In an age of internet- and cell phone-related privacy concerns, it might come as a surprise to learn that the U.S. government still hangs on to a favorite pastime — spying on regular old snail mail.
According to a recent report, the U.S. government approved roughly 50,000 requests (last year alone) from law enforcement groups around the country as well as its own internal organizations to monitor the mail of American citizens as part of criminal and/or national security cases.
You can password protect your e-mail and social media accounts, but you can’t exactly put a lock on a letter that would prevent the government from knowing where it came from, where it’s going, or even what it says. The report, while shocking, raises legitimate privacy issues.
Miami has among the country’s strictest regulations concerning where registered sex offenders can reside. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has taken issue with some of the laws’ implications.
One of the most rigid laws that Miami has adopted is one stating that a sex offender cannot be within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, bus stops, or anywhere else that children might congregate. That makes finding a place to live incredibly difficult — so difficult, in fact, that some sex offenders have actually become homeless, drifting from one unsafe place to the next.
The ACLU, as our criminal defense lawyers know, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the sex offender laws in place in Miami violate the sex offenders’ fundamental right to safety and to maintain a home.
According to data recently compiled by information services provided Esri, and as reported by the South Florida Business Journal, you’re more likely to live in a high crime area in Miami-Dade County than in any other county in South Florida.
As our Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade criminal defense lawyers know, the research company ranked crime rates in 75 zip codes around Miami-Dade County; across the county, the so-called total crime index ranged from 29 all the way up to 513.
This information is certainly important when it comes to deciding where to buy a home, find a job, etc., but could the crime statistics play an unfair role in a criminal case? Might a jury be swayed more easily into regarding someone as a criminal if they happen to reside in a “higher crime” area?
The Florida criminal case of Michael Dunn, who shot at a car full of teenagers and ended up killing one of them back in 2012, attracted media attention in particular for its apparent similarities to the case of George Zimmerman.
In both cases, a man shot and killed a black teenager in what they claimed to be self defense. George Zimmerman, who was ultimately found not guilty, was able to demonstrate to the jury that he had been involved in a physical altercation with the teenager and thus had reason to believe his life was in danger.
Dunn, on the other hand, fired 10 rounds at a car full of teenagers who refused to turn down the volume of their music. There was no fight, and although Dunn said he feared that the teens had a gun, no gun was ever found. And, as our criminal defense lawyers know, that is just the beginning of what led to Dunn’s guilty verdict.
Our traffic ticket defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert know that Florida’s unpopular, so-called red light cameras are regarded both as a nuisance and an intrusion, and the programs allowing them have had their troubles in the court system.
Despite court rulings that red light camera tickets had illegally ticketed drivers before the law allowed such ticketing, by last year more than 900 red light cameras had generated over $119 million in tickets.
But what if you knew the tickets are being issued by some out-of-state company? Wouldn’t that be a violation of Florida state law? We think so, and apparently, so does Judge Mark Klingensmith of Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals.
Florida Criminal Lawyers