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.
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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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November 28, 2014

Florida Ranks Poorly in Sealing of Juvenile Records

According to Judge Jay Blitzman, "if you believe in second chances . . . you have to believe in expungement." Our Palm Beach and Broward County juvenile criminal defense lawyers couldn't agree more.
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If someone makes a mistake during their youth, that mistake shouldn't necessarily follow them around for the rest of their life, limiting their options and tarnishing their reputation.

Unfortunately, Florida has been given a rating of 3 out of 5 stars by the Juvenile Law Center, which composed a scorecard rating the availability of ways to expunge/seal a juvenile criminal record in each state. And that isn't even the worst part of the story.

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November 25, 2014

Lessons from the Grand Jury's Decision

Monday night's announcement that the Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri had failed to indict Officer Darren Wilson has sparked confusion throughout much of the legal community as well as protests throughout the United States.
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Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that a lot can be learned about and from the surprising decision by the Grand Jury. That said, for any lesson to be of value, one must understand the particularities of the Grand Jury process.

In this post, we're going to explain some aspects of the Grand Jury's decision process that many people are unfamiliar with; gaining a familiarity with these procedures can enable us to take away valuable information about the decision and the method by which it was reached.

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November 24, 2014

Man Arrested for False Police Reports

There's a naked man with a gun and a bomb in a dumpster -- at least that's what a young man from Boynton Beach called to report to police.
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Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that making false police reports is a serious crime; not only is it illegal and taken seriously in the court of law, but it is not a victimless offense, as we will discuss in this blog.

This story, of a man reporting fake crimes as a way to alleviate boredom, should serve as a reminder that making false reports to the police, whether by way of making false statements on a police report or actually dialing in to 911 to report a made-up crime, is a serious offense -- one that can lead to the existence of a real police issue: your arrest and prosecution.

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November 19, 2014

South Florida Students Arrested in Massive Tax Fraud Case

One might not ordinarily associate Miami Dade College student accounts with massive identity theft/tax fraud, but recent charges filed against 18 current and former Miami Dade students purport to show that there was a major overlap between the two.
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South Florida played host to a scheme in which identity thieves used student educational accounts intended to receive financial aid from the state to file fraudulent (stolen) income tax returns. When the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued tax refunds, the student accounts were used as a place to deposit the money.

Our Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade County criminal defense lawyers know that this is an incredibly complicated case and the legal defense of the students requires shifting the perspective. Instead of viewing these students as hardened criminals, might we be able to see them as victims, taken advantage of by the planners of the scheme?

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November 13, 2014

Miami Woman on Trial for Killing Her Husband's Suspected Murderer

As reported by the Miami Herald, a widow, Janepsy Carballo, is on trial in Miami facing charges of second-degree murder in the shooting death of her late husband's suspected killer.
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As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers understand, in April 2008, Ms. Carballo's husband was gunned down on his front lawn, allegedly by two men, one of whom was Ilan Nissim, a business partner of the victim. Following the shooting, police urged Ms. Carballo to get close to Nissim in an effort to garner as many clues as possible.

Then, in May 2008, Ms. Carballo shot Nissim dead when he appeared at her house. Two years later, charges were brought against her, and two years after that her trial is underway. At the core of the case is the debate over whether Ms. Carballo shot and killed Nissim as an act of revenge, which might justify the charges, or whether she shot him out of fear and in self defense, in which case she would likely have been justified in shooting the man.

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November 12, 2014

Responding to a Traffic Ticket or Citation

Traffic tickets can be a true nuisance and a real burden, raising the possibilities of fines and fees, driver's license suspensions, dreaded points, increased insurance rates, etc.
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And, as our Palm Beach and Broward County traffic ticket defense lawyers know, you can be issued a traffic ticket and/or citation for any number of a wide range of driving offenses; tickets are not restricted solely to common offenses such as speeding and running red lights.

The penalties for various traffic offenses range from problematic to outright burdensome, and, as our traffic ticket lawyers know, simply deciding to pay the fine and accept the associated penalties is typically not the most strategic approach.

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November 7, 2014

Elderly Florida Man Charged for Feeding Homeless

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that laws against criminal activity exist to protect the public. That said, we also know that some of the laws on the books today actually hurt the public.
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Consider the case of Arnold Abbott, a 90-year-old South Florida man, who has been charged with a crime for handing out food to the homeless. The charge stems from a new Fort Lauderdale law "banning public food sharing."

Supporters of the law, which has pushed this selfless 90-year-old into the criminal justice system, say that feeding the homeless only feeds the cycle of homelessness. Abbott, on the other hand, believes that by doing what is now labelled a crime, he is simply giving food to the hungry.

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November 4, 2014

Medical Marijuana and Election Day

Chances are, unless you've been hibernating for the last six months, you've heard of the major issues surrounding today's elections. Not only is today a big day because of the U.S. Senate and House seats up for grabs; it is also of particular importance to us here in Florida.
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Along with going to the polls to decide between Fmr. Gov. Charlie Crist and Gov. Rick Scott (and a few others), Floridians will finally have the opportunity to vote on Amendment No. 2, which, if passed, would make marijuana legal for medicinal purposes in the State of Florida.

As our Palm Beach and Broward County attorneys know, marijuana has many benefits for people with all sorts of diseases and illnesses, including cancer, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

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November 3, 2014

Boynton Officer Accused of Raping Woman While on Duty

Police officers are supposed to enforce the law, to ensure that it is upheld, and to protect the safety and welfare of the public. That's what, among other things, they're paid taxpayer dollars to do. What they are most certainly not paid to do is rape individuals while on duty.
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Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that Boynton Beach law enforcement officer Stephen Maiorino has been accused of and charged with raping a 20-year-old woman, at gunpoint, while on official police duty.

When police officers undermine the law in the manner described above, it raises questions about how fit they are to hold other people responsible for breaking the law. What seems so disturbing about this case is that not only is the officer accused of the heinous crime of rape, but he allegedly forcefully raped the woman and used his official status as leverage in committing the crime.

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October 31, 2014

Report Shows Widespread Monitoring of Snail Mail by U.S. Government

In an age of internet- and cell phone-related privacy concerns, it might come as a surprise to learn that the U.S. government still hangs on to a favorite pastime -- spying on regular old snail mail.
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According to a recent report, the U.S. government approved roughly 50,000 requests (last year alone) from law enforcement groups around the country as well as its own internal organizations to monitor the mail of American citizens as part of criminal and/or national security cases.

You can password protect your e-mail and social media accounts, but you can't exactly put a lock on a letter that would prevent the government from knowing where it came from, where it's going, or even what it says. The report, while shocking, raises legitimate privacy issues.

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October 24, 2014

ACLU Challenges Miami Sex Offender Law

Miami has among the country's strictest regulations concerning where registered sex offenders can reside. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken issue with some of the laws' implications.
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One of the most rigid laws that Miami has adopted is one stating that a sex offender cannot be within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, bus stops, or anywhere else that children might congregate. That makes finding a place to live incredibly difficult -- so difficult, in fact, that some sex offenders have actually become homeless, drifting from one unsafe place to the next.

The ACLU, as our criminal defense lawyers know, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the sex offender laws in place in Miami violate the sex offenders' fundamental right to safety and to maintain a home.

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