At this point in time, nearly everyone is active on some form of social media -whether it's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or all of the above. You may know that what's on your newsfeed and is shown to the general public can be used against you as evidence, but did you know that your private direct messages can also lead to charges being placed against you if misconduct is discovered?
Can you imagine being behind bars for four decades for a crime you didn't commit? That's what happened to Jacksonville natives Clifford Williams and Nathan Myers when their defense attorney didn't push to present the jury with evidence that would have proven their innocence. Their case was recently overturned on the basis of legal malpractice with the assistance of State Attorney Melissa Nelson, head of Florida's first conviction integrity unit.
We live in a world where safety concerns like bomb threats or random shooting are something we hear about all too often. Many establishments such as schools, airports, and large public venues have policies in place for what to do if that kind of threat should occur. In the event that a threat is reported, law enforcement will immediately jump into action. So, what happens if the reported threat is false and a lie? Does the person who falsified the threat deserve to be punished? What about the time, cost, and mental disruption caused by those involved in the steps that take place after the threat is reported?
It only seems logically to record interrogations, as that's the moment when may confessions take place. Having these recordings allow for an accurate depiction of how the conversation occurred as well as if the confession seemed honest and truthful or possibly forced or coerced through pressure by the interrogating officer. However, Florida is one of the states in the United States that doesn't legally require for interrogations to be recorded. Senate Bill 204 aims to change that.
After you're arrested for a crime, the next step is the filing of the information or indictment. In most cases in Florida (except Capital) the police will fill out a standard police report (A-Form) that will be passed on to the State Attorney's Office who will review the case and determine what crimes they will formally charge you with.
Having the ability to defend oneself in a moment where you fear for your life is an important factor in feeling safe. The Stand Your Ground law protects those who have to take action to defend themselves in life-threatening cases. Initially, this was a right given to all persons, but not necessarily those on the police force. However, the Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that Florida law enforcement can use the law in some instances.
A man in Texas was able to save himself from a life in prison by proving his innocence with the help of a geotagged selfie taken with his family on Facebook. According to KVUE, Cristopher Precopia was accused by his ex-girlfriend of breaking into her home and using a box cutter to slice an X into her chest.
As election season comes to a close, crimes involving ballots and voting tend to come to light. Though it doesn't happen often, it does happen on occasion. According to Vox, "Voter fraud is extremely rare. As Vox's German Lopez has written, a study by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt found just 35 credible allegations of fraud from 2000 and 2014 - out of more than 800 million ballots cast."
When someone is arrested and charged with a crime, the next step is a plea and potential trial. Not all criminal cases go to trial. In fact, many of them do not. If a defendant pleas guilty or no contest, or if both sides reach a plea bargain or there is a dismissal of charges, the case will not go to trial. However, if the defendant wishes to plea not guilty and face a jury of his or her peers, here is what one can expect from a criminal jury trial process.
When someone is convicted of a crime, there are several different ways that they can be punished. Often we see incarceration offered as a type of punishment, but probation is also an option depending on the type of crime and the judge's choice in sentencing.