Articles Posted in Legal Process

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically modified many aspects of daily living, including how courts handle the process of handling criminal hearings and trials. Criminal defendants have many rights under the state and federal constitutions, but some of them have been altered or impinged by COVID-19 orders, and it is critical for people charged with criminal offenses to understand how their cases will proceed during the pandemic. If you are accused of a crime, you should meet with a skillful Sarasota criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.

Florida Court Process During COVID-19

Throughout the pandemic, many Florida courts have been operating under modifications based on local public health information in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. For example, some courts have temporarily halted non-jury and in-person jury trials, while others have limited the number of trials they are allowing to proceed.

Criminal defendants have numerous rights, though, including the right to a speedy trial. Specifically, under Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.191, a criminal trial must begin within ninety days of a person’s arrest if the crime charged is a misdemeanor. If the underlying offense is a felony, the trial must commence within one hundred and seventy-five days of the defendant’s arrest. In some cases, a defendant may be able to file a demand for a speedy trial, in which case the trial must commence within fifty days.

Continue Reading ›

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 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.

Continue Reading ›

Contact Information