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If you are charged with a violent crime there are a variety of defenses you can set forth to try to avoid a conviction, including self-defense and mistake. A Florida appellate court recently held, however, that evidence of medical malpractice is not a valid defense to a second-degree murder charge, in a case in which the victim died from a gunshot wound. If you are charged with a violent crime in Sarasota it is critical to engage a knowledgeable Sarasota violent crime defense attorney to determine what defenses to set forth to give you a strong chance of a favorable result.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Crime and Medical Treatment

Allegedly, the defendant was walking down the street when the victim approached him in a car and rolled down the window. The defendant argued with the victim, and then allegedly punched and shot the victim. The victim drove to a nearby gas station where he collapsed. The victim was transported to a hospital where he ultimately died from his injuries. The defendant was charged with second-degree murder. At the trial, the defendant sought to cross-examine the medical examiner regarding possible intervening causes of the victim’s death, including medical malpractice, but the court prohibited the line of questioning. The jury found the defendant guilty, after which the defendant appealed.

Florida Standard for Admitting Evidence in Criminal Trials

On appeal, the defendant argued the trial court erred in refusing to allow him to question the medical examiner regarding medical malpractice. The court rejected the defendant’s argument, stating that under Florida law, a defendant cannot escape a penalty for an act that causes a victim’s death by arguing the death could have been prevented by certain medical treatment. Rather, if the wound inflicted by the defendant is life-threatening, evidence of improper medical treatment or the harm caused by such treatment will not help the defendant avoid a conviction. In other words, when a defendant fatally wounds a victim, regardless of whether the medical care rendered to treat the wound is malpractice or merely constitutes sub-optimal medical care, the care will not constitute a superseding or intervening cause of the victim’s death.
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If you are charged with a sex crime it does not mean that you no longer have any rights. Rather, under both Florida law and the United States Constitution, defendants accused of committing a sex crime have several rights, including the right to confront their accuser. If the court refuses to uphold the rights of a criminal defendant, it can result in a reversal of a conviction. This was illustrated in a recent case arising out of the Florida Court of Appeals, in which the court reversed a defendant’s conviction due to the fact the trial court denied the defendant the right to question his accuser. If you live in Sarasota and are charged with a sex crime it is essential to hire an assertive Sarasota sex crime defense attorney who will aggressively advocate on your behalf and help you to defend your rights.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Crime and Underlying Trial

Reportedly, in 2016, the defendant babysat his alleged five-year-old victim, after which the victim told her mother that she saw the defendant naked and they played a game in which they took off their clothes. The victim gave four different accounts of what happened when she was questioned regarding the incident on subsequent occasions. The defendant was charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct, and a trial was held.

Allegedly, as there was no physical evidence of any harm, the defendant’s attorney sought to question the victim’s credibility by advising the jury of the different accounts she provided as to what happened. The trial court ruled, however, that it would not allow the defendant’s attorney to cross-examine the victim, due to her age. Rather, the court ruled it would merely show the jury any portions of the victim’s deposition that contradicted her testimony at trial. Thus, the defendant was unable to confront the victim regarding the inconsistencies in her accounts of what happened. The defendant was subsequently convicted, after which he appealed.
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In Florida, the law affords a person suspected of a crime certain rights and protections. For example, the State is prohibited from introducing evidence of bad acts that are not related to the offense charged against a criminal defendant at trial, unless an exception to the rule applies. Recently, a Florida appellate court upheld a conviction where the defendant  was convicted of solicitation to commit murder, finding that the trial court did not err in permitting evidence of bad acts under the evidentiary principle of “opening the door.” If you are charged with solicitation to commit murder or any other violent crime in Sarasota, it is important to retain the services of a skilled Sarasota criminal defense attorney who will work vigorously to preclude any evidence that should not be admitted against you.

The Defendant’s Alleged Criminal Acts

Allegedly, the defendant’s boyfriend approached the police and advised them that the defendant intended to kill her husband. The boyfriend agreed to be an informant for the police. Subsequently, the police recorded conversations between the defendant and her boyfriend and between the defendant and an undercover police officer, who the defendant believed was a hit man. The undercover officer agreed to kill the defendant’s husband. The police then faked a crime scene and informed the defendant that her husband was murdered. The defendant was ultimately charged with solicitation to commit first degree murder. Due to various issues, the defendant ultimately underwent three trials.

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects a criminal defendant who is convicted of a crime from cruel and unusual punishment. The Constitution does not define cruel and unusual punishment, however, so the courts have been tasked with interpreting whether a sentence is barred by the Eighth Amendment. In cases involving juvenile homicide offenders, the Florida courts have held that a sentence that does not provide a meaningful chance for release are improper under the Eighth Amendment.

Recently, a Florida appellate court scrutinized whether a sentence of life in prison with judicial review after 25 years was cruel and unusual punishment, ultimately ruling that it was not. If you are charged with a violent crime in Sarasota, it is essential to retain a skillful Sarasota criminal defense attorney to assist you in formulating a defense.

The Defendant’s Conviction and Sentence

Reportedly, the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder in 1985, for a crime he committed when he was a juvenile. He was first sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole after twenty-five years. In 2016, he moved for post-conviction relief in the form of resentencing, arguing that his sentence violated the Eighth Amendment. Following a hearing, he was resentenced to life in prison with judicial review after twenty-five years. The defendant subsequently appealed the new sentence. On appeal, the court affirmed.

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One of the tenets of Florida criminal law is that a defendant must be competent to stand trial. If a defendant’s competency is in question, a hearing must be held to determine whether the defendant is fit to stand trial for criminal charges.

When a court fails to adequately assess whether a defendant is competent prior to trying the defendant, it can result in a reversal of a conviction, as shown in a recent Florida appellate court case. If you live in Sarasota and are facing criminal charges, it is prudent to consult a seasoned Sarasota criminal defense attorney to formulate a defense.

The Defendant’s Prior Charges and Competency Determinations

It is reported that the defendant was charged with aggravated battery in 1987 and aggravated assault in 1988. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity in both cases, after which he was committed to the Department of Children and Families and placed in a State hospital. He was released in 1995 but violated the terms of his release and was returned to the hospital. He subsequently assaulted members of the hospital staff and was placed in a Florida commitment center. In 2015, he attacked an employee of the commitment center. He was then charged with and convicted of battery.  The defendant appealed his conviction on the grounds that the court never conducted a competency hearing or advised the jury that he had previously been deemed incompetent.

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In some cases, rather than sentence a person convicted of a crime to imprisonment, a court will impose probation. A probation sentence typically includes conditions that the defendant must abide by. If a defendant fails to comply with the terms of his or her probation, probation may be revoked and a stricter sentence may be imposed.

As set forth in a case recently decided by a Florida appellate court, however, not all probation violations are grounds for revocation. If you live in Sarasota and are facing criminal charges, it is prudent to consult a seasoned Sarasota criminal defense attorney to assist you in formulating a defense.

Terms of the Defendant’s Probation

The defendant was convicted of welfare fraud and sentenced to probation. There were several conditions to her probation, including the conditions that she “will pay” court costs and that she “may perform” community service in lieu of paying court costs. The defendant did not pay the court costs or perform community service. Consequently, the State moved for a revocation of probation. During the revocation proceeding, the court did not assess whether the defendant had the ability to pay the court costs, but found that the defendant had the ability to perform community service. Thus, the court revoked her probation. The defendant then appealed the revocation of her probation.

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The Florida legislature drafted criminal rules of procedure and appellate rules of procedure that a defendant must follow in defending against the charges he or she faces or appealing a conviction. It is essential to comply with the obligations set forth under the rules of procedure, as the failure to do so can adversely affect your case. In only the most extreme circumstances, however, will a failure to comply with rules of appellate procedure result in the dismissal of an appeal.

A Florida district court recently quashed a trial court’s dismissal of an appeal for failure to file a brief in a timely manner, and in doing so explained when dismissal of an appeal may be warranted. If you reside in Sarasota and are charged with a crime, it is important to retain an experienced Sarasota criminal defense attorney to assist you in protecting your rights.

The Defendant’s Case

Allegedly, the defendant was convicted of two misdemeanor crimes. He appealed the verdict and his sentence. On appeal, the defendant failed to file a brief in support of his appeal within the time set forth by the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. The court issued a warning to the defendant and set forth an order stating that if he did not file his brief within thirty days, his appeal would be dismissed. Thirty days after the court’s order the defendant’s attorney filed a motion for an extension of time to file the brief. The defendant’s attorney explained that the delay in filing the brief was caused by the fact that she did not yet have the trial transcript. The court denied the motion and dismissed the defendant’s appeal. The defendant appealed the dismissal of his appeal to the District Court.

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If a person is stopped due to suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI), the police will typically ask the person to submit to field sobriety tests and chemical testing to assess whether he or she is impaired. Florida’s implied consent statute requires licensed drivers to submit to chemical testing and the refusal to submit to said tests can result in the suspension of the driver’s license. Additionally, in many cases, the refusal to submit to chemical testing can be introduced at trial as evidence of guilt.

A Florida appellate court recently held, however, that in cases where the police fail to advise a driver of the consequences of refusing to submit to chemical testing, evidence of the driver’s refusal to submit to testing cannot be introduced at a trial for a DUI charge. If you live in Sarasota and are currently charged with DUI or other crimes, you consult a trusted Sarasota crime defense attorney to develop a strategy for your defense.

Facts Surrounding the Defendant’s Arrest

Allegedly, the defendant, who was driving an SUV, rear-ended a person driving a scooter. The defendant did not stop after he struck the person but continued driving. He then struck a stop sign and briefly exited his vehicle before resuming driving. He was pulled over shortly after the incident. He was transported to a police station where he refused to submit to either field sobriety tests or chemical testing. The defendant was charged with leaving the scene of an accident with death, DUI causing damage to property or injury, and DUI causing death. Prior to the trial, he filed a motion to preclude the State from introducing evidence of his refusal to submit to any kind of testing, on the grounds that the arresting officer did not read him Florida’s implied consent law or advise him of the adverse consequences he might face for refusing to submit to testing. The court denied his motion. The defendant was subsequently convicted of all charges, after which he appealed.

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In all criminal cases, the State bears the burden of producing evidence that the defendant committed the crime for which he or she is charged. If the State does not produce adequate evidence of a crime, the defendant should not be convicted. If a defendant is convicted despite insufficient evidence of a crime, as a general rule, he or she can only appeal if he or she objected to the sufficiency of evidence during the trial. An exception to this rule occurs when there is no evidence that the defendant committed a crime, however.

This was demonstrated in a case decided by a Florida court, where the court overturned a conviction for possession of a conveyance to be used for trafficking, due to the State’s lack of evidence of the crime. If you live in Sarasota and are currently facing criminal charges, you should consult a trusted Sarasota crime defense attorney to develop a strategy for your defense. 

Alleged Facts Regarding the Crime Committed  

Allegedly, a detective was at a package distribution center when a package was brought to his attention. The package was addressed to the defendant, who did not live at the address to which the package was sent. The package was delivered to a house located at the address listed on the package. Shortly thereafter, the defendant pulled up to the house in a car and went into the house. He left the house with the package a few minutes later and got into his car and drove away. The police then arrested the defendant. The defendant was charged with cocaine trafficking, possession of a conveyance to be used for trafficking, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Following a jury trial, the defendant was convicted on all charges. The defendant appealed the possession of a conveyance to be used for trafficking conviction.

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When a person is convicted of a crime, there are several factors that are considered in determining an appropriate sentence. For certain crimes, the court must employ a sentencing scoresheet to determine the minimum sentence that may be imposed. If a court does not properly classify the crimes for which the defendant was convicted on a sentencing scoresheet, however, it can result in an inappropriate sentence.

This was illustrated recently in a case heard by a Florida appellate court, in which the court reversed the defendant’s sentenced due to a scoresheet error.  If you live in Sarasota and are currently facing criminal charges, you should meet with an experienced Sarasota crime defense attorney to formulate a plan for your defense.

Facts Surrounding the Defendant’s Arrest

Reportedly, the defendant was on probation for a drug charge when he was charged with armed kidnapping and robbery with a weapon. He entered a no contest plea to violating his probation, and the State offered a factual basis for his plea. The state alleged that three men entered a cell phone store, bound one of the employee’s arms behind her back, and stoles several phones. Prior to leaving, one of the men sprayed the employee in the face with pepper spray. A short time thereafter, a similar robbery occurred at a different cell phone store. The second store had surveillance video, which ultimately led to the defendant’s arrest. The defendant stipulated to the facts introduced by the State but argued that he played a lesser role in the crimes.

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