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A Palm Beach County Circuit Judge has sentenced an 81-year-old pastor at Delray Beach’s St. Vincente Ferrer to 14 months in prison, followed by seven years probation. Father John Skehan pleaded guilty to grand theft over $100,000 and showed remorse for stealing from his congregation. Another priest, Father Francis Guinan, already stood trial for grand theft and was convicted of a lesser charge.

Delray Beach Church Theft

Although Florida state’s minimum sentencing guidelines require 20 months of jail time, the judge reduced the sentence because of Skehan’s age, his admission of guilt, and the fact that he has made over $700,000 in restitution. The Diocese of Palm Beach and members of the church pleaded on Skehan’s behalf, but the judge refused to drop the jail time, calling Skehan’s crime “pure greed unmasked.”

Now Skehan must surrender himself to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on or before May 1. His defense attorney said he was disappointed by the sentencing but not surprised because of the intense media scrutiny the trial has attracted.

Judge orders one Delray Beach priest to prison, calls theft ‘greed unmasked;’ second priest’s sentencing today, Palm Beach Post, March 24, 2009 Continue reading

Police in South Florida are using license plate scanners to look for stolen vehicles and criminals. The multi-camera and scanner system is mounted on the hood, trunk, or roof of a cruiser and can scan as many as 10,000 license plates a shift.

In Palm Beach County, the Sheriff’s Office has been using a scanning system to track sex offenders and gang members since 2007. The Broward Sheriff’s Office has 35 license plate recognition systems mounted on police cars and stationed at locations throughout the area. Their system has been in place for about a year and scans 300,000 license plates per month on average.



Police say the system is an effective way for law enforcement officials to multi-tack and track criminal activity, but some privacy-rights groups worry that the information could be misused. Every license plate is stored in a police database and the hope is that the information could be shared between all agencies in the future. A representation of the ACLU’s Broward chapter expressed concern about officers tracking a girlfriend or snooping on people who haven’t committed a crime.

According to a spokesman for the Broward Sheriff’s Office, “it’s a crime-fighting tool used to find violent offenders or violent criminals. This is not Big Brother watching.”

New cameras in police cruisers can analyze thousands of license tags a day, The Sun Sentinel, March 26, 2009 Continue reading

Three women were arrested last week in connection with a West Palm Beach stabbing. They are charged with aggravated assault. According to a report from the Palm Beach County Sheriff, Avia Pugh, 26, and Theresa Philmore, 33, were attacked last Thursday evening and treated for stab wounds at St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Witnesses led police to the home of Shantoria Lindsey, who is the mother of two of the stabbing suspects and godmother to the third. Mikeria King, 18, and Denisha Camble, 19, are in Palm Beach County jail in lieu of $30,000 bail.

palm beach county sheriff

Both Camble and King have prior arrests. King was arrested last November on theft and traffic charges, according to jail records. Camble was arrested last year for larceny, criminal mischief, and failure to appear on a shoplifting charge. The third suspect is a 14-year-old who was turned over to juvenile authorities.

3 teens charged with stabbing 2 women west of West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Post, March 23, 2009 Continue reading

Fort Lauderdale DUI arrest

Last week, police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida arrested one of Oswego Police Department’s Top 10 Most Wanted Criminals. Jeremie Smith was taken into police custody with assistance from the Florida Department of Probation after Oswego police received a phone tip.

Smith is charged with drug possession and driving while intoxicated. He is in Broward County Jail until he is extradited back to Oswego.

Police released their list of 10 Most Wanted Criminals in February, and Smith is the fourth person on the list to be arrested. Other criminals were nabbed in Maine and North Carolina.

According to Captain Tory DeCaire, “we have some pretty good leads on some other people and their locations, so hopefully we’ll be seeing more arrests to come.”

Police arrest another Oswego Top 10 criminal,, March 23, 2009
Charges lodged against three men from Oswego County,, March 21, 2009
Photo by Penny Mathews.
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Fort Lauderdale Criminal Lawyer Brian S. Leifert has just been made aware of enhanced traffic enforcement in western Broward County. Operation “B.A.D.” (Blitz on Aggressive Drivers) is back and will be conducted over the next four days by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol.

The operation is said to be partly a result of an accident involving Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Tony Morales who was hospitalized when his cruiser was struck this past Thursday after he had stopped a driver on I-95 to issue a traffic ticket.



A similar traffic ticket enforcement campaign was conducted about two weeks ago in western Broward County where Broward County law enforcement officers issued a total of 189 traffic tickets.

Officers will be looking out for all violations with a specific emphasis on aggressive drivers and violators of the “Move Over” law as well as seat belt violations.

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday enforcement will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m and Thursday’s will be 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
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Fort Lauderdale Shoplifting Lawyer, Brian S. Leifert is seeing retailers in Fort Lauderdale and Broward County taking advantage in technological advances to combat increases in shoplifting. Face recognition software is the latest weapon being utilized to prevent loss due to shoplifting. With shoplifting on the rise, Fort Lauderdale companies have found face recognition technology to be an effective tool.

The software allows the retailer to be alerted when an individual who has previously been caught shoplifting has entered the store. Retailers are also able to share information with each another regarding previous shoplifters or suspicious individuals. Retailers can even submit a file with a suspected shoplifters face to local law enforcement to cross reference the data with booking photos and mug shots on file.



Shoplifting in Fort Lauderdale and throughout Broward County is certainly on the rise as a result of recent economic difficulties. As technology advances, retailers will continue to gain new weapons to combat shoplifting.
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Broward DUI lawyer Brian S. Leifert has just learned that a Green Cove Springs, Florida man has been arrested for DUI while riding his lawnmower. Damon Hayward hopped on his lawnmower and was driving to the gas station when he was stopped by the police for not having headlights. Hayward was subsequently arrested for DUI.


Police report that he was apologetic and remorseful about the DUI arrest, which was not his first.

In my years as a Broward DUI lawyer and former Broward prosecutor, very few DUI lawnmower cases have come through the system here in Broward. On occasion we’ll see a DUI bicycle arrest and see quite a number of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) cases.
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As a Broward Criminal Lawyer, I’ve seen some significant changes in Florida motorcycle laws over the years. With bike week in full swing in Daytona this week, I thought an overview of some Florida motorcycle laws might come in handy to riders here in Broward County. As a criminal lawyer in Broward County and avid motorcycle rider, my perspective is a little different than most criminal attorneys.

Wheelies – a fairly new motorcycle law in Florida specifically prohibits this activity. Prior to the enactment of this new law, law enforcement in Broward would attempt to cite a motorcycle rider with the offense of reckless driving which was easily dismissed in court. The new motorcycle law mandates that both wheels must remain in contact with the road surface. The fine for a first offense can be as high as $1,000.00. Repeat offenders risk losing their motorcycle endorsement.

Earphones – prohibited. Helmet speakers are allowed.

Helmets – not required with a few exceptions. The motorcycle rider must be over 21 years of age and carry at least $10,000.00 in medical insurance.

Eye Protection – required.

Lane Splitting – not allowed (riding two abreast within a lane is allowed).

Exhaust Pipes – If you’ve modified or replaced your pipes (love the “long shots”), the noise emitted cannot be any louder than the original stock pipes. Maximum sound levels are measured at a distance of 50 feet.

Handlebars – Ape Hangers are allowed but cannot be higher than the top of the shoulders of the rider when in the seated position.

Broward County is a great place to ride but is also extremely congested with a very diverse driving population. Ride safe and you need you need a criminal lawyer in Broward County who in personally familiar with motorcycle laws and riding, give me a call!!!
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