of .15 or greater is enough to give you enhanced DUI penalties. These penalties generally consist of enhanced fines, more jail time, and a breathalyzer machine being installed in your vehicle. You might be surprised but a .08 BAC often does not equal much alcohol. A slender woman may only need 1-2 glasses of wine before she reaches that limit!

Finally, just as you can be found not guilty with a BAC of .08 or higher, you CAN be convicted of a DUI or Driving under the influence, even if your BAC is below that standard. How a DUI suspect acts, looks, performs certain tests (field sobriety exercises, a subject for another blog) and dozens of other factors along with a potential BAC goes into determing if someone was driving under the influence
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According to an online story on, a Coconut Creek man accused of posing as a doctor and offering free door-to-door “breast exams” has reached a deal with prosecutors, lawyers told a Broward County judge on Tuesday.

Phillip Winikoff, 81, was accused in April 2006 of carrying on the ruse with women at an apartment complex in the 3200 block of Northwest 40th Street in Lauderdale Lakes. Investigators said two (2) women took Winikoff up on the offer, allowed him into their apartments and realized something was amiss only after the phony “breast exams” started.Winikoff was charged with three (3) Felony counts of Sexual Battery, two (2) counts of Practicing Medicine without a License, two (2) counts of Simple Battery, and one (1) count of Using the Title of Doctor without a License.

If tried and convicted, he could have been sentenced to more than forty-five (45) years in the Florida State Prison system for the Sexual Battery charges and another ten (10) years for Practicing Medicine without a License.

It was not revealed Tuesday whether the deal Winikoff reached with prosecutors will keep him out of prison.

Winikoff, who was in court with a half-dozen family members, was scheduled to enter a plea of either Guilty or No Contest, but by the time the prosecutor and Winikoff’s lawyer arrived, Broward Circuit Judge Sandra Perlman said she had a Trial to oversee and needed to reschedule the Winikoff plea. No firm date was set.

At the time of Winikoff’s arrest, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said he carried a little black bag to lend credibility to his claim of being a doctor. The first victim, 36 years old at the time, told detectives he started the exam by fondling her breasts, and she knew something was wrong when his hands wandered elsewhere.By the time the victim called 911, Winikoff had already found a second victim, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said.

LADIES, PLEASE TAKE NOTE: The next time a man shows up on your doorstep claiming to be a doctor who performs free door-to-door “breast exams,” think twice about accepting his offer. Yes, even if he’s got a black doctor’s bag.
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I’m all for individuality and one’s right to tattoo (almost) anything they want on their body. However, there comes a time when you are just asking for trouble….

Yesterday, an man was arrested under the authority of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) warrant.Ismael Hernandez-Ambrosio, of Clearwater, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail around 3:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. And I’m sure the arresting officer(s), detention deputies and jail staff enjoyed listing his “Scars, Marks & Tattoos” (as is routinely done when being booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

Unfortunately for Mr. Hernandez-Ambrosio, his “F*CK THE POLICE” Tattoo, going straight across his face, problem didn’t earn him any brownie points, or an extra juice cup, or an extended, long-distance phone call.If there is any moral to this story, it has to be “think twice” or three (3) times before inking yourself in such a negative way. As the former Gang Unit Prosecutor in Pinellas County, Florida, I’ve seen negative tattoos become damaging evidence used by prosecutors against arrested individuals.

Casey Anthony’s defense team has announced that they will be appealing her four (4) Misdemeanor convictions from her recent First Degree Murder trial.

Friday morning, Casey’s defense attorneys filed their Notice of Appeal for the four (4) counts of misleading law enforcement, for which she was convicted by the same jury that acquitted her of First Degree Murder.It was almost three (3) years ago that Casey told Orange County deputies the following:

(1) That she worked at Universal Orlando Resort in 2008,
(2) That she left Caylee with a babysitter named Zenaida Gonzalez,
(3) That she told Jeffrey Hopkins and Juliette Lewis that Caylee was missing,
(4) That she spoke to Caylee on the phone on July 15, 2008.

Casey was charged and convicted of a separate count for each of the above false statements. She was fined the maximum $1,000 for each count, totaling $4,618 after court costs.Judge Belvin Perry also sentenced Casey to a total of four (4) years in jail, which has already been shortened based on the time she has spent behind bars (awaiting trial), and her good behavior in jail. Casey is due to be released Sunday.

From a strategic standpoint, an appeal could have a huge effect on Casey’s civil case involving Zenaida Gonzalez, which took a bizarre turn Friday morning after a quick end to an emergency hearing.

Once the appeal is formally filed, she can legitimately assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in any deposition or interrogation until the appeal is exhausted!

As far as Casey is concerned, there is no downside to this legal maneuver. If she loses the appeal, she will still be released from jail on Sunday. She cannot be punished for appealing.Another bright move by her defense team to, once again, protect her from having to tell the truth about what happened to her daughter Caylee.
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As reported by BayNews9, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd is at it again.

In another “cost-cutting” measure, the Polk County Jail will no longer provide free underwear to its inmates.Normally, when an inmate is booked in the jail, they are given an orange shirt, orange pants and underwear.

In order to save money, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has proposed making males inmates pay if they want their “tighty whities.”

The cost-saving measure was part of the sheriff’s 2011-2012 budget he presented to county commissioners Thursday afternoon. Judd said it will save the county $45,000.

Although women behind bars will still be provided underwear, the men will have to pay.

“For those who don’t want to pay, they can let the breeze blow up one leg and out the other,” Judd said (in classic Grady Judd fashion).

The idea drew smiles from several county commissioners and laughter from the crowd.

“You and I buy it at the store. So, if they want it, they can buy it,” he said. Judd said they are also cutting eleven (11) positions, including six (6) supervisors.

Judd says while his department is doing more with less, his highest priority remains keeping the people of Polk County safe.

Judd said the new policy will not cause the quality of service from the department to go down.

“None of these cuts will keep us from answering the call,” Judd said.

FYI — As for the underwear, it’s about $2.50 for briefs and $4.50 for boxers. The choice is up to the inmates.

“We give our inmates choices at our jail,” he said.

The new underwear rule will breeze into effect Aug. 1st.
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