Articles Posted in Fort Lauderdale criminal defense lawyer

As a former prosecutor, current veteran criminal defense attorney, adjunct law professor, with over 30 years of experience litigating cases, I felt compelled to write this article. It’s in response to all the misconceptions, lies, and ignorance surrounding the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial. Here’s four critical things you need to know:

1) IT’S NOT ABOUT ‘#TeamDepp’ AND/OR ‘#TeamHeard’

Most in the “Court of Public Opinion” have treated this trial as if they are picking their favorite sports team. They decided what side they are on and root for their pick with passion and zeal, often regardless of the facts and circumstances. They erroneously think that the jury will decide this trial the same way, deciding who they like better and then rewarding them with a favorable verdict. That’s not how this case will be resolved. Who the jury likes is not the issue that will determine the outcome. Likeability is always important to jury in a trial. However, they can actually despise Depp and/or Heard and/or both of them, yet still rule in their favor. The “#TeamDepp” and “TeamHeard” mentality is fine for the Court of Public opinion yet holds little legal weight in an actual court of law.

(special thanks to co-author: Sebastian Frazier)


You’re driving home from a night on the town after catching a meal and some drinks at a local bar. You decide to drive home with your windows down and music loud which attracts the attention of a nearby highway patrol officer. Curious at your peculiar driving patterns and disruptive noise, the officer decides to follow your vehicle (unbeknownst to you). As your nearing home, the officer turns on his lights and indicates that you should pull over. You don’t notice the officer’s signal and instead keep driving up your driveway and into your garage. As you open your door to step out of the vehicle, the officer follows you inside your legal residence and begins to question you. Only a little while after, you’re arrested for a misdemeanor charge: driving under the influence.

Eiglarsh-Blog-1-300x223A home with over 40 dead and alive cats and seven emaciated cows in Broward County is being investigated. Officers received a call in late May about suspected animal abuse off 44th street and Hiatus Road.

Police say that no one was home at the search time, but over several days, 27 cats had been found alive, and five were dead. Police are being meticulous with their search to ensure the safety of the animals.

The suspect, Rafael Guevera, has been arrested on animal-involved charges in the past and has been connected to this case. The police are conducting an ongoing search in the home for more animals. They suspect there could still be cats in the walls.

Last September, surveillance video captured PJ Nilaja Patterson’s savage and fatal attack on an iguana. While Florida law allows people to kill the invasive species in a quick and humane manner, Patterson’s half-hour attack left the iguana with a lacerated liver, a broken pelvis, and internal bleeding.

Patterson was charged with animal cruelty, but said he only beat the iguana after it bit him in the arm. Patterson’s attorney attempted to use the “stand your ground” defense, but Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Dana Gillen rejected this defense and ruled today that Patterson must stand trial on a felony animal cruelty charge

Adopted 16 years ago, Florida’s “stand your ground law” states, “A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

Eiglarsh-Blog-200x300Eleven months have passed since Richard Mallia, a podiatrist from Palm Springs, Florida, admitted guilt to a $3.4 million fraud in Medicare.While Mallia should have been sent to prison after his sentence, COVID has kept him from going.

For Medicare fraud to occur, a doctor must write prescriptions, which is precisely what Mallia did when he worked at Sunshine Medical Care Group and one other healthcare clinic. Mallias had been a licensed podiatrist since the summer of 2001.

His admission states that he wrote home health prescriptions and signed plans of Medicare beneficiaries, aware of the fact they did not need home health services. He was well acquainted with the owners and operators of several home health care agencies like D&V Elite Home Care and Florida Patient Care. He then used the prescriptions and planned to submit fraudulent claims to gain reimbursement for home health services that were never needed. As a result, the Medicare program has taken a loss of $3.4 million.

On May 27, a St. Johns County Grand Jury indicted 14-year-old Aiden Fucci on first-degree murder charges for the stabbing death of 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey. Fucci was initially charged with second-degree murder, but the charges were upgraded to first-degree murder due to the nature of the crime. This indictment automatically moves his case to adult court.

Bailey’s family reported her missing in the early hours of May 9. Her body was later found that day in a wooded area near her house. Bailey sustained a total of 114 stab wounds, with at least 49 defensive wounds to her head, hands, and arms.

Fucci was immediately called into questioning by police and taken into custody on May 10. The arrest warrant shows that friends of Fucci told investigators that he made multiple statements indicating he intended to kill someone by taking them into the woods and stabbing them. DNA evidence was also found connecting Bailey to Fucci, including her DNA on some of his clothing.

Eiglarsh-Law-Blog-300x199Driving while under the influence is never a good idea. Even if you believe you are coherent, it is best to find an alternative mode of transportation to avoid fatal consequences such as DUI charges and DUI manslaughter charges if you have been drinking.

The average sentence time for DUI manslaughter is ten years nationwide. Each state has its own DUI laws, but it is a felony and federal charges can exist. However, if a driver has been found guilty of gross negligence, prison time can climb up to 60 years.

DUI Manslaughter is the criminal charge faced when a driver under the influence takes the life of another person. This includes pedestrians, motorists, other drivers, and passengers. Even if there was no intent to harm, you could still face these charges. If you are faced with negligence, your case can be categorized as either ordinary negligence or gross negligence.

Eiglarsh-Blog-1-300x193On Monday, May 3, a federal magistrate judge in Ft. Lauderdale ordered Coral Springs resident Horvin McKenzie, Jr. to be detained in light of his federal trial for attempted murder, narcotics, and firearm charges. Mackenzie, 28 years old, was among the two men arrested last month for shooting at law enforcement officers conducting a drug trafficking investigation in Dania Beach, FL.

According to court documents, McKenzie and his co-defendant, David Johnathan Venture, planned to sell two kilograms of cocaine to a third party. Mackenzie and Venture met the buyer in a retail store parking lot located in Dania Beach. Law Enforcement Officers were informed of the scheduled interaction and showed up at the meeting spot. Upon confirming McKenzie and Ventura’s involvement, they approached the defendants but were met with shots as they came closer. Both men were taken into custody. It was later found that they were in possession of two kilograms of cocaine, a Beretta .9 mm semi-automatic handgun, and a loaded Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

McKenzie and Venture have both been charged with Attempted Murder of a Person Assisting DEA Agents in Performance of Their Duties, Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine, Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm During and Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime.

Eiglarsh-300x200On Tuesday, May 18, federal law enforcement officers arrested 58-year-old Miguel Andres Gutierrez Diaz of Santiago, an elected member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic. This happened following Guitierrez Diaz’s international flight arriving in Miami from the Dominican Republic. The arrest was made at Miami International Airport. 

Congressman Guitierrez Diaz was part of a transnational drug ring operating in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the United States. His charges include conspiring to distribute cocaine, knowingly allowing it to be imported into the United States, conspiring to import into the United States, and conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute. If Gutierrez Diaz is convicted, he faces life in prison. 

The prosecution is a result of the ongoing investigations by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership with law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.

(Thanks to Elizabeth Chailosky for her work on this post)


You see your teenager being arrested by police. You approach police who tell you to get away. You feel thoroughly scared and helpless. With the Derek Chauvin trial still fresh in your mind, you pull out your phone and begin recording officers. The officers see you standing across the street recording them. They shout, “Stop recording us or we will arrest you!” You continue to record believing that you have a legal right to do so. Even though you’re keeping your distance and not interfering with the officers in any way, you are stripped of your liberty and charged with obstruction. This arrest must be an unlawful, right?

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