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image003-3-300x223A New York resident filed a lawsuit when he was automatically charged eighteen percent gratuities after dining at Key Biscayne’s Ritz-Carlton restaurants. Although a district judge dismissed the lawsuit, the decision was overturned by a federal appeals court earlier this week, paving the way for a class-action lawsuit alleging that Florida-based Ritz-Carlton restaurants failed to properly notify diners that they would have an automatic tip added to their bill.

The plaintiff argued that one bill did not reference the inclusion of an automatic tip, while two others said that “suggested” gratuities of eighteen percent would be included, although the bills contained tip amounts. The plaintiff alleges that Ritz-Carlton is violating a law called the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The judge that initially dismissed the lawsuit did so because the man could not sue on behalf of diners for restaurants he was never at nor did his claims meet the $5 million minimum for a class-action lawsuit.

image002-4-300x198As protests continue around the nation, Florida is looking to crack down on individuals participating in ones that become violent by introducing new legislation. Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing laws that would enforce felony-level penalties on a person who causes property damage or destruction or injury while participating in a protest. Anyone who chooses to make a donation to protesters may also be at risk of running afoul of Florida’s racketeering laws.

The governor’s legislation called the “Combatting Violence, Disorder, and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act”, contains close to a dozen amendments to Florida law. For anything from toppling landmarks to bullying a person in a restaurant and being involved in a protest that causes harm to property or injury to other people, it creates new or increased punishments.

Florida may become only the second state to pass legislation increasing criminal penalties against disruptive protesters.

election-2020-5102700_1920-300x153A well-known billionaire is in potential legal crosshairs after raising funds to assist felons in having their voting rights restored by paying their court fees, fines, and/or restitution. The billionaire’s decision came shortly after the governor of Florida was successful in having the courts uphold the decision not to allow felons to vote until these various fees are taken care of, earlier this month.

The Florida attorney general is now asking state as well as federal law enforcement to take a closer look to see whether the billionaire may have violated election laws over his actions. Should the request turn into an investigation, it could lead to a pre-election legal battle just before the election. Florida is considered a major swing state.

The billionaire has raised millions of dollars to assist felons and interestingly, he was once a former Democratic presidential candidate himself.

handcuffs-921290_1920-300x190A Miami law enforcement officer is facing potential charges after he allegedly placed a doctor in handcuffs while lacking proper cause, a violation of federal law. The doctor, a physician at the University of Miami was questioned alongside a local activist outside of his residence.

Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, according to case law cited by the Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP), when someone is arrested by an officer, the extent of detention needs to be explained by the facts of the case. The Fourth Amendment defends against arbitrary search and seizure of individuals. Members of the CIP expressed their concerns after watching video of the incident that the officer did not give a reason for handcuffing the doctor. The doctor was acting in a manner that could be deemed aggressive and, therefore, the actions taken by the officer were unreasonable.

In the midst of a moment of greater examination of police conduct, the footage of the encounter generated national headlines, and a Miami Police Department Internal Affairs report found the officer had broken protocols by failing to contact dispatchers at his stop as well as failing to wear a mask.

jumpstory-download20200921-183111-300x199This month, in a legal dispute that began after the 2018 mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school, state lawyers, and the National Rifle Association (NRA), outlined dueling claims about the constitutionality of a Florida law that prohibits weapons from being purchased by people below the age of 21.

The legal fight arose following the deaths of seventeen people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Then-Governor Rick Scott gave the okay on a measure banning the sale of firearms to people under the age of 21, prompting a challenge from the NRA stating that the ban is a violation of equal protection and Second Amendment rights.

According to the NRA, the prohibition breaches the right of people between the ages of 18 to 20 to possess weapons to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment, even self-defense when at home. Not only does the ban restrict the right, but it is also eliminated. It is not probable that the ban could be the least restrictive option. There is also allegedly no evidence that the Legislature evaluated whether less restrictive options were accessible.

elliott-stallion-1UY8UuUkids-unsplash-300x200In the ongoing case involving felon voting rights, a federal court has reversed the lower court judge’s decision. The federal appeals court decided to uphold the 2019 Florida law mandating that felons must pay fines and/or restitution to have their voting rights restored.

The case focused on a GOP spearheaded bill signed by the governor of Florida after Florida voters returned voting rights to the majority of the felons who ended their sentences in 2018.

The legislation introduced a new requirement to the criminal franchise: not only did felons have to complete their jail terms and any probation period to have their voting rights restored, but they also had to pay off financial commitments of their sentences, including victim restitution and other penalties and fees.

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A business owner in Florida is finding himself facing potential prosecution after he allegedly used over $2 million in funds aimed at providing businesses relief from the coronavirus to purchase a 40-foot boat. The man was recently arrested on federal charges of having made false statements to a lender. Should he be convicted, he faces as much as thirty years in federal prison.

Per a criminal complaint, the man applied for the Paycheck Protection Program loan on behalf of his company. The funds, he claimed, were to be used solely for purposes related to the business, including taking care of bills and ensuring the retention of workers. However, shortly after he received the money, the man allegedly spent well over $650,000 to purchase the 2020 boat, which was registered with his name.

To read more, visit https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/florida-man-spent-689k-in-virus-relief-funds-on-boat-prosecutors/2287532/.

chainlink-690503_1920-300x169A man in Florida who dubbed himself an “Antifa hunter” recently received a federal prison sentence of more than forty months after he entered a guilty plea for having allegedly threatened a politician of a different race as well as a girl with autism. The man was also charged with cyberstalking.

Antifa is a political movement in the United States that comprises a vast variety of independent groups that aim to accomplish their goals by using non-violent and aggressive direct action rather than legislative change.

According to the source article, the man breached the law after making violent threats against an African-American person with plans to announce his city council candidacy and an autistic child simply because the mother of the child disagreed with his racially motivated opinions.

unnamed-3-200x300The remaining member of a group allegedly involved in a dog fighting conspiracy was recently sentenced in federal court. The defendant was sentenced to a year and one day in jail after entering a guilty plea after he and his fellow defendants violated the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Evidence presented in court, along with statements made by the pleading defendants in accordance with their plea deals, revealed that one of the defendants organized dog fights and trafficked with others in combat dogs. Another defendant admitted he and another decided to fight their dogs against each other and train a dog to participate in a dog fight, and discussed hiding evidence that one of the owned dogs had taken the life of another dog.

Another group member admitted to providing and administering veterinary and surgical procedures on dogs belonging to the dog fighting conspiracy members, treating dogs that sustained fight injuries, and performing medical procedures to remove the ears of dogs, including for dog fighting purposes. She tended two dogs who died from their injuries after being involved in fights.

The governor of Florida implored a federal appeals court to allow legislation mandating former unnamed-1-300x253criminals with the eligibility to vote to pay victim compensation and court fine before they allowed to cast a ballot. The law could exclude thousands of voters from the swing state polls.

Multiple judges questioned the state’s lawyer regarding how the law cannot be deemed unconstitutional discrimination against poor individuals, and Florida’s inability to inform former felons—plaintiffs included—regarding amounts owed, essentially forbidding them from taking care of the fees and damages allowing them to vote.

Although Florida voters revoked a restriction on voting for millions of former felons back in 2018, Florida’s governor, a Republican, signed a law enforcing limits on the measure, including those at the center of the legal proceedings. The case may affect this year’s presidential election as President Donald Trump won Florida by a margin of just over one percent.

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