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Our Miami criminal defense attorneys have learned that as part of Miami-Dade Circuit Court’s centennial celebration, actors recreated the notorious case of State of Florida vs. Alphonse Capone, Case No. 621. The reenactment occurred on Tuesday.

Miami officials arrested gangster Al Capone four times in May1930 before he stood trial for perjury in a three-day trial in July 1930. The judge acquitted Capone, sending the crowd gathered in the courtroom to cheer. After the trial, Capone moved from his Miami Beach home to a 35-acre plot he owned in Broward County. He was imprisoned for tax evasion and served several years in jail before returning to his home in Palm Island.

 

 

Source: Gangster Al Capone’s 1930 trial to return to Miami court, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 27, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_seatbelt.jpgHere in Florida, front seat passengers are required by law to wear seat belts. In fact, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle if passengers do not comply. Furthermore, all passengers under 18 must wear a seat belt or be restrained by a child car seat regardless of where they ride in the car. The fine for a child not properly restrained is $60, while adult seatbelt violations incur a fine of $30.

Despite this, a recent survey designed to measure the effectiveness of the “Click It or Ticket” campaign found that more than 12% of Florida motorists don’t wear seat belts. The survey found that the worst seat belt offenders are males, pickup truck drivers, Central Floridians, and travelers on local roads. Women and those over age 60 who use South Florida highways are the most likely to buckle up.

However, seat belt use did increase by 2.2% after the safety belt campaign, so that’s good news for Florida safety officials.

Sources: State of Florida Seat Belt Laws, DMVFlorida.org

More drivers using seat belts in Florida, survey says, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 14, 2010 Continue reading

Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys read that the Miramar Police have a hot new ride. When this eye-catching cruiser stops at a traffic light, officers say people roll down their windows and snap photos. It even won second place in Law and Order Magazine’s 2010 Police Vehicle Design Contest for best community relations car.

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The custom creation is wrapped in gold and orange graffiti and features 22-inch rims with blue and red lights. It also displays exterior messages such as “Committed to Community Service.”

The inspiration behind the vehicle came when officers designed they needed a “community piece” that would grab kids’ attention at community events. It was designed in part by children from the Police Athletic League, who suggested more graphics including displaying the term “Five-O,” street slang for police officers.

Source: Customized ‘Five-O’ cruiser a winner for Miramar police, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 8, 2010 Continue reading

road%20rage.jpgEarlier this month, a stand-off between two angry motorists left a 33-year-old man dead. The Broward Sheriff’s Office says the case is closed and the shooter will not be charged because investigators determined that he acted in self-defense.

Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law states that a person may shoot to kill if he or she feels in danger of death or great bodily harm. According to witnesses, the slain man jumped out of the Honda Civic his girlfriend was driving and charged towards the shooter’s Toyota Tacoma and tried to open the door to grab him. He was only holding a cigarette lighter in his hand, but he was fatally shot in the heart.

A criminal defense attorney not involved in the case said that the shooter was in the clear after the victim reached into the truck. Prosecutors have fought the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, saying it can be misinterpreted and manipulated. Prior to 2005, Florida residents only had to the right to fight back in the their homes, but a new law passed in 2005 allows them to do so regardless of location.

Source: Florida law backs shooter in Pompano road rage case, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 17, 2010 Continue reading

Here in Broward County, the Sheriff’s Office has tabled its plans to close a jail wing in Pompano Beach. The closure plan would have reduced the office’s budget by $5 million; however it would have also pushed jail occupancy to 102 percent for which the county could be fined $1,000 a day for overcrowding. The original plan was reportedly created when jail occupancy was lower.

The Sheriff’s Office is continuing with the controversial demotion of 254 deputies who work in the jails and the elimination of a hot meal at work for jail employees. All employees will be subject to a wage freeze.

The union has fought this plan, but a special magistrate ruled in favor of the Sheriff, saying that public sector employees need to adjust their pay expectations.

Source: Broward sheriff won’t close Pompano jail wing, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 5, 2010 Continue reading

FL_texting_teens.jpgOur Palm Beach County traffic lawyers have learned that the FHP is teaming up with cell phone service provider Verizon to introduce an awareness campaign aimed at teen drivers. The campaign, called “Danger Thumbs” will help educate young motorists about the dangers of driving and texting. The campaign began earlier this month at a driver’s ed class in Pembroke Pines.

Verizon’s involvement in the campaign includes contests, surveys, quizzes, and fan pages on social media sites like Facebook. Verizon says it has banned employees from texting while on the job or in a company vehicle.

Source: FHP’s anti-texting campaign to hit schools this semester, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 3, 2010 Continue reading

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, emergency dispatchers not only deal with calls regarding domestic abuse or drunk driving, but also complaints regarding a MacDonald’s that ran out of chicken nuggets and a man who couldn’t find the TV remote.

These calls (some of them pranks, others from people who are drunk, high, lonely, or just plain crazy) may seem harmless, but they actually are a real problem and detract from true emergencies needing immediate assistance. In fact, abuse of an emergency line is a first-degree misdemeanor publishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,00 fine.

Fortunately, they represent only a small number of the 240 million 911 calls received across the country each yeah. In Palm Beach County, the Sheriff’s Office gets about a million calls a year, 30 to 40% of which are non-emergency calls. Of those, only a small number are harassing or troublesome calls.

Although we don’t recommend this, we couldn’t resist sharing this video of a Florida woman who dialed 911 and tried to order takeout:
 

 

Source: 911 calls can cross line into wackiness, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 13, 2010 Continue reading

The government recently announced that it will hire Ebonics translators to help with drug investigations in areas including South Florida. The news has ignited a debate that’s been raging for over a decade: Should Ebonics be recognized as its own language and should law enforcement be able to understand it?

On the one hand, you have some interpreters and translators who say Ebonics is merely colloquial English and doesn’t require a special translator. They say that dropped G’s and double negatives are merely an uneducated way of speaking English.

On the other hand, the Drug Enforcement Administration says that Ebonics translators will help investigators decode the words and syntax that drug dealers use to communicate with each other. They say that the translators will be valuable in cracking down on drug crimes around South Florida and the Caribbean. However, the narcotics squads in Palm Beach and Broward counties say they’re already able to understand how drug criminals talk.

 

 

Source: Will Ebonics fluency help fight crime? South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 13, 2010 Continue reading

blueprint.jpgCompetition is underway in the battle to win a $35 million contract to build a 1,000-space parking garage at the new Broward County Courthouse. That $35 price tag does not include a covered walkway, which is considered by some courthouse personnel to be a must-have. This is currently the county’s largest public building project, so contractors are eagerly vying for a piece of the pie.

The three bidders involved in the project have hired lobbyists to raise awareness about the benefits of their plans. All three also say their proposals would be completed by Broward County’s September 2012 deadline.

The garage is the first part of the courthouse building project, which has an estimated $330 million budget. As Broward criminal defense lawyers, we’ll be interested to see how plans for the new courthouse evolve.

Starting next Wednesday, Fort Lauderdale drivers who run a red light at certain intersections will be subject to fines of $158 for each offense. New red light cameras will be in effect at six locations next week.

These intersections include westbound State Road 84 at Southwest Ninth Avenue; westbound Commercial Boulevard at Northeast 21st Avenue; eastbound Sunrise Boulevard at Northwest 15th Avenue; northbound Federal Highway at State Road 84; northbound Federal Highway at Northeast Eighth Street; and eastbound Commercial Boulevard at Powerline Road.

The city has approved cameras at ten locations, but it awaiting permits from Broward County before installing cameras at the remaining four locations: Northeast 15th Avenue at Sunrise Boulevard; westbound Cypress Creek Road at Powerline Road; southbound Northwest 31st Avenue at Cypress Creek Road and eastbound Cypress Creek Road at Northwest 31st Avenue.

According to Fort Lauderdale officials, motorists who turn right at a red light camera will not receive a traffic ticket as long as they slow to a near stop and appear to be driving cautiously.

Source: Fines for red-light camera violations begin Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, South Florida Sun Sentinel, September 8, 2010 Continue reading

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