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April 2012 Archives

Mandatory Drug Testing for State Employees ruled Unconstitutional

A federal judge in Miami has ruled that the mandatory drug testing of government employees pursuant to Governor Scott's Executive Order is unconstitutional.  You can read Judge Ungaro's opinion here.

America celebrates Pot Day

I figured that i would not be a very good criminal defense attorney if I did not at least acknowledge the holiday that many people in this country celebrate.  Am I talking about Earth Day?  Nope.  I'm talking about Marijuana appreciation day.  For some reason, and the stories of the how this date came about are as varied as the strains of cannabis, April 20 has become a day to celebrate pot and to protest it's illegal.  All over the country there are groups who participate in this annual event and light up.

Man who Killed Thief is Freed Based on Florida's "Stand Your Ground" Law

A Florida judge has dismissed a murder charge against a man who chased and fatally stabbed a car radio thief in Miami's Little Havana area in January. In the wee hours of the night the accused man discovered two people in his truck stealing his car radio. Alarmed, they ran off. Carrying a knife, he chased one of them. When he caught up with the thief, the thief tried to hit him with a bag containing three stolen car radios, weighing about four to six pounds. The radio owner ducked the blow and mortally stabbed the thief.

Think Your Locked IPhone is Safe? Guess Again.

Police are obtaining court orders requiring Apple and Google to help bypass security passwords to enable them access to a person's cell phone.  According to CNET police officers are using fill-in-the-blanks court orders for judge's to sign to obtain access to a person's cell phone.

GPS Trackers are everywhere!

Ever since GPS trackers entered the retail market, law enforcement has been searching for ways to maneuver it into their criminal and drug crimes investigation arsenal. Over the years, I have had several clients inform me that they have found a mysterious device on their vehicle. After a clear inspection and even a quick Google search of the model number, we are able to positively confirm we found a GPS device. It's amazing to me that law enforcement thought they could legally attach these devices to suspects vehicles and track there every move without violating the individuals constitutional rights. The United States Supreme Court has finally set law the record straight. In US v. Jones, the Court said that the government must get a warrant to put a GPS tracker on citizens' vehicles. The Courts ruling indicated that without a warrant, these devices violate the reasonable expectation of privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. As soon as this happened, law enforcement across the country had to scramble in order to obtain warrants for the active GPS trackers out in the field. The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI alone had to turn off 3,000 GPS trackers. The FBI later retracted and said they were not exactly sure the numbers regarding the GPA trackers. I am not sure what is scarier, the fact that the FBI does not have a clue of the number of trackers or the fact that there are so many active, the agency cannot keep valid numbers. The bottom line is that federal agents and local law enforcement agencies are seriously taking advantage of this GPS technology. We are now starting to see law enforcement attempt to track individuals through the personal handheld devices, such as cell phones. Criminal lawyers across the country will continue to attack the this invasion of privacy.  While a couple of courts are in conflict over this issue, I am confident the courts will make this right with a clear ruling this is a 4th amendment violation.

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