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Criminal Defense Archives

National Crime Rates and Local Police Shootings are Down in 2017

It's looking like 2017 was a year when crime rates dipped in the U.S. This is the preliminary news coming in from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University's School of Law. The reports indicate good news for those of us who live in areas where crime is down, as the trend is a reversal from the previous few years where crime rates were rising.

Is a Car Considered a Deadly Weapon in the State of Florida?

The Florida Supreme Court may have to decide in the near future whether a car is considered a deadly weapon when used to harm or kill someone in the state of Florida. The lower appellate courts in the state are divided on this issue, forcing the state's Supreme Court to become the deciding factor.

Miami Man Claims Stand-You-Ground Against Child Abuse Charges

A Miami man is attempting to use Florida's controversial "stand-your-ground" statute as a way to seek immunity for child abuse charges brought against him. The cases involves a 30-year-old Miami tennis instructor who is accused of hitting a five-year-old boy with a tennis racket, causing bruising on the boy's right arm and a lump on his eyebrow. The man is charged with child abuse, but feels that he acted in self-defense.

Why Would a Judge Call a Mistrial?

If a judge decides to call a mistrial in a case, it means that the trial cannot and will not be successfully completed. The trial is terminated and declared void before the jury or judge renders a verdict or decision. However, it does not mean that there will not be a future trial. In most cases, the trial is reset for a different time with a different jury.

Gunfire Detection Technology Expanding in Miami

In an effort to further decrease the incidents of gun violence in the city of Miami, city commissioners included funds in the recently approved 2018 city budget to expand the current gunfire detection technology in the city. Many residents may not be aware, but the city has been using gunfire detection technology in certain neighborhoods since 2014. $325,000 in the proposed 2018 budget is allocated to triple the current zone where the technology is utilized.

Miami Man Arrested for Threatening the Life of State Representative on Facebook

A Miami Gardens man was arrested recently, accused of threatening the life of State Representative Jose Felix Diaz. The threat was posted on the defendant's Facebook page and read, "I'll kill your ass and you better not show up to the next REC meeting."

Florida is Toughest on Charging Juvenile Offenders as Adults

When it comes to charging youth offenders as adults, Florida ranks at the top in the nation. From 2003-2008, Florida transferred juveniles into the adult system two times the amount that the state with the second highest amount of youths charged as adults transferred them into the adult courts. From 2008-2012, over 12,000 Florida children were transferred into the adult criminal justice system. Some may argue that this is because the punishments in the juvenile system for youth offenders are not nearly tough enough, and many offenders under the age of 18 who commit violent crimes deserve a harsher sentence through the adult courts. Others argue that you cannot charge juveniles as adults due to differences in brain development, and the stark reality that many youth offenders who go into the adult system are more often abused and have higher recidivism rates.

You're Being Watched: Virtual Policing

With every new technology, whether we wear it, watch it, or use it to make our life more convenient, we may be giving valuable information about ourselves to others. Many fear that we are losing our rights to privacy, while others say that we should trade some privacy for safety. Whichever side of the argument you are on, the fact of the matter is that more and more people have access to some of our most private moments, including access by those in law enforcement.

What may constitute an ineffective assistance of counsel?

When you are accused of a crime, there are certain rights that you are afforded. The sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides clear criteria for those rights. One of the guaranteed rights is that the accused have the right to the assistance of counsel in a case against them. The U.S. Supreme Court has gone a step further in this requirement and ruled that states must provide a public defender for those criminals who may be indignant and unable to retain their own lawyer.

Case Shines Spotlight on Body Cam Footage Laws and Policies in Miami

Police body cam footage seems to be a very popular topic of discussion lately. There has been much controversy over the use of the body cam, who should wear one, what is done with the footage and how long it needs to be saved. Many in the community think that body cams are necessary checks on power by giving police officers a reason to think before they do something that may be interpreted as out-of-line or an abuse of power. While others may think that the cameras add an extra layer of bureaucracy and may prevent police from doing what is necessary to stop a crime. Regardless of what one may think, it appears that we will be seeing more of these cameras worn by police as time goes by. In the state of Florida, we have our own legislation that governs body cams, and in South Florida, we have our own issues with this technology.

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