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The Debate Over The Death Penalty

prison barsFlorida consistently ranks among the states with the highest number of death row inmates. Our judicial system allows for the legal execution of criminals convicted of the most atrocious crimes. Most often you will find those convicted of brutal murders sitting on death row. But what happens when the evidence is tainted, or just plain wrong? In recent years, scientific developments in the area of DNA testing has led to the exoneration of some inmates condemned to death. It seems unbelievable a person could lose their life due to faulty test results, perjured testimony, or other fails in the criminal justice system.

Perhaps the most horrifying tale of a death row inmate is that of an Oklahoma man sentenced to death, but who suffered a botched execution. To be clear, this is not a… Continue reading

The Role of Confidential Informants

Great secretNot all crimes are a one man job. Many times a group of people, acting together, commit crimes. When caught, it is not uncommon for those involved to turn on each other in order to get a lighter sentence for themselves. Another common player in criminal proceedings is the informant, or “snitch”. Sometimes people facing charges in other cases become involved in the cases of others by negotiating a deal for leniency in exchange for information. Skilled defense attorneys are familiar with this pattern of behavior, and are capable of exposing an informant’s motives. Calling into question why a person would testify against another is helpful because it calls into question the witness’ credibility. It can be argued if someone would sell out their friends for their own benefit, then that person is not trustworthy and their testimony not reliable.

Another motive… Continue reading

Maintaining Privacy as You Stand Your Ground

business man hand point to virtual business network process diagThe Stand Your Ground Law has made national and local headlines. It is commonly known that the law provides the right to self-defense, but since the spotlight was turned routinely accessing court records in criminal cases where the defense was raised. Efforts to allow defendants who successfully use the defense to seal their records is up for debate by legislators. As with any hot button issue, there are pros and cons and advocates for positions on both sides of the issue. Our job at Ferraro Law Group is to stay on top of the law, its changes, and how new developments affect our clients.

A recent news story explains some of the advantages and pitfalls of changing the way the Stand Your Ground law works:

● Limiting media access to Court records may result in less media frenzy when high profile cases come to trial,… Continue reading

When the Police Make Mistakes

erasing mistakeTo serve and protect. That’s the motto of law enforcement. But what can you do when wrongfully accused, and the reason is due to police error? You can and should take a strong stand for your rights. Fighting back when procedures are disregarded, or evidence tainted puts the authorities on notice that people charged with crimes won’t roll over.

It is just this type of activity that was recently uncovered. A crime lab chemist in Tampa has put thousands of cases at risk. The chemist, who handled evidence for different agencies across the state has been relieved of duty pending an investigation. The claims are:

● The chemist swapped over the counter medications for prescription drugs.

● Investigators discovered the missing pills from an evidence locker.

● Further investigation revealed the cases involving missing pills were all handled by the same chemist.

This revelation… Continue reading

Weapons Charges

Man behind bars_edited-1With laws like the Make My Day Law, and cases like the Treyvon Martin case making headlines, now more than ever the government is cracking down on gun ownership. We see this tightening of guidelines at both the state and federal level, and are prepared to fight for your right to bear arms. We believe in responsible gun ownership, but understand instances do arise when weapons fall into the wrong hands or a charge is lodged against someone for a weapons related crime. Our talented team of criminal defense lawyers aggressively protects your rights in cases involving guns and other weapons.

To illustrate an incident of gun ownership that went awry, we need to look no further than Polk County. There, a pastor and his wife participated in the purchase of over 40 firearms, some of which ended up in the hands of a… Continue reading

Legalizing Medical Marijuana

medical face image with maskNovember brings Thanksgiving and Black Friday, two of America’s favorite days. This year though, November will also bring a vote to Floridians on the issue of medical marijuana. With this vote, there are sure to be more questions than answers. Will we see an increase in claims of medical use, as a defense to possession charges? Will the law be well written so as to avoid confusion over just this issue? Or will we face an onslaught of cases somewhere in the middle, and be left to figure out the intricacies? Regardless of the outcome, the lawyers at the Ferraro Law Group are closely watching this issue so they can be armed with relevant information for their clients.

The proposed law’s history is relatively short. First contemplated at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, the idea was quickly tabled. Now, just over a… Continue reading

Defending Crimes Committed for Financial Gain

Briefcase full of moneyIn a tough economy, it may be difficult to resist the urge to take advantage of the unsuspecting. White collar crimes and crimes such as embezzlement are those types of crimes that are committed for financial gain. And while these types of acts usually make for good stories and Hollywood screenplays, in real life the long term effects of conviction can be devastating. AT the Ferraro Law Group we offer seasoned advice for those facing charges of white collar crimes.

A recent article chronicled a common white collar crime; the Ponzi scheme. In the case of Kim Rothstein, we saw:

● A prison sentence handed down.

● An end to the bankruptcy of former business associates of Rothsetin.

● Payment by Rothstein’s bank of over $500 million with regard to the Ponzi scheme

These types of crimes are prosecuted by the state or federal government,… Continue reading

Defense for Juvenile Offenders

back of security guardFor offenders under the age of 18 facing criminal charges, the likely forum to defend your case is in Florida’s juvenile justice system. We take a careful approach when defending underage offenders, because we understand the impact a conviction can have on your record at such a young age. Our goal is to help rehabilitate the accused so they can go on to a bright future.

There are certain preconceived notions about the juvenile justice system. We work hard to dispel any misunderstandings about the process and teach young offenders throughout the process. Some common misconceptions are:

● Summer is the time when the highest number of incidents occur: this is not accurate, statistics show incidents of delinquency actually decline in December and also in the summer.

● “Scared straight” programs are effective: studies show these types of programs can actually do more harm… Continue reading

Tough Defense for Digital Crimes

face on laptopThe advent of the world wide web opened a lot of technological doors, for a lot of people. For the most part the internet is used as intended, as a source of reference and most recently for social networking. It is the social networking aspect that can sometimes get people in trouble though. Websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn allow virtual strangers to learn the private matters of your life, if precautions are not taken. When an internet acquaintance becomes an obsession, it is possible to bring charges of cyber stalking and other digital crimes.

To combat unwanted threats originating from the internet, Florida has an anti-stalking law in place This statute makes it a crime for those that engage in the following:

● Harassment, over a period of time that establishes a pattern of conduct.

● The pattern of conduct demonstrates a threat.

●… Continue reading