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Criminal Defense Archives

Is Use of Certain Emojis Enough to Warrant an Arrest?

A twelve-year-old girl in Fairfax, VA is facing charges in juvenile court after posting a series of emojis in an Instagram post that implied a threat to her school. Emojis, the small pictures used to punctuate texts and social media posts, are a hallmark of smartphone communication. And, like many aspects of digital communication, they are a source of confusion in the courts.

Should Apple unlock its iPhones? Judges Split on Apple's Public Responsibility

Should Apple make a way for law enforcement to access their iPhones? That question continues to play out in the courts, and could have a far-reaching effect on technology and privacy laws in the United States.

Florida Re-sentencing Laws for Juveniles Creates Backlog in Courts

The juvenile justice system in Florida continues to be a hot topic. In December, the Juvenile Justice Bill received a lot of attention and now a ruling from earlier in 2015 is making a stir by creating a backlog of cases in courtrooms throughout the state. In the ruling by the Florida Supreme Court, juveniles (individuals under the age of 18) that committed a murder can still be sentenced to life imprisonment; however, those individuals are entitled to a review of that sentencing after 25 years.

The Freddie Gray Trial Had An Anonymous Jury - What Does That Mean?

Recently, an anonymous jury was used in the high profile case of William Porter. Porter was the first of the Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray to stand trial. While there is precedent for using anonymous juries in certain instances, the practice has seen an uptick in recent years.

Juvenile Justice Bill Moves Through Florida House

On December 1, 2015 the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee took a hard look at Florida's direct-file laws and their effects on the lives of juvenile offenders. In the last five years, 12,000 juvenile offenders have ended up in Florida's adult criminal justice system - 60 percent of them non-violent offenders.

Supreme Court to Decide if Fraud Defendant Can Have Access to Legally Obtained Assets

The Supreme Court is hearing a case on a defendant's rights to seized assets that may set new precedent on the subject. The case centers on Sila Luis, a Miami woman who was indicted in 2012 for Medicare fraud. The allegations against Luis claim that she and two co-defendants used bribes and false claims to defraud Medicare of $50 million dollars.

Florida Death Sentence Rejected in Appeals Court Due to Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Ineffective assistance of counsel is a legal statute that gives persons convicted of a crime a chance to have their case reviewed. It is based on evidence that the defense attorney did a poor job of representation, which resulted in the conviction and/or sentencing. This was the argument that the attorneys of John Gary Hardwick Jr. used in an appeals case with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Florida Death Sentence Rejected in Appeals Court Due to Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Ineffective assistance of counsel is a legal statute that gives persons convicted of a crime a chance to have their case reviewed. It is based on evidence that the defense attorney did a poor job of representation, which resulted in the conviction and/or sentencing. This was the argument that the attorneys of John Gary Hardwick Jr. used in an appeals case with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Policeman's Best Friends May be Violating Civil Liberties

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently made a ruling on the use of drug sniffing dogs in U.S. vs. Bentley. Trained dogs have very sensitive noses and are able to identify drugs, but the problem in police forces is that dogs are also hard-wired to please humans. So, if the handler has a preconceived idea of who might be concealing drugs, the dog is more likely to act off of those cues.

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