In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a former police officer was fired after an internal investigation found that he regularly drove at speeds in excess of 100 mph both on and off duty in his patrol car. The ex-officer was charged with fatally hitting a pedestrian in connection with a June, 2006 crash. He tearfully apologized to the family of the victim, but denied that driven as fast as was testified to.
In June, a jury acquitted the man of vehicular homicide.
He was convicted of misdemeanor reckless driving and sentenced to 60 days in jail, followed by six months of probation. He was also fined $250 and will serve 100 hours of community service.
Earlier this month, Gainesville, Florida’s “bong bill” went into effect, which bans the sale of bongs, pipes, and other devices used for smoking marijuana in stores that earn 25% or more of their annual revenue from these types of products. These types of stores are called “head shops.” Stores with a smaller focus on bongs and a more diverse product line are not affected.
Already, a class-action lawsuit has been filed that questions the law’s constitutionality, since it’s aimed at criminalizing behavior, but only at a certain type of business. One lawyer likened it to police being selective about what types of cars they pull over for speeding, which is not fair to drivers.
However, because there’s a legal precedent for regulating tobacco and alcohol-related products, it’s likely that the bill will stand. If that happens, people may continue purchasing these products by going to different stores or driving to other cities that don’t have such strict regulations.
Our Broward County criminal defense lawyers have learned that an ex-Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) trooper based in Miami-Dade pleaded guilty last week to eight misdemeanor counts of falsifying public reports. He will spend almost a year in prison for falsifying hundreds of traffic tickets, which were issued to drivers who were never pulled over for traffic offenses. After being released from jail, he will also serve two years of probation and pay more than $8,00 in restitution.
Some of these Florida motorists were out of the country when they were allegedly pulled over for traffic violations, and in a few cases, actually had their driver’s license suspended. The 38-year-old former trooper allegedly wrote the traffic tickets using information from drivers had pulled over previously in order to boost the number of tickets reported to his supervisors. However, the FHP says it does not work on a quota system.
He was originally charged with 22 felony counts, but those charged were reduced after he agreed to permanently relinquish his law-enforcement certification. As of the result of the investigation associated with his case, the state dismissed over 200 traffic citations.
Source: Ex-FHP trooper gets jail time for falsifying tickets, Miami Herald, July 22, 2010 (more…)
In Davie, Florida, a 68-year-old man was arrested and charged with battery after slapping his wife with an open hand and pushing her to the floor.
According to a Davie police complaint, the man became angry when he arrived home and asked his wife for his Viagra medication. She reportedly told him she’d tossed them into the front yard, which sparked his outburst. The wife apparently told police that in 31 years, she’d never seen him that angry.
The man’s bail was set at $10,000 after the wife told the judge she was not afraid of her husband and that she thought he’d learned his lesson. The judge has ordered that the man accused of battery may only have indirect contact with his wife for the time being following his release.
Our South Florida criminal defense lawyers recently read that the Polk County Sheriff’s office is now recording telephone calls between prison inmates and their legal counsel. The calls can be used as evidence against them. The change went into effect on July 1. Before new policy, the Sheriff’s Office had recorded calls but exempted lawyer-client calls.
A recent decision by the Florida Supreme Court said inmates have no reasonable expectation of privacy if they know calls are being recorded. While the policy is in accordance with the law, some Florida attorneys worry that it could slow down the legal process, because they will need to visit clients in prison rather than handling questions over the phone.
Lawyers are still permitted to visit clients in private during face-to-face visits or discuss their cases through a secure videoconference link. Some worry that will take longer to resolve cases and that innocent people will be stuck in jail longer.
Source: Sheriff Says He Will Record Inmate Calls to Lawyers and Use Them as Evidence, TheLedger.com, June 21, 2010 (more…)
Florida Criminal Lawyers