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Florida Criminal Defense Law Blog

Did A.G. Sessions ask for permission to go after medical marijuana providers?

In a post last week, our blog discussed how U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to adopt increasingly hard-line approaches to crime, suggesting that his tenure as the nation's top cop will be nothing short of controversial.

Interestingly enough, while Sessions has wasted little time articulating his vision for combating violent crime, he has heretofore said very little about the course the Department of Justice will take concerning drug crime. In particular, he has said little about marijuana, a drug he has long taken a dim view of and the medicinal value of which he has questioned.

Feds using lie detectors in parole despite scientific invalidity

The federal justice system still uses polygraphs to test whether certain sex offenders are remorseful, even though the polygraph has been found scientifically unsound. Moreover, the test may actually encourage nondisclosure and inhibit treatment.

An assistant U.S. Attorney has asked a federal court to order “therapeutic polygraph” tests for a sex offender as part of his five-year conditional release period. The man was convicted of possessing over 6,000 photos and videos considered to be child pornography. He has served his 18-month sentence and has already been ordered to engage in regular therapy as one of the conditions. His therapist testified the defendant was “forthcoming and engaged.”

A.G. Sessions identifies another major priority for DOJ going forward

In the months since his appointment as the nation's top cop, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has firmly established that the Department of Justice, under his direction, will be changing its priorities and implementing a "tough on crime" approach in the coming years.

Indeed, our blog has outlined in previous posts how Sessions has already made it clear to federal prosecutors through a series of memos that their priorities going forward are to combat violent crime, and "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense(s)." 

Is SCOTUS going to reach new ground in Fourth Amendment cellphone data case?

Two years, ago the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a groundbreaking decision in Riley v. California, holding that law enforcement officials must secure a warrant prior to undertaking a search of a cellphone seized during an arrest.

SCOTUS is now poised to decide another important case examining the complex interplay of privacy rights in the modern digital era and the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, it officially granted a petition for a writ of certiorari last Monday in Carpenter v. U.S.

Shoplifting in Florida can cause serious criminal consequences

Theft can be a very serious crime, depending on the value of the allegedly stolen items. Florida has a lot of laws on the books that deal with theft, and shoplifting is covered by specific laws targeting retail theft. Generally speaking, the charges a person will face after shoplifting will vary, depending on the amount of merchandise and whether that person has a previous criminal record involving theft or shoplifting.

Unfortunately for consumers, retail theft laws are incredibly vague. That could result in innocent people getting charged with a crime over a small mistake. Maybe you were checking out after shopping and forgot about the large item underneath your cart. Maybe your purse or diaper bag was in your cart and something fell into it while you were selecting items. Either of these scenarios could result in criminal shoplifting charges if the store's loss prevention or management teams becomes involved. It can be terrifying to get stopped on the way out of a store and accused of a crime like shoplifting.

DOJ announces record $3.5 billion-plus fine under FCPA

In a series of ongoing posts, our blog has been discussing the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act -- or FCPA -- the landmark legislation passed by Congress back in 1977 to address corruption in the global marketplace. In particular, we've been focusing on its anti- bribery provisions.

To recap, the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA essentially prohibit issuers, domestic concerns and other designated parties from making offers of payments, actual payments, or promises to make payments to foreign officials as a means of 1) influencing any act or decision taken in an official capacity, or 2) securing or retaining business. 

If you're facing extradition, you need a defense attorney now

People travel all of the time for both business and pleasure. The more you travel, the less likely you are to carefully investigate laws and cultural issues at a destination. After all, if you immersed yourself in the culture of every place you traveled, it could be overwhelming. Failing to do so, however, can have consequences.

You may have unintentionally violated a law in another country or you may simply get accused of doing so. When that happens, you could end up in a perilous legal situation. If a foreign country decides to charge you with a crime, you could face extradition from the United States.

Your teen facing criminal charges needs a defense attorney

Maybe it was a prank that resulted in trespassing or property damage charges. Maybe it was a high school fight that resulted in injuries and then criminal charges. Maybe it was a youthful mistake involving drugs or alcohol at a party. Whatever the reason, when your teenager is facing criminal charges in Florida, you need to take it seriously.

Pleading guilty to an offense could cause a wide range of issues for your child in the future. Depending on the charges, it could impact getting into college, finding a job, securing housing and many other aspects of adult life.

Why are so many speaking out against the Back the Blue Act? - II

Last week, our blog began discussing how many people might have missed the recent introduction of a new tough-on-crime bill by federal lawmakers -- one that could significantly alter the criminal law landscape -- thanks to everything taking place on Capitol Hill. 

Specifically, we started discussing the Back the Blue Act of 2017, a measure calling for the creation of a host of new federal charges that could conceivably be brought against anyone who harms a judge, first responder, federal agent, or local law enforcement officer working for an agency receiving federal funds.

Why are so many speaking out against the Back the Blue Act?

Given everything that has transpired in the halls of Congress over the last several months, it has been somewhat difficult keeping track of seemingly more mundane matters, including the drafting, debate and passage of legislation.

Indeed, amid all of the coverage surrounding everything from health care and the budget to congressional investigations and hearings, there has been relatively little reporting on a tough-on-crime bill that, if passed, could drastically alter the legal landscape as it relates to crimes against the law enforcement community.

Mark J. O'Brien's cases have been featured in:
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“Mark, thank you for everything. I will forever be indebted to you. You have stood by me and believed in me when it was not the popular thing to do. You are an amazing advocate.”
- Adam Filthaut
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