For the majority of those requiring a Fort Lauderdale sex crimes defense, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Fort Lauderdale sex crimes defense lawyers know that you are likely at some point to be released from prison even if convicted.
However, when your alleged crimes involve multiple children, the task becomes more challenging.
That was what happened for Oakland Park’s “Boom Boom Room” owner/operator, who was sentenced to life in federal prison for the sex trafficking of minors, as well as production of child pornography. In addition, his girlfriend has also been sentenced to 13 years for sex trafficking of a minor.
Cases such as these can prove highly challenging for defense lawyers. But a skilled defense attorney knows that in looking at it from all angles, you have potentially unreliable witnesses (either due to age, intoxication or some other factor), as well as the fact that one person may be targeted for the alleged crimes of several others.
Each case is different.
Here’s what we know of this case, based on media reports and court testimony:
The 35-year-old defendant was accused of recruiting at least eight young females between the ages of 13 and 17 to dance for and have sexual intercourse with customers.
In “vetting” the potential teen prostitutes, he reportedly had them fill out applications and subsequently coerced them into having sex with him. According to the girls, they gave him their correct date of birth on their applications, though he told them not to reveal that information to their customers.
From his home-run brothel, he would let customers know he was open by flashing a green light on his porch and inviting potential clients to what he called “parties.” He also sent out mass text messages to potential clients, affixing photographs of the underage girls engaged in sex acts.
His home was advertised as both “Lot 29” and “The Boom Boom Room.”
There doesn’t seem to be any indication from the testimony that any of the girls were forced into these sex acts. Many were teen runaways, and the defendant and his wife sheltered and fed many of them.
But by virtue of the fact that they were underage, the acts are considered criminal. While this case was prosecuted at the federal level, there are a number of Florida statutes that deal specifically with sex trafficking. Florida statute 787.06 prohibits human trafficking in general. If you are involved in the sex trafficking of an adult, under Florida statute 796.05, that’s considered a second-degree felony. Sex trafficking of a minor in Florida, however, is considered a first-degree felony. That’s on par with murder.
And while adult victims of sex trafficking have to prove there was some form of force or coercion, child sex trafficking victims do not.
In all, this defendant was convicted of eight counts of child sex trafficking, one count of producing child pornography (because of the photographs attached to the mass text messages) and one count of conspiring to commit child sex trafficking. He was sentenced to life in prison, plus another 30 years.
It did not assist the defendant’s case that he had previously been convicted of drug charges, possession of a gun by a felon and armed robbery.
Because these crimes are so serious in nature, investing in an experienced criminal defense attorney is going to afford you the best possible shot at freedom.
Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys know that unfortunately, there are many opportunities for the criminal justice system to not work the way it is supposed to.
This should be of particular concern to those facing felony charges, as the chances that they may be convicted of a crime they did not commit are greater when they don’t or can’t invest in a skilled defense attorney.
This issue was recently highlighted in a collaborative study by two universities. The results of their research showed that in the past 23 years, at least 2,000 people in the U.S. have been exonerated of crimes for which they were convicted.
What’s especially troubling about this figure is that we know the number of those who are actually innocent is much higher. This is just the number that the researchers identified as having been cleared of their alleged crimes. There are countless more still sitting in prison for crimes they did not commit.
A closer look at the data also reveals some additional troubling trends, specifically with regard to race. First, it was noted that in about 1,200 cases, researchers didn’t have much information, beyond the basic fact that the individual had been exonerated.
On the other hand, of more than 870 cases for which they did have more information, defendants in those cases had spent a combined total of more than 10,000 years in prison. On average, that worked out to 11 years, though for many, it was much higher.
What’s more, 90 percent of those individuals were black.
About half of the cases involved a murder charge, with an eighth of those being death-penalty cases. And more than a third involved charges of sexual assault.
In a large number of cases, it was DNA evidence that eventually cleared these individuals.
There are an additional 1,200 cases that aren’t included at all in the research, even though they were thrown out in the course of various police scandals across the country, revealing that officers had planted guns or drugs on defendants who were actually innocent.
What is so incredibly disturbing about all this, from a criminal defense attorney’s point-of-view, is that the system failed – and failed many, many times. With approximately 1 million felony convictions in the U.S. every year, this is ample opportunity for critical mistakes.
That’s why having an experienced attorney is critical if you’re facing criminal charges.
But what are some of the mistakes that occur?
They run the gamut. As we mentioned earlier, the issue may not have been an error at all, but rather an intentional plant.
More often, however, it involves eye witness testimony. In these cases, the witness either intentionally misleads or lies or they are simply mistaken. The latter scenario was the case for four out of five sexual assault convictions that were later proven to be inaccurate.
Authorities recently announced the arrest of more than 100 people on charges of West Palm Beach Medicare fraud.
Our West Palm Beach defense attorneys understand that arrests were made all over the state, though nearly 60 of them were in South Florida. The total cost of the estimated losses topped an eye-popping $450 million across seven cities.
All of the Medicare fraud suspects are being prosecuted in federal court. The Florida Attorney General’s Office has a Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, which has been operational since 1994. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has been quoted as saying that the most common Medicaid and Medicare fraud operations in Florida have to do with health care providers – dentists, clinics and doctors – billing or over-billing the government-funded social health care service for products, tests or services that either aren’t necessary or were never performed.
An example might be what is called a “phantom bill,” which is when a doctor may bill for a service that never happened, or “up-coding,” which is when a doctor bills more for a test or service than it’s worth. This would also include cases in which health care providers conduct a far more expensive test than what’s necessary, when a cheaper test will suffice.
While these cases can be prosecuted at the state level, they can also be prosecuted federally as well. The first press briefing for this operation, for example, was held in Washington by officials with the U.S. Justice Department.
Medicare, which is a federally-subsidized program used to provide care for seniors, elderly and disabled, reportedly pays out billions of dollars annually in fraudulent claims. South Florida, namely Broward and West Palm Beach, have a reputation for being active hubs of this crime.
Some of the examples of those arrested included:
-Nine people at a number of mental illness clinics who allegedly submitted phony bills between 2004 and 2011. The bills were sent for group therapy sessions that either were never offered or would not have benefited the patients, some of whom suffered from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, according to the government.
-A former social worker who allegedly assisted those without citizenship in the U.S. to fill out forms saying they had a mental illness so they could avoid taking the citizenship test.
-Owners of medical clinics in Miami-Dade and St. Lucie counties who reportedly charged for HIV therapies and services that they either didn’t provide or weren’t beneficial.
-Sixteen people who worked for a home health care company, who reportedly accepted kickbacks from recruiters and patients.
These are serious charges, which could result in lengthy prison sentences, revocation of health care and medical licenses and an irreparably damaged reputation. That’s why it’s so important for individuals who are charged with Medicare fraud in West Palm Beach to contact a law firm with experience in handling West Palm Beach fraud cases.
Fort Lauderdale homicide defense attorneys are arguing that their client could not physically have committed the Broward homicide, due to illness and limitations.
Our Broward defense attorneys understand that most homicide cases require extensive investigation and input from those in the medical and scientific communities.
It used to be, many Broward homicide cases were predicated primarily on circumstantial evidence or witness testimony, which we have repeatedly been proven unreliable. However, with the advent of DNA technology and advances in modern medicine, trials are taking a much more technical approach. Jurors more often expect that prosecutors will present a case that shows at least some level of scientific proof. Defense attorneys, meanwhile, have to combat this with the same level of sophistication – and that’s why it is crucial to hire a Broward homicide defense attorney with experience in handling such high-level cases.
In this situation, a Plantation man is accused of killing his landlord in a vicious stabbing and home invasion robbery in 2010. However, medical doctors testifying for the defense said that the accused was suffering from asthmatic bronchitis, lung problems, and incapacitating pain in his shoulders, knees, back and ankles at the time of the killing.
The two doctors had been treating the suspect for these ailments prior to his arrest.
Prosecutors contend that these physical impediments would not have necessarily prevented him from carrying out the crime. Still, it appears they may have an uphill battle in making that case, considering the weight jurors often give to the testimony of medical doctors.
The suspect is facing a first-degree murder charge, as specified in Doctors: Murder suspect in pain but not incapable of crime, BY DANIEL CHANG, The Miami Herald
The number of individuals requiring a Broward criminal defense has increased by 3.5 percent from 2010 to 2011.
Our Broward defense attorneys believe this is important to note, given the multitude of headlines indicating that crime rates across the state have increased.
And in Miami-Dade, where officials boasted a 0.3 percent drop in the crime rate, the county still has one of the highest crime rates in Florida, with nearly 5,500 crimes per every 100,000 people.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been tracking and publishing crime statistics since 1971. While a number of agencies have touted the decreasing rates, it’s actually relatively small. In fact, the crime rate in Florida reportedly dropped just 0.1 percent – that’s one-tenth of one-percent – from 770,518 in 2010 to 769,480 in 2011. That’s really not enough to tell us much of anything, despite the fact that FDLE officials say Florida is safer than it has been in the last 41 years.
The FDLE keeps track of everything from murders to motor vehicle thefts.
Overall in Florida, the crime rate per 100,000 people was 4,070.
It’s important to note that these rates are figured based on what city and county law enforcement agencies report to the state. That means that there is likely a great deal more crime that simply isn’t reported.
Secondly, these rates also have a lot to do with factors like how each law enforcement agency allocates its manpower and the methods used by each individual agency to categorize a crime. Police agencies have been known to instruct officers to classify crimes as a lesser offense, simply so that their city can be deemed safer.
When we look at violent crimes in Broward County, murders decreased from 63 to 59, and aggravated assaults were down from 4,958 to 4,743 and motor vehicle thefts were down from 4,717 to 4,502. Every other category, though – rape, robbery, burglary and larceny – were all up.
Another interesting point to make, however, is the clearance rate. In Broward, the clearance rate in both years was less than 20 percent. What does that mean? It means that police either made an arrest or closed a case just 20 percent of the time. This is not something law enforcement administrators like to hear.
So what does that mean for you?
Well, in order to get that clearance rate to increase, police agencies will encourage officers to close their cases – make an arrest, put someone behind bars so they can move on. But when they’re working with diminished resources, as many agencies are, this can lead to inevitable errors. That means that more people are likely to find themselves fighting Broward criminal charges that may not have been thoroughly investigated.
This is where it becomes so important to hire a qualified Broward criminal defense attorney, one who can closely study the facts of your case and help you determine the legal strategy that will lead to the best possible outcome for you.
Florida Criminal Lawyers