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.
A Florida state appellate court will soon decide whether to appeal a guilty conviction of a man who was identified by police using a controversial police surveillance program. The controversial facial recognition program was used by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to find a man who was accused of selling drugs. Now, the First District Court of Appeals is set to break new legal ground in deciding if police are allowed to use facial software to identify suspects in crimes without notifying the defense first.
If you've ever watched a Hollywood crime show, you've probably heard the phrase, "You have the right to remain silent" when a suspect is arrested. These seven words usually come shortly after the phrase, "You are under arrest." But do you know exactly what it means when a law enforcement officer makes this particular statement, and are you aware of your rights as a crime suspect under the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights?
In a story we hear of all too often in South Florida, a Miami-area man was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison (240 months) for his role in a large Medicare fraud scheme. In addition, he is also required to pay $66.4 million in restitution for the fraud he committed against the Medicare system.
When a death row inmate is executed, there is an expectation and legal requirement that the individual has a rational understanding that he or she is about to be executed and why he or she is facing execution. Most inmates remember their crime, and they are able to answer in the affirmative that they understand the reason for their punishment. However, one Alabama man is proving to be an exception to this understanding. Now, his lawyers argue that because he suffers from dementia, and does not remember his crime over 30 years ago, that he is unfit for execution. The U.S. Supreme Court must now decide if Vernon Madison will die by lethal injection.
The decision to allow police officers to use the state's "stand your ground" law as a defense in certain situations may be heading to the Florida Supreme Court. The law, originally enacted in 2005, was created as a way to allow residents to defend themselves with deadly force without fear of arrest or trial. Since its inception, the law has remained controversial, and it is even more so when law enforcement uses it as a defense in cases when deadly force is used.
It's well known that Florida is one of the tougher states for minimum mandatory sentencing for drug offenses. The fact is that many first-time offenders and legitimate addicts end up in prison serving lengthy sentences due to the minimum sentencing that is required for crimes categorized as trafficking. The opioid crisis and pill mills in the state have only added to the large number of people who are sent to prison every year for drug-related crimes.
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.