April 23, 2014

Justice Deptartment to Revise Clemency Criteria

It has long been known that prison sentences for convictions involving crack cocaine us are disproportionately more severe than those involving cocaine in powder form. In recent years, as our criminal defense lawyers know, the Obama Administration has taken a number of steps aimed at lessening the disparity.
According to an announcement made on Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the Justice Department will, in effect, make it easier for those sentenced for crack cocaine offenses to make clemency appeals. He further announced that, when the new rules go into effect, he expects the number of eligible clemency petitioners to increase significantly.

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April 21, 2014

The Significance of Hall v. Florida

As we get closer to summer, our South Florida criminal defense attorneys know that Supreme Court decisions are just around the corner. In the coming months, we expect to hear a ruling on the case of Hall v. Florida, in which the defendant and his legal team are trying to demonstrate that the State of Florida acted unconstitutionally when they sentenced Mr. Hall, who may be retarded, to death.
In 2002, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that executing an individual who is mentally retarded constituted cruel and unusual punishment, forbidden by the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Freddie Hall, the defendant, is claiming that Florida's criterion for determining whether or not someone is mentally retarded is flawed and in violation of the aforementioned case entitled Atkins v. Virginia.

If it can be established that Florida's method of assessing mental retardation is indeed in violation of Atkins, then the finding that Mr. Hall is not mentally retarded would be reversed because of the improper procedures used in making the determination.

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April 20, 2014

Incrimination via Instagram

Our South Florida criminal defense lawyers know that your presence on the internet has a powerful impact on your reputation; what you write, post and who you "like" or "follow" can lead to judgments about who you are and what you do. Moreover, some of those judgments can be made by police officers, prosecutors, and judges, who can link you to crimes based on your internet activity.
Earlier this month, according to the Sun Sentinel, a shop on North Dixie Highway was broken into and robbed of $2,000 worth of e-cigarettes; when reviewing security tape footage of the robbery, the store owner was able to immediately identify the man in the video to police. The owner of Florida E-Cigs and Vapes knew he recognized the robber as someone who "follows" the store on Instagram, the popular photo-sharing smartphone application.

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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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