Our Broward County criminal defense attorneys have learned that a Broward County detective was suspended without pay following his arrest on a charge of grand theft. He allegedly took $1,220 seized during a drug bust at a Pompano Beach apartment.
The sheriff’s complaint affidavit states that deputies arrived at the apartment last December after receiving a call from a property manager who’d discovered marijuana plants at the apartment. Deputies found over $2,000 in the pants pocket of one of the tenants when he arrived home. The detective told deputies to leave the money inside the apartment. They counted the money three times while waiting for the rest of the team to arrive.
Later, the detective reportedly refused help from other deputies as he stayed alone in the apartment for unspecific length of time. When the detective and the sergeant later counted the money, they found that over a thousand dollars was missing. According to a sheriff’s investigation, the detective was the only person with access to the money and the opportunity to steal it.
Though the tenants of the apartment were charged with child neglect and one tenant was charged with marijuana possession and drug trafficking, those charges were dropped earlier this year.
Source: Broward sheriff’s detective suspended after his grand theft arrest, South Florida Sun Sentinel, October 27, 2010 (more…)
In Hallendale Beach, a father was sentenced to 20 years in prison after leaving his 9-month-old daughter in a car outside a Florida race track. He returned to find her dead. On the advice of his attorney, he pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter of a child. His sentence of 20 years is the longest sentence handed down for this type of crime anywhere in the country.
The sad reality is that these types of cases are not terribly uncommon. In fact, as of mid-October of this year, 49 children had died this year alone after being left in cars for too long. Eight of those cases were in Florida, and about one-sixth overall occur in this state.
Further, the law is enforced inconsistently across different counties. Some caregivers are never charged, while others, like the 27-year-old father mentioned previously, are sentenced to jail time. Miami-Dade prosecutes every case, while other jurisdictions do not file criminal charges in similar cases. It’s a complicated issue, because in most cases, the parent had no malicious intent. They may be otherwise loving parents who regret that absentminded moment for the rest of their lives.
Although a new state late requiring Florida felony suspects to submit DNA samples to police goes into effect next January, it’s unclear whether the law will be enforced due to financial woes. Officials in Palm Beach and Broward County say they are still trying to determine how much the extra DNA collection would cost and where the money will come from.
Currently, Florida collects DNA only after someone is convicted of a felony. But, state officials say, collecting DNA at the time of arrest and including the information in a national database could help identify repeat offenders and prevent future victims of rape, assault, and other felonies. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will oversee DNA collection.
Twenty-three other states have already enacted laws regarding the DNA of felony suspects. However, the American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the law in California, because the person has not yet been convicted of a crime and they say DNA should be private.
Source: Advocates in South Florida push to implement new law that takes DNA upon felony arrests, South Florida Sun Sentinel, October 12, 2010
DNA image courtesy of Richard Wheeler (Zephyris)
The widow of a man who was killed by a drunk driver in 2001 has reportedly settled with Outback Steakhouse for an undisclosed amount. The restaurant chain was accused of violating its duty of not knowingly serving alcohol to persons habitually addicted to the use of any and all alcoholic beverages.
The driver who killed the Florida man and seriously injured his friend had apparently been drinking at Outback Steakhouse before the accident. She admitted to alcoholism during her sentencing and is currently imprisoned at Hillsborough Correctional Institution, where she is serving a 14 year sentence for DUI manslaughter. According to lab reports from the night of the accident, her blood-alcohol level was 0.24. The legal limit for adults in Florida is 0.08.
The deceased man’s widow has since moved out of Florida with her daughter.
Source: Widow gets settlement from Outback Steakhouse in DUI manslaughter case, The South Florida Sun Sentinel, October 15, 2010 (more…)
Last week, state official released new statistics showing a decrease in Florida crime of about 11% during the first half of this year compared to the first half of last year. The Palm Beach Post reported that major crime statistics dropped by more than 11% percent, while in Broward County, authorities noted fewer robberies and aggravated assaults.
However, one unfortunate trend that began last year was that while crime is down overall, homicides related to domestic violence actually rose 6%. Last year, the percentage of homicides linked to domestic or dating violence doubled from the previous year.
According to local leaders in law enforcement, the increase may be due to increased stress and pressure due to the economy.
Source: Crime down first half of 2010, but domestic violence-related homicides rise, South Florida Sun Sentinel, October 13, 2010 (more…)
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