There is little question that the defendant was cheated.
However, our Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyers understand that what started out as an unpaid debt of a few hundred dollars quickly dissolved into death threats against those in the law enforcement community.
The defendant might never have been caught either, had he not been stopped for a simple speeding ticket.
Sometimes it’s like that, and cases often come down to chance. What defendants must not leave to chance is their legal defense.
In this case, the defendant is facing up to 50 years in a federal prison. A thorough and experienced attorney will be critical to winning him the best shot at freedom.
According to media reports, the defendant loaned $750 to a stripper. We don’t know much about why that loan was made, but we do know that the dancer did not appear in a hurry to pay it back. Eventually, he was paid – $7.50 and a visit by the dancer’s boyfriend, who warned the defendant was best to simply leave her alone, or threatened that he would suffer physical injury.
The defendant reported this incident to police. But no action was taken.
Enraged, the defendant mailed out letters to a Palm Beach judge, sheriff’s deputy and prosecutor at both their work and home addresses. Each correspondence contained threats and intimidating language – and they were made to seem as if the dancer’s boyfriend had sent them, by stating their families would be harmed if charges against the boyfriend were not dropped.
The details of the letters were graphic. They described shootings, explosives and mutilation of body parts.
Police questioned the dancer’s boyfriend, who denied writing the letters, but did reveal to police his ongoing trouble with the defendant.
Still, there wasn’t any solid proof he had written them.
Then, the defendant got a speeding ticket. In short order, the police chief of that agency, his wife and the neighbor of the officer who stopped him – all received similar written death threats in the mail.
Detectives later searched the defendant’s home computer, and found a number of the letters stored in files there.
Defense lawyers aren’t denying that he wrote the letters. Their contention at this point, however, is that he has no criminal record and he never had any intention to carry out the acts he described. It was pointed out that when authorities searched his home, they found no guns, knives, explosives or other weapons that might indicate he was serious about any of it.
A psychologist for the defense argued that the defendant presented a low risk of future violence. Still, the U.S. Magistrate determined that he should be held without bond, based on the severity of the threats and the specific nature of the timing described in some of them.
There were reportedly 10 threatening letters sent out in all. The defendant faces a maximum of five years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count.
If you are charged with a crime in Palm Beach or Broward counties, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.
Loan to stripper spirals into death threats to judge, prosecutor, cops, March 25, 2013, By Paula McMahon, Sun Sentinel
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Broward Criminal Defense: Pill Mill Operator Pleads Guilty, April 13, 2013, Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog