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Each lawyer in this firm has more than 25 years experience practicing criminal defense in Gainesville, Florida and surrounding areas, including Alachua, Levy, Bradford, Union and Gilchrist Counties.

(352) 378-1107

1800 N. Main Street
Gainesville, FL 32609
Fax (352) 378-0103
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Blog and News

"Current news and information concerning criminal law"

Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Arrests More Than 20 People In Internet Sting Operation

The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with several other local law enforcement agencies, has arrested at least twenty different individuals for utilizing various Internet social meeting sites to allegedly attempt communication with a person believed to be a minor regarding sexual activity.   No actual children were involved - only adult law enforcement officers posing as minors.  The Gainesville television station WCJB reports that one of those arrested was an elementary school teacher.  This blog will not report the names of those arrested as all are presumed innocent.

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U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Backs Privacy Rights In GPS Tracking Case

In a rare unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled on January 23, 2012, in U.S. v Antoine Jones,  that attaching a GPS device to a suspect’s vehicle is a search under the Fourth Amendment.   In one of the first major cases to test constitutional privacy rights in the digital age, the court ruled that police must obtain a search warrant before attaching a GPS tracker to a vehicle in a criminal investigation.

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Did You Know Florida Cops Can Stop Your Vehicle For Drinking A Beverage In A Paper Bag?

At least one Florida Appellate Court has ruled that it is lawful to stop a vehicle because the driver was seen drinking a beverage in a paper bag.

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Jury Power: Under Attack

A recent N.Y. Times editiorial exposes how prosecutors are charging a retired chemistry professor with jury tampering as a result of him handing out pamphlets providing information on the historical doctrine of jury nullification.

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More States Consider Forced Blood Extraction For DUI Suspects That Refuse Breath Testing

Attorneys who practice DUI law understand that in Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966), the US Supreme Court upheld the right of states to forcibly extract blood from DUI suspects.  Now the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports that many states, including our own, have adopted or are considering adopting "no refusal" laws that allow the police to hold you down and jam a needle in your arm and extract your blood when you refuse to provide a breath sample in a DUI case.  Not surprising, Texas appears to be leading the way in this new initiative.

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Florida Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument On Constitutionality Of Drug Law

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral argument on Tuesday, December 6, 2011, regarding the constitutionality of Florida’s drug laws as raised in the criminal case of Luke Jarrod Adkins et al v. Florida.  An assistant public defendant and assistant attorney general were questioned by the Florida Supreme Court Justice’s about their legal positions.  The Florida Supreme Court has not issued a ruling on the issue raised in the appeal and does not have a specific timetable for issuing a written order in the case.

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Understanding Florida’s Pre-Trial Intervention Program

The Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) is a diversion program available to some alleged felony offenders that, if successfully completed, results in the criminal charge being dismissed.

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Understanding Alachua County’s Drug Court Program

The Alachua County Drug Court program is a supervision and treatment program serving nonviolent felony offenders whose criminal allegations are related to drug or alcohol addiction. Alachua County’s Drug Court Program has been operating since 1993 and was one of the first fully functional programs in the State of Florida.  It’s offices are located at 249 W. University Ave. (Rear Entrance) Gainesville, Florida.

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Florida Supreme Court Accepts Jurisdiction In Drug Law Constitutionality Cases

The Florida Supreme Court has accepted jurisdiction to decide the constitutionality of Florida’s drug statutes pursuant to the request of Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal.  Meanwhile, in another case, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of Florida’s drug law.

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Support for Marijuana Legalization Growing in Popularity

Gallup reports that fully 50% of those polled support the decriminalization of marijuana.  With arrests for cannabis increasing three fold since 1991, support for decriminalization has risen.

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HERALD-TRIBUNE CALLS FOR FLORIDA TO DISCONTINUE USE OF INTOXILYZER

In an editorial published on 10-13-11, the Herald-Tribune cites a host of problems associated with the Intoxilyzer currently being used throughout the State of Florida including incorrect measurements of breath volume, unreliable results, increased government costs, and wasted court time.

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NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL CALLS FOR END TO MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES

On Thursday September 29. 2011, in an editorial entitled “ An Invitation to Overreach”, the New York Times joins the  American Bar Association, the Judicial Conference of the United States , and every major organization focusing on criminal justice  in opposing  mandatory minimum sentences.  The Times stated the rise in mandatory minimum sentences has damaged the integrity of the justice system , reduced the role of judges in meting out punishment, and has increased the power of prosecutors beyond their proper role.

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District Court of Appeal Requests Florida Supreme Court Decide Constitutionality Of Drug Law Quickly

In an opinion dated September 28, 2011, a Florida District Court of Appeal has certified that an appeal from a recent ruling finding Florida’s primary drug prossession statute unconstitutional involves an issue of great public importance that requires immediate resolution by the Florida Supreme Court.  The appellate court’s certification is essentially a request that Florida’s highest court resolve issues recently raised about the constitutionality of Florida's drug statute as quickly as possible. The appellate court’s certification was entered as prosecutors in Manatee County Florida appealed Circuit Court Judge Scott Brownell’s dismissal of drug charges against forty-two defendants to the Second District Court of Appeal.  Judge Brownell’s recent order finding Florida’s drug statute unconstitutional, as well as other similar recent court rulings, have been discussed previously in this blog and can be found here.

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Tougher Sentencing Laws Give Prosecutors Greater Leverage to Induce Plea Bargains

On Monday, September 26, 2011, the New York Times reported in a front page story that as a result of decades of passing laws to increase punishments, prosecutors have gained greater leverage to extract guilty pleas from defendants which has dramatically reduced the number of cases proceeding to trial. The Times examined statistics from the National Center for State Courts and the Bureau of Justice Statistics which illustrate this trend towards lower trial rates

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Noise Statute Unconstitutional

On September 16th the Fifth District Court of Appeals declared Florida Statute 316.3045 (1 ) ( a ) unconstitutionally overbroad and found that it restricted the right of free expression. This ruling was consistent with a prior ruling of the Second District Court of Appeals from May of this year in a case styled as State of Florida v. Catalano 60 So. 3d 1139 ( Fla. 2nd DCA , 2011).

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Two Florida Circuit Court Judges Rule Drug Law Unconstitutional

Following the lead of U.S. District Court Judge Mary Scriven, who found on July 27, 2011 that the provisions of Florida Statute 893.13 violated fundamental rights of due process (read the Shelton order here), two State of Florida Circuit Court Judges have now also ruled that Florida’s primary drug prohibition statute is unconstitutional.   On August 17, 2011, Judge Milton Hirsch of the State of Florida’s Eleventh Judicial Circuit dismissed thirty-nine felony drug cases finding Florida Statute 893.13 violates due process and is unconstitutional.   Read the Hirsch order here.  Similarly, on September 14, 2011, Judge Scott Brownell of the State of Florida’s Twelfth Judicial Circuit, dismissed forty-two felony drug cases, finding that Florida Statute 893.13 is unconstitutional.  Read the Brownell order here.

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Helping Your Attorney Help You

Whether you are a litigant in a civil case or a defendant facing criminal charges, there will be difficult decisions you must face. Maintaining good relations with your attorney and assisting throughout the process can make your tough decisions easier.

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Finding the Right Attorney for You

If you are ever in need of legal advice and representation for a particular legal matter, you should spend some time and effort researching the best attorney for your needs.

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Vaporize not Mirandize

The fear of terrorism and the rise of new police powers in the wake of 9/11 has resulted in the increasing militarization of local law enforcement, and the application of terrorism powers in the domestic "War on Drugs".   The New York magazine and the Huffington Post examine this trend in current articles, finding a disturbing change in our domestic police culture from protect and serve to officer safety.

To read the full Huffington Post article click here.

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Florida Court Declares Loud Stereo Statute Unconstitutional

In May 2011, the Second District Court of Appeals ruled that the Florida Statute which makes it unlawful to have your car stereo plainly audible at a distance of 25 feet or more from the motor vehicle is unconstitutional. The Court stated that the term “plainly audible” is too vague and invites arbitrary enforcement. Additionally, the Court stated that this statute was a restriction on free speech.

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