Tampa 813-228-6989 | Orlando 407-808-6750 | En Español 813-390-2494

February 2014 Archives

Can Federal Charges Be Filed Against San Francisco Police Officers?

Federal grand juries have indicted six current and former San Francisco police officers on various charges, including civil rights conspiracy charges. All of the officers were suspended without pay and had their guns taken away. The Police Chief of the San Francisco Police Department, who has worked in the department since 1981, reported that the incident is "as serious as an issue as I can recall in my time in the department."

Can Cold Cases be Solved? Tampa Cold Case Solved After 23 Years

In June 1989, three bodies were found floating in Tampa Bay. All three of the bodies had their hands and feet bound, as well as concrete blocks tied to their necks and duct tape placed over their mouths. These three bodies were identified as a mother, Joan Rogers, and her two daughters. The man who murdered these three people was executed in 2011. Now his DNA has been linked to a cold case.

Court extends warrantless searches in controversial case

In a controversial ruling this week, the United States Supreme Court decided that a warrantless search of a home is lawful even over the objections of the suspect if another lawful occupant later consents and the objecting party is no longer present.

Total of 132 Individuals Arrested In Social Security Fraud

September 11, 2001 was a day that will forever be engrained in our nations minds. It has recently been discovered that this day may have served as more than a tragedy to a large number of individuals. For these individuals, that day was the chance to scheme and take approximately $400 million from the federal government.

A Joke Gone Bad Leaves One In Hospital & One In Custody

Approximately 6 months ago, two men connected through a program called MeetMe.com. The one man, known as A.K., had expressed on his page that he was gay. The other man, Brice Johnson, indicated that he was not gay. The two individuals "connected" through this program and began to communicate. This communication quickly led to a personal meeting and a misunderstanding that turned dangerous and left one man in the hospital for ten days with multiple skull and facial fractures.

Pictures on Instagram Rise to Level of Child Pornography

Instagram is a social media outlet that allows its users to share photos of their personal lives to the world. A tech website recently published that Instagram is growing the fastest of all social media sites worldwide, increasing its active user base by 23% in the last six months. This popular social media site has recently led to a horrifying discovery for two young girls from North Carolina. The parents of these girls were recently notified that their daughter's nude photos were posted on the social media site.

Connecticut Trader Accused of Fraud

"Simply telling a lie does not make you guilty of committing a federal crime." Those were the words of Jesse C. Litvak's attorney, Patrick J. Smith, during opening statements this week. These lies Smith was talking about are the lies that Litvak told his clients regarding the prices of bonds. At what point do lies cross the line into securities fraud?

Illegal Cancer Drugs Result in Federal Charges

The American Cancer Society has estimated that approximately 1,665,540 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2014. With new treatment options available, a majority of these cases will see positive results. But what if the treatment they are receiving is illegal? What if the treatment they are receiving does not meet FDA standards? Two men have been arrested after smuggling these types of illegal drugs into the United States.

Can I be charged as an adult if I am only 17 years old?

Four 17 year old teenagers were charged as adults after they took part in sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl and videotaping the assault. The teenagers then posted the video to their Facebook pages, solidifying their roles in the incident. One of the teenagers, Scandale Fritz, has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced to 26 years in jail as a result.

Should Sentences Be a One-Size-Fits-All Solution?

The United States currently has the world's highest incarceration rate. One of the main contributors to this recognition is the country's mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes and other nonviolent offenses. Mandatory minimum sentences are inflexible binding prison terms of a particular length for people convicted of a particular crime. Unfortunately, these sentences that were originally created as a "one-size-fits-all" solution for sentencing disparities are now coming up short of expectation. Recently, there has been a growing recognition that this approach has not worked for reasons of both fairness of the sentences and the expense of running federal prisons. As a result of this recognition, many people are trying to take action to fix this.

How Much Is Maxim Worth? 20 Years In Prison.

In 2005, a man by the name of Calvin Darden Jr. was arrested and convicted of grand larceny. He had been accused of stealing $11 million that corporate and individual clients had given him to invest as a stockbroker. After serving four years in prison for these charges, he is now facing up to 20 years in prison for new charges. It's alleged that Darden Jr. was willing to defraud $28 million from lenders in order to get his hands on Maxim.

What should I expect if I was caught crossing the border illegally?

If an individual gets caught crossing the border, they are looking a federal charges; even if that individual is a first-time crosser. A program titled Operation Streamline has created a "no tolerance" policy on those that enter this country illegally. But what should be the policy on deciding those individuals' fates once they are in the United States? Is 30 minutes enough time to hear from 70 people and sentence them individually? A federal judge in Tucson, Arizona believes so.

Florida exoneration part of record-setting year nationwide

The exoneration of a Florida man contributed to a record-high number of exonerations nationwide in 2013, with a total of 87 prisoners being released. An exoneration occurs when new evidence comes to light to prove that the person who was convicted for the crime did not commit it. Often an exoneration will take place via DNA evidence but it can happen in all different types of cases. This past year, one-fifth of exonerations were attributed to DNA evidence.

What does it mean to be charged as a co-conspirator?

A ring of co-conspirators were busted last week after running a drug ring that was worth $550 million. One of the doctors involved, Dr. Robert Terdiman, was responsible for writing 18,700 prescriptions worth $90 million alone. The main conspirator, Dr. Kevin Lowe, pocketed approximately $12 million over the past three years, while barely getting his hands dirty.

New Florida crime lab scandal could affect hundreds of cases

In recent years, state-funded and privately run crime labs all over the nation have come under fire due to numerous scandals. The decision whether to convict or set a person accused of criminal wrongdoing free often turns on a piece or pieces of evidence analyzed by a crime lab. Positive DNA evidence, blood alcohol samples and other highly incriminating evidence often inspire the conviction of suspects, even if the rest of their criminal defense suggests that they had little or nothing to do with the criminal acts in question.

Five Year Old Dies After Being Punished By Parents

Five-year old Alexa Linboom, was punished on January 1, 2012, after she stole one of her step-mother's grape sodas. This punishment resulted in her death. The young girl's body became water-intoxicated, causing her brain to swell and all of her systems to shut down. Both her biological father and step-mother are being charged with first-degree murder and are each being help in lieu of $500,000 bond in the Hawkins County case.

Army Faces Biggest Fraud Investigation in History

The Army is facing one of the largest criminal investigations in the history of its existence. Currently more than 800 soldiers are under criminal investigation for gaming a National Guard program that paid hundreds of millions in bonuses to soldiers. A program that was originally started in 2005 to help bolster its recruiting ranks was shut down in 2012 after reports and audits turned up evidence of potential fraud. The total amount of the fraudulent payments is unknown, but can be estimated in the tens of millions.

Tips From Insider Lead to Arrest of 22

Twenty-two people from across Miami-Dade County were arrested and charged in a fraud scheme that cheated insurance companies out of $7.6 million. The scheme involved setting homeowner's houses on fire or causing severe water damage to them by creating a flood on the property. This scheme has been going on since November 2006 and has involved approximately 17 different homes.

Attorney Faces Charge of Murder Conspiracy After Trying to Have Informant Killed

After practicing law for 40 years in North Dakota, Henry Howe had his law license suspended in an emergency action this past Friday. The North Dakota Supreme Court suspended his license and stated in it's decision that "sufficient information exists that Howe poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public because of the facts attested in the affidavit evidence a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice by murdering a witness." Howe has been charged in Walsh County with murder conspiracy.

Don't Always Believe What You Hear, Even If It Comes From a Christian Radio Show

Two men are arrested in Tampa after defrauding 38 people of $6 million. One of the men was the former host of a Saturday morning Christian radio show called "It's God's Money," and the other was an accountant. Both men attracted their victims through their lines of work.

Man Will Be Sentenced To 22 Years After Holding Victim As Sex Slave

Raul Ochoa, 52, was arrested in August 2012, after his 27-year-old relative escaped from a shed in his backyard. The relative had been held captive at Ochoa's residence for the past ten years. Ochoa will be formally sentenced to 22 years in state prison February 11.

Mark J. O'Brien's cases have been featured in:
The New York Times | The Miami Herald | Bay News 9 | abc 7 | The Boston Globe | USA Today | Tampa Bay Times | FOX News Channel | The Washington Post | abc Good Morning America | Chicago Tribune | NT News Talk Florida | St. Petersburg Times | Deadspin
“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
  • Former Partner at the Law Firm of Adams and Diaco (Robert Adams and Stephen Diaco)
  • MJ (Todd Schnitt) Morning Show/Bubba the Love Sponge Clem Trial
  • Attorney Phil Campbell DUI Setup/Florida Bar Trial
More Testimonials
American Association for Justice National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers | NACDL 1958 Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers | FACDL Super Lawyers AVVO | See Reviews LC | Lead Counsel Rated g+ | See Reviews
Best Criminal
Defense Lawyers
in Orlando