Palm Beach DUI Manslaughter Results in Arrest of Defendant After More Than a Decade

A man who fled from a Palm Beach DUI Manslaughter conviction more than a decade ago has been captured in Israel, the Post reported.

The 37-year-old has been arrested in Tel Aviv and his father also faces charges of helping him flee the country. He had been convicted and sentenced to 19 years in prison for killing a father of two in a drunk driving accident in 1998. He now faces both the DUI sentence and a federal count of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Our Palm Beach DUI lawyers recently reported that local warrants for DUI are dismissed after eight years. But a defendant does himself no favors by hiding from a charge. Visiting an experienced attorney and clearing an old warrant is typically the best course of action. In this case, the charges were much more serious, of course. And the conviction means no warrant dismissal or statute of limitations would have ever cleared the defendant’s name.

Instead, he fled for Israel under an assumed name and became a citizen in 2000. He had been profiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and featured on America’s Most Wanted.

It’s believed his fake passport ultimately led to his capture; his father was arrested while on board a plane preparing to depart for Israel.

The defendant was out celebrating a friend’s birthday on Feb. 19, 1998. Police say he was racing down Linton Boulevard in Boca Raton when he slammed into the back of the victim’s Ford Ranger. The victim died and the defendant drove away. The judge cited a previous history of DUI in issuing the lengthy prison sentence.

Upon conviction, he was outfitted with an ankle monitor and posted $50,000 bond. He failed to appear on June 16 to start his sentence.

Pill Mill Raid Highlights Issue of Prescription Drug Trafficking in Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale

Eleven defendants — including five doctors — were arrested in Palm Beach after an investigation into so-called “pill mills,” the Palm Beach Post reported.

In an increasing number of cases, prescription medication is involved in felony drug charges in Palm Beach and elsewhere in South Florida. In this case, the defendants are accused of selling millions in pain medication to patients with trumped up injuries.

With high numbers of overdose deaths in South Florida being attributed to prescription drug abuse, our Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers continue to see an increased emphasis on enforcement. In cases involving doctors, it is particularly critical to seek well-qualified legal advice immediately. Doctors enjoy a confidential and complex relationship that is unique to each patient. Unfair charges can lead to the loss of a doctor’s medical license and financial devastation.

In this instance, the investigation dubbed “Operation Pill Nation” led to state and federal charges against 17 defendants. Authorities also report shuttering a number of clinics and seizing tens of millions of dollars in cash.

The operation was even highlighted by the Obama Administration. And, with increasing evidence that South Florida has become a central supplier for the prescription-drug black market nationwide, the continued emphasis on enforcement efforts is certain. Investigators revealed they had made more than 340 undercover prescription drug buys from more than 60 doctors at 40 clinics throughout the state.

Locally, 11 defendants face charges of racketeering and drug trafficking in Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach Defense Lawyers Deal with Challenges Involving Eyewitnesses

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is changing its policy on eyewitness identifications, after an investigation by the Palm Beach Post found a number of issues with how deputies identified suspects in such cases.

Our Palm Beach defense lawyers understand that witness identifications are frequently unreliable. This can be particularly true when law enforcement do not take care in preventing undue influence or otherwise acting inappropriately to influence the identification of a suspect. In many cases, an experienced attorney will challenge the results of such identifications. When successful, a reduction or dismissal of the charges often results.

The sheriff’s office and state attorney are only now devising a police that incorporates the best practices outlined by the Department of Justice more than a decade ago. Other local law enforcement agencies are also being encourage to adopt such policies.

Mistaken identifications remain the leading cause of wrongful conviction. A lack of a uniform standard locally, means identifications may be handled in one jurisdiction, differently than they are in another.

The new policy being proposed by the sheriff’s office would require blind administration — meaning the officer who shows a potential witness a photo lineup does not know which photo is of the potential suspect. It also recommends other best practices, including a cautionary instruction that tells the witness a suspect may or may not be present.

A ranking officer said the sheriff’s office has been reluctant to formulate a policy because deviations from a policy could result in defense wins in court. The investigation by The Post found just 3 of the area’s 32 law enforcement agencies had a policy in place that incorporates the key components of the Justice Department’s recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Florida Innocence Commission is considering a recommendation to change the law, which could force agencies to become more accountable when it comes to policies governing eyewitness identification.

Best practices in presenting lineups include:

-Telling a witness the suspect may or may not be present and that an investigation will continue regardless of identification.

-Make certain those in the lineup look similar, with no outstanding characteristics.

-Record the length of time it takes a witness to make a choice.

-Use blind administration, to ensure the officer presenting the lineup does not influence the witness.

Listen to your Criminal Defense Lawyer in Broward County: Dress for Success in Court

While dressing for success may be falling out of fashion, it is possible for defendants to dress like they are ready to go to jail. As the Sun-Sentinel reports, increasingly casual dress in local courtrooms is not always the best way to make an impression on a judge.

Our Broward County criminal defense attorneys tell clients what to expect. And yes, we tell them how best to dress. We also tell them not to post anything on Facebook they don’t want to explain in court. Or to their mother.

This in addition to actually fighting for their rights from a legal standpoint.

As one woman found out, showing up with curlers in your hair, a shower cap, and slippers is not the best way to approach a judge who is about to decide your future. Few courthouses insist upon it anymore. The Broward County courthouse in Hollywood makes an attempt, with signs saying “No tank tops.”

Though they insist dress does not impact a case’s outcome, each judge is different. One said baggie pants won’t cut it; she refuses to hear a case if she can see a defendant’s underwear. In Palm Beach, defendants wearing t-shirts with offensive messages may be told to turn them inside out.

Court decorum differs by court and by state. Miniskirts won’t cut it in Ann Arbor, while in Trophy Club, Texas, body piercings, bathing suits and tattoos won’t fly. Neither will lingerie or pajamas.

But regardless of what a court insists upon, listening to your attorney about what to wear is just one more way you can get your money’s worth.

Defense Wins Case Involving Juno Beach Speed Van

A Palm Beach judge has ruled against the use of a high-tech speed van to write speeding tickets in Juno Beach, according to a report in the Palm Beach Post.

As our Palm Beach traffic ticket defense attorneys wrote last week on our Florida Criminal Lawyer Blog, nearly 10 percent of the state’s traffic tickets are issued in Palm Beach County.

The court ruled utilizing the traffic vans to catch speeders goes beyond state law and is therefore illegal. The case was brought by a motorist who paid a $150 fine after being mailed a citation after his vehicle was photographed speeding in Juno Beach.

The ruling could impact hundreds of other motorists who were cited by the van. A class-action lawsuit has been filed. The vans, like red-light cameras, only photograph the vehicle and ticket the owner. No proof is offered that the owner was driving.

As we reported last month on our Florida Criminal Lawyer Blog, an argument used by Leifert & Leifert Defense Attorney Robyn Rappaport Weiss led to the dismissal of dozens of red-light camera tickets in Palm Beach.

The controversial van had been parked on Juno Beach’s swales for about a year. It issued $1 million worth of tickets to motorists from 40 states.

The town also has two red-light cameras that became operational Dec. 1. Tickets for red-light violators are $158.

The Juno Beach town attorney and town manager did not return calls seeking comment or refused to comment when The Post inquired about the issue.

Here you can view reader-nominated speed traps in Palm Beach County.

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