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First-degree murder is one of the most serious crimes the State can charge a person with, and a conviction has the potential to result in a death sentence. Generally, the State must prove that certain aggravating factors were present during the commission of a homicide crime for a person to be sentenced to death. The State’s burden in seeking the death penalty was the topic of a recent Florida opinion in a case in which the defendant appealed his death sentence after following first-degree murder convictions. If you are charged with a violent crime, it is critical to speak to a seasoned Tampa criminal defense attorney to assess your potential defenses.

The Trial and Sentencing

It is reported that the defendant and the victim, his ex-girlfriend, were estranged, and the defendant was subject to a restraining order that prohibited him from contacting the victim. He suspected that she was dating another man, and he ransacked her home while she was out. She called the police but declined to press charges. The following day, he attended a hearing on another criminal matter, then called the victim and spoke to her for several minutes.

Allegedly, the defendant then proceeded to buy ammunition, travel to the victim’s home, and shot the victim and one of her friends who was in the home with her. He attempted to shoot her boyfriend and another friend as well. He was charged with and convicted of multiple first-degree murder crimes and sentenced to death for each murder. He appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in instructing om and finding the murder was committed in a calculated, cold, and premeditated matter which constituted an aggravating factor and lead to his death sentence. Continue Reading ›

There are strict laws regulating the healthcare professions to ensure that people working in medical fields make ethical decisions regarding patient care. For example, federal law prohibits parties from offering or accepting healthcare kickbacks, and professionals that engage in schemes to do so may be convicted of conspiracy. Recently, a Florida court explained what evidence is needed to support a conspiracy conviction in a case in which numerous healthcare providers appealed their convictions. If you are charged with conspiracy or another white-collar offense, it is in your best interest to meet with a Tampa white-collar crime defense attorney to assess your possible defenses.

The Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendants, a doctor, pharmacist, and recruiter, were indicted for numerous crimes related to conspiring to receive healthcare kickbacks and paying and receiving such kickbacks. The matter proceeded to trial, and they were each convicted as charged. Following sentencing, they each appealed, arguing in part that there was insufficient evidence to convict them of the conspiracy charges against them.

In many criminal cases, the courts will order a person convicted of a crime to pay restitution. Further, the government is permitted to enforce restitution orders by garnishing or collecting a defendant’s property, with few exceptions. Recently, a Florida court analyzed whether it could collect restitution from a defendant’s inmate trust account in a case in which the defendant was convicted for child pornography crimes. If you are charged with a sex crime, it is wise to meet with a skilled Tampa sex-crime defense attorney to discuss your rights.

The History of the Case

It is reported that in 2015, the defendant was charged with receiving child pornography. He entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 240 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution to the victims harmed by his crime. In January 2021, the government filed a motion requesting that the district court issue an order allowing the Bureau of Prisons to turn over money in the defendant’s inmate trust account as payment towards the restitution he owed after the defendant received a $1,200 check from the government pursuant to the CARES Act. Specifically, the government sought $1,100 of the payment the defendant received. The defendant opposed the motion, but the court granted it. The defendant then appealed.

Enforcement of Restitution Orders in Criminal Cases

In cases involving child pornography crimes, restitution is mandatory. The appellate court explained that orders of restitution in such cases operate as a lien in favor of the government on all property and property rights of the person fined. Thus, the government can enforce a restitution order against a defendant’s property unless it falls under one of few enumerated exceptions. Continue Reading ›

In most cases, a person charged with a drug offence is aware of the seriousness of the repercussions of a possible conviction and will seek legal counsel. Additionally, under the United States Constitution’s Sixth Amendment, criminal defendants have the right to be represented by counsel. However, in some cases, a person accused of a drug violation will renounce that right and choose to go to trial without representation. A court must conduct certain investigations to determine that a renunciation of Sixth Amendment rights is voluntary and knowing; otherwise, it may be unlawful.

In a recent Florida judgment, the rules for considering a criminal defendant’s request to proceed without an attorney were explained. The defendant was charged with narcotics conspiracy charges. If you’ve been charged with a drug offense, it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer about your options.

The Trial of the Defendant

The defendant was accused of conspiring to possess narcotics with the goal to distribute them, as well as possessing narcotics with the intent to distribute and other drug charges, according to reports. He claimed that he would proceed to trial without the assistance of counsel, and he was found guilty as charged. He subsequently filed an appeal on many grounds, including that his waiver of his right to counsel was not voluntary or knowing. Upon reconsideration, the court dismissed his argument and upheld his conviction. Continue Reading ›

Florida has some of the toughest drug laws in the entire country. If you are arrested for drug possession in our state, you could be looking at serious criminal penalties—potentially including a lengthy prison sentence. 

Did you know that you can be charged with and convicted of drug possession even if a controlled substance is never actually discovered in your hands or on your person? 

It is called “constructive possession”—and it occurs when someone maintains control over a banned substance without having it within their physical grasp.