Articles Tagged with Broward criminal defense attorney

Authorities investigating a Broward County slaying secured a search warrant to access recording history on an Amazon Echo device present at the crime scene. A 43-year-old man has been arrested for the Hallandale Beach homicide of his 32-year-old girlfriend in mid-July. Police want to know whether the popular voice-controlled smart speakers at the home where she died may provide clues as to what happened, the Sun Sentinel reported. Broward criminal defense lawyers

Broward County criminal defense lawyers have been keenly attuned to police and prosecutors’ increasing reliance on evidence derived from new media and technology – from smartphones to drones – in criminal cases.

This is the latest example, and it raises some interesting legal questions about privacy and the extent to which authorities can access the details of conversations that happen in your own home or in personal messages. Continue reading

In both federal and state criminal cases and even some civil case, the law (thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court decision 55 years ago in Gideon v. Wainwright) affords defendants the right to representation by a criminal defense attorney – even for misdemeanors. It is only when the individual is unable to afford a defense lawyer that one is appointed for the defendant (i.e., a public defender). The question of whether one can afford a lawyer is answered by determining one’s “indigent” status.Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney

The question of one’s indigent status is one many of us don’t give a second thought to, but it’s made front-page headlines of late because of the recent high-profile case of the questionable indigent status of accused Parkland school shooter Nicholas Cruz. The 20-year-old is accused of carrying out one of the deadliest mass school shootings in U.S. history, killing 17 students and teachers. He has reportedly confessed and faces the death penalty.

Initially, he was appointed a Florida public defender after being deemed indigent. However, Law.com now reports he is anticipating a $432,000 life insurance policy payout following the recent death of his mother. His Broward defense attorney is now seeking to be removed from the case, arguing state law prohibits service of public defenders for defendants with financial means to higher a private Florida criminal defense attorney. The lawyer, with 40 years of experience, pointed out the defendant is now wealthier than most of those serving on his defense team and he has never had a client with access to as much money as Cruz. The average public defender in Broward County earns about $62,000.  Continue reading

It’s been a year since the U.S. Supreme Court deemed Florida’s process of deciding death penalty cases unconstitutional for the second time.criminal defense lawyer

Florida had a long-standing practice of allowing imposition of the death penalty without the unanimous support of a jury. Before the 2016 ruling in Hurst v. Florida, courts here only required a recommendation of a simple majority of jurors (7-5), though the decision was ultimately up to the judge. Not Ok, ruled the U.S. Supreme Court, finding it a violation of the Sixth Amendment. The state legislature revised the rules, deciding at least 10 out of 12 jurors needed to agree in order to impose the death penalty. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that still wasn’t good enough, as it violated the Eighth Amendment’s provision against cruel and unusual punishment. Juror input and consensus is mandatory in capital cases.

Now, the Tampa Bay Times reports that since those two rulings, there have been “far fewer” convicted murderers sentenced to death in the state. Continue reading

The Florida Supreme Court – for the second time in as many months – ruled the state’s death penalty law is unconstitutional and can’t be applied to prosecutions that are pending. Effectively, that means death penalty murder trials are on hold for now. The ruling was handed down in a one-paragraph order. Some judges, including chief judge John Galluzzo for Brevard and Seminole counties, have held that the guilt phase of these trials may proceed, so long as the sentencing phase is postponed until after state lawmakers have time to rewrite the statute. prison

These judges have defended the decisions saying that while the rulings that have been handed down from the Florida Supreme Court may seem confusing, it’s believed capital murder trials could continue, so long as certain defense rights are defended. Specifically, that means that all 12 members of the jury must unanimously agree to recommend the death penalty, rather than simply a majority or having the judge decide, as has been the case in the past with this state.

However, the most recent order handed down by the state supreme court says that Florida’s death penalty law has been invalidated “as a whole.” The court was very clear in saying it cannot be applied to prosecutions that are pending. Meanwhile, the high court’s ruling last month indicated that the state’s death penalty law was so fundamentally erroneous – and had been that way for so long – that more than half the people on death row are likely entitled to new sentencing hearings. That covers more than 200 inmates who are waiting to die on Florida’s death row.  Continue reading

In 2001, a Broward County boy became the youngest ever in American to be sentenced to life in prison. That was 15 years ago.

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Recently, a number of those who were involved in the Lionel Tate case, including the judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney, convened as part of a panel before the Broward County Crime Commission’s conference on juvenile and adolescent violence. They were there to discuss the landmark case, which involved a 12-year-old boy who in 1999 killed a 6-year-old girl whom his mother had been babysitting. He was reportedly attempting to imitate the pro-wrestling moves that he had seen on television.

An appellate court overturned Tate’s murder conviction in 2004, finding it wasn’t clear he had understood the charges. That led to a plea deal in which he agreed to plead guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a sentence of 10 years probation. Those who were involved in the criminal case say they lacked clear guidelines for how they were supposed to handle matters like this. They had never before faced this type of circumstance, and the courts didn’t offer much guidance.  Continue reading

Gerard Nelson was just 24-years-old, but he and his crew – the Str8Profit Boyz – were on the rise. handcuffs1

To those on the outside, it appeared they were living a luxurious lifestyle funded by their creativity and business savvy as rappers and music producers.

In reality, authorities say Nelson and his cohorts were actually making their money selling sex and drugs. Now, Nelson is the first of his co-defendants to be convicted. He is the first Broward County man to be deemed guilty under  human trafficking laws passed two years ago, according to The Sun Sentinel. He now faces life in prison.  Continue reading

It should come as little surprise that persons who are mentally ill comprise a significant portion of the incarcerated population. A recent report by the Treatment Advocacy Center indicated that American prisons and jails house an estimated 360,000 inmates with mental illness – or about 10 times the number of mentally ill patients in state psychiatric hospitals.freeimages.co.uk medical images

Now, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel has taken a look at that issue from a micro perspective, analyzing how it has affected those specifically in Broward County.

The crux of what reporters discovered is this:

  • Those charged with minor felonies in Broward’s mental health court face punishment even when they are never found guilty;
  • These individuals spend six times longer in the criminal justice system than those in regular court;
  • About one-third of these individuals spend five years or more in the criminal justice system – even with no conviction at all!

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