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While many norms differ from culture to culture, it’s fair to say that nearly every society opposes the use of unnecessary violence against children, typically regarded as the most vulnerable and helpless members of society.
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However, as our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know from experience, the definitions of child abuse become blurred when one considers the role of physical punishments in the process of disciplining a child. What rights does a parent have in choosing how to teach their children how to behave? When does an instructive decision made by a parent become a criminal act?

A recent criminal case involving a man who slapped his 8-year-old son underscores the complexities of this issue. Although the man claimed all along that he was disciplining his child for cursing, social service workers and a family court initially decided that the physical punishments to which he subjected his son constituted child neglect.
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Many of the laws currently on the books were drawn up years ago, and today have unintended, undesirable effects. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws, for example, often target honest individuals who might have made simple mistakes, while criminal laws should in fact be designed to obstruct deliberately criminal behavior.
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In late 2011, a 27-year-old mother of two (in the photograph to the right) was pulled over in New Jersey during a routine traffic stop. Instead of being given a ticket, the young woman was arrested for and charged with unlawful posession of a firearm and bullets. Now, she faces mandatory prison time. Here’s the problem: the gun she was arrested for carrying was legal, licensed, and registered.

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert have been following the case of Shaneen Allen, the single mother caught in the web of an antiquated criminal justice system. Her trial, which begins on August 5th, will allow her to fight for her rights as an honest, hard-working individual who has fallen victim to illogical and ineffective laws.
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Earlier this month, a woman in Pompano Beach was arrested for allegedly using $400 in counterfeit money to purchase a pre-paid Visa card.
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As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers understand it, the manager at the store at which the Visa card was purchased realized that the money used for the purchase was counterfeit, and he subsequently deactivated the pre-paid card. Upon realizing that the card was no longer active, the woman returned to the store, at which point the police were called.

This case highlights a few issues that are highly relevant to criminal defense law, including the fact that seemingly criminal behavior might be unintentional and that what you say to police officers can cause you otherwise preventable harm.
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A thought-provoking legal argument from a courtroom in Palm Beach County is heading to the Florida Supreme Court. The case begs the question of whether or not a convicted criminal can invoke the state’s Stand Your Ground law as justification for shooting someone.
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The controversial law has been receiving a great deal of attention recently, playing crucial roles in the recent Florida criminal cases first of George Zimmerman and then of Michael Dunn, both of whom fatally shot an individual they claimed posed a legitimate threat to their safety. In those cases, as our Palm Beach and Broward criminal defense attorneys understand, the defendants might have done questionable things prior to the incident, but neither was a convicted felon.

The case to be decided by the Florida Supreme Court is that of 25-year-old Palm Beach resident Brian Bragdon, a convicted felon who shot and killed two people in 2012; Bragdon claims it was in self-defense but the prosecutors disagree. Without a doubt, this ruling — and the arguments to be made leading up to the decision — will have a lasting impact on the criminal justice system in the Sunshine State.
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Whenever the media reports that someone allegedly confessed to something, people instantaneously assume that they’re guilty. Of course, this seems reasonable at first. Why would somebody say that they committed a crime unless they did?
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As our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers know, based on years of experience, confessions to crimes aren’t always what they seem. Unfortunately, they do have consequences; even if somebody later recants their confession, prosecutors use the fact that the suspect confessed as evidence of guilt.

The truth is that people often confess (or are coerced into confessing) due to circumstances beyond their immediate control, regardless of whether or not they committed the crime in question. For this reason, it’s vitally important that the general public, and especially the individuals who sit on juries during criminal trials, not confuse an alleged confession as an honest, clearheaded admission of guilt.
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott is up for re-election in November, at which point he will face now-Democratic challenger former Gov. Charlie Crist in a battle over the top political position in the Sunshine State. Clearly, the Governor has a lot to deliberate and attend to, but our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense attorneys believe he hasn’t devoted enough time to considering changes to existing sentencing laws.
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Gov. Scott is in the midst of touring the state, with campaign stops in cities such as Tampa, Orlando and Miami, in an effort to reaffirm his “stay the course” strategy with regard to the current legal reguirement that prisoners (even non-violent ones) must serve at least 85% of their sentence. Scott promised voters that, if he is re-elected, he will not change his position on the issue.

Scott’s position, highlighted by the fact that he vetoed a bill in 2012 that would have cut prison sentences for non-violent offenders and placed them in drug rehabilitation programs, adds fuel to the raging fire that is our broken prison system.
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As Americans prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, and America’s independence, law enforcement departments all over the country gear up for increased numbers of sobriety checkpoints and DUI arrests.
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Our Palm Beach and Broward County DUI defense attorneys know that local police departments have historically ramped-up DUI crackdowns during July 4th, espcially when the holiday falls on a weekend or, as is the case this year, when it creates an extended weekend.

With more drivers on the road and more local bars and restaurants hosting events and offering drink specials, the likelihood of drunk drivers being on the road increases; as such, so does the number of police officers looking to catch them.
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Back in 1999, an 18-year-old night manager at Chik-fil-A was murdered while he was on the job at the Palm Beach Mall. Two days ago (15 years after the murder), 32 year-old Jesse Lee Miller, Jr., who had endured three jury trials and more than a decade of accusations, was acquited by a jury of his peers.
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While the acquital is evidence of the cirminal justice system’s ability to free a man who is not beyond all reasonable doubts guilty, the fact that it took so long and so many trials to deliver the ultimate result indicates major problems in the courts.

Our Palm Beach and Broward County criminal defense lawyers understand the heartbreak associated with the loss of an innocent life; still, the emotions emanating from such a horrific circumstance do not justify the unconconstitutional, accusatory treatment of another, especially when the case involves faulty evidence and questionable testimony.
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