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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in drugs

Understanding the Florida Crime of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

As a criminal defense attorney for more than 25 years in a college town (Gainesville, Florida), I’ve represented hundreds of individuals charged with the crime of possession of drug paraphernalia.  Most of these individuals have been college students or otherwise law abiding citizens.  Many are stunned to learn that the maximum penalty for mere possession of drug paraphernalia in the State of Florida is one year in jail and a $1000 dollar fine, a first degree misdemeanor. See Florida Statute 893.147.  Even more surprising for many is how vague and broad the statute is.  The purpose of this blog is to educate the reader about the definitions and applicability of Florida’s drug paraphernalia statute.

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In Sharply Worded Dissent, Florida Justice Perry Criticizes Majority Drug Law Ruling

In a sharply worded dissent in the case of State v. Luke Jarrod Adkins, Florida Supreme Court Justice James E.C. Perry criticizes the majority of the Court  and refers to their opinion as being built on a foundation of flawed “common sense” which shatters bedrock constitutional principles.

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Florida Supreme Court Upholds State Drug Laws

The Florida Supreme Court has ruled, in an opinion dated July 12, 2012, that Florida drug laws are constitutional, rejecting arguments that the drug statute’s failure to require proof of knowing possession violates due process of law.  In the case of State of Florida v Luke Jarrod Adkins, a five justice majority concluded that, “Given the broad authority of the legislative branch to define elements of crimes, the requirements of due process ordinarily do not preclude the creation of offenses which lack a guilty knowledge element.”

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December 13, 1971 - John Sinclair Freed From 10 Year Sentence For Possessing Two Joints - Today In Crime History

On this day, December 13, in the year 1971, the Michigan Supreme Court, on its own motion, ordered 1960's activist John Sinclair released from the ten year prison sentence he was serving for possession of two marijuana joints. The Court would later overturn his conviction, upholding Sinclair’s contention that Michigan’s marijuana statute, as then written, was unconstitutional.

Tagged in: drugs
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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.

Tagged in: drugs unconstitutional
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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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November 7, 2000 - California Passes Prop 36 Requiring Drug Treatment Instead Of Jail - Today In Crime History

On this day, November 7, in the year 2000, California voters approved Proposition 36 which required that certain non-violent drug possession offenders be sentenced to drug rehabilitation and probation instead of jail or prison.  It is also provided for a type of “drug diversion” which meant that successful completion of the program allowed the defendant to have their conviction dismissed and their case sealed.

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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.

Tagged in: drugs unconstitutional
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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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October 19, 1982, John DeLorean Arrested With Briefcase Full Of Cocaine - Today in Crime History

On this day, October 19, in the year 1982, auto executive John DeLorean was arrested in a Los Angeles, California, airport motel with a briefcase containing pounds of cocaine.  According to law enforcement officials, DeLorean was trying to organize a huge drug deal in order to save his bankrupt automobile business, the DeLorean Motor Company.

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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.

Tagged in: drugs unconstitutional
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September 20, 1985, Cocaine Trial Embarrasses Major League Baseball - Today in Crime History

On this day, September 20, in the year 1985, Curtis Strong was convicted of selling cocaine to pro baseball players, resulting ultimately in some of  the harshest Major League Baseball penalties since the Black Sox scandal of 1919.

Tagged in: convicted drugs
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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.

Tagged in: drugs unconstitutional
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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.

Tagged in: drugs terrorism
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Judge Declares Florida Drug Law Unconstitutional

Today U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven declared Florida’s controlled substances law unconstitutional.

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