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February 2014 Archives

Florida teen wrongfully detained in sexual assault case

A Florida teenager was arrested and spent 35 days in jail before it became clear that he had been mistaken for someone else with the same first and last name. The 17-year-old high school student was arrested for sexual assault of a person under the age of 12. This is a very serious criminal allegation and could result in years behind bars as well as a permanent label as a sex offender. The young man said that he was horrified by the accusation when it was first made.

Lake County deputy fired after sexual battery charge

In our society there is a stigma attached to sex crimes. One doesn’t even need to be convicted of the crime before consequences could begin to arise. A Lake County Sheriff’s deputy with 13 years experience is experiencing that now after he was accused of sexual assault. He was fired from his job late last month.

Served with a Domestic Violence Injunction: Should I Care?

Being served with a Domestic Violence Injunction is an event that you should definitely be concerned about. There are several important legal issues surrounding a domestic violence injunction that need to be understood in order to avoid violating the injunction. Some of the most important legal issues to understand deal with the no contact order, the possession of a residence, recovery of personal effects, and custody of children. It is very important to contact a lawyer immediately if you are served with a domestic violence injunction so that they can walk you through the important issues.

Heroin and the Fear of Growing Popularity

During the past decade, there has been a surge in heroin use, but it's not the heroin of the 60's. The old stigma of "shooting H" in dirty bathrooms and dark alleys has been revamped into a trendy "high" for businessmen, housewives and high-schoolers. CNN reports that in some areas drug pushers are selling $10 bags of heroin openly on street corners, but law enforcement is not wasting their time on them. Heroin use has grown so much that the DEA is after the big dealers selling to middle class America. Heroin has taken on a whole new identity. The apparent overdose of actor and director Phillip Seymour Hoffman is evidence that heroin is not hiding in the shadows anymore. On Feb. 2, 2014, the Oscar winner was found in his Manhattan apartment with the needle still stuck in his arm. The police also found 350 $10 bags of heroin; an addict might use 10 of these $10 bags a day. The Heroin Process By 2014, the heroin push has accelerated in America, and pure heroin is brought in from Mexico and Columbia daily. It is shipped directly to "processing houses" in northeastern U.S. cities such as Philadelphia and New York. Here the heroin is cut, packaged in $10 bags, bundled and distributed. Possession of Heroin and the Consequences In 2013 $43 million of heroin was confiscated off US streets reports CNN. Heroin possession is punishable in both federal and state courts with very harsh penalties for both first time and repeat offenders.

Former state chemist arrested on drug charges

A former Florida Department of Law Enforcement chemist who supervised a crime lab was arrested this week after agents connected him with drugs that were missing from the evidence room. The man who was arrested was suspected of stealing prescription pain medications that had been seized by police as evidence and replacing them with over-the-counter pills. The full extent of how much evidence was tampered with is not yet know, but authorities say it could impact as many as 2,600 cases dating back to 2006. Those cases are all being reviewed in light of this revelation.

Attorney Anne Wedge-McMillen Discusses Issues of Evidence in Florida

The news reports regarding the tampering with prescription pill evidence by an FDLE analyst should raise concern with the chain of custody and security of all types of evidence analyzed by FDLE. On Friday, January 31st, I attended a continuing legal education seminar hosted by the Florida association of criminal defense attorneys regarding the newly adopted change in Florida law in introducing expert testimony known as the Daubert standard. During this training one of the emphases was the Florida legislature's intent in proposing this new standard to exclude pure opinion testimony from experts and requiring the proponent of the evidence to establish the scientific method behind expert opinions. More importantly, the expert must establish how that method was applied to the specific facts of the case in which the opinion is being rendered. 

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