August 2013 Archives

August 19, 2013

Florida Legislators Propose Changes to Jury Composition

The Florida legislature will soon decide whether to change the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure relating to the number of jurors required to hear and decide the outcome of certain criminal cases. Miami criminal defense attorneys and lawyers from across the State of Florida have dealt with changes in the law over the years, but changing the rules regarding the number of jurors required to hear a case do not come along that often. As the law currently stands in the State of Florida, 12 persons are required to make up a jury in only capital cases. Miami Senator Gwen Margolis filed a bill that seeks to significantly alter the type of cases that will require 12 jurors to render a verdict.. As submitted, the bill proposes that 12 jurors be empaneled on more than just capital cases.

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August 15, 2013

Attorney General Wants Changes to Federal Drug Sentences

Attorney General Eric Holder wants to change the federal sentencing guidelines. More specifically, it appears as if he wants to do away with lengthy mandatory sentences relating to drug cases. In an announcement, Holder expressed his desire to do away with these draconian sentences in an effort reduce the nation's overcrowded prisons and use precious government dollars in better ways. For years, Miami criminal defense attorneys have complained mostly to each other that the mandatory sentences were unfair and too harsh. If Holder gets his way, the federal criminal justice system with respect to drug cases will undergo changes not seen since the war on drugs was declared in the 80's.

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August 13, 2013

Two Local Mayors Arrested by Feds

A confidential tip provided over two ago to the FBI led to the arrest of two mayors and two lobbyists. The FBI tried to set up other local politicians in the same sting operation, but were unsuccessful. Miami lawyers from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida are accusing the four defendants of bribery for accepting money in exchange for using their political positions to obtain federal grant money purportedly to be used for their respective municipalities. The feds believe the money was never intended to be used for its intended purpose, but rather to line their pockets. The indictment alleges that Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono accepted a bribe in the amount of $10,000 while Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi accepted $3,000.

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August 7, 2013

Cruise Lines Providing More Crime Data

Major cruise have come under scrutiny for failing to report crimes committed at sea upon their vessels. Legislative pressure has caused three large cruise lines to publish data regarding serious criminal offenses committed on their ships. The Port of Miami is one of the largest ports of call on the east coast that caters to cruise lines. Our Miami criminal defense attorneys have represented dozens of passengers accused of committing crimes at sea. Three of the largest cruise lines, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian began comprehensive reporting last week. Prior to the new reporting standards implemented by the cruise lines, the Coast Guard maintained only records of criminal cases that had been investigated and closed by the FBI. The Coast Guard is required to maintain records regarding serious cases such as homicides, suspicious deaths, aggravated battery and aggravated assault cases with serious bodily injury, sexual battery cases, and grand theft cases exceeding $10,000.

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