Articles Posted in Gun Crimes

Is There a Warrant Issued in My Name?

There are numerous warrants issued for almost every type of crime that occurs in Florida.  The warrant system is used to apprehend criminals and those accused of a crime.  Despite the belief that warrants expire, they do not.  Additionally, warrants can be executed at anytime.  Just because you may not be located within the territory of the state that issued a warrant, you are not safe from exposure to arrest.  It is common for warrants to be issued for both felonies and misdemeanors in Florida.  A warrant will be active until it is served, the individual dies, or the judge recalls the warrant.  It is important to resolve a warrant promptly, so one does not have to deal with a multitude of problems unexpectedly.  Your arrest could result from the most minor traffic stop for a tailgate light.

The FDLE has a database which usually lists active warrants and may be found online at http://www.fdle.state.fl.us/.  You can select “search wanted persons” and you will be taken to a search screen.

            The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States provides that:

            In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

            The Constitution does not define what a speedy trial means.  There is a Speedy Trial Act governing federal criminal charges and in Florida state trials there is a criminal rule of procedure that addresses speedy trial.  The Florida rule provides for Speedy Trial without Demand which requires defendants to be brought to trial within 90 days from the arrest on a misdemeanor, or 175 days from the arrest for a felony.  There is also a provision for Speedy Trial Upon Demand this provides that every person charged with a crime by indictment or information shall have the right to demand a trial within 60 days by filing a pleading entitled “Demand for Speedy Trial”.  These provisions can be found in Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 3.191.

When Should You File a Post Conviction Relief Motion in Florida?

A motion for post conviction relief is a motion that is filed after an individual is convicted of a crime where the court is being asked to relieve a person from their conviction.  The following grounds may be used as the reason for filing:

  1. The sentence imposed was illegal or violates the Florida or United States Constitution.

February 14, 2018 is a day that will never be forgotten when a gunman by the name of Nikolas Cruz opened fire devasting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida killing 17 students and injuring multiple staff members.   Scot Peterson was an armed officer at the school at the time of the shooting.  Peterson found himself caught in the middle when he was criminally charged with the inability to take action in the protection of students and staff members.

Police protectPeterson was admitted into Broward County Jail and was charged with eleven counts of second- and third-degree felony neglect of a child (F.S 827.03) and a second-degree misdemeanor of culpable negligence (F.S. 784.05).  As to neglect of a child, the State must prove failure or omission to provide a child with care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health as well as the failure of reasonable effort to protect a child from abuse, neglect, or exploitation by another person.  To convict on misdemeanor culpable negligence, the State must prove exposure to personal injury.  During the school shooting, Peterson allegedly retreated to safety instead of taking action against the gunman when shots were fired.  Shortly after the incident, Peterson obtained a bad reputation and was nicknamed “the Coward of Broward,” leaving families in an uproar about his failed negligence.  Mr. Peterson stated that he continuously replays the shooting over in his head and is quoted as saying, “There wasn’t even time to think, it was my job and I couldn’t find him (the gunman).”

The charges that were filed against Mr. Peterson are not typical; it is very unusual for law enforcement to be held criminally liable for not protecting the public.  Constitutional law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, does not generally provide for the public to have the right to expect the police to protect against harm.  The charges against Peterson in regard to the neglect of a child and culpable negligence is not specifically for law enforcement and is usually applied to parents.  This case brings into question what this may mean for other officers and how school officers may need to re-evaluate how to respond in these situations.  The critical question that still stands is whether Peterson had a constitutional duty to protect the children from the actions of Cruz.

Conceal CarryThe Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (the Department) issues licenses to carry concealed weapons or concealed firearms in the State of Florida and they are good for 7 years.  Concealed weapons or concealed firearms are defined as a handgun, electronic weapon or device, tear gas gun, knife, or billie, but does not include a machine gun. You must carry the license at all times you have possession of the weapon or firearm and must display the license and valid I.D. upon demand by a law enforcement officer or be assessed a $25 fine for a violation.

According to section 790.06, Florida Statutes, the Department shall deny a license if the applicant has been found guilty of, had adjudication of guilt withheld for, or had imposition of sentence suspended for one or more crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor, unless 3 years have elapsed since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled or the record has been sealed or expunged.  The Department shall revoke a license if the licensee has been found guilty of, had adjudication of guilt withheld for, or had imposition of sentence suspended for one or more crimes of violence within the preceding 3 years.

The Department shall, upon notification by a law enforcement agency, a court, or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and subsequent written verification, suspend a license or the processing of an application for a license if the licensee or applicant is arrested or formally charged with a crime that would disqualify such person from having a license until final disposition of the case. The Department shall suspend a license or the processing of an application for a license if the licensee or applicant is issued an injunction that restrains the licensee or applicant from committing acts of domestic violence or acts of repeat violence.

The Florida Supreme Court will take up a question about whether a 2017 change to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law should apply to older cases.  The 2017 change shifted the burden of proof from the defense to the prosecution.  Two appellate courts have split about whether the change in 2017 should apply retroactively to defendants who were arrested before the law took effect but whose cases were pending.

GavelThe case is Tashara Love v. The State of Florida, 3D17-2112 (Fla. 3d DCA May 11, 2018) a case that was heard by the Third District Court of Appeal.  Love’s writ of prohibition was denied, essentially denying her statutory immunity under the Florida Stand Your Ground Law, F.S. 776.032.  On November 26, 2015, Love and a group of women were involved in an altercation outside a Miami-Dade nightclub.  Love shot the victim, Thomas Lane, as he was about to hit her daughter.  Love was charged with one count of attempted second degree murder with a firearm and Love invoked the Stand Your Ground Law because she committed the crime while defending her daughter.

Before the date the immunity hearing was held, the Florida Legislature amended F.S. 776.032.  Prior to the amendment, the Florida Supreme Court held that defendants had the burden of proof in pretrial immunity hearings and they had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence their use of force was justified.  The amendment provided that once a self-defense claim of immunity from criminal prosecution was raised by the defendant, the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence is on the prosecution seeking to overcome the immunity. The State argued at her immunity hearing that the statute did not apply retroactively, and the trial court agreed and applied the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof.  The Third DCA ruled that the statute did not apply retroactively, and Love was not entitled to the shift in burden of proof.

The majority of criminal cases in Florida get resolved by plea agreements.  In the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 3.171 governs plea agreements.  The prosecutor has broad discretion in plea agreements.  The prosecutor may engage in discussions with the defendant’s attorney or, if the defendant is unrepresented, with the defendant himself as long as a record is made of the discussions.

question criminal issueThe prosecutor may ask the defendant to enter a plea of guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) to a charged crime or to a lesser or related offense in exchange for the prosecutor agreeing to any of the following:

1)  abandon other charges;

150923_harley-dogAccording to nbcnews.com, a Florida man is currently being investigated for possible animal cruelty charges after he was shot in the wrist… by a puppy.  It sounds unbelievable, but apparently it happened, and there are no charges pending against the puppy, and rightfully so.  Jerry Allen Bradford set out to shoot seven shepherd mix puppies, because he was unable to find them homes.  Apparently, turning the puppies over to the shelter was out of the question.  There can be a fee associated with turning animals in to shelters, but Bradford’s actions are not likely to be excused.  While Bradford held one of the puppies, the puppy squirmed and its paw hit the trigger. How is that for instant karma?  Bradford had already used the revolver to shoot three of the puppies, which were found in a shallow grave after authorities arrived. The other four puppies were unharmed.

As a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, I immediately began to think about possible defenses in this case if the puppy were to be charged with the shooting.  For Mr. Bradford, I’m pretty sure that animal cruelty charges will likely stick, but based on the language found in Florida statute 828.12, there may be arguments to be made in his defense also.  However, the puppy has a better case.

Self defense allows a person to respond to force with an appropriate amount of similar force.  In this case, deadly force is being used against the puppies.  The law will look to the reasonableness of responding to Bradford with deadly force.  The shooting in this case undoubtedly will be justified where the puppy has observed Bradford fatally shoot three of his puppy brothers.  In this instance, the puppy was reasonably in fear for its life.  Self defense law allows a person to come to the defense of others, just as much as it allows for one to protect himself or herself.  The puppy from this story managed to save four lives, one of those lives was his own, making him a hero in the eyes of many.  If you or a loved have been charged with a crime or are under investigation for any offense, including gun related offenses, the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC can help.  We have experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers and Jacksonville gun lawyers on staff ready to put their experience to work for you.  Call us today at (904) 685-1200 for a free initial consultation.

The second amendment is a staple in American constitutional law.  Gun rights lawyers and other second amendment advocates quote and cite it often.  After America fought and won its independence, our founding fathers knew that an armed militia was important to the survival of the new nation.  Nevertheless, there are those that still are weary of firearms and the destruction they can cause when not properly used or when guns fall into the wrong hands.

Gun3According to Jacksonville.com, a rash of stolen guns from unlocked cars has the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office concerned.  JSO noticed a spike in guns being stolen from cars.  In April, there were 69 guns stolen from cars; 41 of the guns stolen were taken from unlocked cars.  Guns can absolutely be useful for personal protection, but gun owners have a responsibility to keep them away from children and thieves.  Being careless enough to leave a gun in an unlocked car only gives ammunition to those who are adamantly against guns and wish to see more regulation.

Those that are anti-gun, can’t dispute the fact that guns save lives when used properly, just as guns take lives when used irresponsibly.  Take former CNN anchor Lynne Russell and her husband, former CNN reporter, Chuck de Caro for example.  The couple was recently accosted at gun point by a would-be robber when a gun was placed to Mrs. Russell’s stomach, and she was forced into her hotel room.  There was ultimately a shoot out between the would-be robber and de Caro, who was shot three times.  Return fire from de Caro hit and killed the would-be robber.

A Florida teenager is wanted in connection with a shooting at a Jacksonville bus stop.  16 year Edgar Robles is still not in custody.  A $3,000 reward has been offered for information leading to Roble’s arrest.  The teenage is wanted for two counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting deadly missiles, according to news4jax.com.  Robles brought a handgun to the bus stop to confront other students on the bus; Robles, at 16, is not quite old enough to exercise gun rights.  Two teenage girls that were passengers on the school bus were hit by gunfire during the shooting.  One of the girls was struck in the back of the head, while the other was shot in the cheek.  Both girls are reportedly in stable condition.

GunWhenever anyone shoots a gun at a bus stop, there is likely to be a lot of attention focused on the incident.  In this case, all of the people involved are children– everyone from the shooter to the victims and witnesses.  These types of unfortunate stories put Florida gun rights in jeopardy over time by showing guns in a negative light.  In this instance, Mr. Robles is a 16 year kid who can’t legally own a gun.  Requirements to purchase a firearm can be found by visiting the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website.  To purchase a long gun or rifle, a person must be at least 18 years old.  A person must be 21 to purchase or own a handgun.  Even with age requirements on purchasing and owning guns, State Attorney Angela Corey stated that more and more children are attempting to solve their issues with guns.  Florida law has continued to aim laws at deterring gun violence.  Florida law creates minimum mandatory sentences for crimes that involve guns.  It is commonly referred to as “10-20-life” law.

Stories like this more are sad and outrageous.  They help spread the message that more regulation is needed.  More gun regulation creates more possibilities for law abiding gun owners to become ensnared by laws that were never drafted with them in mind in the first place.  Contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PPLC today at (904) 685-1200 for more information on Florida gun rights.  We also have experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyers that can help if you or a loved one have been charged with a gun crime or other offense.  Initial consultations are free.

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