April 14, 2014

Police Test "Live Google Earth" Tool for Monitoring Possible Crimes

There is a very fine line between advanced, technology-enabled methods of surveillance and infringement on the right of Americans to not undergo unreasonable search and seizure, a right guaranteed by the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Untitled.pngThat line is now being put under a microscope as law enforcement departments begin to test use of a "Live Google Earth" program that can and will allow police departments to monitor potential criminal activity in real time (and all non-criminal activity).

Although early reports note Persistent Surveillance Systems (PSS) , the technology behind the new sky-based monitoring ability, does not have the ability to zoom-in close enough to identify a single person's actual face, Constitutionally-conscious individuals all over the country are raising concerns about the practice overall, especially considering the fact that as camera technologies improve, so too will PSS monitoring technology.

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April 14, 2014

Youth Pastor Found "Not Guilty" in Broward Child Molestation Case

It's the type of case that our South Florida criminal defense attorneys are certainly familiar with: a pastor is arrested and charged with the crime of child molestation. In recent years, these types of stories have filled newspapers, airwaves, dinner table discussions.
Nevertheless, the rise in accusations, charges and convictions does not mean that all indictments are warranted; the burden of proof remains on the prosecution, and when there is not ample evidence, the accused cannot be found guilty of having committed a crime.

This was the case of Jeffrey London, a Fort Lauderdale youth pastor who was found not guilty by a jury of his peers in Fort Lauderdale las week. After a trial filled with graphic and heartbreaking testimony (not necessarily to be confused with factual recollections) of lewd text message exchanges and inappropriate touching, London was acquitted of the charges against him, reinforcing the sacred notion that a defendant should be assumed innocent until/unless proven guilty.

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April 9, 2014

Miami Cop Implicated in Cocaine Conspiracy

Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that law enforcement officers are given the responsibility to enforce the law and to arrest those who don't abide by it; they are not expected to engage in the illegal activity that they're specifically supposed to inhibit.
As this article from CBS news describes, Miami-Dade Police Lt. Ralph Mata, was just recently arrested for and charged with the crime of "aiding and abetting" a cocaine ring.

Members of police departments, such as Officer Mata, due to the nature of their jobs, often come in close contact with individuals engaged in illegal activity for profit: individuals who deal drugs, for example. Some police officers, as we know, take advantage of the access their job provides them to criminal activity, and begin to take matters into their own hands, violating the very rules they are paid to uphold.

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April 4, 2014

Prostitution, Murder and Complications

Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert represent clients fighting a wide range of criminal charges. Often times, we defend individuals in cases in which a variety of purported criminal acts are brought into question. These types of cases are especially complex and, unfortunately, they are often riddled with unfounded assumptions and baseless accusations.handcuffs-1156821-m.jpg

According to an article published by the Sun Sentinel, a 19-year-old woman was recently arrested in Broward County on charges that she, a supposed "escort," murdered a client after he attempted to stiff her. According to local authorities, earlier this year, the young woman attacked the man and choked him to death in Lake Worth after he tried to flee without compensating her for the sexual services she had provided to him.

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November 28, 2013

Palm Beach Felony Child Abuse Arrest for Boynton Mother

The way a society defines child abuse says a lot about the premium it places on the protection of children. Here in the U.S., keeping our children safe is considered a top priority, which is obviously something to be applauded. belt.jpg

However, the way that child abuse laws are written, there is a great potential to apply them in an overly-broad manner, which in turn sometimes results in good parents being ensnared in very serious felony allegations. An arrest for a crime of this nature has the potential to result in the loss of one's job, child custody rights, reputation and freedom - and that's even before there has been a conviction.

Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers recognize that parents have differing manners of discipline. Sometimes those methods can be misinterpreted. Sometimes we make mistakes and go a bit too far in a moment of frustration. It doesn't mean we're bad parents and it certainly doesn't mean we're criminals.

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November 25, 2013

False Criminal Reports Put Real People in Jeopardy

It's been well-documented that witnesses to crimes are far too often unreliable in a court of law.
In some cases, it's because they're traumatized. Other times, they simply aren't sure of what they saw or heard, yet they don't want to disappoint the police and prosecutors on the case. And then, of course, there are those cases in which they are flat-out lying.

Our Broward felony defense attorneys know this unfortunately happens more often than one might think.

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November 20, 2013

South Florida Identity Thefts on the Rise

The alleged perpetrator was a bit unexpected, but the crime accused was not.
A clerk of the court for Broward County was recently convicted for committing identity theft. Authorities say she used her job-related computer systems in the misdemeanor and traffic division to gain access to people's personal information - names, driver's license numbers, bank accounts, dates of birth, Social Security numbers - which she then sold to another person for cash. That second party then used the information to file phony tax returns submitted for government refund checks.

Our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys recognize that South Florida has gained a reputation three years' running: The No.1 hub of identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

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November 15, 2013

Florida Marijuana Initiative Finds Foe in Bondi

Florida's attorney general Pam Bondi is pleading with the state supreme court to block a measure that would legalize medicinal marijuana, should it be allowed on the state ballot next year.
Marijuana advocates have begun circulating a petition that requires 700,000 voter signatures by Feb. 1 in order to ensure a spot. The drive, entitled People United for Medical Marijuana, is poised to succeed where previous efforts have failed. Earlier this year, state lawmakers turned down the opportunity to vote on a statutory change to the law that would allow physicians to prescribe the drug to certain patients under tightly-controlled conditions.

As of today, our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys know that any kind of possession or distribution of the drug is illegal. According to Florida Statute 893.13, the sale, manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to do any of these with a Schedule I narcotic (as marijuana is) is a second-degree felony. As such, it's punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

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November 13, 2013

Methamphetamine Arrests in Florida

Criminal drug use in Florida continues to attract national attention – and not in the way residents of the Sunshine State are pleased about. Part of the reason is that, according to federal government statistics, Florida has a significantly higher rate of drug-related deaths than the national average.
One drug in particular that has, especially in the last decade, received a great deal of scrutiny is methamphetamine. Just a couple of weeks ago, as reported by the Palm Beach Post, four individuals were arrested by Okeechobee law enforcement officials in three different incidents, all involving methamphetamine.

Our South Florida drug crime defense attorneys know that being arrested for drug use in Florida is a serious issue with serious prospective penalties and that when methamphetamine is tossed into the mix, the stakes are even higher than usual.

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November 11, 2013

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law Upheld (and Expanded)

Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, the controversial piece of legislation that received widespread attention following the death of Trayvon Martin last year, was upheld this past Thursday by a group of Florida lawmakers who rejected a proposal to repeal the law. Additionally, the legislative committee expanded the existing law, allowing a person who believes they are in to fire a warning shot.
The “Stand Your Ground” law, as it’s commonly called, is section 776.013.03 of the Florida State Statues. The law declares that a person who is not engaged in an unlawful act has no duty to retreat, and that they may meet force with force (including deadly force) if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to themselves or someone else – or to prevent the commission “of a forcible felony.”

Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys are well aware of the polarizing nature of the law; those who oppose it criticize the law as one that allows for and even sanctions unjust killings. Those who support the law, on the other hand, argue that the law enables them to exercise methods of self-defense.

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November 10, 2013

Acquittals in Florida Road Rage Trials

A spate of South Florida "road rage" incidents in recent years has led prosecutors to aggressively press forward with felony charges such as battery, aggravated battery and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
However, two of those cases have recently ended in jury acquittals. A third is slated for trial in December.

Our felony defense attorneys in Broward know that these kind of serious charges can result in years behind bars. It's a terrifying prospect, particularly given the fact that many road rage defendants have never before been on this side of the law.

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November 8, 2013

Child Pornography or Nudist Family Photos? South Florida Man Claims the Latter

A Palm Beach County man is facing federal child pornography charges for allegedly participating in the production of pornographic photographs of his three (young) daughters. While the crimes being alleged are indeed heinous, the reality is a bit more graspable.
According to this Sun Sentinel article, the man and his family – who consider themselves “naturalists” – were living on a nudist colony in Palm Beach County. In fact, as the man and his attorney have argued, the photographs that he participated in the production of were simply family portraits; the girls were nude because they’re naturalists.

The South Florida criminal defense attorneys at Leifert & Leifert know that despite public opinion, in the law, there can be a clear distinction between something illegal and something seemingly wrong. That’s because “illegal” is a matter of written law and legal precedent, and “wrong” is a matter of personal opinion and perspective. This issue is brought to light in the aforementioned case.

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