Articles Posted in Articles of Interest

The story the 16-year-old victim told the cops was that she had been dating my client for several months but then broke off the relationship. A few days later, she said, my client and one of his friends showed up at her house when her mother was away. When she refused to let them in, my client supposedly asked if she would just loan him her cell phone to make a call. When she opened the door to pass him the phone, she said, the two pushed their way into the house and raped her. Now my client and his buddy were sitting in jail charged not only with sexual battery, but also breaking and entering. They faced possible life sentences.

Frankly, I didn’t know whether or not to believe my client. The prosecutor had deep faith in the victim’s side of the story and would only offer 30 years as a plea bargain against the possibility of life if the case went to trial. But then my investigator came up with a very interesting document. Written in the victim’s own hand it was two pages long and entitled “Incidents.” Each page contained several men’s names along with some cryptic numbers, words, symbols and dates. The first name, for example, was “Marlon.” Under that were the words “two times” followed by “butt ass naked” and then three hand drawn stars, six dates and the name of a local high school.

I suspected we had hit pay dirt. I figured this was some kind of list of men with whom the victim had engaged in sex. But to prove that I would have to put her under oath and ask her what it all meant. Trouble is, in most rape cases the Rape Shield Statute prohibits the defense from inquiring into the victim’s past history of sexual escapades on the grounds that even a prostitute can be raped. But there are exceptions to the Rape Shield Statute and I won just such an exception by arguing that the statute didn’t apply when questions of consent were at issue. I dreaded taking a sworn deposition from the young girl in which I would take her through what I knew would be a traumatic recitation if the “Incidents” document was what I thought it was, but I also knew that my client’s future depended upon this single document.

Hypothetical

Imagine this. A guy in Florida shapes his finger like a gun and points his finger at a cop. As he’s doing that, he tells the officer, “I got you now!” You may be thinking, “Well, that’s not a bright thing to do.” Well, I don’t disagree with you. The question that I’d like you to ponder is, “Is what he did a criminal offense?”

Facts

THE ISSUE

A man from Raleigh, North Carolina was recently arrested for leaving his five children at home alone. His oldest child is 8 years old. Victor King, who was bailed out by a total stranger, claims that he had to go to work to support both his children and his wife, who is suffering from stage 4 cancer. Authorities were alerted to the house by a neighbor who called 911, alleging that this was the second day in a row the kids were left alone without adult supervision. Apparently, this isn’t the first time this father has done this. He was convicted of child neglect in California after engaging in a similar act. So, one of the questions raised by this case is, “What should happen to the father?” Also, the bigger legal and moral question is, “How old should kids be before being left home alone?”

ANALYSIS

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.