Articles Tagged with defense attorney Fort Lauderdale

Witness testimony is perhaps one of the most powerful – and fallible – types of evidence presented in a Florida criminal trial. One of the most important jobs of a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney is not just to examine the potential weakness in that testimony, but also the competency of each witness. Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney

As established in the 1928 Florida Supreme Court case of Crockett v. Cassels, a witness must be competent in order to testify in a trial, meaning he or she must be both capable and qualified. That means, as noted in the 1990 case of Rivet v. State and as outlined in in F.S. 90.603, that one is has both sufficient intellectual capacity to understand the nature and obligation of the oath and the ability to perceive, remember and communicate accurate sensory perceptions to the court. This ability is presumed unless proven otherwise by competent evidence. Witnesses may be disqualified if they are unable to:

  • Communicate to the jury;
  • Understand the duty to tell the truth;
  • Perceive and remember events.

A person’s immaturity (being a child) and mental illness or mental disability won’t necessarily disqualify a witness, but as a Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney can explain, courts are required to carefully consider one’s threshold in intellectual ability when weighing whether to allow them to testify. Continue reading

The boy was just 15-years-old in November 2015, allegedly driving a stolen Mustang convertible at reported speeds of up to 120 mph as he tried to evade the police officers chasing him, lights flashing. speeding car

At the same time, a woman was on her way to pick up her own teenager, a 16-year-old girl who was in dance class. She never saw the convertible that crossed through that intersection. The 46-year-old woman, a mother of two, was ejected from the vehicle and died instantly, according to The Sun-Sentinel. The crash occurred at the intersection of Palmetto Park Road and Northwest Second Avenue, after the teen reportedly ran a red light.

Prosecutors have direct-filed the teen as an adult on charges of vehicular homicide, fleeing the scene of a fatal crash and driving without a license. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 25 years in prison. His first trial took place in January and ended in a mistrial. Jurors reportedly deliberated for more than nine hours and still were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.  Continue reading

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down an important Fourth Amendment decision recently in the case of Birchfield v. North Dakota, which dealt with warrantless breathalyzer tests and blood tests, ultimately invalidating implied consent laws that pertain to warrantless blood draws. alcohol

Essentially, the court decided that while the government cannot require a person to submit to a blood draw without first obtaining a warrant, the government can require a person arrested for drunken driving to submit to a warrantless breath test.

The case was the result of consolidated appeals from three separate drunk driving arrests in which the defendants were prosecuted – or threatened with prosecution – for refusing to take a blood or breath test.  Continue reading

In a contentious 5-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court in Utah v. Strieff ruled in favor of a cop who seized drugs after an unlawful stop. It was only after that stop the officer learned the defendant had an outstanding traffic warrant. After making an arrest, the officer searched defendant and found drugs and paraphernalia. Plaintiff argued this evidence should be suppressed under the exclusionary rule. police

However, the majority ruled that although the initial stop was not lawful, which would normally mean any evidence obtained thereafter could not be used against defendant, the court instead chose to apply the attenuation doctrine. This doctrine states that even though the way the evidence was obtained was illegal, such evidence can still be admissible if the connection between the evidence and the illegal method is sufficiently thin or attenuated. The court held that the officer made a good-faith mistake when stopping the defendant, who was leaving a suspected drug house. This was not, the court decided, part of some systematic recurrence of police misconduct and nor would the decision result in the proliferation of dragnet searches for those with outstanding arrest warrants.

Dissenting Justice Sonya Sotomayor, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, had strong words of rebuke for the majority on this issue, saying unlawful police stops, “Corrode all our civil liberties and threaten our lives.”  Continue reading

Typically when we talk about “revenge porn,” it’s an act of cyber sexual harassment committed by former romantic partners. The majority of cases involve men posting sexually suggestive or explicit photographs of their former wives or girlfriends.leg

But in a recent case out of Illinois, it involves a woman who is accused of posting private sexual images of her former best friend since grade school.

The Daily Beast reports the 38-year-old defendant, Stephanie Kaczmarek, is charged with unlawful dissemination of private sexual images – also known as “revenge porn” – a felony in Illinois. Police announced her arrest earlier this month.  Continue reading

Fort Lauderdale police detectives say two teen suspects channeled their inner Grinch recently when they broke into a home on Northwest 17th Avenue and made off with a pillowcase stuffed with Christmas gifts. christmasgifts

Authorities say the two, 19-year-old Qwavon Jones and a 16-year-old who was not named due to his age, were caught after neighbors called police to report they heard glass shattering at a home nearby. Police arrived quickly thereafter, allegedly spotting the two as they ran and hopped a fence while holding the pillowcase. After a brief foot chase, the two were apprehended. Authorities later surmised the two gained entry to the home by smashing a rear window and climbing inside.

South Florida Sun Sentinel reports the two were charged with grand theft, burglary of an unoccupied dwelling and resisting an officer without violence. Investigators say they discovered not only unwrapped gifts inside the pillowcase, including purses and shoes, but also a myriad of jewelry and rings inside the pockets of each. The homeowner later identified the items as belonging to him. In total, the value of the items was placed at $2,000. Continue reading

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