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When mounting a Broward County criminal defense – regardless of the crime – criminal defense attorneys must trust that all parties, including police, prosecutors, jurors and judges, will act ethically. hammertofall.jpg

Unfortunately, we know that’s not always going to be the case. That’s why it’s important when you hire an experienced defense attorney – someone who is able to call it out when they spot any violations of ethical and legal codes. Your freedom depends on it.

One such situation involved a death penalty cases and the relationship between a judge and a prosecutor.

In 2007, after the conclusion of a death-penalty murder trial, in which the defendant was convicted, it was discovered that the judge and prosecutor in the case exchanged nearly 500 text messages and 1,000 phone calls during the course of the case. While the two contend they never discussed the actual case, the issue went directly to their credibility, and ultimately, the integrity of the proceedings and the resulting verdict.

In the end, the conviction was overturned and the case tried again. The result was another conviction (although the defendant received life in prison, rather than the death penalty), but both the prosecutor and the judge face significant sanctions.

Following an investigation by the Florida Bar, a 10-page report was issued that indicated the two should have revealed that communication to the defendant’s attorneys. The fact that they did not was “prejudicial to the administration of justice.” The bar recommended a 1-year suspension of the prosecutor’s license. He is reportedly now in private practice.

The prosecutor has two months to make an appeal, which he reportedly intends to do. The state’s Supreme Court will make the ultimate decision.

As for the judge, she stepped down after the details of misconduct became public, and she also is now in private practice. She has a final hearing before the bar scheduled for next month. She may face even greater sanctions, given that the court holds her to an even higher standard of conduct.

What may also not work in her favor was that the state Bar has indicted the former judge took steps to mislead the Judicial Qualifications Commissions into thinking that her communication with the prosecutors was insignificant.

At the time of the trial, the pair were communicating outside the courtroom through texts and phone calls, an average of more than nine times daily.

While a number of people spoke as character witnesses on behalf of the prosecutor during his hearing, the Bar’s 10-page report said none of that provided any insight into the misconduct.

Always do your research when looking to hire a Broward criminal defense attorney. Make sure he or she has a proven record not only of success, but also that he or she has a reputation for upholding the highest ethical standards. Failure to do so could be detrimental to your case.
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A Port St. Lucie assault between two teen girls has landed one of the girl’s parents in jail. boxing.jpg

Our Port St. Lucie defense attorneys understand that police claim the altercation was encouraged by the parents. They have been arrested on both felony and misdemeanor charges, though media reports have not indicated exactly what those charges are.

According to FL Statute 548.0065). That’s considered a second-degree misdemeanor.

When a child or teen is accused of a juvenile crime in Palm Beach County, there is sometimes the assumption that those offenses disappear from your record once you turn 18. eyes.jpg

Our Palm Beach County juvenile defense attorneys know this is not the case – which is why it’s so important to have a skilled defense attorney before your child ever sees a judge. Having strong legal representation at the very beginning of the process will give your child his or her best shot of having those charges dismissed, reduced and ultimately expunged.

The issue of how a juvenile indiscretion can haunt someone into their adulthood was recently explored by Crimes come back to haunt young offenders in Florida, By Julius Whigham II, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

A Davie man, identified in media reports as a “pill mill magnate,” has pleaded guilty to a host of drug charges in Broward County, and could serve as much as two decades behind bars.

1213599_pills.jpgOur Broward County criminal defense attorneys know that federal, state and local officials have been on a war path when it comes to pain clinics across the state. A great deal of press has been given to the “epidemic” of prescription pain killer addiction, and officials have used the term “pill mills” to describe even legal clinics working to serve patients with legitimate pain issues.

While the patients themselves have been the target of many law enforcement efforts, the owners and operators of these clinics have also found themselves in the legal cross hairs of prosecutors.

Will Fort Lauderdale self-defense cases suffer in the wake of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford? danger.jpg

That’s a concern of Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorneys. While the facts and implications of the case – which is still under investigation – have been combed through by analysts across the country, one aspect that hasn’t received much discussion is what the effect will be on cases in which there is a legitimate claim of self-defense.

While this case has become racially charged, the fact is self-defense is, and must be, a legitimate defense when a violent death occurs.

Technology is changing the way police investigate both misdemeanor and felony charges in West Palm Beach.

iphone.jpgOur West Palm Beach felony criminal defense attorneys understand that law enforcement officers are lamenting the use of smartphone technology in the hands of individuals who are seeking to evade them.

The debate centers on the police scanner apps that can be downloaded onto almost any smart phone.

The differences between Fort Lauderdale manslaughter and murder charges are nuanced and technical, but can make a big difference in terms of the penalties in the case.
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Our Fort Lauderdale manslaughter defense attorneys know that this is a topic that has arisen much lately, in the wake of the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford. His death, reportedly at the hands of a neighborhood watch captain who claims self-defense, has triggered protests across the country, demanding prosecutorial action against the shooter, who has yet to be charged.

The truth of the matter is that for now, we don’t know exactly what happened in the Trayvon Martin case – very few do at this point, and one of those individuals is now deceased. While we step back to allow the justice system to work, we do believe that some valid questions have arisen as a result of the case – one of which being the question regarding manslaughter vs. murder.

Examples of high-profile manslaughter cases include the man in Sumter County, whose python escaped its cage and killed a 2-year-old, or the doctor of Michael Jackson, who prescribed a lethal dose of a powerful sedative.

The parents of Trayvon Martin, the teenager who was killed in February in Sanford, are calling for George Zimmerman, the gunman, to be charged with murder.

Sanford police, however, had initially investigated the crime as one of manslaughter, which is defined under FL Statute 782.07. The difference between this and murder, which is defined under FL Statute FL Statute 776.013 – which basically says that you don’t have to retreat if you feel threatened and can use force to protect yourself – as a reason for not initially filing charges.

Again, we don’t know the facts of this specific case, but in order to prove Zimmerman guilty of manslaughter, prosecutors would have to show that not only did his actions cause Martin’s death (which is almost certain), but that those actions were wanton and reckless and not protected under self defense or Stand Your Ground.

If convicted on a manslaughter charge, Zimmerman would face a penalty of up to 30 years in prison. Typically, a manslaughter conviction would net a maximum of 15 years behind bars, but the sentences are stiffer when the alleged victim is either a child, a disabled person or an elderly person.
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