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Criminal Defense Archives

What is Bail and What Does it Mean for Someone Who is Arrested?

When someone is arrested and booked into the police station, there is a possibility that they may be released prior to a trial based on certain criteria. Depending on the severity of a crime, some people may be eligible to post bail and be released, while others will be required to wait behind bars before they have a trial for the crime they are accused of committing. The process of assigning bail and what it means for an accused person differs by individual, and will be outlined below in more detail.

Shooter Accused in Ft. Lauderdale Airport Shooting is Competent to Stand Trial

Esteban Santiago is the Alaskan man who is accused of opening fire and killing five and wounding a sixth at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport on January 6 of this year. According to reports, he flew from Anchorage, Alaska to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida with a gun in his check baggage. Once he arrived at the airport, he retrieved his bag, loaded his gun in the bathroom, and began shooting in the baggage claim area. Despite a past riddled with mental illness, Santiago's criminal defense attorneys now say that he is mentally competent to stand trial for the accused crime.

Florida Prosecutors Can Still Seek Death Penalty Despite Constitutional Issues

Florida court cases involving the death penalty have been in a state of limbo since January 2016 when the United States Supreme Court ruled that the state's death penalty sentencing law was unconstitutional due to the fact that it gave too much power to judges with regards to sentencing. Since that ruling, capital punishment cases around the state have been on hold, as the state legislature and state Supreme Court have been working to establish a constitutional standard for capital punishment in the state of Florida. However, recently the Florida Supreme Court made a surprising ruling regarding current cases.

If Alexa is listening, can what she hears be used as evidence against you in a criminal case?

The Amazon Echo home assistants are capable of reciting the latest news and ordering you a transport, but can the famous "Alexa" also be helpful in cracking a case? According to Amazon, the Echo generally records mere snippets of conversation when triggered by the wake word, "Alexa." The question remains are those tiny bits of conversation useful and are they legally accessible?

Dalia Dippolito's Criminal Defense Attorneys to Argue Police Misconduct

Dalia Dippolito's criminal defense attorneys will continue to argue police misconduct for the forthcoming the third trial for the allegations of trying to hire a hit-man to kill her then-husband, Michael Dippolito in 2009. The tactic used during the second trial was also police misconduct, causing a hung jury. Of six jurors, three were persuaded enough to cause a mistrial.

South Florida Appeals Court Rules Cell Phone Evidence Required a Warrant

In 2014, through a unanimous decision, The United States Supreme Court ruled that a search warrant must be obtained prior to engaging in the contents of a cellular phone. This decision helped start an update to outdated privacy rules, specific for technology, which the court said falls under the protection of privacy under the Fourth Amendment. One exception to this rule would be a major security threat. Recently, this ruling was cited in a South Florida appellate case in which a cell phone-that was unlocked by police-could be used as evidence.

Florida's New Death Penalty Law Ruled Unconstitutional

The state of Florida had revamped its death penalty law a mere seven months ago, only to have the Florida Supreme Court declare the newly revised statute unconstitutional. The Florida Supreme Court has also suggested that there was a significant deal of uncertainty surrounding the death penalty, as the state is one of the leading practitioners of capital punishment in the nation. The recently revised death penalty was challenged due to the fact that it did not require a unanimous decision from the jurors in order to draw the sentence. Nearly 400 inmates are on Florida's death row and due to the fluctuations surrounding the death penalty uncertainty have arisen as to their outcome.

Can Facebook Live Video be used as Evidence in Criminal Court?

The scope of social media is reaching further and further as more ways to communicate are introduced. One of the most popular features of late is live video. From Facebook Live to Periscope, live broadcasting is becoming the new normal. And because every user has access to it, anyone can now broadcast his or her own live event in a matter of seconds.

Florida's Death Penalty Conviction Practices Under Scrutiny

Recent state court decisions and amendments to the laws surrounding the constitutionality of death penalty sentencing practices in Florida are being challenged by judges in multiple cases. In the most recent development, a Miami-Dade judge found the death penalty to be unconstitutional based on the fact that it does not require unanimity of the jury. Florida Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch put it this way: "A decedent cannot be more or less dead. An expectant mother cannot be more or less pregnant. And a jury cannot be more or less unanimous. Every verdict in every criminal case in Florida requires the concurrence, not of some, not of most, but of all jurors - every single one of them."

Is the "Textalyzer" the Next Tool of Highway Patrols?

Everyone has heard of the Breathalyzer, the device which determines a driver's blood-alcohol level, but new on the driver's stage we have what is known as the "Textalyzer", a tool invented to keep people from texting and driving. Although the invention is still in its early stages, states are beginning to adopt the new technology as a way to prevent traffic accidents and provide incriminating proof of texting while driving should an accident occur.

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Spatz Law Firm, PL
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Miami, FL 33176

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