• A Fierce Advocate Proven Track Record of Success
  • Honesty and Passion
  • Ambition, Experience and Focus Extraordinary Results

INTRODUCTION

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you now know that Tiger Woods was arrested for DUI (Driving Under The Influence) in South Florida this Memorial Day weekend. Many in the “court of public opinion” have been speculating about the case. The on-air “talking heads” have been at it and many are getting it wrong. Since I’ve practiced criminal work in Florida for 25 years both as a defense attorney and a prosecutor, having handled thousands of DUI cases, I feel compelled to set the record straight. Also, as a fellow “talking head” with extensive experience defending and prosecuting these types of cases in South Florida, I’d like to give you my assessment as to how I think Tiger’s matter will be resolved.

ALLEGED FACTS

DISTURBING FACTS

This one is extremely disturbing. An eight-year-old Florida girl was arrested and charged with felonies. She was seen on surveillance footage breaking into cars in Palm Bay. The girl admitted her involvement, telling police that she and two older kids were walking in a park and decided to break into some cars. She was charged with felony burglary to a conveyance and attempted theft.

An arrest of someone so young, seems like an isolated shocking incident. Unfortunately, it’s not. In fiscal year 2014-2015, 80 Florida children under the age of nine were arrested. Two of them were from Miami and four were from Broward County.

INTRODUCTION

Recently, I read several headlines that stated, “Aaron Hernandez Is Innocent.” I immediately thought of the impact of those words. First, I thought how it might affect the readers. Then, my thoughts shifted to how it may impact the families of the victims. After a day of contemplation, I decided that I needed to write this article.

THE FACTS

HYPOTHETICAL

Let’s say that law enforcement seizes your cell phone, believing that it contains evidence of a crime. Let’s further say that they demand that you give them the passcode so that they can get into your phone and retrieve its contents. You tell the officers, “No thank you. I respectfully decline your invitation. My top-notched attorney, Mark Eiglarsh, has warned me not to consent to this type of governmental action.” They then inform the prosecutor of your refusal. The prosecutor then petitions the court to force you to turn over your passcode, arguing that they believe it contains incriminating information. How should the judge rule?

ANALYSIS

THE ALLEGED FACTS

The victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida are suing both the wife of the shooter and the shooter’s former employer. They accuse them of failing to prevent the abhorrent massacre. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in South Florida.

The 57 victims, consisting of survivors and representatives of the deceased, allege that the security company that the shooter worked for knew of the comments Omar Mateen had made prior to the shootings that resulted in the tragic death of 49 club patrons and the injury of dozens more. Mateen allegedly bragged to a co-worker that he had ties to terrorists and a mass shooter. The law suit alleges that his employer, G4S Secure Solutions, should have immediately taken away his weapons and recommended that his firearms license be revoked. When investigated by both his employer and the FBI in 2013, he claimed that he only said those outrageous things so that his co-worker would stop teasing him about being Muslim. The FBI determined that he did not pose a threat.

WHAT HAPPENED

Florida Governor Rick Scott recently removed newly elected Orlando prosecutor Aramis Ayala from the Markeith Loyd case. Loyd is charged with two counts of First Degree Murder for shooting and killing police officer Lt. Debra Clayton and Loyd’s pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon. The case was re-assigned to state attorney Brad King, who prosecutes in neighboring Florida counties. Scott claims that the reason he removed Ayala is because she “won’t fight for justice.” He points to her comments concerning the death penalty as support for his extraordinary move. She allegedly stated that the death penalty causes too much pain for victims’ families and that it was not an effective deterrent. Additionally, she allegedly made it clear that not only wouldn’t she be seeking death for Loyd, but she wouldn’t be seeking the death penalty in any future case during her entire four years in office. Regarding seeking the death penalty in future cases, she stated, “I have determined that doing so is not in the best interest of the community or the best interest of justice.”

Scott initially attempted to get Ayala to recuse herself from the Loyd case. When she refused, he took the case away from her.

OUTRAGEOUS FACTS

    Ahhh, Orlando, Florida. Home of Sea World, putt putt, Mickey Mouse, and Epcot. Apparently, they’ve got some drug activity as well. Recently, Orlando police received many complaints concerning drug activity at a local 7-11. As a result, they beefed up surveillance.

    One afternoon, police spotted 65-year-old Daniel Rushing driving his car. The cop who stopped him, 8 year veteran Corporal Riggs-Hopkins, alleges that she observed Rushing commit two traffic infractions. She claims that Rushing was speeding and also, that he failed to come to a complete stop. As she approached the vehicle, Cpl. Riggs-Hopkins alleges that she saw a “white, rocky substance” on the floorboard of the vehicle. She immediately assumed that the substance by the driver’s feet was an illegal controlled substance. Rushing passionately exclaimed to the officer, “It’s glaze! Glaze from a doughnut!!!” He tells the officer that it was Krispy Kreme. Cpl. Riggs-Hopkins and the other law enforcement officers that arrived on the scene after the stop didn’t believe the driver. Instead, they were convinced it was crack cocaine. Then, after some time elapsed, they changed their position, concluding instead that it was Methamphetamine (“crystal meth.”)

FACTS

This story got my attention. Ricky Weinberger was recently arrested on Miami Beach for allegedly making a bunch of “harassing” telephone calls to law enforcement. Apparently, he also posted lots of threats against police on the bulletin board of an on line police themed web site. Most troubling for law enforcement is what they found at his small apartment when they arrested him. Weinberger had stockpiled 16 weapons, which allegedly included six assault rifles, along with 4500 rounds of ammunition. Police believe this was a catastrophe waiting to happen.

Judge Mindy Glazer held Weinberger with no bond. He has three other pending criminal cases that were made against him over the past year. His attorney attempted to secure his freedom by arguing that his both his speech and weapons possession were constitutionally protected. That argument failed.

INTRODUCTION

It was an eerie feeling. As I walked into Terminal 2 of the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport, just days after the horrific shooting, I was consumed with emotion. It hit me that I was in “The room where it happened.” (Yes, even when describing something dark and emotional, “Hamilton” references still flow out of me) There was an overwhelming presence of media and law enforcement both inside and outside of the terminal. I was headed to Minneapolis for an appearance in federal criminal court. My return flight on Delta Airlines into Fort Lauderdale was the exact one the shooter had taken just days earlier. This case still consumes me. I find myself frequently discussing it with friends and colleagues. I’ve chosen to write this article because I’ve found from my discussions that there’s a lot of misinformation concerning this case. Also, there are many wondering what will likely happen to the shooter, Esteban Santiago. To best be of service in this article, I’ve attempted to answer the most common questions that I believe are on the minds of most people at this time.

QUESTIONS

PROBLEM

Each year, approximately 450,000 Americans are held in jail every day because they don’t have enough money to bond out. It’s been called a “wealth-based detention scheme.” Many have had enough of this unfair system which detains poor folks even for non violent misdemeanor offenses. Many judges often set bail that they know people cannot afford as a way to keep them incarcerated. Former attorney general Eric Holder has chosen to support the cause. He believes the pretrial detention system is unconstitutional. He recently argued that judges must set bail that people can actually afford, while continuing to deny bail for those who are a danger to the community and/or a flight risk. While Holder’s focus is primarily on Maryland criminal courts, the problem exists throughout the criminal system in almost every U.S. city.

A 2014 state commission alleged that two-thirds of the inmate population is made up of pretrial detainees. 68 percent of those were stuck in jail solely because they couldn’t afford to pay for their bail. By singling out poor people and engaging in this practice, judges are violating the 14th Amendment’s due process and equal protection clauses.