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July 2013 Archives

Criminal Law Implications of Recent Memory Reliability Study

The successes and failures of human memory as a reliable source of information have great impacts on the criminal justice system. When prosecution or criminal defense teams ask any given witness or defendant about events that may or may not have occurred in the past, the recollections given can either help to convict or acquit an accused person. Reliable memory can be an invaluable tool in ensuring that justice is done. Unreliable memory can lead to wrongful convictions and other terrible consequences.

How Can Florida Improve its Correction System?

Florida has always been a state with a high number of offenders, resulting in either state or federal incarceration. Even with Florida's tough drug laws, 88 percent of those would be released, and the recidivism rate was one in three that would return within three years. In 2009, the state inmate population reached over 100,000 and was predicted to escalate, which would cost taxpayers $2 billion dollars in increases. In 2013, the average cost of the annual incarceration for one inmate is approximately $18,000. The number of inmates across the country reached a total of 1.6 million in 2009, but since 2010 the number has been decreasing at rate of 9 percent per year. Florida Correction Facilities discussed plans to deal with the increase in Florida, but decided against building 19 new prisons, at an estimated cost of $2 billion to accommodate the growth. Instead, legislature chose to focus on the reformation and restoration of the prisoners who would soon be released and reentering society.

Florida Changes DUI Administrative Hearing Process

As of July 1, 2013 Florida drivers arrested for DUI will face a hard choice. For the longest time, DUI suspects would face an administrative suspension of their license from the Florida Department of Motor Vehicle Review. A driver could challenge the suspension with or without a lawyer at a formal review hearing. If a Florida driver arrested for DUI challenged the administrative suspension and won, they would get their license back and the suspension would not show up on their driving record. If the person lost the administrative hearing, they would lose their license for six months if they took and failed the breath test, and one year if they refused the breath test. This was also eighteen months for a second or more refusal.

Protests Commence at Capitol Hill

protests in washington dcThe much controversial trial of George Zimmerman ended on July 12, 2013 when a jury of six acquitted Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman's defense throughout the trial self-defense, built originally on the Stand Your Ground law. The verdict created as much controversy as the trial, and the effects were felt throughout Florida and the rest of the country. On July 16, a protest by a politically-driven group called the Dream Defenders began quietly protesting inside the Capitol building. Until now, the overtime security has cost taxpayers $100,000, but there has been no violence. During the day hours, the protestors are free to come and go in the entire building, but at night they must remain in designated areas. 

Each Traffic Stop Holds Potential Harm

When you have someone who does not respect the system that is designed to protect the citizens in Orlando, then they are subject to the consequences. On Tuesday, 23 year old, Demetrius Patterson was denied bond after shooting an Orlando police officer in the abdomen after being pulled over for reckless driving in the Washington Shores area. Officer Jason Hajek was working the graveyard shift as he typically does, when he pulled over the vehicle with Patterson and another passenger. Patterson opened fire on Officer Hajek, shooting him in the abdomen. Hajek returned with a shot that hit the defendant's foot, and as he was calling for back-up as the vehicle took off. Patterson was found and arrested at his cousin's house, which was near the shooting location. Any shift that a police officer is out in the public is potentially dangerous. Fortunately, Officer Hajek escaped serious injury that night from the shot in the abdomen. Patterson used a 44-caliber pistol, which sent the bullet between the slight gap in the officer's vest and his gun belt. The bullet was removed at ORMC, and Hajek is now resting comfortably.

The Future of Gun Laws in Florida

The state of Florida has always been at the top of the list for the number of criminal offenders that are convicted and serving time in prison. Florida has many gun laws, not necessarily strict, which has caused non-violent offenders to have sentences that are 167 percent over the national average. The gun laws in Florida serve in self-defense for the shooter, which gives them a strange perspective when you look at the laws. The recent controversial trial and possible acquittal for George Zimmerman in the trial of the death of Trayvon Martin creates a perfect example of the complicated view of gun laws. Zimmerman's attorneys use laws of self-defense, which created controversy across the country. The Stand Your Ground law was sought primarily Zimmerman's to be his defense, but the trial also opened the doors of racial profiling and aggressive force in defense with a firearm. 

Another Fourth of July on Its Way

Fourth of July Weekend

fourth of july fireworksWith the 4th of July only a few days away, people are planning their first holiday of the summer. Memorial Day and Labor Day are also huge holidays that bracket summer vacations, but Independence Day is a nationwide holiday where most families are off school and work. Since the Fourth falls on Thursday this year, many employers are giving their employees Friday off as well, which means a four day weekend. AAA predicts almost 41 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home to celebrate Independence Day. Orlando is Top Destination

Every year over 55 million visitors travel into central Florida, and most of them spend time in Orlando. The Fourth of July weekend, and the following two weeks are the peak season for Orlando tourism, and Orbitz.com reports that Orlando is the top destination for July 3-7, 2013. The managing director of the Hyatt Regency, Paul Tang, is enthusiastic about having a great season this year. He comments that bookings for the hotel are strong. Orlando is a fantastic destination because there are so many ways to celebrate the holiday when planning ahead. 

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