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December 2013 Archives

Concluding 2013 on a High Note

December is the month for parties, and with Christmas over, the biggest party night of the year is right around the corner. Downtown Orlando and the Church Street District are two of the hot spots for ringing in the New Year. For a more sophisticated evening, the Mezz includes jazz, dinner and wine to celebrate.

Report Finds High Rate of Plea Deals in Federal Drug Cases

A report published this month by Human Rights Watch found a startlingly high rate of plea agreements among defendants charged with federal drug crimes - 97 percent nationwide. The report alleges that the system of charging federal drug defendants creates a situation in which there is a penalty for pursuing one's right to go to trial on the merits of the case, instead leaving defendants with little choice but to plead guilty and accept a plea agreement.

Despite Media Attention Sheriff Judd conducts another Polk County Prostitution Sting

12-18-2013 11-14-11 PM.pngThis past weekend, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd conducted another prostitution sting. According to the Orlando Sentinel, 80 people were arrested in polk County for prostitution or sex crime related offenses including an altamonte springs lawyer who works for an orlando law firm. Sheriff Judd discussed the fact that some of these people who got arrested were repeat offenders and in one instance the same person was arrested by the sam undercover police officer!

Illegal Fish Harvesting

A sensitive case for Floridians, which began in over a year ago with the arrest of a team illegally harvesting marine life in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, finally came to a close on Monday and Tuesday, December 2,3. Two marine farm operators from Idaho were found guilty and sentenced to Federal Prison, Ammon Covino, 39, and co-defendant Christopher Conk, 40. Eric Pedersen, 51 and Serdan Ercan, 43 were running the harvested fish and coral under the name of the Idaho Aquarium were also convicted and sentenced in court. Fish harvesting is a sensitive subject for native Floridians, and when the fish are taken from Florida Keys Marina Sanctuary and illegally sold wholesale around the world, it hits hard. After a year of monitoring this conspiracy, U.S. District Court Judge Jose Martinez sentenced all involved to serve time in Federal prison with terms ranging from 6 months to two years. The boat and trucks used in moving the marine life was also confiscated, the judge added probation and fines up to $110,000. This ended the long-term investigation, which came to be called Operation Rock Bottom. Marine Life, Inc. in Grassy Key where Conk and Colvin were from is now closed. The marine life that was illegally harvested was coral, reef fish, rays, sea fans and a variety of sharks. 

GOING ON VACATION: IGNORANCE OF LAW IS NO EXCUSE!

122165695.jpgWith the winter holidays quickly approaching, people form all over the country will be traveling by car, plane, and train to visit relatives in other states. It is important to remain aware of changes in laws when traveling between states. It is easy to forget that every state enacts its own laws, and even easier to neglect to read up on those laws before traveling.

Social media postings lead to arrest for Florida man

Police in Palm Beach County, Florida recently arrested a man that they suspected was involved in a string of local robberies. The arrest occurred after police became aware of some photos that he had posted to his Instagram account displaying potentially illegal activity. In particular, the photos displayed the man holding what appeared to be a gun, which he is prohibited from owning because of a past felony conviction.

Prostitution Sting in Orlando on OBT Last Week Results in Arrests

12-16-2013 11-16-55 AM.pngIf you need a criminal defense attorney after arrested in prostitution sting in Orlando, make sure you speak to a lawyer before your first court date. A sting in Orlando was carried out in the vicinity of OBT by Orlando Police Department this past week which netted a few arrests of individuals for prostitution. It remains to be seen if the police conducted these stings with recording devices such as video cameras or wires. Last weeks sting in Orlando usually involve police acting in the role of prostitutes.

How to Get Arrested for Attempting to Hire a Killer

People are arrested everyday for performing abnormal, illegal crimes, and on December 4, a 70 year old Jacksonville woman was arrested for requesting a murder-for-hire. This is out-of-the-ordinary to begin with, but the person the woman wanted killed was her daughter-in-law. The senior approached an undercover agent and inquired about a murder-for-hire. She told the agent that she wanted her daughter-in-law killed because she drank too much and was a terrible mother. She allegedly gave the undercover agent a $500 deposit promising the balance after the deed was accomplished. The woman handed over the intended victim's information, including name, picture and address, and scheduled the second meeting. The undercover agent met the woman for the second time, supposedly to confirm any details, and she gave him $1,000. She also added that he could rob the victim as an extra benefit because the daughter-in-law wore expensive, diamond jewelry, and the killer-for-hire might like them as an added bonus. 

Tis the season to be merry! Don't ruin it by shoplifting!

December. Christmas time. Shopping. Tis the season to be merry, shop for friends95073463.jpg and family at the mall, outlets or department stores. With the large crowds and the hectic pace of the urban shopper, some individuals may see an opportunity to shoplift and item or two for themselves or a loved one.

Zimmerman Charges dropped? Why hiring a lawyer early on in a DV case is important.

George Zimmerman's recent Domestic Violence charges including aggravated assault were dropped according to the Orlando Sentinel today. Zimmerman's girlfriend filed an affidavit where she recanted the allegations according to the newspaper. Phil Archer, State Attorney for Seminole County cited the affidavit, a failure to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, and a lack of any other corroborating evidence as reasons for not pursuing the case.

Forget Red-Light Cameras; Cameras Now Identifying Tags

Neighborhood cameras are looking different and producing more effective results now that law enforcement in Tampa has a two-way camera that identifies cars both front and back. In 2010, a $25,000 tags readers was set up near the University of South Florida in Hillsborough County, The results are that a stolen vehicle or one noted in any sort of crime can be identified by the cameras installed that are similar to toll booth cameras. The two cameras face in opposite directions atop a pole, so the vehicles that pass by are tagged both front and back. This is how they work. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office was recently alerted about a stolen vehicle in the university area. The alert from the dual-cam was a photograph on a stolen car. Two deputies were dispatched and they found the car with the two men inside. They were immediately charged with grand theft auto, arrested and booked into jail. Arrests like this are taking place across the country with similar tag readers. Thousands of vehicles pass by on metropolitan streets everyday. The cameras near USF have been installed for one year, and scan 1.3 million license plates in 90 days.

Drug bust leads to arrest of minor in Florida

A reported drug bust in Osceola County resulted in the arrest of a man who has a previous felony conviction, as well as the arrest of a juvenile. The man and teenager may both now face drug charges after the investigation of the incident concludes. However, the man was charged with additional crime relating to other incidents. The teen was turned over to state juvenile authorities while he awaits the conclusion of the investigation.

No Charges Yet in Fatal Florida Car Crash

Police say that no charges have been filed and that no announcement is forthcoming in a case involving three young women and a deadly car crash that took place about three weeks ago. The Florida car crash has gained national attention after reporters linked the survivor of the crash to a Twitter account that had posted a concerning message the night of the accident, saying that she was "2 drunk 2 care."

Shoplifting from Disney? What are the penalties?

Caught shoplifting from Disney World or Epcot and want to know what penalties you may be facing? If you or a loved on get caught allegedly stealing you face Petit Theft or Grand Theft Charges depending on the value of the amount that was alleged to have been taken. If you are accused of taking less than one hundred dollars of merchandise you face a second degree misdemeanor called Petit Theft. The maximum penalty for this charge is six months probation, sixty days in jail or up to a five hundred dollar fine. If you are accused of taking more than 100 dollars worth of stuff but less than 300 dollars, you may be charged with a first degree misdemeanor Petit Theft charge. The maximum penalty for this charge is one year probation, one year jail or up to one thousand dollar fine. If you are caught taking more than three dollars worth of Disney property, you can be charged with a Grand Theft. The maximum penalty for a Grand Theft is five years probation, five years prison or a 5,000.00 dollar fine. If you are convicted, the judge is required to suspend your drivers license as well.

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