| Read Time: 2 minutes | Federal Crimes

COVID-19 and Getting Out of Prison

Many things are lacking in Florida’s correctional system, but maybe none more glaring right now than there is no mechanism to release non-violent offenders who are at high risk of developing complications due to COVID-19.  Currently, there is no way for an attorney to request judicial screening for a just and humane amendment to a sentence, and no way for even the prison to request a judge review a prison term and determine if release is appropriate.   The Federal government through the First Step Act which allows for compassionate release in certain circumstances.  In fact, Attorney General William Barr has directed the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to review inmate records to determine if they are at a higher risk of developing complications due to COVID-19.  The First Step Acts even allows for an inmate’s attorney to request the sentencing judge to decide if releasing someone from prison and placed on home confinement or supervised release is appropriate. The need for the Florida Legislature to add a provision for compassionate release is clearly seen by reviewing the statistics of the virus.  As of April 12, there are 44 Department of Correction employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 36 inmates have tested positive as well.  While this number may not seem large, we know that this virus is highly contagious, and these numbers will only increase. Inmates who have an underlying medical condition that make them susceptible to complications should have their sentence review by DOC and the sentencing Judges.   The Center for Disease Control has states that certain groups are at a higher risk for severe illness if they contact COVID-19.  These Non-violent inmates with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or pulmonary issues do not all need to be put as risk of developing complications from COVID-19.  The Florida legislature needs to act. I do not envy the situation that our government is in currently.  Speaking specifically about our state inmates this really is a no-win situation.  The prisons were not designed to treat massive amounts of people who may become ill due to a new virus.  The idea of social distancing in a prison setting is laughable. Public perception of releasing inmates is never popular. However, the government is in charge of these human beings, many of them vulnerable. The government owes it to the people they oversee to ensure their health.  To quote Attorney General Barr, “The mission of BOP (Bureau of Prisons) is to administer the lawful punishments that our justice system imposes. Executing that mission imposes on us a profound obligation to protect the health and safety of all inmates.”

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Criminal Defense

Guess We are All in this Together

The coronavirus or COVID-19 is affecting everyone. Restaurants and stores are shutting down and more are sure to be closing soon. Many government functions are being suspended including many court events. However, you know what isn’t being suspended? People are being arrested. Now more than ever it is extremely scary to be arrested with the fear of being stuck in jail during this pandemic. The Courts are still hearing “essential court proceeding” and the attorneys at Moses and Rooth are here to assist. Critical hearings are deemed to be first appearances, criminal arraignments as necessary, hearings on motion to set and modify bonds for people in custody. There are also hearings on juvenile delinquency detentions. The courts are also hearing situations involving this health emergency. Hearings are happening for violation of quarantine or isolation, violation of order limiting travel, violations of curfew, and violations for failure to close public or private buildings. Certain arrests require a hearing before a judge who can then set conditions of release. These crimes includes domestic violence cases, punishable by life cases, and other cases involving victims. It is important as ever to make sure that you have representation at that initial appearance to assist with the potential release from custody. Even during these crazy times you can turn to Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law to assist you in this ever changing environment. Call at any time at 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

What Is a Tortfeasor?

If you’ve been injured in any type of accident and are pursuing an insurance claim, one question that you’ll have to answer that will be asked by the insurance company is that of who the tortfeasor is in your claim. This word, along with other legal jargon, may not be one that you’re familiar with. At the law offices of Moses & Rooth, our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you to navigate the law and make sense of complicated terms and rules. Here’s what you need to know about the word “tortfeasor” and its implications in a personal injury claim– What Is a Tortfeasor? One of the best definitions for the word tortfeasor comes from the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School. According to this source, a tortfeasor is simply one who commits a tort. So, what’s a tort? A tort is an act or an omission that causes harm or injury to another and amounts to a civil wrong. As a result, the courts can impose liability.  There are three types of torts: strict liability torts, negligence torts, and intentional torts. Most injury cases deal with negligence torts. To sum it up, a tortfeasor is a party who causes harm to another by committing a tort.  Why Does It Matter? If a party breaches the duty of care owed to another and harm to the latter results, the former party has committed a tort and can be held liable for the harm. However, in order to prove liability and recover damages, the injured party will need to prove the details of the tort. Namely, the following four elements must be established: the tortfeasor owed a duty of care to the plaintiff; the tortfeasor breached the duty of care; the breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of harm; and the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.  An insurance company will ask who the tortfeasor is in a claim because they need to know who breached the duty of care, the details of that breach, and who should be held liable. Someone who does not commit a tort cannot be held liable for the damages to another.  Other Important Parties in a Personal Injury Claim In addition to the word tortfeasor–which, remember, is the person who commits the tort (civil wrong)–other important terms to know are: Plaintiff – the party who is bringing forth a lawsuit Defendant – the party against whom a civil action is being filed (i.e. the tortfeasor). 

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Gun Laws

Florida Police Have Confiscated Thousands of Guns

In response to multiple mass shootings across the country, many states have enacted red flag gun laws. Red flag gun laws allow specific individuals to petition the court to remove a family member or roommate’s legally owned guns or other weapons. Red flag gun laws are intended to prevent people with mental disorders or violent instincts from accessing weapons to commit a crime.  If you have been charged with a violent crime in Orlando, Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law can help. Our attorneys have extensive experience successfully representing clients, and we can do the same for you. Contact our Orlando criminal defense law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.   Florida’s Red Flag Gun Law  The Florida legislature passed its own red flag gun law after the Parkland high school shooting that took place in 2018. The red flag gun law allows specific individuals to petition the court for risk protection orders. A judge will evaluate whether the defendant is a safety risk to him or herself or others. If so, the judge will order law enforcement officers to confiscate the at-risk individual’s guns.  Thousands of Florida Residents Have Been Ordered to Surrender Their Firearms According to the Tampa Bay Times, since Florida enacted its red flag gun law, Florida courts have ordered 2,654 residents to surrender their guns and ammunition. These individuals are also prohibited from purchasing or owning a firearm for up to a year. The exact number of confiscated guns is not yet known to the public. Some gun owners only hold one weapon while others, like a man from Pinellas, turn in as 57 weapons. Florida police officers may have seized as many as 18,000 firearms so far.  Concerns Regarding Florida’s Red Flag Gun Law Since the enactment of the law, Florida judges have ordered the confiscation of a resident’s weapons an average of five times a day. To issue the risk protection order, a judge must determine that clear and convincing evidence that the individual is a danger to him or herself or others exists. There is some concern that disgruntled ex-spouses or partners could call and falsely report another person’s dangerous behavior.  What Happens to a Weapon that the Police Confiscate? Typically, police officers hold confiscated weapons in a vault until the time comes to return them. In some instances, an individual can transfer gun ownership to a family member, friend, or anyone else who is willing to hold them who undergo a background check.  Can I Take an Attorney to My Hearing? Yes, we recommend working with a skilled attorney during your hearing. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, our attorneys have the skills and experience needed to represent you at a temporary risk order protection hearing assertively. We will advocate on your behalf and cross-examine any witnesses against you. Schedule your free initial consultation by contacting our Orlando criminal defense law firm today. Call 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Violent Crimes

Florida State University Law Processor’s Murder Goes to Trial

In 2014, Daniel Markel, a law professor at Florida State University, was murdered. Prosecutors blame Markel’s ex-wife for his death, but only the hitman who committed the murder and his girlfriend will stand trial. The case went to trial in early October. After a trial that lasted only one day, the jury ruled to sentence Sigfredo Garcia for first-degree murder. The jury reached its decision within 30 minutes, perhaps due to the grisly execution-style murder. The prosecution argued that the jury should impose the death penalty, however the jury imposed a lifetime prison sentence instead. Hitman’s Girlfriend Will Likely Face Charges Next During the trial it was presented that in July 2014, the defendant traveled from Miami to Tallahassee with another man with the attempt to kill Markel. When he arrived at the law professor’s home, he murdered Markel execution-style in his Tallahassee garage. Prosecutors will attempt to charge the hitman’s former girlfriend for hiring him to kill Markel.  During the trial, the defendant claimed that the other man in the car fired the gun, killing Markel. The second man in the car, Riveria, is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence for second-degree murder. Riveria pled to a lessor charge of second-degree murder charge in exchange for testifying against the defendant and his girlfriend.  This case becomes even more complicated when it comes to who financed the murder-for-hire. Allegedly, the victim’s ex-in-laws spent $100,000 to fund it. Markel and his ex-wife underwent a bitter divorce. Before his death, Markel reportedly asked a Florida family court to stop his ex-wife’s mother from having unsupervised time with her grandchildren. The grandmother allegedly made disparaging remarks about Markel to his children. Prosecutors have not yet charged Markel’s in-laws for allegedly hiring the murderer of their ex-son-in-law.  Orlando, Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys  If you are facing a serious felony charge in Florida such as murder, rape, or burglary, it is wise to seek the legal help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing individuals accused of the following violent crimes: Assault Battery Possession of firearms Attempted murder In Florida, the conviction of a violent crime can result in serious fines, prison sentences, and a permanent criminal record. When a criminal conviction becomes part of your criminal record, you may have difficulty finding employment. You could be prohibited from working in specific employment fields. Furthermore, criminal convictions for violent crimes often come with a negative social stigma.  Fighting your criminal conviction is extremely important. That is why Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law work so hard to fight for our client’s right to a fair trial. We understand all of the common tactics used by Florida prosecutors and know how to combat them throughout the criminal process. Contact our Orlando criminal defense law firm today to schedule your free consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Firearm Crimes

Florida Residents Push for Stricter Gun Law

Florida gun control advocates are pushing local legislatures to ban semiautomatic rifles with high-capacity magazines. Passing a ban on semiautomatic rifles is an ambitious plan, especially in a Republican-controlled state senate. Survivors and relatives of those killed in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and victims of the 2018 Parkland High School shooting are advocating for the political movement. Gun control advocates will seek to propose an amendment to the Florida constitution on the 2020 ballot.  Ban Assault Weapons Now is Behind Proposed Amendment Proponents of the semi-automatic weapon ban have formed a political committee called Ban Assault Weapons Now. The group has some bipartisan support. Al Hoffman, a Republican donor has already contributed $260,000 to the campaign. The group needs to gather the required amount of signatures to propose an amendment to the Florida constitution on the 2020 ballot. If the committee does acquire an adequate amount of signatures, the Florida Supreme Court must approve the language of the ballot proposition. The Ban Assault Weapons Now committee contends that many of the United States’ deadliest mass shooters have used semi automatic rifles. The Parkland shooter and the Las Vegas shooter, who killed 58 people, both used semi automatic rifles in their attacks.  Opponents of the Proposed Constitutional Amendment The National Rifle Association (NRA) is opposed to the proposed amendment. One of the NRA’s most powerful lobbyists, Marion Hammer, lives in Florida. Further, Florida law has always been comparatively lax when it comes to gun restrictions. Some Florida Republicans are also opposed to outlawing semi automatic rifles. Republican Representative James Grant stated that the proposed amendment’s language is so broad that it could outlaw sporting guns in Florida.  What Types of Weapons Would the Proposed Amendment Ban? The Ban Assault Weapons Now committee is seeking to ban sales of all new semiautomatic rifles and shotguns that are capable of holding over 10 rounds of ammunition in a detached or fixed magazine. The language of the proposed ban would target AR-15s and AK-46s. Most of these two kinds of popular rifles come with 30 round magazines. Some of the mass killers used semi automatic rifles with 100-round magazines. Does the Committee Have the Support of the Voters? The committee has only collected 106,000 signatures so far and needs a total of 766,000. A recent poll found that 59% of Florida voters supported a ban on assault weapons. Under Florida law, a constitutional amendment requires 60% voter support in order to pass. If You are Facing a Gun-Related Criminal Charge in Florida, We can Help If you are facing a gun-related criminal charge in Orlando, we can help. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we have successfully defended many clients in guns or weapons-related charges. We know how to assertively defend our clients throughout the entire legal process. Contact our Orlando criminal defense law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Firearm Crimes

Florida Law Enforcement Officers Attempt to Preemptively Find Potential Mass Shooters

The devastating mass shootings that have occurred across the United States have spurred citizens to unite and urge their lawmakers to find solutions. Gun reform activists are using their collective voice to push for tougher gun laws.  National retailers are taking steps and banning certain sales of guns and ammo. Several states are promoting legislation that creates more restrictions on the purchase of guns. In addition, law enforcement officers in Florida are also trying to combat mass shootings.  They have come up with an idea – but the question is – at what cost? Law enforcement officers in Florida want to try to predict mass shooters before they act to commit their attacks. Police arrested a Florida teenager after he allegedly posted an online comment that he would use his father’s gun to kill people at his school. How Will the Police Attempt to Identify Potential Mass Shooters? Florida law enforcement agencies will train law enforcement officials to predict mass shooters before they take action. Agencies are attempting to create a statewide alert system that recognizes potential threats. In order for the system to work medical providers, the public, local governments, and police all would share information. A law enforcement official recently requested $24 million over a five year period to upgrade the agency’s record system. He also requested an extra $3.6 million for additional software and to hire more crime analysts. Potential Problems With the Proposed Alert System Senator Janet Cruz of Tampa recently stated that the panel is nothing more than an excuse to spend tens of thousands of dollars. She also expressed concerns that the program could lead to racial profiling. Others argue that the program will ultimately infringe on the rights of innocent Florida residents in its attempt to identify potential criminal defendants. Some have compared the program to the “see something, say something” campaign after the September 11th attacks. The program could lead people to falsely report their neighbors. Critics argue that creating and maintaining lists of potential terrorist suspects could be used to unlawfully profile citizens who are residents, violating their right to privacy. Could the New Program Work? Proponents of the new system state that the program could have stopped the Florida man who shot six women, killing two of them at a yoga studio in Tallahassee two years ago. The shooter had been fired from jobs as a substitute teacher. Others had accused the man of hating women. He planned the attack several months in advance and purchased a weapon and 100 rounds.  In this case, police would have likely learned about him, proponents of the system say. It is unclear how exactly the program would have stopped him. Perhaps reports of him being fired would have triggered a red flag warning.  Would the system catch the Las Vegas shooter? He did not interact with the police at all and had no other apparent red flags. He did purchase a large amount of military-style rifles and at least 6,000 rounds of ammunition. State law prohibits state agencies from maintaining a list of residents who legally own firearms. We can Help If you have been accused of a crime in Florida, Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law can help. We have successfully represented many clients in  Orlando criminal defense cases. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Internet Crimes

Florida Police Arrest 23 Child Predator Suspects

At the end of September, Florida law enforcement officials arrested 23 suspected child predators and human traffickers. The arrests came after the police engaged in a four-day sting operation. During the sting operation, the officers used popular online phone applications to pretend to be underage children. Police officers called the sting operation “Operation Intercept VII.” Law enforcement officers arrested 23 suspects ranging in age from 21 to 77.  How Did Law Enforcement Officers Discover the Alleged Predators? The law enforcement officials involved set several snares to catch alleged child predators. The officers set up online advertisements, profiles on popular applications, and profiles on social media websites. The alleged child predators responded to the advertisements and social media profiles. One suspect sent over 90 sexually explicit photographs to the detective on the other end of the snare.  The detectives behind the operation sent the alleged sexual predators their addresses. Several of the suspects brought condoms with them to the meet-up. One suspect brought candy and another brought a sex-toy.  Parents Should be Extremely Careful When it Comes to Online Access A Florida sheriff’s office has warned parents about the dangers of online application usage. In a recent statement, he reminded parents that they are the first defense between their innocent children and sexual predators. Some of the following applications as the most dangerous for young adults and children: Kik Snapchat Ask.fm Whisper Blendr WhatsApp GroupMe Chatous Zoosk Plenty of Fish Grindr Bumble TikTok When teenagers are more technologically savvy than their parents, they may be able to successfully hide dangerous application usage. Nonetheless, there are several applications that parents can use to block apps known to be dangerous. It can be challenging to protect children from online predators.  Traveling With the Intent of Having Sex With a Child Florida law enforcement officers have arrested all 23 suspects for traveling with the intent of having sex with a child.  Florida Statute 847.0135(4) makes it illegal to travel any distance within, from, or to Florida “for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct with an after having used an online service or electronic device to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice the child to engage in unlawful sexual conduct.”  In many instances, prosecutors who charge a defendant with traveling with the intent of having sex with a child also charge the defendant with the crime of soliciting a child for unlawful sex through a computer. It is important to understand that suspects cannot make the defense that a law enforcement agent was undercover, pretending to be a child. Law enforcement officers are free to pose as a child or child’s parent during the undercover investigation.  Another undercover investigation technique that cannot be raised as a defense is known as the “bait-and-switch.” This occurs when the law enforcement officer begins the conversation by proposing to engage in lawful sexual behavior. But the undercover officer then quickly changes the conversation from having a legal sexual relationship to an unlawful sexual encounter with a minor child. In Florida, those convicted face up to 15 years in jail, 15 years probation and up to a $10,000 fine. If you are facing a criminal charge of Traveling to Meet a Minor to commit an Unlawful Sex Act, we can help. Our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys can skillfully advocate on your behalf.  Contact our law office today to set up your free initial consultation. 

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Firearm Crimes

Florida’s Red Flag Gun Law: What You Need to Know

Red flag gun laws have gained wide publicity in light of recent mass shooting events around the country. Red flag gun laws allow state courts to order the confiscation of guns from individuals the court deems to be a risk. President Trump recently called for a federal red flag law. Currently 17 states, including Florida, have passed red flag gun laws. Red flag laws are triggered when a person is a threat to themselves or others. Florida’s Red Flag Gun Law Florida Statute 790.401 was passed by the Florida legislature in response to the devastating 2018 Parkland school shooting. The law allows law enforcement officials and advocates to seek “risk protection orders” when they or anyone close to the person notices red flags that an individual poses a threat of harm him or herself.  The court receives an emergency request to temporarily prevent the at-risk individual access to guns. After reviewing the submission, Florida judges can order the confiscation of guns from the at-risk person.  Since the enactment of the law, Florida judges have signed off on 2,434 risk protection orders. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which oversees gun licensing reports that 595 of these orders involved licensed Florida gun owners. Courts ordered a suspension of those resident’s gun licenses. Advocates or law enforcement can request that a judge have someone’s weapons removed for 14 days. After a full hearing, a judge can extend the order to up to a year at a time.  Criminal Gun-Related Charges in Florida Due to the complexity of some of Florida’s gun and weapons laws, many Florida residents may be violating a gun law without knowing it. The most commonly enforced criminal gun-related charges in Florida are the following: Allowing a minor (under the age of 16) access to a loaded firearm Possession of a firearm by a person who is a convicted felon Dischargement or possession of a weapon at any event sponsored by a school Improper exhibition of any dangerous weapon Carrying or concealing a firearm without a license to do so The penalties for conviction of a gun-related crime in Florida depend on the degree of the crime and other factors. For example, carrying a firearm without a license is a third-degree felony. Those convicted could face up to five years in prison, up to $5,000 in fines, or up to five years of probation.  Orlando Criminal Gun Charges Defense Attorneys If you are facing a gun-related charge in Florida, it is vital to secure skilled legal representation. Florida’s weapon enhancement charge can result in a 10 to 25-year minimum prison sentence. Hiring attorneys who will fight assertively on your behalf is essential. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, our skilled Orlando criminal defense attorneys can help you fight your criminal charges. Contact our law office today to schedule your free initial consultation. At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, our attorneys have experience representing clients against all gun-related criminal charges.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Theft

Criminal Activity During Florida Hurricanes

In the last five years, Florida residents have experienced severe hurricane seasons. Nearly every summer, Florida residents worry about evacuations and making their homes hurricane proof. In addition to worrying about physical safety, Florida residents also worry about hurricane looting and theft. While Hurricane Dorian descended on the eastern United States, the police were out in large numbers in an attempt to prevent looting and theft.   Experienced Florida Defense Attorneys At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we represent defendants in criminal matters throughout Orlando and the surrounding areas. If you have been charged with a burglary or theft crime, we can help. The penalties for looting or committing theft during a state of emergency are more severe than in normal circumstances. Contact our Central Florida criminal defense law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.  Those Who Commit Crimes During a State of Emergency Face Enhanced Penalties Police have already arrested several residents for looting and theft during Hurricane Dorian. Police found three men stealing sandbags from a construction site. Many Florida police officers patrol Florida streets during evacuations. The Volusia County Sheriff’s office issued many warnings that prosecutors pursue enhanced penalties for crimes committed during a state of emergency. When the Florida governor declares a state of emergency, theft crimes may become classified as one degree higher in severity. If someone commits a second-degree grand theft crime, they will face a first-degree charge of grand theft. Defendants only face enhanced charges when the state of emergency facilitated their crime. In other words, the state of emergency must give the defendant the opportunity to commit the crime. If someone knows that houses in his or her neighborhood because of evacuation and breaks into those houses because they are empty, the state of emergency facilitated his crime. In this case, the defendant could face an enhanced criminal charge and sentence. Categories of Florida Theft Crimes Florida criminal laws separate theft crimes into two categories — petit theft and grand theft. Florida defines theft as taking the property of another person with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive that person of the right to the property or appropriate the property. Petit theft is the unlawful taking of any property valued at less than $750. Petit theft of the second degree requires that the defendant take property worth less than $100.  Defendants convicted of petit theft of the second degree may receive penalties any combination of six months in jail, a fine of $500 or six months of probation. If the defendant had a prior theft conviction or take property valued between $100 and $750, he or she may face a year in jail, a year of probation, or a fine of up to $1,000. Florida divides grand theft into three different degrees. A charge of grand theft of the first degree is extremely serious. The sentence for this crime can include a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 30 years.  If You are Facing a Florida Theft Crime Charge, We can Help Facing a theft crime charge is serious, especially if the alleged crime occurred during a state of emergency. Our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys can skillfully advocate on your behalf. Contact our law office today to set up your free initial consultation.

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