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May 2013 Archives

Have Another Safe Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember those who have lost their lives in the service of our country. To many it represents the first day of summer. Most people however, look at Memorial Day as a day off of work and school and the perfect opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Whether you decide to spend Memorial Day at the beach, having a BBQ in the back yard, or enjoying one of the many theme parks in Orlando, remember that drinking and driving should not be a part of your celebration. This is the simplest and most effective piece of advice for a safe and happy holiday. 

How Aware Do People Have to be of Sexual Predators?

sexual predator sign in front of houseThe Bradford County Sheriff's Office recently instituted a policy of placing large red signs outside of the homes of people who have been designated as sexual predators under Florida law. Under the law a sexual predator is a person who has been convicted of either a first degree felony which is sexual nature, or more than one second degree felonies which are sexual in nature. Under Florida law, there are requirements on community notification of the addresses of sexual offenders and sexual predators, but Bradford County is really pushing the envelope on this one.

Will Law Enforcement Soon Use Breath Tests for Drug Use?

Breath test devices are notoriously unreliable. They are consistently challenged in court cases involving individuals suspected of driving under the influence (DUI). Even so, American law enforcement officials may soon embrace a newly created breath device that allegedly detects a dozen different kinds of controlled substance use. If so, breath test challenges could soon become a fixture of cases involving drug offenses as well as DUI offenses.

US States Attempting to Lower Head Count in Jails

officer leading someone in cellMore people are in jails and prisons in the United States than in any other country in the world. As our prisons start to fill up, lawmakers have to start making decisions that lower the overall number of incarcerated individuals to a reasonable number, while keeping the general public out of harms way. Lawmakers in several states have recently made moves towards lowering the overall number of incarcerated people. Here are a few recent highlights: In California, the Senate passed a bill that allows prosecutors - under their discretion - decide to prosecute drug possession (of any substance) as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Alaska passed a similar bill, except it would always classify drug possession as a misdemeanor. The bill passed in the Senate, and is now headed to the House.

Recent Prostitution Sting Nabs 91 in central Florida

After users responded to ads on a website that allegedly connected prostitutes with johns, almost 100 people were arrested, including a 21-year-old man on his honeymoon in Orlando who left his wife at the plush resort. Authorities are conducting a further criminal probe into the website to determine the nature of their business. A sheriff's officer reported that the parties connected through the website between May 8 and 14. However, the website says that no one may use their services to engage in illegal activity. An undercover officer placed an ad for prostitution on the site, and the wayward honeymooner responded. His wife called the authorities to say that he was missing when he didn't come back to the resort. 

Death of Unborn Child Warrants a Separate Criminal Charge

A bill making the death of an unborn child a separate crime from an offense against the mother has passed the Florida House. H.B.759 passed on a vote of 74-43 on Thursday and includes the provision that criminal charges would apply even if the perpetrator did not know the woman was pregnant. A similar bill has already cleared several committees in the Florida Senate. The wording of the bill suggests that any point of gestational development is covered, creating contention among the bills many opponents. Opponents point out there would be an increase in pregnancy tests on women injured or killed as the result of a crime. 

Florida Makes Funeral Protesting a Crime

The state of Florida has decided to take a strong stand on the protests that have sprung up against protesters making political statements at funerals; the protests have been a particular problem at the funerals of members of the armed forces and have taken place across the U.S. In response the Florida State Legislature has decided to bring in strict laws detailing when and where protesters can be when funerals are taking place. The bill's sponsor Republican Lizbeth Benacquisto representing Fort Myers saw the Funeral Buffer Bill pass the state legislature and be signed into law effective October 1st 2013 by Governor Rick Scott. The new law, which is punishable with up to a year in jail requires all protests to take place no closer than 500 feet from the funeral venue, a distance that cannot be encroached upon one hour before the funeral, during the funeral and one hour after the funeral. The buffer zone is designed to ensure the protesters maintain their right to free speech while the family and friends of the deceased have the space to grieve and pay their last respects in privacy. 

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