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March 2013 Archives

Child pornography Sentencing Disparities Highlighted in Recent Study

The Internet has increasingly informed Americans' approaches to daily life in recent years. From shopping to how business is conducted, from interpersonal communication styles to the ways that students study, the Internet has become a fixture in American life. As a result, our society and its legal system have had to continually adjust to the ways in which the Internet informs, influences and inspires us.

Pushing the Limits of Freedom of Speech

"Mugshot websites," the sites that make money by showing photos of arrested criminals, might be a thing of the past if one Florida legislator has his way. He introduced a bill that would ban the sites; however, legal analysts question the constitutionality of such a ban on the grounds that a person's First Amendment Rights to freedom of speech could be challenged by both the websites themselves and by news outlets. House Bill 677 states that the websites would need to remove any public information on the accused individual once the charges are dropped or the case is closed without a conviction. Websites that fail to do so could be accused of defamation of character and fined for failing to take down the information. Some of the mugshot websites currently have photos in their records of people who were never charged with a crime. These companies are not offering a public service but are attempting to earn money - a fact recognized even by the strongest supporters of free speech. 

Gambling Scheme Hits Florida's Top Government Officials

florida online casino storefrontArrests in Seminole County for Gambling and Racketeering for cases arising out of Internet Casinos connected to Allied Veterans are shaking the nonprofit world. These findings also led to the resignation of Florida's Lieutenant Governor, Jennifer Carroll. According to Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger, the investigation of Allied Veterans of the World these past couple weeks resulted in more than 50 arrests in six states. Beginning in 2009 and based on citizen complaints, the concern was about the numerous internet casinos in strip malls all throughout Florida.

Notice to Appear For a Possession Charge

Getting a citation or notice to appear for Possession of marijuana citations are deceptive. Recently, an attorney with The Umansky Law Firm got out of a meeting with a client who received a citation and a notice to appear for possession of marijuana by a police officer. She went down to the clerk of court and paid a fine and received a withhold of adjudication. She was extremely relieved that she did not have to go to court or hire a lawyer. She was very happy, until she applied for a job that denied her the position because of this misdemeanor on her record. She was further discouraged when she found out that the licensing board will find out about it when she applies for her medical license. Adding insult to injury, she was a first offender and was likely eligible for a first offender program where she could get the charge dropped.

Dwight Howard and Disorderly Conduct at the Amway Center

dwight howard against lakersDwight Howard is coming back to town tonight to grace us with his presence. After departing Orlando on a sour note, he comes back for his first game at Magic Arena since he left. Based upon wire reports and the internet, the Arena is going to be rocking with loud and angry fans who have not forgotten that Dwight has turned their back on the Magic. We would imagine security will be at an all time alert and it is important that if you are attending the game tonight to refrain from any conduct that could be misconstrued by security or the Orlando Police as breaking the law. Though heckling and booing are going to be commonplace during this emotional meeting for many veteran Orlando fans, any sort of behavior that falls along the lines of battery or assault is going to be met with swift opposition that may result in being detained by police.  It is especially important to note that being banned from Amway would not be favorable for many fans.

Favorable Result for Firefighter Facing Multiple Charges

Some cases require an extremely close look at actual facts in order to show the jury the whole story. In the case of Dean Erlandson, the Seminole Co. Firefighter that was accused of several severe charges by an ex-girlfriend, unveiling the whole story was absolutely crucial.  Umansky attorneys Lindsey Gergely and Chris Kaigle exposed the discrepancies in the victim's testimony, resulting in an acquittal of the case on March 1, 2013. The courtroom was packed every day of the trial as they watched the legal experience of these two co-attorneys uncover the false accusations from the victim towards their client, and see the verdict of not guilty late Friday afternoon. This success allows Dean Erlandson a second chance to turn his life around. Firefighter Erlandson was charged with 1) aggravated assault with a firearm 2) aggravated assault with a knife 3) false imprisonment and 4) domestic violence battery. If he had been found guilty of all four charges, he would have been sentenced to prison for 25 years, but thanks to his two attorneys and a jury of his peers, justice was served and he is free.

Florida Still the Eye of the Storm for Tax Identity Fraud

Florida has been named one of the top states in the nation in the recent tax identity fraud tsunami. The IRS has found fraud tax forms from every state except North Dakota and West Virginia within the past two years. From 2013 to 2018, this massive, dangerous and illegal occupation is projected to cost the government over $21 billion, according to the growing trend. Florida is known as the center of fraudulent activity in the US with Miami and Tampa at the top of the list. The logical reason Florida is more susceptible to fraud is the high number of older residents, who are especially vulnerable. Miami reports 46 times the national rate of illegal tax refund claims, and they have also been struggling with overwhelming Medicare fraud. According to the Treasury, tax identity fraud has increased dramatically from 48,000 in 2008, to more than 1.2 million cases countrywide in 2012. The popularity is rising apparently because tax fraudsters find this type of fraud easy to execute.

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