From 2004-2009 there were only two convictions for video voyeurism in Orange County, Florida; by 2014 the number raised to 10.  Increased use of smartphones with photo and video capabilities as well as the commercial availability of small digital cameras attribute to the rise in numbers.  Intentionally filming someone when they have the reasonable expectation of privacy may result in charges of video voyeurism.

Florida Statute §810.145 defines video voyeurism as:  When a person for his or her own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing another person, intentionally uses or installs an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or record a person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, who is dressing, undressing, or privately exposing the body, at a place and time when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Video voyeurism can be easy to prove due to technological advances and video evidence. If you are accused of video voyeurism in Central Florida it is imperative that you do not allow law enforcement to search your cell phone without a warrant and to hire a criminal defense attorney.
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A fingerprinting expert for the Orange County Sherriff’s Department has been under internal investigation since October 2016, even though the State Attorney’s Office of Orange and Osceola County are just now finding out about it. An 18-year veteran fingerprinting expert, Marco Palacio, was said to be “sloppy” when performing his work and has been removed from his position.

Over the weekend, Employees at the Orange County Sherriff’s Department worked to identify cases in which Palacio was listed as a witness; by midday Monday, there were 2,640 –  of which 130 are still active cases. Now, the State Attorney’s Office is sending letters to Orlando-area defense attorneys informing them of the possibility of harm to their clients from fingerprinting mistakes made by Palacio. However, the State Attorney’s Office will not be determining whether anyone was wronging convicted or jailed because of possible error in fingerprinting analysis. That burden is shifted to the defense attorneys on those cases, whether from the Public Defender’s office or privately hired.

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
-Nelson Mandela

Amanda M. Kennedy*

I.    Introduction
During the 2014-2015 school year, more than 2,000 children between the ages of five and ten years old were arrested for behavioral problems in Florida.  Legal experts say scenes of children being handcuffed inside classrooms play out too often in Central Florida. On May 21, 2015 Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 378 2015 which took effect October 1st, 2015. The bill expanded juvenile civil citation by allowing law enforcement officers to issue a civil citation or participation in a similar diversion program to youth who have committed up to three misdemeanors.  Furthermore, the bill also stated that if an arrest is made, law enforcement must provide written documentation as to why the arrest is warranted.

The purpose of this note is to understand the criminalization of our children that is happening in our schools, to consider the changes made to Florida Statute § 985.12 by way of Senate Bill 378, and to propose additional changes that can be implemented to help combat the prison pipeline issue. Part I discusses what is happening in the schools and the alarming arrest rates of young children. Part II examines the effects that arrests have on young children emotionally and educationally. Part III discusses the original Florida Statute Prior to Senate Bill 378. Part IV identifies the specific amendments to the statute and discusses the positive effects of Senate Bill 378. Part V discusses the original approach to delinquency in the schools: “zero tolerance” policies. Lastly, Part VI discusses additional changes that could be made to legislation in order to combat the issue of excessive arrests in schools in the State of Florida and nationwide.  Although the recent change in legislation is a step in the right direction, it does not completely resolve the issue of an egregious amount of child arrests within Florida schools and across our nation. Was Senate Bill 378 the solution, or just the first step in the right direction of educating our children instead of criminalizing them

I.    The Issue: Alarming Arrest Rates
Over 2,000 children were arrested during the 2014-2015 school year, for behavioral problems. The more shocking numbers are the ages of those 2,000 arrests; Orange County, Florida leads the state of Florida in child arrests between the ages of five and ten. “Florida A&M University, Dean LeRoy Pernell, says ‘according to the Department of Juvenile Justice, the bulk of arrests of five and ten-year-olds were not for serious crimes like murder or arson.’” “Maybe fist fights, dress code violations, talking back; conduct that is basically viewed as insubordinate.” The problem is Central Florida schools offer more police officers in hallways than behavioral tutors or counselors — officers whose only tool is to make an arrest. Continue reading

A few significant rights are taken away from a person once he or she has committed a felony. Specifically, in Florida, “a convicted felon is not allowed to vote, serve on a jury, or hold public office until civil rights have been restored.” In addition, the convicted felon is no longer allowed to possess a firearm. While taking away civil rights from a convicted felon may seem like additional, yet justified punishment, some criminals do not have the desire to remain criminals for the rest of their lives. Some people have a change of heart or an epiphany, realizing they need to get their lives together. But, how can you have the mindset of wanting to become a law abiding citizen if you’re not treated as such? Well, there is some hope within this dreadful circumstance. A felon may have his or her rights restored and in essence become a regular citizen again. Usually, they will need a criminal defense attorney to help them through the process. Continue reading

It’s important to know what happens and what consequences one may face when being accused of insurance fraud in Florida. Although insurance fraud doesn’t seem as heinous as murder or burglary, it is still a crime that can result in a prison sentence of quite a few years. Insurance fraud is not a rare crime either. According to the Division of Insurance Fraud’s annual report, there was a total of 17,392 suspected fraud referrals and the court ordered a total of $51,203,744.42 in restitution in the 2014-2015 fiscal year; that includes health, vehicle, PIP and home insurance fraud, just to name a few. How exactly does insurance fraud affect others? I mean, if you didn’t do the crime, then you have no worries, right? Well, unfortunately this line of thinking is false. When insurance companies are forced to pay out millions of dollars for false claims, insurance premiums can go up. So, if the criminals are attacking the insurance company’s pockets, they are in the long run affecting yours as well.

Legal Definition of Insurance Fraud in Florida

So, what exactly is the legal definition of insurance fraud in Florida? Florida statute 817.234 gives the precise and detailed definition, but insurance fraud is essentially when a person knowingly presents false or misleading information to an insurance company with the intent to defraud or deceive the company. Examples would be a doctor giving a statement that exaggerates on the injuries a patient sustained in an auto accident or a doctor excessively charging the insurance company for services. While doctors found guilty of insurance fraud face the risk of losing their license to practice for about 5 years, a person participating in staging an auto accident could face a minimum of 2 years in prison. Continue reading

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The United States Supreme Court can overrule all other courts including Florida courts. On June 20, 2016, they said if a police officer stops you illegally and you have an outstanding warrant for which you are arrested, the evidence (in this case drugs) they find on you can be used against you on the new charge. So, not only do you need to deal with the outstanding warrant, but you will also need to deal with the new criminal charge.

The Fourth Amendment provides “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . ..” Utah v. Strieff, 136 S. Ct. 2056, 2060. The meaning of this right after Utah v. Strieff was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States on June 20, 2016, is questioned by some. Does this ruling erode citizens’ right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures?
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Recently named as one of the top ten emerging legal issues in February, 2016, Internet crimes and the affirmative defense of entrapment, has become one of the most hotly contested legal contests in the 21st century.  As violent crime and crimes against persons and property are dropping all over the Nation, internet crimes have seen a dramatic spike in both arrests and convictions in almost every State and Federal Court system. The most common of these internet crimes involve adults being caught in police “sting” operations, where undercover police officers pretend to be someone they are not, usually an underage boy or girl, to engage in sexual conversation or the exchange or proposed exchange of sexually explicit photographs of children under the age of eighteen. These crimes are very serious in nature, and in the event of conviction, may label an individual a sexual offender or sexual predator for the rest of their lives.

Police Troll Chat Rooms

The police will troll chat rooms and other public or semi-public forums looking for individuals seeking to meet or talk with others of similar interests. Sometimes those individuals are looking for illegal materials or to engage in sexually explicit discussions with minors, or those pretending to me minors. Other times, these conversations lead to a person traveling some distance to meet an alleged minor at a “trap” house, which then results in their arrest for felony charges.

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