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March 2014 Archives

When can my attorney be found to have a conflict of interest?

Cody Dials is charged with first-degree murder in the death of David Rhea, 39, a commercial fisherman who lived in Pinellas Park. Recently, a gun that may have been used in the killing was discovered. The finding of this gun is bittersweet: it gave the prosecution a possible murder weapon, but it gave Cody Dials' attorney a possible conflict of interest.

What Is Medicare Fraud?

Pharmacy fraud has become a rampant problem across the state of Florida as drug traffickers conspire with doctors and patients to cheat the Medicare system. The individuals involved have become more organized and have taken a systematic approach to stealing money from Medicare. In total, the country is continuing to lose as much as $60 billion to $90 billion a year to Medicare fraud.

Florida man sues for wrongful arrest

A Florida man is suing a local police department for emotional distress and legal costs after he spent 15 hours in jail following his arrest for videotaping police officers on the job. The man was using his cell phone to record an altercation happening on the street which several other people were attempting to record as well, believing that police were utilizing excessive force.

What is considered a hate crime?

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 was created as a way to assist state, local, and tribal jurisdictions more effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes. William Hatch, a man from New Mexico, was one of the first people charged under the federal statute after participating in a hate crime. This week the Supreme Court has refused to review the hate crime conviction of Hatch.

What defenses are available for criminal defendants?

The different defenses that are available for a criminal defendant vary with each case and the facts surrounding that case. One defense that is available for some defendants is that the defendant is not competent to stand trial. However, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled Thursday that this may not be a valid defense anymore.

How can I get my conviction reversed?

In Shelley v. State, Case Number 2D13-1941 the Second District Court of Appeal sided with O'Brien Hatfield, PA and reversed a sex crime conviction. This sex crime case reversal resulted from an appeal to the Second District Court of Appeal. It was an appeal from a conviction and sentence for use of computer services to solicit consent of a parent to have sex with a minor and traveling to meet a minor after using computer services to solicit the consent of a parent. As a result of our firm's appellate efforts, the Second District Court of Appeal vacated the sex crime conviction and sex crime sentence on the legal grounds of double jeopardy.

NFL owner arrest could lead to professional sanctions

The arrest of the owner of a National Football League (NFL) team for driving under the influence of alcohol could lead to sanctions from the league, according to recent reports. It would be the first time a team owner has been sanctioned for a drug or alcohol related arrest, although many players have faced suspensions or other disciplinary actions as a result of a drunk driving or a drug arrest.

Florida teen goes to jail for prank turned felony charge

A Florida high school student was arrested this week after allegedly spiking his teacher's soft drink with hand sanitizer, according to local reports. The 15-year-old student is known as a prankster around the school and according to administrators was playing a practical joke on the teacher. Police saw the situation differently and arrested the student, charging him with a first degree felony for the incident. He was booked into the local jail immediately following his arrest.

How do I know if I have been the victim of police entrapment?

Entrapment is an affirmative defense raised in a criminal case where the defendant was induced by a law enforcement agent to commit an offense that he or she would not have committed otherwise. In Florida, the defense of entrapment is most commonly used in cases that involve drug supply, drug trafficking, solicitation of prostitution, and internet crimes. So how do you know if you have been the victim of police entrapment?

How Do I Get My Federal Life Sentence Overturned?

We are pleased to announce the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a life sentence for firm client Pedro Rodriguez. In an opinion released to the public on March 12, 2014, a panel of three judges agreed with our argument that Pedro Rodriguez's appointed lawyer, the government and the district court were all incorrect when they all agreed Mr. Rodriguez had two qualifying drug convictions that mandated a sentence of life in federal prison after he lost at trial. As a result, the Eleventh Circuit vacated Mr. Rodriguez's life sentence and remanded the case back to the district court for resentencing. United States v. Pedro Rodriguez

Teen jailed for weeks after cops make ID mistake

An 18-year-old Florida high school student was behind bars for more than a month after police arrested him on suspicion of sexual assault. He was finally released after 35 days behind bars when he was finally presented with the charging documents and he noticed that the suspect in the case had a different middle name than him.

Two Businessmen Obtain Up $190 Million Through Fraud

Mark Anstett, of Lake Forest, IL, was the president and co-owner of Equipment Acquisition Resources (EAR), which allegedly made semiconductor wafers and refurbished machinery used to make semiconductors work. George Ferguson, of Carlisle, PA, was the owner and president of former Machine Tools Direct (MTD) of Carlisle, PA. These two men were recently charged by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois with allegedly engaging in a scheme to fraudulently obtain approximately $190 million from banks and financing companies. The two men used their businesses as the main source of the scheme.

Minor Girl Drugged and Sold for Sex

Two men from Clearwater have recently been charged with sex trafficking of children. Specifically, it is alleged that the two men drugged a 16-year old girl and then offered her for sex to more than ten different men. One of the men, Mayham, has admitted to authorities that he drugged the young girl. However, he alleges that "any of the sexual acts performed were committed on her own accord."

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
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