January 27, 2015

Gun Confiscations at Ft. Lauderdale Airport

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that anti-terrorism security checks often overlap with domestic law enforcement, in no place more than in the airport. Unfortunately, as it relates to that combination, Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is receiving a lot of unfavorable attention.
For the second year in a row, the airport has ranked in the top 10 of all airports across the country (3 of which are in Florida) in terms of number of guns seized by security personnel, according to the Transportation Safety Administration.

In 2014, security officers confiscated 49 firearms at security checkpoints at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, compared with 45 the year before. But are all of the gun seizures that took place at the airport evidence of willful terrorist, or even criminal, activity?

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January 24, 2015

Widespread Abuse: Police Seize Cash From Motorists

When you're pulled over by a police officer, you should reasonably expect a few things to happen: they will probably ask for your license and registration and they may even ask you to step out of your vehicle for further questioning. You should not expect the law enforcement officers to seize your cash, especially when you're not charged with a crime.
All over the country, law enforcement officers from thousands of departments are regularly seizing cash from motorists they pull over -- and it's a federal government program that's allowing them to do so.

As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, in the last 13 years, over $2.5 billion has been taken away from people who were never charged with a crime; most of that money, which was taken from innocent motorists, was spread out among state-level law enforcement agencies for their own use.

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January 22, 2015

Palm Beach Teen Posed as Doctor

As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, it's fairly common for people to hand out legal advice that they might have heard on "Suits" or offer medical opinions they might have seen on "Grey's Anatomy."
But this incident out of West Palm Beach illustrates a stunt gone too far: a teenager was caught impersonating an OB/GYN at St. Mary's Medical Center. This case reminds us of a case from 2012, in which a different Florida teen posed as a medical assistant at Osceola Regional Medical Center and treated patients.

We know that there are a number of legal issues brought up by these cases, including laws being violated and the possibility of charges being filed. Still, there are other issues -- such as mental health -- that must be considered.

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January 21, 2015

It's a Fine Line Between Parenting Style and Child Neglect

As we all know, different parents have different parenting styles. The customs employed in child-rearing vary by culture, region, and neighborhood -- and many differences of opinion on the matter exist within single homes.
In this area of life, as our criminal defense lawyers know, the law frequently comes into play in the form of child abuse and child neglect laws, which are designed and enforced to ensure the well being of the most vulnerable members of society.

However, as we will discuss below, recent reports of child neglect charges in various questionable cases reveal that perhaps the line between acceptable parenting styles and instances of child abuse has been blurred; perhaps law enforcement authorities are turning parents into criminals -- when they haven't actually broken any laws.

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January 19, 2015

Teen "Bonnie and Clyde" Couple Caught in Florida

Over the past 2 weeks, police departments throughout the South have been on the lookout for two teens in the midst of a crime spree. The suspects, an 18-year-old and his 13-year-old girlfriend, are drawing comparisons to Bonnie and Clyde, a Great Depression-era couple who traveled the country committing crimes.
Finally, early on Sunday morning, the teens were arrested in Panama City, Florida, after having been found sleeping in a stolen vehicle.

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that the age of the suspects has sensationalized the story; that said, the fact that they are both teenagers, and that one of them is a minor (at 13 years old) complicates the story and may impact the impending legal proceedings.

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January 15, 2015

Ft. Lauderdale Cop's Life Saved -- by Arrested Teen!

As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defenese lawyers know, this story is making national headlines: a Ft. Lauderdale teen helped save the life of a police officer who was booking him into jail.
17-year-old Jamal Rutledge, who had just been arrested on suspicion of violating the term's of his probation by committing burglary, was waiting to be booked into jail when he saw the booking officer, 49-year-old Franklin Foulks, keel over and fall off his chair. Acting quickly, as surveillance video shows, the arrested teen (while still handcuffed) ran over to the security fence and started kicking it, yelling for other officers to assist.

Thankfully, the other officers made it over in time and were able to resuscitate Foulks. Later, doctors informed the officers that it was in large part due to the actions of the arrested teen that Officer Foulks' life was saved.

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January 14, 2015

The Sunshine State's Prison Problem

It should come as no surprise to learn that Florida's prison system is a mess, and by more than one measure. Incarceration rates are increasing as crime is decreasing, reports of torture emanate from our correctional facilities, living conditions are often unbearable, etc. -- the list goes on.
Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that Florida's 56 prisons, of which seven are private (more on this later), house more than 100,000 inmates at any given time. How we treat prisoners and would-be prisoners is not only a reflection on us as a state, but it runs the risk of reversing the slow-down in crime that Florida has witnessed.

There is a seemingly mechanical transition of offenders to prisons in Florida, and that process does very little in terms of "correction." By tossing wayward Floridians in jail and locking the cell door, we are giving up the opportunity to truly correct and refine behavior.

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January 12, 2015

Florida's New Child Car Seat Law

Until the first day of this new year, Florida had the most relaxed child safety seat law in the United States -- according to the old law, children were required to be in a safety seat only through the age of 3 years-old.
Now, that's changing, and Florida parents and other drivers need to be aware of the new requirements, as fines and other types of punishment will be handed out if the requirements aren't met (with a few exceptions to be detailed below).

Our Palm Beach and Broward County traffic ticket attorneys know that the new law requires that drivers use a crash-tested child restraint seat, which has been approved by the federal government, for children at least until they reach the age of six years old. Thereafter, it's the parent's responsibility to make sure that any child under seven is "properly secured," according to the Miami Herald.

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January 10, 2015

South Florida Woman Charged with DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide

Our Palm Beach and Broward County DUI defense lawyers have learned that a Miami woman will face charges of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide in the 2014 death of a motorcyclist.
According to reports, the 22-year-old woman was driving the wrong way on I-95 in Ft. Lauderdale back in July, when she struck and killed a man, age 42. At the time of the accident, she was under the influence of alcohol. When her blood was tested three hours after the crash, it was revealed that the woman had a BAC level of 0.189, well over double the legal limit.

As we know from experience as former prosecutors and now as tested criminal defense lawyers, DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide charges can yield serious consequences, and someone facing such charges needs to hire an experienced criminal defense team in order to mount a viable legal defense.

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December 31, 2014

Drunk Driving on New Year's Eve/Day

Police departments all over the country are constantly cracking down on drunk driving, but perhaps at no time more aggressively than during the holiday season, and over New Year's Eve/Day in particular.
Tonight, as our Palm Beach and Broward County DUI defense lawyers know, police -- undercover, in cruisers and at checkpoints -- will be on the lookout for vehicles showing the signs of a potentially drunk driver.

Our skilled lawyers know that being arrested for DUI can have a devastating effect on your reputation and your relationships; make sure that tonight, you have fun but travel as safely as possible.

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December 26, 2014

Teen Marijuana Use Drops Even as States Embrace Legalization

Our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert are fascinated, though not surprised, by recent research showing that teenage marijuana use in America is dropping, despite more and more states embracing legal access to marijuana.
To be sure, this is part of a much larger, and encouraging, trend. As reported by the Washington Post, teenagers are smoking cigarettes far less than they used to, they're drinking way less alcohol, and, as noted above, they're smoking less pot. What's notable here is that of the three substances mentioned above, the only one that's recently become legal in a number of states is marijuana.

Critics of marijuana legalization have argued, since the days of Richard Nixon and still today, that legalizing pot will make it more accessible, and more susceptible to abuse, especially by the younger members of society. Moreover, they have said, doing so will "send the wrong message." This 2014 study, carried out by the University of Michigan and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, clearly proves that those critics are wrong.

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December 15, 2014

Fla. Supreme Court Rules Against Secret Recordings by Victims

Our criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert recognize the importance of the Florida Supreme Court's ruling that secret recordings -- in particular, even those captured by alleged victims of a crime -- are not admissible as evidence in a criminal trial.
It's long been a central tenet of criminal law that evidence procured in an illegitimate or illegal manner cannot be used as evidence in a criminal trial. That legal issue was made a bit murkier, however, in the criminal case against Richard R. McDade, who was sentenced to life in prison after having been found guilty by a Florida court of sexual battery against a young child.

The issue brought to light by this criminal trial, and the subsequent appeal, was whether secret recordings made by his victim, ostensibly proving his guilt, could be entered as evidence. According to the Supreme Court, these recordings should not have been admissible as evidence, and, as a result, McDade will be granted a new trial.

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