June 30, 2015

Federal Hiring Rules vs. State Marijuana Laws

In many states across the country, marijuana use is becoming more and more accepted; laws in various states now allow recreational and/or medical use of marijuana or have eased the penalties associated with using the drug once criminalized throughout the country.
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But as our Delray Beach and Hollywood drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, marijuana remains illegal as far as the U.S. government is concerned, and that poses a unique problem from those aspiring to certain jobs within the federal government.

As the New York Times discussed in an article published yesterday, federal agencies have a grim message for those who enjoy using marijuana legally in their home state: stop using marijuana or you can forget about a career with government agencies like the CIA and the FBI.

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June 29, 2015

Supreme Court Approves Continued Use of Problematic Execution Drug

Yesterday, in the case of Glossip v. Gross, the United States Supreme Court ruled against three death row inmates who were seeking to prevent the use of a certain lethal injection drug that can cause excruciating pain.
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The majority opinion, written by Justice Alito, articulated that the inmates failed to identify a viable alternative method of execution and that the petitioners didn't succeed in proving that the drug in question, midazolam, presents "an unacceptable risk of severe pain."

As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, the highly anticipated ruling in this case has far-reaching implications. For instance, here in Florida, midazolam is a listed option for use in lethal injections. With this ruling, it appears this dangerous drug will continue to be administered in the Sunshine State.

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June 25, 2015

The 411 on Florida's Felony Murder Law

"Murder" is a widely used and commonly applied word, especially in discussion of high-profile criminal cases. Based on the popular understanding of the crime of murder, you might think that anyone charged with murder is simply facing the consequences of having set out to unlawfully kill somebody (and having succeeded).
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As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know, that belief is just not true. Florida's so-called felony murder law, for instance, enables prosecutors to charge someone with murder even if they had no direct involvement in that person's death.

As we will explore in this blog post, the Florida State Statutes can be truly unforgiving and sometimes outright unreasonable. According to state law, if someone is killed during the commission of a crime that you are a part of in any capacity, then depending on the crime being committed, you can be charged with murder.

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June 22, 2015

South Florida Man Arrested After Advertising Marijuana on Craigslist

As states across the country begin to legalize recreational pot use and permit medicinal use of marijuana, the Sunshine State refuses to alter -- and continues to enforce -- its seemingly draconian drug laws.
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As our West Palm Beach and Hollywood drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know, possessing and/or selling marijuana in Florida is still a very serious crime.

One man from Miami was reminded of this harsh reality this past week, after he was arrested for attempting to sell marijuana after advertising it on Craigslist.

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June 19, 2015

Supreme Court: What Children Tell Teachers Counts as Evidence in Child Abuse Cases

In another key ruling issued by the Supreme Court this year, the justices unanimously agreed that what children tell their teachers can be used as evidence in child abuse cases.
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As our Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know, the case made its way to the Supreme Court after a man was convicted of beating his girlfriend's son; the defendant later argued that he was denied his right to confront his accuser because the trial court didn't make the boy testify in court.

Despite not making him testify in court, statements the boy had made to his preschool teacher, allegedly describing the abuse, were permitted as evidence. As our lawyers know, and as the defendant's lawyers argued, this raised a serious 6th Amendment issue.

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June 15, 2015

Ex-Miami Dolphin Faces Criminal Charge Related to Ponzi Scheme

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know that before the 2008 arrest of the now infamous Bernard "Bernie" Madoff, many Americans had been unfamiliar with the illegal financial operation known as a Ponzi scheme.
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While not as commonly discussed as credit card fraud or insider trading, Ponzi schemes have been around for a very long time and they're still going on today.

Right here in South Florida, former Miami Dolphins cornerback Will Allen was arrested for and charged last week with operating a $31 million Ponzi scheme. In this blog, we will explore the crime he's charged with and the circumstances of his case in particular.

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June 10, 2015

Large Cash Bank Transactions Attract Government Attention

Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert has been making headlines as of late, and not for earmarks or his coined "majority of the majority" rule. Late last month, it was revealed that Hastert was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with a banking withdrawal scheme known as "structuring," which we will explain herein.
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As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know, the federal government regulates the national banking system, and one of the regulations comes in the form of the Bank Secrecy Act, enacted way back in 1970.

In an attempt to combat financial crimes such as money laundering, the Bank Secrecy Act requires financial institutions to report to a branch of the federal government cash transactions above a certain dollar amount. As we will explore, this has serious implications for Americans.

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June 8, 2015

Miami Dade College Students Sentenced in Tax Fraud Case

Last year, we wrote about how a significant number of students at Miami Dade College had been arrested for and charged with crimes relating to tax fraud, after they were paid small fees in exchange for allowing others to store illegally received tax refunds in their student bank accounts.
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As our Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys know, the first group of 18 Miami Dade College students who were indicted and charged last year in relation to the tax crimes have started to receive their sentences.

While most of the students have received elatively lenient sentences such as probation, community service and periods of house arrest, one student in particular received more than four years in federal prison for his role in the scheme.

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June 6, 2015

Former 'Cop of the Year' Gets 10 Years in Prison for Sunrise Cocaine Deal

Phillip Leroy, who won his NYPD precinct's award of "Cop of the Year" twice, was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in federal prison for his role in a Sunrise, FL, cocaine deal that turned out to be a sting operation.
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Our Palm Beach and Broward County drug crime defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that although police officers are usually the ones arresting drug dealers, sometimes they actually do the drug dealing themselves.

Originally from Queens, NY, Leroy received his sentence in Fort Lauderdale, FL. As the former New York City police officer learned this week, nobody is above the law. Still, his sentence was relatively lenient and he may be released early for his cooperation with law enforcement.

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June 2, 2015

Supreme Court Rules in Facebook "Threatening Messages" Case

Yesterday, the Supreme Court kicked-off rulings season by issuing a number of key opinions, one of which dealt with a man who had been convicted of violating a federal threat law after posting what the government deemed to be threatening messages on Facebook.
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As our West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know, technology has created many dilemmas in today's society; one of the most complex has been determining the extent to which free speech applies in the realm of social media.

Thankfully, with their ruling, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the strength of our First Amendment by siding with Anthony Elonis in his case against the government. The Court held that "negligence alone is not sufficient to support a conviction."

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May 31, 2015

Pro Wakeboarder Identified After Robbing 7-Eleven in Shirt With Sponsor's Logo

As our Delray Beach and Deerfield Beach criminal defense lawyers know, one professional wakeboarder learned in Orlando this past week that wearing a shirt with your known sponsor's logo on it while robbing a store probably isn't a good idea if your goal is to get away with the crime.
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Law enforcement agencies use all sorts of tools in hunting down individuals who break the law; some of the most useful resources at their disposal are tips they receive from the general public.

Because Michael Kyle Evans is somewhat well-known (at least among pro wakeboarding enthusiasts), tipsters were able to identify him by his sponsor-branded wakeboarding shirt.

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May 29, 2015

Crime and Mental Illness

As our Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers know, the issue of interaction between and combination of criminal activity and mental illness or disease is an interesting one which has profound implications for our criminal justice system.
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In our society, how we understand mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, etc., not to mention addiction, has evolved a great deal; we are becoming far more understanding with respect to the fact that millions of Americans deal with powerful and difficult issues such as these.

However, the sentences our criminal justice system hands out do not reflect this sort of progression and that needs to change. Instead of treating the mentally ill as if they're hardened criminals and tossing them in jail, we need to treat them like patients and offer them hospitalization, therapy and/or other alternative forms of rehabilitation. Doing so will benefit both the mentally ill who commit criminal acts as well as the general public.

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