In an effort to further decrease the incidents of gun violence in the city of Miami, city commissioners included funds in the recently approved 2018 city budget to expand the current gunfire detection technology in the city. Many residents may not be aware, but the city has been using gunfire detection technology in certain neighborhoods since 2014. $325,000 in the proposed 2018 budget is allocated to triple the current zone where the technology is utilized.
A former prosecutor and judge in Texas will go to jail for his role in the wrongful conviction of a man. The prosecutor has pled guilty to intentionally failing to disclose evidence in a case that sent an innocent man to prison for the murder of his wife. The prosecutor turned judge, possessed evidence at the time of the trial that may have cleared the accused man of the crime.
Health care fraud crackdowns initiated to catch those who defraud within the health care industry are common, but a couple of the most recent crackdowns have targeted one segment of the industry in particular that some may argue Florida desperately needs to be clean and honest. The drug and addiction treatment industry exists to support recovering drug and alcohol addicts who come to the facilities ideally to seek treatment and rid themselves of a dangerous addiction in order to live a healthier life. However, through evidence collected during one local and one national crackdown, a dark picture of the operation of these facilities has emerged.
Recently, the news reported that the U.S. Coast Guard seized 150 pounds of cocaine off of a fishing boat. The boat came into the RMK Merrill-Stevens Shipyard in Miami from Nassau, Bahamas, and the drugs were found during a routine inspection. Authorities in connection with the drug smuggling detained five people.
A Miami Gardens man was arrested recently, accused of threatening the life of State Representative Jose Felix Diaz. The threat was posted on the defendant's Facebook page and read, "I'll kill your ass and you better not show up to the next REC meeting."
When it comes to charging youth offenders as adults, Florida ranks at the top in the nation. From 2003-2008, Florida transferred juveniles into the adult system two times the amount that the state with the second highest amount of youths charged as adults transferred them into the adult courts. From 2008-2012, over 12,000 Florida children were transferred into the adult criminal justice system. Some may argue that this is because the punishments in the juvenile system for youth offenders are not nearly tough enough, and many offenders under the age of 18 who commit violent crimes deserve a harsher sentence through the adult courts. Others argue that you cannot charge juveniles as adults due to differences in brain development, and the stark reality that many youth offenders who go into the adult system are more often abused and have higher recidivism rates.
When you are accused of a crime, there are certain rights that you are afforded. The sixth amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides clear criteria for those rights. One of the guaranteed rights is that the accused have the right to the assistance of counsel in a case against them. The U.S. Supreme Court has gone a step further in this requirement and ruled that states must provide a public defender for those criminals who may be indignant and unable to retain their own lawyer.
White-collar crimes may not always be as obvious a crime as something like a murder or a robbery. Many times, these are crimes committed by people you would never expect to be involved in criminal activities. White-collar crimes often happen "on paper," and the prosecution needs to prove something as subjective as "intent" in order to prove that a crime was actually committed.
Police body cam footage seems to be a very popular topic of discussion lately. There has been much controversy over the use of the body cam, who should wear one, what is done with the footage and how long it needs to be saved. Many in the community think that body cams are necessary checks on power by giving police officers a reason to think before they do something that may be interpreted as out-of-line or an abuse of power. While others may think that the cameras add an extra layer of bureaucracy and may prevent police from doing what is necessary to stop a crime. Regardless of what one may think, it appears that we will be seeing more of these cameras worn by police as time goes by. In the state of Florida, we have our own legislation that governs body cams, and in South Florida, we have our own issues with this technology.