Miami Dolphins Player Arrested for Domestic Violence Receives Special Treatment by Broward Sheriff’s Office

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It appears as though the domestic violence arrest of Miami Dolphins player Phillip Merling in Broward County will lead to another investigation. Now the Broward Sheriff’s Office is investigating why Miami Dolphins Player Phillip Merling received special treatment while at the Broward County Jail in Fort Lauderdale.
Miami Dolphins player Phillip Merling has been arrested and accused of beating his pregnant girlfriend and was given a $15,000.00 bond. Florida Statute 784.045 states that:

784.045 Aggravated battery.–

(1)(a) A person commits aggravated battery who, in committing battery:

1. Intentionally or knowingly causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement; or

2. Uses a deadly weapon.

(b) A person commits aggravated battery if the person who was the victim of the battery was pregnant at the time of the offense and the offender knew or should have known that the victim was pregnant.

(2) Whoever commits aggravated battery shall be guilty of a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.


It appears as though Merling was escorted by officials of the Broward County Jail through a side exit instead of the front door of the jail as dictated by standard procedure of the Broward County Jail. Furthermore, according to Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti, a Sheriff official even went as far as giving Miami Dolphins Player Phillip Merling a ride home in an unmarked police vehicle.

I cannot defend the indefensible,” Lamberti said Friday. “That’s just not appropriate. We’re not in the business of giving people we arrest for felonies a ride home.”

As a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney, I often deal with the Broward County Jail. It appears to me that the level of apathy running through the Broward County Jail is immeasurable. For instance, it oftentimes takes the Broward County Jail over 8-12 hours to release inmates after they have posted bond. Even more incredible is the fact that even when a Broward County Judge orders the jail to release an inmate immediately it still takes 8-12 hours before release.

Over the years I have heard many stories from my clients about the Broward County Jail; specifically in regards to the way inmates are treated. Yet, it appears as though if you happen to be an NFL star not only do you get special treatment at the jail, they will even give you a ride home. I am hopeful that an investigation into this matter will result in changes at the Broward County Jail, however I won’t hold my breath. Let’s see how this investigation unfolds.

Richard Ansara is a Fort Lauderdale Criminal Attorney. He is the head attorney of the Ansara Law Firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Ansara Law Firm handles Felony and Misdemeanor cases in Broward, Dade, and Palm Beach County. If you have any questions and would like to speak with Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara about your case please call (954) 761-4011.