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.
Technology is all around us. It's no longer a choice if we want to take part in the innovative revolution; new devices are now a part of our everyday lives. Many of these modern technologies make our everyday lives easier, and some of them may also make it easier for law enforcement to solve crimes. With all the latest technology out there recording our every step and command, it's hard to ensure any type of real privacy. The very same technology that makes it easier for us to find out answers to questions and order commodities easily, record our fitness goals, and even stay in contact with our friends may be the very same technology that can help law enforcement solve crimes. Are you aware of the ways that technology can serve as a witness in criminal cases?
The controversial Stand Your Ground law in the state of Florida is set to go through some changes as soon as both chambers of the Florida legislature agree on language that would shift the pre-trial burden of proof in these cases. These changes may have a significant effect on the way that the "stand your ground" defense is considered for immunity in a court of law. To understand how the changes will affect the current law, it's important to take a look at the history of the law and how it is proposed to change.
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.