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December 2012 Archives

Can Brain Composition Affect a Defendant's Outcome in Court?: Part I

The media has been buzzing over the past year about the impact that traumatic brain injury caused by repeated hits is having on contact sport athletes. In addition to dementia, head trauma is inspiring some veterans of professional contact sports such as football and hockey to become either suicidal, violent or both. In fact, several players have recently committed misdemeanors and felonies that family, physicians and attorneys are linking to their work-related head trauma. This behavior is not unlike the depressed and violent behavior exhibited by some veterans who have suffered similar kinds of head trauma.

What Happens in States Without Stand Your Ground Type Laws?

In recent news, the controversial question of using hand guns as a form of protection for private citizens came to the forefront of Florida media with the controversial shooting of Trayvon Martin in the summer of 2012. Florida has had a "Stand your Ground" law on the books since 2005 as a means of protection for your family and home in the midst of being physically threatened by another person. The general public across the country is now more insecure than ever because of recent incidents, including the George Zimmerman/ Trayvon Martin case and the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn. More than one million new gun permits have been issued to Florida residents alone in the past few months. 

Have a Great (and Safe) Holiday Season!

Please be careful this holiday season. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can put a damper on the end of the year and lead to a rotten new year. Whether you are out for a party, getting last minute gifts for your loved ones, please be very careful on our Florida roads. Unfortunately, year after year we hear stories of deadly accidents during the week of Christmas and New Years where driving and alcohol or drugs are involved. This happens very often, even after people receive words of caution from their loved ones and close friends when they leave a holiday party or a local bar or restaurant hosting festivities.

Counterfeit Products Linked Directly to Organized Crime

collection of counterfeit productsShopping online can be an excellent way to save money and time, if you know the merchandise. The old saying, "If it looks too good to be true - it probably is" is especially true when purchasing products on the Web. Federal agents have found that illegal counterfeits and knock-offs have quadrupled since 2009. Homeland Security considers counterfeiting and piracy a plague that is infesting the Internet. They have discovered that more and more of the knock-off profits are going into the pockets of organized crime - it is time to reconsider purchasing counterfeit products. If you're not exactly sure that you are purchasing counterfeit, then it may be worth the time to research if you are. The United Nations speculates that counterfeit goods generate over $250 billion a year for criminal organizations. This includes organized crime in the United States and those connected around the world.

Miranda is Not Just for Words Alone

When most people hear of Miranda warnings, they assume it relates to verbal interrogation by the police. A recent case came out of the Florida District Court of Appeals that examines what Miranda really means. The court explored Miranda warnings in great deal and highlighted the fact that interrogation for Miranda purposes refers not only to express questioning, but also to any words or actions by the police other than those normally attendant to arrest and custody that the police know are likely to elicit an incriminating response. The court pointed out a number of tactics that cops use in lieu of express questioning such as the use of psychological ploys, such as confronting the suspect with his or her guilt, minimizing the seriousness of the offense, and looking to cast blame on others.

Drug Investigation Leads to 29 Arrests in Osceola

Law enforcement personnel focusing on prescription drug fraud arrested 29 suspects in Osceola County, according to reports from the authorities. The group of arrested individuals had a structured and well-planned system that enabled them to print fake prescriptions for a variety of drugs, including oxycodone, hydromorphone and alprazolam. These prescriptions were then given to the suspects who pretended to be patients. They would fill them and sell the drugs to interested buyers. In turn, they were paid with drugs for their participation in the scheme. Several agencies, including the Osceola County Investigative Bureau, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, the Kissimmee Police Department and the St. Cloud Police Department cooperated to implement the sting operation, which was called "Operation Rx Printshop." The sting took more than a year to investigate. Authorities related that the scheme took time to organize as members needed to work out details, such as printing methods for the prescriptions and faking the doctor's signatures.

DUI Breath Testing Challenge Rescheduled For February 5th

Intoxilyzer 8000 breath testerThe Florida Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments this week over a challenge to the breathalyzer used to test for alcohol levels of three defendants. The trial judge had originally ruled that the manufacturer of the breathalyzers had to turn over the software used in the machine, so the defendants could to examine it for accuracy. The 5th District court of Appeals quashed the ruling of the trial judge, and this led to the Florida Supreme Court agreeing to hear the case. Oral arguments have been rescheduled for February 5th. The breathalyzer that is under a microscope is the Intoxilyzer 8000. This model of breathalyzer is made by CMI, a company that is headquartered in the state of Kentucky and has been used by law enforcement for many years. However, this is the problem for many defendants. The machine is an old design and is built with components that are seldom used in electronic circuits today.

None Injured after Seminole County School Bus Crash

Though we've heard many of these stories having tragic outcomes, fortunately no one was injured when a school bus driver with six special-needs children on board rammed into a power pole after the driver ran a red light in Seminole County. The accident caused power outages in the neighborhood and stalled traffic on the road. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the bus driver drove through the light with children on board and crashed into a minivan just leaving the same school before classes started for the day. The bus crashed into the van and landed on the shoulder of the road where it proceeded to continue moving into a concrete wall and eventually a power pole. The van was attempting to turn when the bus hit the vehicle.

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