Articles Posted in Drugs

It’s been six months since Broward County commissioners downgraded small-time marijuana possession from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil citation. But that law provided an important element: Officer discretion. marijuanabud1

And in the time since the civil citation option has been available, not a single one has been issued. Instead, 80 people have been arrested and processed as criminals for low-level marijuana possession. That’s according to a recent report by The Sun-Sentinel.

In addition to concern from law enforcement that the language on the citation was faulty, the program was allegedly held up for a time by bureaucratic delays. The county reportedly needed time to amass a staff and house them in a new wing of a government building. Those workers were needed to handle the fines, appeals and other issues arising from the program.  Continue reading

A man in Delray Beach is charged with trafficking some $2,000 worth of acid to an undercover informant in Boca Raton, according to The Sun-Sentinelpapersquare

Authorities say 28-year-old Rusty Hoyman repeatedly sold “large amounts” of both LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and MDMA (better known as ecstasy) to the information from January through March.

The confidential informant reportedly revealed to authorities that Hoyman was trying to sell a 100-dose “sheet” for $650 in January. The informant, by that time working closely with detectives, purchased the sheet and then turned the drugs immediately over to police. There were two more reported undercover buys in February and March.  Continue reading

A former pain clinic doctor who worked at a facility in Fort Lauderdale was sentenced to four years of probation, following his conviction last fall on a felony drug charge.pills5

Dr. Gerald Klein, 81, had been facing up to five years in prison for his conviction for illegally selling a prescription of Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, to a patient at a clinic in West Palm Beach. That patient happened to be Alejandro Pino, who at the time was working as a chef for now-GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.

It could have been much worse for the physician, who last year was staring down the possibility of a life sentence on a first-degree murder charge, following the 2009 overdose death of another patient of the so-called “pill mill” where the doctor worked. In January, twin brothers and co-clinic managers received 15 and 20 years, respectively. Continue reading

Broward County leaders are pressing ahead with lesser penalties for marijuana possession, plunking down $175,000 to launch a civil citation program and hire a coordinator who will steer it. marijuanabud1

Previously, arrests for marijuana possession in Fort Lauderdale resulted in a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to one year in prison. Now, anyone caught with less than 20 grams of the drug (or its derivatives, such as hashish) may instead receive a civil citation. Twenty grams is about 3/4 of an ounce. The fine schedule is $100 for the first ticket and $250 for the second and $500 for the third.

A person who receives a citation would have the option to instead opt to do community service, successfully complete a drug treatment program or appeal, as opposed to paying the fine.  Continue reading

Broward County commissioners have voted unanimously to slash the punishment for those caught in possession of small amounts of marijuana. The measure allows a person to be issued a civil citation instead of an arrest if:

–The amount of the drug with which they are caught is 20 grams or less;
–The person did not also commit domestic violence, DUI or some other felony;
–The person has not had three or more prior citations for marijuana possession.

Commissioners at this point have taken it as far as they can. They cannot decriminalize a drug that is illegal under state (and technically, federal) law. That means police and prosecutors will be given discretion. They can choose to issue a citation that comes with a civil fine, or they can treat the offense as a misdemeanor.

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A former pediatric surgeon who was later in retirement worked part-time for a pain clinic in Palm Beach County has been acquitted of murder charges related to the fatal overdose of a 24-year-old patient on Oxycodone. However, the 81-year-old physician was convicted of “selling” (over-prescribing) high quantities of Xanax to a patient – coincidentally a former chef for Donal Trump, no a U.S. Republican presidential candidate – who was undergoing treatment for substance abuse addiction.pills8.jpg

The patient did not die, but the charge is still a third-degree felony, for which the doctor could face up to five years in prison. However, there is no minimum mandatory, so it will be up to the jurors and judge to decide the sentencing. The case was connected to a one-time “pill mill empire,” which involved a $40 million operation with clinics in both Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

The two twin brothers who owned the operation – now serving 15- and 20-year prison sentences – testified against the doctor. He faced 11 charges, including second-degree murder, drug conspiracy and drug trafficking.
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A number of cities are weighing local proposals to reduce the penalties for low-level possession of marijuana. The measures would effectively decriminalize possessing the drug in small amounts for personal possession. firstbuds.jpg

So far, council members in Miami Beach and commissioners in Miami-Dade County have offered preliminary support for an action that would reduce possession of cannabis from a misdemeanor to a civil offense. Hallandale Beach commissioners are also weighing a similar proposal.

Instead of offenders facing jail time and a criminal record, they would instead be cited for a civil infraction and fined $100.
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Four people in South Florida have been arrested for trafficking in synthetic drugs that were reportedly ordered from a group of Tampa residents from suppliers in China, who then shipped the drugs to various locations throughout South and Central Florida.
According to the Sun-Sentinel’s recent report, the operation allegedly netted the four Florida-based traffickers funneled millions of dollars worth of synthetic marijuana into the state.

The substance goes by the street name “Spice,” and its a concoction of chemicals whose effects are supposed to mimic those of marijuana.
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The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures. The law requires that with only a few exceptions, law enforcement officers have to get a warrant before they can conduct a search and seizure upon a suspect.
Most modern technology we enjoy today – cell phones and computers in particular – did not exist when these protections were written. That means legislators and the courts are constantly trying to keep pace in determining how and when these laws apply and what exactly constitutes a “search” in the digital sphere.

Cases like the recent Kendrick v. Florida, before Florida’s First District Court of Appeal, underscore this point.
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Police officers may not enter one’s dwelling, absent consent by owner or a warrant, except in the most extreme circumstances. Such a case might involve the reasonable belief that someone inside is in danger.
Beyond that, any evidence collected as a result of unlawful entry – no matter how powerful – may not be used against a defendant in a court of law.

This point was underscored yet again in the recent case of Milam v. Commonwealth, wherein officers entered a fraternity house connected to a Kentucky university without a warrant.
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