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West Palm Beach Police have charged a 22-year-old Boca Raton man with home invasion robbery after he allegedly stole the money he paid an exotic dancer in return for sex. The victim reportedly told the man she would have sex with him and his friend at her apartment for $600. After their liaison, the dancer told the men they had to leave, but they proceeded to steal the money they’d pay her for sex, plus an additional $300 in her wallet.

She ran after the men, and when they drove away, she jumped on the hood of their car. The dancer reportedly fell to the side of the car and told police the vehicle ran over her left ankle and foot. According to the report, she was transported to Columbia Hospital and treated for her injuries there.

The defendant was released from Palm Beach County Jail earlier this month after posting $20,000 bond.

Source: Man charged with stealing money he paid exotic dancer for sex, Palm Beach Post, December 16, 2010 Continue reading

clean_up_crime_scene_Florida.jpgOur Broward County criminal defense lawyers recently read about firefighters and police officers around Florida who earn extra money cleaning up crime scenes. It makes sense, especially considering that the average population isn’t as comfortable with the sight of rotting flesh or flood, while police officers and firefighters routinely deal with these kinds of conditions.

Owners of Florida-based crime clean-up services say a cleanup job can pay as little as $200 or as much as $15,000. It’s a good side job, but many say there isn’t enough demand to earn a full-time living from it.

As of November, South Florida had 16 trauma-cleanup businesses liked with the Florida Department of Health. Six of those are based in Broward County and five companies are in Palm Beach County. Although health officials don’t regulate cleaning procedures, they do register companies who transported biomedical waste from crime scenes.

Source: Crime-scene cleanup: Police, firefighters do dirty job in off-duty hours, South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 13, 2010 Continue reading

Florida_teens_drinking.jpgEarlier this year, two sets of parents in Boca Raton were arrested and accused of hosting homecoming after-parties with alcohol for underage drinkers. Some underage drinkers were also arrested, and the parents said they either were not aware of the alcohol or weren’t able to control the mob of intoxicated teens who brought booze with them.

Florida’s “open house party” law went into effect in 1991, but many parents of juveniles say they aren’t aware of the law, which states that if anyone younger than 21 is caught drinking alcohol or using drugs at a party in your home or on your property, you could be arrested and charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. Violations of the “open house party” law are punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Beyond criminal penalties, there are also civil liabilities that can result in lawsuits. Parents can also be held liable if a drunk teenager causes property damage, sexual battery, injury or death to others or themselves during or after leaving the party.

Source: Many parents still don’t know of law against hosting underage drinking, South Florida Sun Sentinel, October 24, 2010 Continue reading

Last week, the city council in Boca Raton voted 3-2 to approve a contract with American Traffic Solutions to install and operate red-light traffic-endorsement cameras. This vote could make Boca Raton the first city in southern Palm Beach County to install the cameras.

The city expects to make over a half million dollars per year from the cameras. But according to an assistant police chief, drivers caught running a red light during the first 30 days when the cameras are in operation will be issued a warning. Following the warning period, drivers will be subject to a $158. However, the red-light violation won’t count as points on the driver’s license.

While other South Florida counties including West Palm Beach, Palm Springs, and Royal Palm Beach already have red-light cameras installed, some are discontinuing them in response to legal challenges and a Florida law that makes red-light cameras less profitable. The law was enacted on July 1 and reduces the number of fines by allowing “careful and prudent” rolling right turns in areas that use red-light cameras.

Source: Boca Raton to install red-light cameras at five intersections, Palm Beach Post, December 17, 2010 Continue reading

Broward_attorney_pill_mill.jpgOver the past several years, so-called “pill mills” have sprung up across Broward County. These pain clinics make money by catering to those addicted to prescription drugs like oxycodone or methadone and have spurred legislators to action, and a new law went into effect on October 1. The law limits pain clinics to dispensing only three days’ worth of medication; however, clinic doctors can still prescribe 30 days’ worth of pills, which the patients can pick up elsewhere.

State drug czar Bruce Grant says he has anecdotal evidence that pain clinic owners and investors are circumventing the new law by opening pharmacies outside of the pain clinics, allowing them to continue making money off of addictive pain-killers. According to a Broward Sheriff’s Office Sergeant, some pain clinics even distribute a list of pharmacies instead of giving out pills. It’s estimated that there are around 10 Broward pharmacies that appear on such lists, which are also passed around by addicts and drug dealers.

Once Florida’s prescription monitoring program is fully operational, it’s expected that they will help pharmacists and authorities recognize drug traffickers and addicts and crack down on this growing problem. The program could launch as early 2011.

Source: Some pain clinics find loophole in restrictive new state law, South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 12, 2010 Continue reading

Our South Florida criminal defense attorneys have learned that a Fort Lauderdale lawyer has been nominated to be Florida’s next statewide prosecutor. A judge and another lawyer were also nominated. According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, five applicants were interviewed in Tampa on Thursday, and the three finalists were announced by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission last Friday.

Once Attorney General-elect Pam Bondi takes office on January 4, she will make the appointment to a four-year term, choosing from among the following nominees: Haccord J. Curry Jr., assistant general counsel for the Department of Juvenile Justice in Fort Lauderdale; Miami-Dade County Judge Andrew S. Hague, and Nicholas Bernard Cox, regional director for the Department of Children & Families in Tampa. As former prosecutors ourselves, we’ll be interested in seeing who Bondi chooses.

Source: Fort Lauderdale lawyer nominated for statewide prosecutor, The South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 13, 2010 Continue reading

Florida officials say the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, Boynton Beach Police, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently apprehended a hydroponic marijuana grow operation in Fellsmere, taking more than 300 plants from the house. The street value for that amount of marijuana is estimated at almost five hundred grand.

Police also seized several more pounds of marijuana and weapons from a house on the Intracoastal in Boynton Beach. An investigation took three months and resulted in the arrest of a 48-year-old Boynton Beach man who is charged with cultivation of marijuana and trafficking in marijuana plants. He is currently free on bond.

The grow house had been modified with 24-hour high intensity lighting, several dehumidifier and air conditioning units and timers, according to police. Florida Power & Light is one of the providers in the area where the grow house is located and said it only releases information on its client when the company is served with a subpoena. Otherwise, a spokesperson said, they do not tip off police about suspicious activity or unusual usage patterns.

Source: FPL says it doesn’t tip police to marijuana grow houses, South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 10, 2010 Continue reading

FL_illegal_weed_incense.jpgOur Broward County drug crime attorneys have learned that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced a nationwide emergency ban of several chemicals found in what’s known in some circles as “fake pot,” a substance sold as incense at specialty shops and convenience stores around the nation. According to the DEA, the ban begins in at least 30 days and will make it illegal to sell or possess products containing the chemicals for at least a year.

The ban was enacted in response to reports from poison centers, hospitals, and law enforcement agencies who said the incense was being misused. In a statement, DEA Acting Administor Michele Leonhart said the manufacturers of these products have “mislead their customers into thinking that ‘fake pot’ is a harmless alternative to illegal drugs, but that is not the case.”

The banned chemicals, JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497 and cannabicyclohexano, will be labeled Schedule 1 drugs, which is the restrictive category for drugs considered to be unsafe and with no medical value.

Source: DEA to enact emergency ban of ‘legal weed’ nationwide, The South Florida Sun Sentinel, November 24, 2010 Continue reading

city_fort_lauderdale_crime.jpgSouth Florida inspired popular crime shows like Miami Vice and CSI: Miami. So some may be surprised to discover that a recent ranking of the country’s most dangerous cities does not include a single Florida city in its top 25. The study was published earlier this year by CQ Press and uses FBI violent crime statistics to determine which areas have the highest crime rate.

St. Louis, Missouri snagged the dubious honor of number one, followed by Camden, New Jersey in the number two slot and Detroit, Michigan in number three. Miami Gardens, Florida came in at number 40 with Miami Beach at number 42 and Miami at number 51.

However, some experts warn that this overall ranking doesn’t give a complete picture. The study combines all violent crimes without taking into account which cities have higher homicide rates or an unusually high rate of sexual assault. Many law enforcement officials point out that there are crime factors which can’t be expressed in numbers. Nonetheless, this is consistent with other reports that have found a general decline in violent crime in South Florida in the past few years.

Source: South Florida cities rank surprisingly low in study of most dangerous cities in America, South Florida Sun Sentinel, November 22, 2010 Continue reading

The International Association of Chiefs of Police has recognized two Florida law enforcement groups with awards for excellence in criminal investigations. The competition challenged agencies to share creative ideas for crime investigations that could be adapted by other agencies investigating similar cases. Roughly 150 entries came in from around the country.

First runner-up went to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Miami-based Group 10. Group 10 reportedly developed ways to find drug groups abroad, make drug-related arrests, and seize drugs and money.

The Miramar Police Department received second runner-up. Their strategy involved sending a text message to their main suspect from the same phone number as a Miramar resident who’d disappeared last year. Sure enough, the suspect drove to several locations, leading police the victim’s decapitated body. The suspect awaits trial for premeditated first-degree murder.

Source: Miramar police cited for crime-solving style, South Florida Sun Sentinel, November 30, 2010 Continue reading

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