Case Law Updates
Upon being arrested a criminal defendant’s most pressing concern is the range of punishment. Knowing what to expect by way of fines and possible incarceration helps to prepare you for what lies ahead and can also help aid you when deciding on a defense strategy. When the offense is in federal court rather than state court the Judge is required to adhere to strict sentencing guidelines. Over the years these guidelines have changed. This Fall, criminal defendants in federal matters will see another change. It is important to know what’s in store for the future, even if your case is not a federal case. This is because some prosecutors in state court try to draw parallels to these rules, so understanding the rationale behind them is key to understanding how the criminal judicial system works.… Continue reading
The dangers of texting and driving are well known. Studies show taking your eyes off the road even for the minimal amount of time texting takes can have serious consequences because the time needed to refocus is significant. This means that the dangers of texting and driving are well known. Studies show taking your eyes off the road even for the minimal amount of time texting takes can have serious consequences because the time needed to refocus is significant. This means that when you text and then shift your gaze back to the street you are driving without fully paying attention to the rules of the road. To combat this growing problem and decrease the number of accidents related to texting and driving, Florida has passed a ban on texting while operating a motor vehicle.
The law is close to a year and a half… Continue reading
Earlier in the year we reported on a crime so bizarre it could have been taken from a primetime police drama; the so called “cookie monster”. The case centered around a woman who was very vocal about how easy it was for her to steal money from girl scouts selling cookies. But that wasn’t the woman’s only crime. Stefanie Woods was currently on probation for a felony charge, and her antics proved to be a violation of that probation.
The final word is now in on the punishment Woods will face for violating probation:
- The 24 year old will be nearing her 30th birthday before she is released from prison, in close to four years.
● Woods had been on a six year probation term for the felony charges of robbery with a firearm, and kidnapping.… Continue reading
Two years ago, in 2012, Polo Club founder John Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter. But, on further review that verdict didn’t stand because there was evidence of juror misconduct. So, the State took a second crack at the case. This time, the State got their conviction. Make no mistake though, this conviction will also be appealed. There are serious legal issues left unresolved, and the decision to question the jury’s verdict is sound.
Goodman’s defense team claims the verdict is subject to attack for the following reasons:
● Goodman’s vehicle was released from evidence before the defense had the opportunity to have tests performed on the vehicle’s possible malfunction.
● Errors in the blood testing were present, but the Judge denied the defense request to put on expert testimony supporting this claim.
In any criminal case it is necessary to go over all… Continue reading
It seems the story on the validity of same sex marriage changes every day. With some states banning same sex unions, then higher courts overturning those bans, it was only a matter of time before there was word on the issue from the U.S. Supreme Court. And, the word is in.
On October 6, 2014 the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court’s decision holding some state bans on same sex marriage constitutional. What this means is:
- The states that were seeking to uphold their bans on same sex marriage will not be allowed to present their case to the Supreme Court.
- This ruling gives validity to requests for marriages in the states that had previously denied applications for marriage to same sex couples.
Almost immediately couples in the impacted states began planning for their future. The first step… Continue reading
A same sex couple, married in Vermont, has been seeking to dissolve their union in their new home state of Florida. A Broward County Judge initially ruled the State’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional in Heather Brassner’s request for a divorce from Megan Lade. Now, it seems the Judge has had a change of heart.
In early September the very Judge that held the same sex marriage ban unconstitutional vacated the order that made that finding. The Judge explained his decision as follows:
- Brassner failed to comply with state law notice requirements.
- The Judge stated Brassner was required to give notice of the request for dissolution to the State Attorney General by certified mail.
- A hearing to finalize the divorce has been cancelled.
The declaration that the ban is unconstitutional was the 3rd such finding in an 18 day period in… Continue reading
Child custody and visitation are typically the most important issues to resolve in a divorce with kids. Finances are a close second, and are usually intermingled with issues regarding your children. This is because making sure your kids are taken care of and maintain a healthy relationship with both parents is a key goal of any family law matter. It is always best if the parents are able to enter a successful post marriage arrangement for visitation and custody, but this is not always the case. All too often the parties allow their emotions to run over and impact the kids, which may include preventing visitation in an attempt to “get back at” the ex. In the end, this type of behavior is more harmful to the children and does not allow families to move forward by taking positive steps post-divorce.
When… Continue reading
Ever since the provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that denies marriage to same sex couples was struck down as unconstitutional just over a year ago, Judges all over the country have seen these types of cases on their dockets. In some of these cases, the time is drawing near for final decisions to be made. Because this is a controversial topic, stories on the matter aren’t likely to go away any time soon.
In a recent decision, a Judge in Broward County is the latest member of the bench to strike down the ban on same sex marriage:
● The issue arose in a divorce case before Judge Dale Cohen.
● Heather Brassner and Megan Lade were legally joined in Vermont in 2002.
● The couple separated in 2010.
● Brassner, a resident of Florida, sought a divorce in Broward County.… Continue reading
The Stand Your Ground Law is well-known throughout the country. Several states have a version of this defense that allows a person to protect their body and home from mortal danger, by returning fire. But, like most rights, if you are a convicted felon you may not be able to take advantage of this defense. Maybe
Ever since George Zimmerman “stood his ground” and the death of Trayvon Martin was the result, the Courts have been flooded with issues surrounding this defense. The time is ripe for a decision on this important issue. A recent ruling has proved controversial and could have wide reaching impact:
● The Second Amendment Right to Bear Arms is not a constitutional provision the Courts take lightly.
● The 4th District Court of Appeal recently ruled a felon may use the stand your ground defense.
The problem? A felon… Continue reading
The law of driving while under the influence is certainly changing. With statistics showing more and more accidents being caused by texting and driving, that may be the next type of “DUI” to surface. But for now, another form of the charge includes more than being under the influence of alcohol. Drugs, whether prescription or not, are substances that can lead to a charge of DUI.
A Florida Judge learned this lesson when she was arrested a few months ago on charges of DUI. The catch? The substance was Xanax. The case has now reached a conclusion:
● Judge Lynn Rosenthal of Broward County was arrested two months ago on suspicion of DUI.
● Rosenthal attributed her erratic driving to use of Xanax.
● The Judge has now entered a plea to the charge of reckless driving.
Pleas… Continue reading