Articles Posted in Murder

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyThe Supreme Court recently held that it is cruel and unusual punishment to send a young murderer to life in prison if a judge has not first weighed whether he deserves a shorter prison sentence due to his youth and the specific nature of his crimes. The 5-4 decision struck down laws on the books in some 28 states – including Florida – that say life sentences without parole for juvenile murderers are acceptable.

Officials in Florida law enforcement say it will take some time for the state to assess the impact of the ruling. Most experts in the state say that the number of state prisoners affected by the Supreme Court ruling is around 250, but the data are not all in yet.

It’s clear that Florida’s laws will have to be rewritten thanks to the recent ruling. Florida’s judiciary is bound by the state’s 10-20-Life law, passed in 1999, which says possessing a gun while committing some felonies brings an automatic 10-year minimum sentence, that when a gun is fired in the commission of a crime, the minimum sentence is 20 years, and if someone is shot the sentence goes up to life. It’s important to note that the decision does not mean it’s unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison, only that statutes that make such sentences mandatory are no longer acceptable. In Florida, if a juvenile who is certified as an adult is convicted of first-degree murder, the only option is life without parole.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyJacksonville has a growing population and with this increase of residents also comes an increase in juvenile crime. I am not saying all children are prone to commit criminal activities. But, as a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney I am aware that the theory of probability is when you have more and more people crime is inevitably going to increase. One such incident occurred in Jacksonville last November involving 16-year-old Zachary Lambert.

Lambert was a troubled teen, but generally was a good kid. However, one day in November 2011 he decided to steal a pickup truck and go for a “joy-ride.” When the police located Lambert he fled the police. At the intersection of San Pablo and Beach Blvd. he ran the red light and struck another vehicle. The collision killed the other driver, Christopher Thompson (22) who was on his way to work at the Mayo Clinic. Lambert was subsequently charged with 3rd degree murder, vehicular homicide, aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement office, and grand theft auto.

After many discussions and negotiations between the State and the Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, Lambert decided the best course of action would be to arrange a plea deal with the state instead of proceeding to trial. A fact that many might not know is approximately 90% of criminal cases never make it to trial and are resolved through plea agreements. On Monday, Lambert plea guilty to vehicular homicide, aggravated fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement office, and grand theft auto. Although he has not been sentenced, scheduled for August, he could face up to 35 years in prison.

Today was another bond hearing where Zimmerman’s attorney, O’Mara, presented evidence as to Zimmerman’s injuries he sustained during the altercation with Trayvon Martin that resulted in Zimmerman shooting Trayvon in what Zimmerman is calling self-defense. This case started the controversy that Florida is currently facing for our “Stand Your Ground” law.

After lengthy testimony presented by both the Defense and the State, the Judge has determined that he will not make an immediate determination as to release Zimmerman on bond or not. He wants time to review all the evidence and make a proper determination.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAs a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney, one of the hardest aspects to overcome is public opinion of a Jacksonville Defendant. News Media Agencies want to keep the public informed of Criminal Matters, especially when the case makes national news. However, all this media attention will make jury selection very difficult if not impossible in the County where the case is currently presiding.

One such case, George Zimmerman, displays this media bias to the extreme. George Zimmerman is the Neighborhood watchman who is charged with second-degree murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin. This case has made National Headlines ever since the incident occurred. This case has lead to nationwide protests and some of the largest Civil Rights Activists to express their opinion on the guilt or innocence of Zimmerman.

However, Justice is not served in the Media or Public Outcries. Justice is served in the Courtroom where Our Constitution guides the Officers of the Court. As an officer of the Court we are bound by strict and distinct guidelines and legal standards. We must present our case in a manner that is both fair and just. The jury must be unbiased and impartial. But, when a Criminal case gets so much media attention the Jury may (although not supposed to) use bias and slanted information from the media when making a determination as to guilt or innocence. This could lead to a ruling that is not in accord with the Law and therefore, Justice has not been served on a Criminal Defendant.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyAs a Jacksonville Criminal Attorney I was excited to hear about and see the developments of Jacksonville’s NEW Courthouse. However, that excitement quickly faded away after time and time again the Courthouse failed fire inspections. It was a multi-million dollar project and to be held-up for fire safety violations is unacceptable. This inability to open the Courthouse and the already abandonment of the OLD Courthouse has left the judicial system in a state of confusion and delay. One case that has been affect by the delays in opening is Cristian Fernandez’s Sexual Battery Case.

Fernandez has been charged with the Sexual Battery of his 5 year old brother. A suppression hearing was scheduled for later next week have been rescheduled for June 28, 29, and July 2. Also the trial date has been reset; August 27th. These delays are directly connected to the new Courthouse not being open. Therefore, this child has to remain in custody and wait for the legal system to open back up before he can seek justice.

The suppression hearings will cover the admissibility of Fernandez’s confession to the offense. The State contends the Officers acted appropriately and that Fernandez understood his Rights when they were explained to him. However, his Defense team feels differently. They state Fernandez denied the allegations 9 times during the interrogation before finally confessing. The defense is claiming coercion.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyCasey Anthony was charged with the murder of her 2 year old daughter, Caylee, and later acquitted of all charges. She was, however, convicted of four counts of lying to law enforcement officers during the investigation. She was given time served, but placed on probation for a year. Largely, since the acquittal she has fallen from the headlines and lived a life of seclusion. But, the silence and seclusion has been broken, last night she conducted a phone interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan.

During the interview, Casey stated she was innocent and was “rightly found not guilty.” Furthermore, she stated, “Obviously I didn’t kill by daughter.” These remarks come even though it was an entire month before she reported her child missing. In addition, her and the defense team did a great job instilling reasonable doubt in the jury with the multitude of alternative scenarios as to the cause of Caylee’s Death. This strategy ultimately led to the acquittal of the Murder charges.

During the interview Casey talks about the misguided media persona and that she is not a “party girl” and she is “ashamed in many ways of the person that I [Casey] was.” Her Attorney says she has changed and now leads a life of cooking, cleaning, reading books, exercising, and watching movies; although still in seclusion and afraid to go outside.

Jacksonville Criminal LawyerGeorge Zimmerman turned himself into police on Sunday afternoon after having his bail revoked two days earlier due to issues regarding his financial stability. Zimmerman was returned into custody around 1:30 on Sunday just a mere 40 minutes before the deadline set by the Judge on Friday. He is currently list as being held without bail and has established a jail account.

According to reports, Zimmerman’s bail was revoked after his wife and himself misguided the Court when determining a bail amount. The Court stated this was done in order to obtain a lower bond. Although the exact amount is unclear, Zimmerman’s defense website had accrued an amount between 100,000 and 200,000 dollars. A sum much larger than Zimmerman led on to during the original bond hearing. His defense team has requested another bond hearing to clarify any issues that may remain before the court and hope Zimmerman’s turning himself in will be looked kindly before the court.

For those worried about his safety, he will be placed within isolation in the jail. His cell is a luxurious 67 square foot cell. Included in his accommodations are a private toilet, two beds, a pillow, sheets, and a blanket.

Jacksonville Criminal AttorneyA recent decision before the 1st DCA was filed June 1, 2012. The case before the court was Harry Henderson v. State of Florida. Mr. Henderson was appealing his convictions of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and fleeing or attempting to elude a Jacksonville Police Officer. The two issues presented before the Court were whether the Officer’s had reasonable suspicion or Probable Cause to stop his vehicle based upon the fellow officer rule and whether the state had proved the constructive possession of the firearm.

The facts of this case are straightforward. On or about June 24, 2010, a U. S. Marshall radioed into Jacksonville Police Office for assistance in pulling over an armed homicide suspect who was driving through Duval. A Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer responded to the request. The JSO Officer turned on his light and siren and proceeded behind the suspect. The suspect began to slow but remained on the road for another one or two miles. At anytime the suspect could have safely pulled the vehicle into the shoulder. The suspect did not speed or break any traffic laws. When he finally stopped a loaded .45 was found under the driver’s seat of the vehicle. The suspect was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

The first issue before the court is whether the Officer’s had reasonable suspicion or Probable Cause to stop the vehicle based solely upon the Fellow Officer Rule. The Fellow Officer Rule basically allows one Officer’s knowledge to be imputed upon another Officer, even if the second officer did not have personal knowledge of the facts. However, in this case, there were not any evidence or information to be imputed upon the JSO so as to give probable cause. The JSO Officer stated he stopped the suspect based upon the Marshall’s request. The Court rejected the State’s argument for the Fellow Officer Rule stating there was no evidence or information to be imputed. Therefore, the Officer’s lacked Probable Cause or reasonable Suspicion to stop the suspect.

Zimmerman3The judge at this morning’s hearing revoked George Zimmerman’s Bond! Zimmerman was recently released on a $150,000 bond following testimony that he and his family were of limited funds. However, testimony has revealed that Zimmerman’s website raised over $200,000 for his defense. This amount was not disclosed at his initial bond hearing.

After hearing testimony today the Judge has revoked Zimmerman’s bond. He now has 48 hours to turn himself in.

Jacksonville Beach Criminal Defense LawyerThe nationally recognized George Zimmerman Murder Trial Evidence has been released on Thursday. Evidence released by the Special Prosecutor included a multitude of photos, documents, and audio recordings. This case became national news once the Martin family and others placed a “Race” based motive upon the fatal shooting that took place back in February. As a Jacksonville Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer, I keep an unbiased opinion until I have the opportunity to review all the evidence and only then would I offer an opinion as to motive.

After reviewing the evidence released by the Prosecutor’s on Thursday, the prosecution has a long hard road ahead of them before they will have their conviction of 2nd degree murder. Zimmerman and his attorney still claim self defense under Florida’s, now controversial, “Stand Your Ground” law. Under that law a person is permitted to use deadly force when confronted if they believe they are in imminent danger of dead or serious bodily injury. Travyon Martin’s family has stated Zimmerman was unprovoked and acted without reason. However, recently released photos show Zimmerman with lacerations on the back of his head, a broken nose, and black eyes. Considering the injuries to Zimmerman alone, the prosecution has a hurdle to overcome.

In contrast, the Martin family is basing Zimmerman’s guilt on the fact Zimmerman had the choice and ability to stay in the vehicle instead of pursuing Trayvon. They also state Race as a determining factor. However, besides some unsubstantiated comments, Zimmerman does not have a history of Racism.

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