A Florida Keys woman was arrested recently, charged with first-degree racketeering. According to prosecutors out of Atlantic City, NJ, she is connected with the 2012 murder of a woman whose doctor-husband was at the center of a pill mill scheme in that state. The Summerland Key resident, Beverly Augello's arrest papers mentioned, "illegal distribution of narcotics and murder." However, she was not the only one involved in the conspiracy, racketeering, and murder plots that unfolded several years ago in New Jersey.
Twelve Miami-Dade County jurors recently deliberated on whether a man should be sentenced to life in prison or receive the death penalty for his crimes. The reason that this case is historic is that it is the first time in Miami that a death-penalty case went to a sentencing hearing since the state of Florida changed the rules all together for awarding the death penalty to certain criminals. In this particular case, instead of send this convicted killer to Death Row, the jury chose mercy through a sentence of life in prison.
Florida's legacy of harsh criminal sentencing is under the microscope lately as the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee concluded recently that too much state taxpayer money is being spent on people who have committed minor criminal offenses. The committee voted unanimously for SB 290, which ends minimum mandatory sentences for non-violent crimes. Liberal and conservative advocates have been pushing to reform Florida's historically harsh mandatory minimums for non-violent crimes for some time now, as these types of statutes have bogged down the judicial system and crowded prisons around the state.