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28

Don’t let your client get CLOSED out

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Identifying improper closing arguments in Florida prosecutions
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17

Sometimes they just don’t like you

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Earlier today I wrapped up representation in another Tallahassee area self-defense case. Being a Florida self-defense case, the law at issue is the dreaded “Four Horseman” of statutory confusion known as the “Stand Your Ground” law.
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20

GOOD PARENTING IS NOT GOOD FOR YOUR KID

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The scene opens in a dreary interrogation room in Tallahassee’s Leon County Sheriffs Office. A young juvenile, seated, slumps to one side, backed into a corner by a table. A veteran detective sits across the table, his back to the small rooms’ only door. The juvenile’s father sits aside the table, looking nervous. The three males in the room, along with the table, occupy almost all available floor space. The detective presses with questions about a pellet gun robbery at a local convenien...
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03

ATTACKING “STAND YOUR GROUND” ON ALL FRONTS

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I think it’s fair to say that most prosecutors are not fond of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. The law provides statutory immunity to individuals who claim they were justified in using force. As far as self-defense statutes go; the law is reported to be relatively broad when compared to similar provisions in other jurisdictions. The law limits ad-hoc prosecutions based on an individual prosecutor’s idea about “what should have happened.” Making life altering (for others) judgments ...
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12

THE GOOD SHERIFF

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It’s always dicey to go out on a limb against internet groupthink. It’s even ‘dicier’ to write in opposition to a verdict which has the Second Amendment folks and most of the defense lawyer community applauding. I love my defense attorney brethren and I love me some guns as well. I am not joking here: working with my fellow defense lawyers is one of the best parts of my career. I also own so many guns it’s hard to count them in my head sometimes. However, there’s something that doesn’...
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I understand the confusion about this issue. It seems logical enough. In fact, prior to going to law school, I think I used to have the same notion. Practicing law now I realize that most people don’t understand that the complainant in a criminal case does not have any unilateral control over a criminal prosecution. The complainant cannot come to the courthouse and “drop the charges.” Once the police are called, the criminal process is generally out of the hands of the complainant and in...
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Florida, in contrast to other states, seems to have stricter laws regarding leaving the scene of an accident. In other states, the parties engage in some meaningful criminal litigation about the intoxication and/or the culpability of the driver when a fatal “hit and run” accident occurs.
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As lawyers we have clients who have cases.  Most often we go to the courts with our clients’ cases and there we encounter a judge who can (hopefully) serve as the arbiter of reasonableness when confronted with ridiculous arguments put forth by the parties.  The process of litigation allows lawyers the opportunity to vanquish the obnoxious positions of our opponents using the judge or the jury.  We also begin with a clearly noticed set of rules which have come about (mostly) through the democrat...
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This is an important question that should be discussed prior to any client hiring a criminal defense lawyer. It is important because it is assumed that the lawyer meeting with the client at the consultation will be actually performing the legal work involved with the case. Clients are frequently shocked and rightfully concerned when they realize than another attorney, not the attorney who quoted the fee, is performing the actual legal work. This is an unpleasant realization that often comes a...
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03

READING THE CRIMINAL APPELLATE OPINIONS

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Towards the end of every week I read the criminal appellate opinions which are released by Florida’s five (5) District Courts of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court.[1] Lawyers who do NOT read the opinions are committing malpractice. The general public would be SHOCKED to learn how many lawyers – well regarded lawyers – do not do so. That is probably the subject for a future column and I digress…
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